Shereen El Feki on Whether the Arab Spring Can Produce a Summer of Love

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“If you really want to know people, start by looking in their bedrooms,” says Shereen El Feki, author of the new book Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World. In March, El Feki joined novelist and former sex worker Tracy Quan for an event hosted by the Reason Foundation at New York City’s Museum of Sex. The two discussed why political freedom won’t automatically lead to sexual freedom, how the “summer marriage” phenomenon attempts to combine religious tradition with prostitution, the nascent Arab gay rights movement, frustrated Muslim housewives, and a medieval Arabic dictionary with more than 1,000 verbs for having sex.