The Middle East has long been something of a mystery to Westerners, and in particular, the sexual mores of the region continue to fascinate. Arabs are often described as being in a state of Islam-induced sexual anxiety and young Muslims' frustrations are said to be exacerbated by increasing exposure to the licentiousness of the West. Here, Middle East expert John R. Bradley sets out to uncover the truth about sex in countries like Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Yemen. Among many startling revelations, Bradley reports on how "temporary" Islamic marriages allow for illicit sex in the theocracies of Iran and Saudi Arabia; "child brides" that are sold off to older Arab men according to ancient tribal traditions; the hypocrisy that undermines publicized crackdowns on the thriving sex industry in the Persian Gulf; and how, despite widespread denial, homosexuality is still deeply ingrained in the region's social fabric.
Richly detailed and nuanced, Behind the Veil of Vice sheds light on a taboo subject and unravels widely held myths about the region. In the process, Bradley also delivers an important message about our own society's contradictions.
Bradley (Inside Egypt) takes on Western prejudices and misconceptions in this sweeping expos of Arabic sexual mores. Written in response to Western writers and pundits who view Muslim sexual repression and shame as the underlying engine of terrorism and Islamist fervor, the author takes a panoramic look at sexual behavior in the region. Emphasizing the profound differences between and within various Muslim and Arab communities, he definitively dispels the notion of any single dominant Muslim sexuality or moral norm. Instead, Bradley argues, the prurient concerns of the West are mostly distractions from real social, political, and economic problems faced in the Middle East many of which the West plays a major role in perpetuating which drive Muslim unrest. Drawing on extensive research as well as the author's own substantial firsthand knowledge of the region, the book offers an essential corrective to the fantasies and misinformation about Middle Eastern cultures.