Monday, 18 March 2013

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World

Sex and the Citadel
Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World
by Shereen El Feki

Hardcover, 368 pages

There is no life without sex and, as much as every generation thinks that they discovered sex, or at least made it fun, it has actually been going on for some time. It's one of the most important things we do. But sex is far more than just procreation, and just because people aren't talking about it - it doesn't mean they aren't doing it.

Shereen El Feki is an Egyptian-Canadian journalist with a background in medical science. In Sex and the Citadel she explores sexuality of all types in Arab-Egyptian culture - past and present. Of course sexuality reflects and is reflected by society and this is ever-shifting sand.

In Sex and the Citadel we go behind the veil and get an intelligent and intimate look into the changing mores of sexuality. From religious and governmental influences to married life, single and dating Arabs, homosexuality, porn, prostitution, FGM or "female circumcision", and everything in between.

Chapters Include
1. Shifting Positions
2. Desperate Housewives
3. Sex and the Single Arab
4. Facts of Life
5. Sex for Sale
6. Dare to be Different
7. Come to the Revolution

The book is very well researched and balances academic understanding with personal experience and even humour. Shereen spent much time in Egypt and her position as vice-chair of the UN's Global Commission on HIV and the Law gave her access to people and information that most journalists just don't have.

This book had me post-it noting section after section to read aloud to Charles when he got home. Incredible facts and information that I had no idea about. I was especially blown away at how customs and sexuality has changed over time for this part of the world and, of course, others as well.

A fascinating read.

Shereen El Feki

SHEREEN EL FEKI is a writer, broadcaster, and academic who started her professional life in medical science before going on to become an award-winning journalist for The Economist and a presenter at Al Jazeera English. She is former vice-chair of the U.N.’s Global Commission on HIV and Law, and a TED Global Fellow. She divides her time between London and Cairo.