Testing the Arab springs

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World Shereen El Feki, Vintage, £8.99

The World Today
2 minute READ

Claire Muñoz Parry

Former Assistant Director, Global Health Programme

‘If you really want to know a people, start by looking in their bedrooms’ is an enticing premise to a touchy subject, especially if you’re focusing on a region where sex is not discussed openly. Shereen El Feki, a writer-academic-activist on sexuality in the Arab region, examines very sensitive issues with delicacy, humour and courage. Through interviews with experts, friends, acquaintances, health workers, sex workers, housewives, students, businessmen, NGO workers, and many others willing to share their thoughts and experiences, El Feki weaves a picture that sometimes sounds hopeful, but leaves the reader disheartened at how long it might take the Arab world to untwist its attitudes, beliefs and laws as regards sexuality.

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