I saw As'ad refer to this on his blog, very interesting and I've mentioned something about this before in a previous post:
"The work of the 8th-century Arab poet, Abu Nawas, lover of boys and wine, permeates Desiring Arabs as a marker of changing attitudes. Drawing on a vast array of Arabic sources from the 19th and early 20th centuries, Massad charts an increasingly shy and troubled discussion of Nawas’s licentiousness. This, he shows, was often in the context of the adoption by local writers of western conceptions of “civilisation” and “progress”."
"“In the course of writing classical and medieval Arab history,” Massad writes, “these modern historians encountered an ancient Arab society with different sexual mores and practices that were difficult to assimilate into a modern Arab nationalist project informed by European notions of progress and modernisation and a Victorian sexual ethic.”"