|Heba Gamal Kotb|
September 19, 1967 |
Dr. Heba Kotb (born September 19, 1967) is an Egyptian certified sex therapist and host of The Big Talk, a sexual advice show airing in Egypt. The first licensed sexologist in the country, Kotb bases her methods on the teachings of the Qur'an, which she says encourages strong marital life including healthy sexual relationships between husband and wife.
Early life and education
Born and raised in Egypt, Kotb grew up wanting to be a surgeon. She attended medical school at Cairo University, writing a thesis named "Medicolegal Implications of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Sexually abused Children." While writing her thesis, she realized that she had very little idea about normal sexuality. As a result, she began researching the topic, eventually coming across a passage in the Qur'an discussing sexual relations between husbands and wives that she saw as speaking to the woman's sexual rights. Of the experience, she said:
|“||I was so proud of my religion when I saw that. My religion was advanced enough to talk about women's rights in sexuality how many years before modern science did?||”|
In 2003, she became the first licensed sexologist in Egypt, graduating with a degree in clinical sexology from Maimonides University. She continued her studies, eventually earning a Ph.D with her thesis, entitled "Sexuality in Islam".
The Big Talk
Kotb's show, The Big Talk, is a call-in show broadcast on Al-Mehwar, an Egyptian satellite channel, where she answers questions about common sexual topics including masturbation and foreplay. Although Kotb states that she is open to most questions, as part of her proposal she agreed to not discuss sex outside of marriage and also refuses to discuss topics which are haram, or prohibited by Islam, such as sex during a woman's menses and anal sex.
Although Kotb's show is extremely popular, it has drawn its share of conservative critics. Sheik Youssef al-Badri, a conservative cleric noted for his support of female circumcision, has criticized her show for "increas[ing] the number of sex perverts".
Beliefs about sexuality
Kotb cites Al-Baqara ("The Cow"), the longest surah (or chapter) of the Qur'an, as her inspiration for understanding human sexuality, noting that it speaks about the daily life of a man and woman and commands the man to provide pleasure to his wife. She argues that Islam in general and the Qu'ran in particular is very permissive of sex, and that discussion of the topic is suppressed not by religion but by culture.
While this stance is seen as extremely liberal in Egypt, Kotb's beliefs about sexuality tend to be conservative by Western standards. She has called homosexuality a "disorder ... an acquired thing", and compared homosexuals to "the alcoholics and the drug-takers". Although she has called for women to explore their bodies, she has also stated that women do not need to masturbate, discouraging the practice by saying that "a woman has to remain blank until she gets married and by masturbating she's forming her sexuality."
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