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sahq

(Arabic) From a root meaning “to grind”, there are a number of vocabulary items in this group referring variously to persons or activities. The Arabic root may also have been borrowed into other vernacular languages with similar meaning and use. A variety of words meaning “to rub” are found to label lesbian activity, testifying to the general knowledge of one common sexual technique.

LHMP entry

An “origin story” whereby men turned away from God and began treating women badly, at which a devil came to the women disguised as a woman and taught them grinding. (With the implication that they wouldn’t have been tempted if the men had treated them better.)

A list of religious quotations prohibiting grinding as fornication.

Prohibitions on effeminate men and masculine women.

This article provides a brief historic survey of evidence regarding love between women in Islamic societies. Classical treatises on sexual transgression discuss tribadism (sahq) from a male perspective. There are occasional comparisons to male homosexuality, but in general the two are considered distinct, except generally as vices. Popular imagination, (especially in western accounts) considered lesbianism common in harems.

Several of the articles in Same Sex Love and Desire Among Women in the Middle Ages look outside the European sphere that the phrase “Middle Ages” normally implies. Malti-Douglas looks at the language and discorse around lesbianism in medieval Arabic texts, particularly as contrasted with the treatment of male homosexuality which is mentioned extensively in medieval Arabic/Islamic texts.

Criticism of a particular tribe as promiscuous, where the women are preoccupied with grinding.

A catalog of reasons why women might take up grinding, essentially identical to the one given in al-Yemeni: due to physiological or esthetic issues, because she is slow to climax with a man, because of pain on intercourse, because she prefers smooth-cheeked kisses, because she has a dominant “masculine” personality.

He calls grinding an “illness” and offers various possible causes, including having an “inverted womb” (a variant on the clitoral hypertrophy motif), or a mis-match between the shape of a woman’s vagina and the shape of the penis. Another possible cause he lists is the mother’s diet during breast-feeding. Some women pick up the habit from having sex with concubines. Another explanation is that grinding is a natural appetite, derived from a variant of humoral theory.

A satiric poem from a man to his female rival for his beloved, using metaphors such as “you can’t patch a hole with a hole” and “what use is a hammer without a handle?” to argue the superiority of heterosex over grinding.

An anecdote about the female entertainer Bathal who, when singing to a male client, substituted a lyric in praise of "grinding" (sex between women). Her client contradicted her, but then requested that she finish the song and offers more lyrics that are in favor of grinding.

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