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Sex and Lies

Leïla Slimani

From the prize winning and bestselling author of Lullaby and Adèle: a fascinating and witty collection of essays on the lives of women grappling with sexual politics in a deeply conservative culture

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The first work of non-fiction in English from the prize-winning and internationally bestselling author of Lullaby and Adèle, translated by Sophie Lewis.

In these essays, Leila Slimani gives voice to young Moroccan women who are grappling with a conservative Arab culture that at once condemns and commodifies sex. In a country where the law punishes and outlaws all forms of sex outside marriage, as well as homosexuality and prostitution, women have only two options for their sexual identities: virgin or wife. Sex and Lies is an essential confrontation with Morocco’s intimate demons and a vibrant appeal for the universal freedom to be, to love and to desire.

Critic Reviews

A collection of poignant testimonies on the condition of women in Morocco... Leila Slimani gives readers one of the secrets of women's emancipation: access to knowledge and the power to share it with other women. Sex and Lies [is] an important book.

Ariele Bonte, RTL France
Critic Reviews

[Slimani] has collected the confidences of Moroccans of all ages and all generations suffocated under the weight of taboo and misogyny, in order to write Sex and Lies. The words of these shocking and courageous women resonate for a long time after reading this striking book.

ELLE France
Critic Reviews

Slimane moves beyond her usual territory of sex addicts and murderous nannies and instead sets her sights on sexual politics in Morocco.

Critic Reviews

The award-winning French-Moroccan author makes her first foray into non-fiction. Shedding light on the diverse experiences and attitudes towards sex among young Moroccan women – Slimani interviews 15 different women across 18 chapters – Sex and Lies is a searing insight into what can be sexual double standards in conservative Middle Eastern cultures. This makes for page-turning reading not just because Sex and Lies distances itself from orientalist tropes but it offers an insight – and crucially, celebrates – how Moroccan women are redefining attitudes to sex on their own terms.

AnOther Magazine
Critic Reviews

Reflections on Moroccan society and culture. An original book, given that Middle Eastern women’s approaches to sex and sexuality has often been rendered invisible.


Leïla Slimani is the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, which she won for Lullaby. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, she is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she lives in Paris with…

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