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Search for the word "sex" in an Arabic search engine and predictably hundreds of websites and forums pop up. But look a little further and the lines between porn consumer and porn producer start to blur.
 
By KHODOR SALAME
 
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BEIRUT, October 31, 2008 (AL-AKHBAR) – Arabic pornographic forums are chaotic and appear like haphazard creations. By and large, these sites are administered by one person who allows visitors to post their own material.

Research into these Arab sites reveals that most of the uploaded material tends to be the standard non-Arab/foreign porn. But with increasing frequency, there are also mobile phone video clips of Arab women engaging in sexual acts, often filmed without the women's knowledge.

In some rare cases, the clips are more organized and well edited, and in some clips, girls appear to be under the effect of drugs or alcohol. Even rarer are instances of filmed rape; scenes produced to satisfy the needs and the fantasies of the movie-maker-publisher?

Such sites are not unheard of in the West, but they are new by Arab standards and reflect a new kind of public abuse against women – a trend spurned by the technological evolution.

It's fairly easy these days to record anything, including sex scenes, with the help of a mobile phone, then to exchange the material through Bluetooth or by simply publishing them on the net.
 
As is the case with most "free" porno websites, visiting these Arabic porn sites requires registration to view the videos, pictures and other media. All of the Arabic sites are divided into about four sections: video scenes, audio scenes, photographic scenes, and foreign movies.

In addition, Arabic sites feature stories of what are claimed to be "real" sexual relations or "marital betrayal." These sites are immensely popular as revealed by the numbers of Arab visitors.

Religious sites using porn keywords

Most Arab countries have put legal restrictions on viewing such material, but for those who really want to see these Arabic porno sites, their is also advice on how to overcome the official censorship mechanisms.

Look at the comments of the members and you can see a diverse reflection of backgrounds. There is a freedom of language in these forums – from curses to exchanging addresses and phone numbers in a search for that easy sex catch.

The strange thing about the Arabic pornographic websites and their rapidly increasing popularity is that some religious sites add pornographic expressions to keywords to lead web searches to their own religious home pages.

The official explanation given by some of these religious sites was that using such words was simply a means to attract Internet users in order to "raise awareness" and "deter" them from vices, or to attract new visitors.

More standard is the option offered by international porn sites where visitors are offered their ethnic preference, and after viewing video clips from several sites that featured an "Arabic sex" choice, the video clips were usually of well-paid porn actresses with Arab accoutrement – perhaps wearing an hijab to satisfy the orientalist fantasies of the end user.

In my research, I should mention the fact that advertising for international websites was what funded all of the Arabic porn sites I visited. Still, they seemed more about breaking the taboo of the intimacy of private relations between men and women as opposed to pure profit motive.

It is impossible to talk about the exact number of Arab porn sites. But their growing numbers reveal that Arab voyeurs will do whatever they can to get around official censors.


This article was republished with permission from