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Talking to My Daughter About Sex and Menstruation!

11 September, 2019
Q My daughter is 8-year-old and I want to begin to talk with her about sex and starting her period, as I know some girls started their period at 9 year.I'm just nervous about doing this. So, how to bring it up and how to explain it so that it's understood without using medical words?


In this counseling answer:

•Talk about the reason why we even get married at all—it is not just for sex, it is for a particular kind of companionship of which the pinnacle, the epitome of which is “marital relations”.

•Then you can go on to expand on that theme to include the role that physical interaction has in that processinShaAllah.”

As-Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhum,

I am so excited to get an easy question! Well, not easy, per se, but not one that is near life-threatening, like so many of them are

I read a great book for my introduction to sex. It was called “A Husbands’ Guide to Marriage”. I tried to find it years later but could not because it was out of print. But, if you can find that book, it was really good because it talked about a husband being appreciated of his wife in his love-making, i.e., treat her with respect by listening to her responses and going with them, instead of how to get what he needs and wants for himself of his own physical needs. But, book or no book, I think you should start there—not about the physics, yet.

Talk about the reason why we even get married at all—it is not just for sex, it is for a particular kind of companionship of which the pinnacle, the epitome of which is “marital relations”. Then you can go on to expand on that theme to include the role that physical interaction has in that process, inShaAllah.

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Talk about marriage—why do we get married? What do we need from marriage?  What do we get out of marriage? Why did Allah Create marriage?

Check out this counseling video

Safety, Belonging..

A safe place to express and explore our own personalities—our fears, our feelings, our successes, our failures, our shortcomings… all without being criticized and condemned or judged for being weak, or for needing help, or something or someone from someone else…

Support, Love, Mercy..

The list goes on and on. but get your child to start thinking about these things—try to get her to come up with the above list and more to add to it.

Once she can appreciate that we intellectually and emotionally “mix” in the unique personal way in marriage, that is called “intimate”, then you can help her distinguish that from how we “mix” in the public world in a much less “personal” and “intimate” way. Then, when you expound on what personal and intimate mean, she will be able to better understand it. Then, when you introduce physical interaction—physically “mixing”—she will know better what you are talking about, as compared to just hearing it in a vacuum of its meaning.

I would not shy away from medical terms because childhood is the time for learning words. However, I might shy away from them for another reason: they make the process medical and it is anything but. Yes, it is a physical process, but if it is physical without the motivating love and desire for emotional expression that makes it intimate, it loses it “meaning”.

It becomes an exercise in pleasure, not love. Excuse the rudeness of what I am about to say, but…. you can get that from a doll, you don’t need a human being for that. A human being was created as a sentient being for a reason, i.e., there is more to life than pleasure/physicality. That is the first lesson in understanding the “intimacy” that takes place in marriage—whether it be physical or mental or emotional expressions that aren’t physical.

When it comes to teaching her the physical process, keep it simple at first. When she is about to get married, you can fill in the fine points, inShaAllah. It may help to NOT use a book that has pictures because pictures of sex can be scary to a nine-year old (and they are unIslamic, but they may be important to a woman who is about to get married if she is uneducated—to keep her from being surprised—to prepare her properly).

I wish I had a good book to recommend, but I am sorry I don’t know that area of literature. Everything I read by Muslims was horrible—sorry to say it. It had was superficial and inaccurate (but that was years ago, so maybe something good is out there now, inShaAllah).

There used to be a Muslim store for sexual products. You could Google that. They were very serious about their responsibility to fill that role in a righteous way for Muslims. Maybe they have some good reading materials on marriage and sex, or even books for children—or for parents on how to introduce the subject to children.

My pet peeve—but not for now, she is too young—is teaching women that the motive in male sexuality is very different from that of the female, the male impetus being visual and sensory while the female’s impetus is emotional. But that is another discussion altogether, but I could not resist mentioning it because it is one of the biggest sources of sexual dysfunction in marriage.

And Allah Make it Easy for you!

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About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (