“I am not pro this [dating apps and websites] if it’s not about serious commitment to marriage,” the well-known Egyptian sexologist and TV show host Heba Kotb, who is popular for her conservative, though sometimes controversial, opinions on sex and religion, told Vocativ.
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Cairo, Egypt – When one graduate of Egypt’s prestigious American University of Cairo (AUC) recently became engaged, she told her parents in southern Egypt that she met her fiancée through mutual friends.
The truth: they met after both swiping right on a dating app.
Despite that stigma, in recent years Tinder and online dating websites like Ok Cupid have become increasingly popular among upper- and middle-class Egyptians looking to find anything from hookups and sex to dates to new acquaintances in Cairo, Egypt’s chaotic capital of over 20 million people.
For the far fewer Egyptian women than men on these sites, however, secrecy is also part of the game: Most women interviewed requested anonymity because they feared for their reputations if family, friends, or colleagues knew they dated or met partners online.
“It’s everything I hate about [Egyptian] society condensed in an app.” She asked Vocativ not to use her name because she “manage[s] a lot of young boys at work.” Still, after first trying out Tinder in Canada, she’s continued to use it in Cairo on-again off-again to expand her dating circle, with some successful romances along the way. “But in Egypt it’s used for many things.” Traditionally in Egypt sexual relations outside of marriage are taboo — in fact, any dating that happens is generally short and geared towards getting engaged.