Shereen El Feki Breaks Down What We Don’t Know About Sex & Sexuality In The Arab World

“Now sexuality is an incredibly powerful lens with which to study any society, because what happens in our intimate lives is reflected by forces on a bigger stage: in politics and economics, in religion and tradition, in gender and generations,” El Feki explains. “As I found, if you really want to know a people, you start by looking inside their bedrooms.”

El Feki is a former immunologist turned writer, who in 2013 published Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World, which takes a look at sexual attitudes of women and men in Egypt and the wider Arab world, and presents the results of her five years of research.

In the video above, a TED talk by El Feki explains how sexual conservatism in the Arab world is a fairly new concept, and shows the polarity between the current and historical views and approaches to sex and sexuality in the Middle East. She highlights the efforts being made to gradually reverse this construct, but realizes that it may take a whole generation to accomplish this.

“What we’re talking here is not about a sexual revolution, but a sexual evolution, learning from other parts of the world, adapting to local conditions, forging our own path, not following one blazed by another. That path, I hope, will one day lead us to the right to control our own bodies, and to access the information and services we need to lead satisfying and safe sexual lives.”

Image: TED

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