Contemporary Islam

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 65–84 | Cite as

Let’s talk about sex: Australian Muslim online discussions



Sex talk is ubiquitous, yet often remains difficult within more conservative or religious milieus. However, online forums provide younger digital native Muslims with novel environments where they can discuss sex-related issues with one another. Listening to the views young Muslims share on online forums can shed some light onto how members of an Australian online virtual community frame and conceive of a number of sex-related issues, the questions they pose, the discussions that ensue, and the answers they contribute. The aim is to explore what forum discussions can tell us about the views, understanding, and framing of sex-related issues with which young Australian Muslims, living in Muslim minority context, are confronted in their own lives, those of their kin, or of members of their communities, while, simultaneously and paradoxically, reiterating an unproblematic normative “Islamic” position. Might online forums foster expressions of more creative indigenous and hybrid gendered discourses, as online forum discussions often remain open-ended? The dynamics of online discussions are explored by looking, first, at sexuality related issues within the confines of marriage and, second, sexuality-related issues outside of its confines.


Sexuality Internet Forums Australia Virginity Hymenoplasty Marital rape Celibacy Masturbation Pre- and extramarital sex STDs 



I would like to thank the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at The University of Queensland, and its former director, Professor Graeme Turner, for the Faculty Visiting Fellowship (fall 2007) I received for the project “Prescription, Construction, and Contestation of Selves, Identities, and Representations of Muslim Women in Cyberspace”, as well as the Australian Government for the financial support it provided in the form of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant without which the completion of this chapter would not have been possible. Last, but not least, I must acknowledge the generosity with which Kecia Ali has so kindly accepted to read an earlier version of this paper, providing many insightful comments and suggestions which I have tried to incorporate. May she rest assured of my sincere gratitude. Any infelicities remain solely mine.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de sciences des religionsUniversité du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)MontrealCanada
  2. 2.Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and ClassicsThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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