The Boy with the Arab Strap is the third album from the Scottish band Belle & Sebastian, and has been called their best album. The instrumental of the title track "The Boy with the Arab Strap" was later used as the theme tune for the television show Teachers. Part of the song 'Seymour Stein' is briefly featured in the 2000 film High Fidelity. The inspiration for the album's name came from the band Arab Strap, who are also from Scotland and briefly toured with Belle & Sebastian. An Arab strap is a sexual device for retaining an erection.
Arab Strap were reportedly less than pleased with their inclusion in the title of the album. When questioned about it, Arab Strap's leader/singer, Aiden, said "They have a sense of humor." Malcolm, the band's instrumentalist, added, "Because Arab Strap is quite an interesting name. The words go well together. That's why we chose it as a band name. We're friends with them, but there's a limit to putting someone else's name on an album. They’re taking away something from us." He also mentioned that the album had been confused as a collaboration between the bands. 
The album features several lead vocals by members of the band other than Stuart Murdoch. Stevie Jackson sings lead on both "Seymour Stein" and "Chickfactor," Stuart David gives a spoken word performance on "A Space Boy Dream" and Isobel Campbell sings lead on "Is It Wicked Not To Care?".