Gay circuit parties have spread around the globe; as these events can last for several days, many host cities find them economically advantageous.The porn industry, similarly driven by the desire for cheap labor and the erotics of otherness, has extended into Asia and Eastern Europe (Warsaw, Poland, was the site of the Third Annual World Gangbang Championship and Eroticon in 2004).

Despite her ruined reputation, however, the young woman mused that her experience was “almost worth it”: “The sex was great, and the excitement and adventure of doing what we know we aren’t supposed to be doing, then being caught! After the Queen Boat scandal in Egypt in 2001, thirty-five members of the U. Congress wrote to Hosni Mubarak to protest the treatment of the men, who were tortured and subjected to examinations to determine whether they had had anal sex.

Well, and it makes a great story.” the social and sexual changes they desired, reminding her that their “revolution was not about momentary acts” but was “a way of life.” This way of life included social gatherings and behavior that “could be viewed as hedonistic” but were also “a necessary part of constructing a world over which they had control, a world they could live in rather than in the world of the Islamists, who would have them stay home and obey.” As another young woman said before attending a sex party: It’s all about laj bazi (playful rebellion). No matter what they tell you, they are scared, from the moment they leave their homes; and every time the doorbell rings, delet mirize (your heart sinks). In response, the Egyptian newpaper Al-Ahram al-Arabi ran a headline that translated as, “Be a pervert and Uncle Sam will approve.”Some sex partying is certainly related to processes of globalization, as citizens from wealthy nations have the privilege of traveling to other locales to escape restrictive laws or take advantage of cheap labor.

The punishments meted out by the morality police could be harsher.

If caught drinking, for example, youth could be detained and sentenced to up to seventy lashes.

Her interest in how an “insatiable hunger for change, progress, cosmopolitanism, and modernity” was being linked to sex by young Tehranians sparked the beginning of seven years of anthropological study. In 2004, despite nationwide attention to the public execution of a seventeen-year-old girl suspected of having premarital sex, Mahdavi nonetheless found many young women willing to lose their virginity in order to participate in the changing sexual culture.

During repeated visits, Mahdavi found that despite the strict moral policies of the Islamic Republic, young Iranians were listening to music, dancing, drinking alcohol, and socializing in new ways. She attended parties where famous DJs played techno music, Absolut vodka and Tanqueray gin were served, and female guests mingled with “western guys.” Although house parties were common among the middle and upper-middle classes, lower-class youth threw parties in abandoned warehouses or at secluded outdoor locations, serving homemade liquor and playing music on “boom boxes” or car stereos. Like youth in other countries who lack private spaces to retreat to, some Iranian youth reported having sex at parties and in cars (which sometimes allowed them to escape the morality police) out of necessity. Shomal, in northern Iran, had a reputation as a popular destination for these sexual explorations.

Still others claimed parties offered escape and “eased the pain” of living in Iran.

As one man said, “Sex is the main thing here; it’s our drug, it’s what makes our lives bearable, that’s what makes parties so necessary.” “If we don’t live like this, we cannot exist in the Islamic Republic,” a woman declared.

A group of five men and women huddled together below me.