“The political and the sexual are intimate bedfellows,” says Shereen El Feki in yesterday’s talk. “That is true for all of us, no matter where we live and love.”
[ted_talkteaser id=1909]For five years, El Feki talked to people across Middle East about their bedroom behavior, and what she found over and over was a seemingly deep-rooted conservatism — in which any sex outside of heterosexual marriage is unacceptable. But as she shows, Arabic literature is rich with proof that the regional culture was once far more sexually open; erotic writing was produced even by religious scholars.
So what happened? El Feki points to the rise of religious conservatism starting in the 1970s — within the lifetimes of many people she interviewed. Such a rapid turnaround may seem improbable. But it happens all the time, and the past century offers many examples of societies that radically shifted their sexual attitudes…
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