Some people believe that there is no HIV in the Arab world, but this could not be further from the truth. Today, two to three percent of the arab egyptian sex population engages in same-sex activities, and the taboo surrounding sex continues to prevent these communities from rising to the challenges presented by the epidemic. But even if there are few cases of HIV infection, Arab countries remain one of two regions where the incidence of the virus is still rising.
A British filmmaker has spent the last year touring the Arab world, making short films about rewriting the rules in the bedroom. The Arab world’s sexual landscape is dark – it is plagued by strict rules about female virginity, the eradication of homosexuality and the censorship of online porn. Yet these strict regulations have not been enough to stop the sexual abuse of Arab women, despite the sex industry’s growing influence.
Old Arabic literature depicts women as nymphomaniacs who despise urban communities and the central role of women. A hermit in the mountains once visited the city, where he saw men becoming slaves to women. Arab men would not engage in sexual relations in positions where they could dominate their partners. As a result, they refused to be sexually attracted to women who did not possess such a status.
Although the Arab world is still relatively unexplored for scientific research, it is worth reading to gain a broader understanding of how sex works there. The book is an exploration of contemporary sex life in the Arab world. It’s not easy to understand, and El Feki did a good job of exposing the dichotomy of the Arab sex industry. The book is well worth the price of admission alone.
In the Arab world, heterosexual marriage is the only socially acceptable context for sex. It is state-registerd, family-sanctioned and religiously-approved. Anything outside of this context is considered shameful and impolite. But large segments of the population are finding it increasingly difficult to fit into these social citadels. Many young people cannot afford to get married, and sex is only discussed in crisis situations.
The work of Muntada, a Palestinian entrepreneur, is essential to empowering the Palestinian people to talk openly about their bodies and their sexuality. The use of Arabic over Hebrew is a political statement and an affirmation of political identity, as well as a linguistic one. Among the most prominent speakers of Arabic is Khalid Abdel-Hadi, a native speaker of the Palestinian language.