For an ErosBlog first, how about linking to the an article from Foreign Policy magazine? That’s what I’ve got for you today. The story is The Militarization of Sex and it’s about how Hezbollah in Lebanon has encouraged and expanded use of the mutaa temporary marriage institution to maintain its social control. The article makes it sound there’s a whole Craigslist-style mutaa scene:

Hezbollah’s legitimization of mutaa has created semi-official channels that Lebanese Shiites use to hook up. Hassan, a 30-year old Shiite from Beirut’s southern suburbs, is a high school teacher. He graduated from the Lebanese University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and considers himself secular but supports the resistance as a political, not a religious, movement. He is enthusiastic about the initiative taken by a number of Hezbollah party members and supporters to act as matchmakers between couples, and sometimes turn their shops, bookstores and workplaces into meeting places for young men and women.

“My cousin, a hard-core Hezbollah supporter, finds pleasure in using his mini-market as a hub where both men and women refer to him to hook them up in a temporary marriage. He even has Excel sheets to help him organize and control the contacts, and of course he practices temporary marriage himself,” he added with a smile.

There is also no shortage of ways that Shiite men and women make contact to form a temporary marriage; sometimes, the experience ends up bringing them closer to Hezbollah. Ali, for example, is a 26-year old man from southern Lebanon who has “temporarily married” a number of girls in the last two years. “I usually meet them in Hezbollah’s public library or the center, where young men and women gather to attend religious and political preaching,” he explained.

The men and women are put in separate rooms, but he finds a way to communicate. “If I want to approach a girl, I ask her for her number and call her later, but mostly I get approached by girls who directly ask me if I am interested in temporary marriage,” Ali said. “Although they are veiled from top to bottom, you can always guess how she looks like from her face and eyes,” he added with a wink.

And then there’s the female perspective:

Zahra, a fully veiled 25 year-old Shiite woman who is completing her master’s degree in English literature, comes from a family of Hezbollah supporters and party members, and has been a lifelong Hezbollah member herself. She explained that she practices temporary marriage because it is a religious duty.

“I take good care of myself, and make sure I look perfect every time I go into a mutaa marriage because I should please my husband, temporary or not,” she said. “It is my religious duty to do so. God allowed this kind of marriage for a reason, and I never question God’s wishes.”

Zahra is divorced and believes that Islam has acknowledged sexual desires for both males and females, which is why temporary marriage is permissible. “It is also a religious duty to fulfill your sexual desires,” she insisted, noting that temporary marriages with women whose husbands had been killed fighting Israel were especially encouraged. “[T]hose who satisfy widows of martyrs have more reward in heaven,” she said.