Reading Sex and the Citadel brought back many memories of my visits and then my year in Egypt: the warning not to leave home with wet hair, because that advertises that you’ve just had sex; my evening at After 8 club, in which a gay couple took the dance floor as well as a beautiful tall transgender woman; and the young policeman who thought he could seduce me, was unfazed by the ultimate “I am married,” and instead retorted that “for you people it doesn’t matter.” This sexual imagery goes both ways, and it is not only Egyptians who imagine the oversexualized other but also my students in Israel who are baffled by my research and by primary sources dealing with lost virginity, homosexuality, masturbation, and prostitution. “But it’s forbidden in Islam!” they cry out, as if that...

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