Skip to main content Accessibility help
The Sexual World of the Arabian Nights
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Recommend this book

    Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

    The Sexual World of the Arabian Nights
    • Online ISBN: 9781108675277
    • Book DOI:
    Please enter your name
    Please enter a valid email address
    Who would you like to send this to *
  • Buy the print book

Book description

From the stories of wives and their lovers to those of kings and their conquests, to the overarching story of Shahrazad and Shahryar, the tales of the Arabian Nights have offered countless audiences entertainment and enjoyment as well as serving as cautionary stories. An outstanding piece of world literature, the Arabian Nights provide a lively and interesting way of exploring aspects of sexuality, romance, gender, culture, wealth, and politics. Looking at a wide range of the tales, David Ghanim offers a rigorous exploration of their profound sexuality: looking at both the context in which they were written and organised, as well as their legacy. By including accounts of heterosexuality, homosexuality, cuckoldry, insatiable lust, promiscuity, rape, incest, bestiality, demonic sexuality, and erotica, Ghanim highlights the complexity and dynamism of medieval sexuality, the active role of women in sexual activities, and the prevailing positive outlook on sexual liaison and gender mixing.


‘In this daring and insightful work, David Ghanim offers an intensive and perceptive analytical exploration and expounding of the sexual facets in the Nights, adding to his repertoire of serious and reflective studies of various aspects of gender in Middle Eastern cultures. He highlights and elucidates the still considered tabued issues of sexuality and erotica in a variety of contexts.'

Hasan el-Shamy - Indiana University

‘An interesting and comprehensive picture of the rich, lively, and in some ways astonishingly permissive variety of sexual relations in the medieval Middle East. By providing an illuminating portrayal of the vibrant intellectual life of the urban elites, and medieval classical Arabic literature and anecdotes, the book offers a historical context that would challenge many prevalent perceptions about life in the region.'

Haideh Moghissi - York University, Toronto

‘David Ghanim's book is an excellent exploration of perhaps the most central theme linking the various tales in One Thousand and One Nights, the varieties and vicissitudes of human sexuality, particularly how women assert their power.'

Daniel Beaumont - University of Rochester, New York

‘In its information so painstakingly gathered, this book is by any standards both revealing and gripping. The author clearly knows his subject.'

Abdul Sattar Jawad - Duke University, North Carolina

Refine List
Actions for selected content:
Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive
  • Send content to

    To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to .

    To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

    Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

    Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

    Please be advised that item(s) you selected are not available.
    You are about to send

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed