Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Female Muslim Sex Therapist Goes Online

Zoya Amirin has come across every myth imaginable in her job as sex psychologist in Indonesia: An uncircumcised girl will become sex-crazed. Clove cigarettes increase virility. A gecko's saliva can cure AIDS.

Knowing such misinformation can ruin relationships and even lives, Amirin — the only woman certified in her field in the world's most populous Muslim nation — has decided to launch a weekly podcast to provide some frank, accurate talk about the bedroom.

Her 15-minute, debut episode of "In Bed with Zoya" will air on her website Thursday.

"People here really believe in myths ... that's my biggest challenge," said Amirin, adding she wants to make her show as cool as possible so people will tune in without feeling they're being talked down to.

"It's time to embrace our sexuality in a healthy way," she said, "and to be mature in our understanding."

Her job illustrates some of the changes taking place in Indonesia, which toppled its longtime dictator Gen. Suharto in a wave of pro-democracy street protests just over a decade ago.

The nation of 240 million remains socially conservative in most areas, including relationships, something old-style politicians are desperate to maintain. Yet these customs are coming under pressure from a more freewheeling approach to sex, in part due to increased wealth and more females living and working alone before marriage.

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