The ambiguity surrounding sex in the Arab world makes the topic of Sex in a Modern Arabic Country an enigma. While sex is a private matter in many countries, it is taboo in others. This book explores modern sex life in the Arab world and offers new insights into how sex is perceived in the region. Sex in a Modern Arabic Country is a must-read for anyone interested in the Arab world.
The Arab region has been undergoing a dark period since the 1950s. Religious conservatives have taken the conversation of sex and wrapped it up in religion. This has led to a climate of shame. As a result, only 30-60% of young men and women in the region say that they have had sex before marriage. Despite the increasing acceptance of sex, many Arab countries have a long way to go before reaching a sexually free society.
Despite the emergence of the gay and transgender communities in the Arab world, there is little scholarship about the same-sex lives of these groups. Academics outside the Arab world lack knowledge of Arab culture and speak only English. Consequently, most of the available scholarship is written in English. In contrast, academics in North America and Europe have access to a vast range of resources that make it difficult to understand the sexual cultures in the Arab world. While the Arab world is not yet at the nexus, knowledge of the sexual culture in the region is indispensable.
This lack of understanding between the sexes is the root cause of many of the problems facing Arab women. This is a direct consequence of Arab regimes’ desire to keep society divided. Separation of sexes is supposed to manage sexual temptation. In reality, however, it amplifies it, and it contributes to the violence between men and women. So, it is easy to see why the Arab world would want to change this cultural norm.
Despite its complexity, pre-modern Arabic texts did not explicitly refer to gender as a binary male/female. This enables a variety of options in the sphere of licit and illicit sexuality. However, attitudes towards homosexuality changed in the Middle East after the British and French penal codes forbid the practice. In fact, French colonizers translated texts like “The Perfumed Garden” incorrectly into English and reinterpreted them to make it easier for the French to portray Arab men and women as lustful and objectified.
The Arab Spring, which has helped the people in the region to make their voices heard and protest against long-standing social injustices, has helped in bringing the topic of sexuality into the public eye. As a result, conversations about sexuality in the region have found a privileged space on social media. If you’re thinking about getting involved, Sex in a Modern Arabic Country is a must-read.