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.