Iran’s sexual uprising

I don’t know about you, but I know so very little about sexuality in Iran and countries from that part of the world that I’m really hungry for information about what’s going on there — especially with the influence of the Internet and peer-to-peer tech communication (enabling privacy in public), the inevitably changing world, and Western influences. I’m especially dying to know what the kids are doing and how their sexual expression is changing Iranian culture. Which is why I’m thrilled to find out about “Passionate Uprisings: Iran’s Sexual Revolution” by anthropologist Pardis Mahdavi. What’s great is that Praemedia just sent me a link to’s post Researched the sexual revolution in Iran, which discusses a critical but fascinating review of the book by Ian Chesley (from Gozaar: A Forum on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran). Snip:

Girls wear makeup, go with their hair uncovered, drink, have boyfriends and premarital sex: For seven years, anthropologist Pardis Mahdavi has studied the sexual revolution in Iran, the Ventura Country Star reports. Those actions could have brought harsh punishment and even jail time in the past. But now the sheer numbers of young people overwhelm the morality police, who must often turn a blind eye on offenders, she said during a lecture.

Many parents are onboard with the changes: Before 2002, women could not wear open-toe shoes, and then suddenly women began to openly defy the law, and you saw many, many women wearing sandals and flip-flops without any recrimination. I think they wear red lipstick just to irritate authority. (…) Several of Mahdavi’s research subjects reported that by the summer of 2007, their parents considered premarital dating normal and acceptable. And while a parent in the US might be mortified by having to bail out their child from jail after an arrest at a rowdy party, some of Mahdavi’s adults happily come to their children’s rescue and forego any punishment of their own.

This part sounds really familiar, after reading Margaret Talbot’s Red Sex, Blue sex piece about white American evangelical teens:

“I started this project looking at things from a public health standpoint — what about sex education, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases? The public health aspect is alarming. There is much premarital sex, but no sex education in schools, and almost all sex is unprotected. A condom can’t be purchased without proof of marriage. The young are largely uninformed about the risks of sex.” (…read more,

Share This Post

Post Comment