This Moroccan Writer Is Exposing The Sexual Lives Of Arab Women


Leïla Slimani, author of “Sex and Lies.” Source: communautes.cultura.com

By Cedric Tannous
Millions of Arab women are living in “sexual misery.”

Already on her way to being dubbed “the most controversial female writer in the Arab world,” Leila Slimani is not afraid of unveiling Muslim women’s sexuality.

Morocco, Slimani’s motherland, is another Arab Muslim-majority country where women are still fighting for equality and where sex remains an untouchable taboo.

With laws ruling against premarital and same-sex intercourse, “women can only be either virgins or married,” as Slimani says in an interview with French website, Nouvel Obs.

As young Moroccans look for a voice and a dash of freedom, this courageous award-winning author comes as their advocate.

Leila Slimani, Moroccan author, Sex and lies, book, sexe et mensonges, prix goncourt
Leila Slimani’s new book “Sex and Lies” Source: Amazon
Leaving Morocco at 17 to pursue her studies in political science and media studies in Paris, Silmani discovered major differences between the two countries.

In her new book, Sex and Lies: sexual life in Morocco, she narrates the private, intimate lives of Moroccan women in their own words.

From homosexuals and women who have had premarital sex to young women who were forced to undergo reconstructive vaginal surgery, people of different backgrounds opened up to the author.

Paroles D’honneur, Sexe et mensonges, Morocco, Leila Slimani, Laetitia Coryn
Graphic novel by Laetitia Coryn and Leila Slimani Source: Amazon
In an interview with The Times, Slimani said it was very difficult to write this book since “sex is a primordial taboo.” However, she noticed that “women had a great wish to speak, a thirst for words, and a yearning to confide in someone.”

Her previous book, Chanson Douce (Lullaby, or Sweet Song) won her France’s most prestigious literary award in 2016, Le Prix Goncourt – being only the 12th women to have ever won this prize.

Slimani collaborated with illustrator Laëtitia Coryn to create a graphic novel, Paroles d’honneur (Words of honor,) to accompany her book. Its main purpose is to give anonymous women a face and a voice.

Sex and Lies, Graphic novel, Leïla Slimani, Morocco, Laetitia Coryn
A panel from the graphic novel “Paroles d’honneur” Source: The Times
She didn’t hold back from commenting on Islamists’ obsession with sex, either.

“They think that religion concerns itself with everything, including the body, which must be regulated by their rules and their vision of the world.
Sexuality is something that’s either authorized or forbidden, with nothing between the two,” she says.
As she believes in sexual rights being part of human rights, she goes on to say: “Freeing the bodies of citizens is also a way of freeing their minds. The two are related.”

Leïla Slimani, author, Sex and Lies, Morocco, Arab women
Leïla Slimani, author of “Sex and Lies” Source: France info
One question remains: Will this book be banned like numerous other works made by Arab authors?

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