Cover Image: Halal Sex

Halal Sex

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Member Reviews

I was very intrigued by the concept of this book. I enjoyed parts but found myself skimming much of the content. I found myself wondering if the work would be better suited to a different medium - for example, a television mini-series, journalism outlet, etc. Overall, I had trouble connecting with the writing style and the individuals introduced within the book.

2.5 Stars.

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Thank you, NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada, for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

In six honest and transparent chapters, Halal Sex explores sexuality, culture, and religion through interviews with five women and a non-binary, trans individual. With chapters discussing purity culture, inter-faith marriage, healthy sexual relationships, kink and sex work, amongst many others.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sex-positive nonfiction approach to navigating purity culture. Whether you are part of the religion or not, and even whether you grew up in 'purity culture' or not, I would still encourage the read as it is fascinating, welcoming and a good way to challenge your own biases and preconceptions around sex, feminity and religion as well as educate yourself.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I found the discussions of navigating, religion, culture and sexual desire intriguing and found every chapter to bring a unique experience to the table. Often times pushing back against my own ideas of sex and sexuality. I found the chapters to be both engaging and well-paced.

Overall a very enjoyable read.

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As someone who grew up in the Pakistani-Muslim community, where open discussions about sex and sexuality are virtually non-existent, I found '"Halal Sex" to be interesting, insightful, and a breath of fresh air. The care that Benembarek took into telling each person's story and journey was apparent; not only do we get to see each interviewee's journey and perspective on sex and sexuality, but we are also given the context (faith journey, family, culture, etc.) that got them there, making for a rich reading experience. Along with each chapter just being a general joy to read, I also believe the book as a whole provides valuable commentary on the need for us, as a community, to stop letting our cultural values and taboos influence the way in which we engage with topics such as sex and sexuality in Muslim spaces.

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4.5 - 5 stars

This collection was a thoughtful, tender, vulnerable, & human look into the lives and sex lives of six different Muslim women and nonbinary people. The author approached and reflected on each of the subjects with great empathy and understanding, allowing the readers into their worlds, and to share their perspectives, without judgment or bias. I enjoyed learning about all six subjects, and exploring their sexualities and their relationships with their faith, their families, and themselves. I saw so much of myself, and other women I love in them, and I learnt so much from them.

Each chapter was short and engaging, and Benembarek did a great job at pulling us in, and welcoming us into the lives of her subjects.

My only feedback is that I wish we’d gotten MORE! More from each of them, more stories, and especially more from and about the author. Benembarek did mention that unfortunately three of the subjects did drop out, pretty late into the process, which explains the shorter selection - but even these six stories were heartfelt and <b>enough.</b>

I can’t wait for other people to read this, and I can’t wait to read more from Sheima Benembarek!

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