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      Paradoxical attitudes toward premarital dating and sexual encounters in Tehran, Iran: a cross-sectional study


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          The purpose of this study is to assess attitudes toward premarital dating and sexual encounters in individuals aged 15–49 years in Tehran.


          Utilizing the attitudes section of an original cross-sectional study ( n = 755) aimed at assessing sexual health needs of adults, this paper examined personal attitudes towards premarital dating, non-sexual relationships and sexual encounters in both male and female adults aged between 15–49 years. Multi-stage cluster random sampling and a validated/reliable questionnaire were used. Descriptive, bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted using statistical software.


          The results indicated that the majority of the participants were supportive of dating. Almost three-fourths of the males were more positively inclined towards non-sexual, yet tactile, affectionate interactions between unmarried males and females as opposed to only half of the females (70 % vs. 50.5 %). Also, males held significantly more liberal attitudes than females in their acceptance of premarital sex. On preserving virginity prior to marriage, 43 % of the males felt that it was important for a female to be a virgin, whereas only 26 % felt it was important for males to remain a virgin. Interestingly, more females (61 %) supported the importance of a female’s virginity compared with the importance of males’ virginity (48 %). This study showed that, being a male, of a younger age, single, and being less religious or being secular were important determinants of a liberal sexual attitude.


          These results might reflect a socio-cultural transition in the sexual attitudes of different age groups of participants - a phenomenon that will need empirical studies to unpack in the Iranian socio-cultural context.

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          Most cited references53

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          Gender differences in sexuality: a meta-analysis.

          This meta-analysis surveyed 177 usable sources that reported data on gender differences on 21 different measures of sexual attitudes and behaviors. The largest gender difference was in incidence of masturbation: Men had the greater incidence (d = .96). There was also a large gender difference in attitudes toward casual sex: Males had considerably more permissive attitudes (d = .81). There were no gender differences in attitudes toward homosexuality or in sexual satisfaction. Most other gender differences were in the small-to-moderate range. Gender differences narrowed from the 1960s to the 1980s for many variables. Chodorow's neoanalytic theory, sociobiology, social learning theory, social role theory, and script theory are discussed in relation to these findings.
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            Sexual behaviour in context: a global perspective.

            Research aimed at investigating sexual behaviour and assessing interventions to improve sexual health has increased in recent decades. The resulting data, despite regional differences in quantity and quality, provide a historically unique opportunity to describe patterns of sexual behaviour and their implications for attempts to protect sexual health at the beginning of the 21st century. In this paper we present original analyses of sexual behaviour data from 59 countries for which they were available. The data show substantial diversity in sexual behaviour by region and sex. No universal trend towards earlier sexual intercourse has occurred, but the shift towards later marriage in most countries has led to an increase in premarital sex, the prevalence of which is generally higher in developed countries than in developing countries, and is higher in men than in women. Monogamy is the dominant pattern everywhere, but having had two or more sexual partners in the past year is more common in men than in women, and reported rates are higher in industrialised than in non-industrialised countries. Condom use has increased in prevalence almost everywhere, but rates remain low in many developing countries. The huge regional variation indicates mainly social and economic determinants of sexual behaviour, which have implications for intervention. Although individual behaviour change is central to improving sexual health, efforts are also needed to address the broader determinants of sexual behaviour, particularly those that relate to the social context. The evidence from behavioural interventions is that no general approach to sexual-health promotion will work everywhere and no single-component intervention will work anywhere. Comprehensive behavioural interventions are needed that take account of the social context in mounting individual-level programmes, attempt to modify social norms to support uptake and maintenance of behaviour change, and tackle the structural factors that contribute to risky sexual behaviour.
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              Changes in American Adults' Sexual Behavior and Attitudes, 1972-2012.

              In the nationally representative General Social Survey, U.S. Adults (N = 33,380) in 2000-2012 (vs. the 1970s and 1980s) had more sexual partners, were more likely to have had sex with a casual date or pickup or an acquaintance, and were more accepting of most non-marital sex (premarital sex, teen sex, and same-sex sexual activity, but not extramarital sex). The percentage who believed premarital sex among adults was "not wrong at all" was 29 % in the early 1970s, 42 % in the 1980s and 1990s, 49 % in the 2000s, and 58 % between 2010 and 2012. Mixed effects (hierarchical linear modeling) analyses separating time period, generation/birth cohort, and age showed that the trend toward greater sexual permissiveness was primarily due to generation. Acceptance of non-marital sex rose steadily between the G.I. generation (born 1901-1924) and Boomers (born 1946-1964), dipped slightly among early Generation X'ers (born 1965-1981), and then rose so that Millennials (also known as Gen Y or Generation Me, born 1982-1999) were the most accepting of non-marital sex. Number of sexual partners increased steadily between the G.I.s and 1960s-born GenX'ers and then dipped among Millennials to return to Boomer levels. The largest changes appeared among White men, with few changes among Black Americans. The results were discussed in the context of growing cultural individualism and rejection of traditional social rules in the U.S.

                Author and article information

                faridehfarahani2@gmail.com , farideh.farahani@psri.ac.ir
                Reprod Health
                Reprod Health
                Reproductive Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                30 August 2016
                30 August 2016
                : 13
                : 1
                : 102
                [1 ]Student Research Center School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
                [2 ]Family & Sexual Health Division, Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (BASIR), Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran
                [3 ]Iranian Center of Addiction Studies (INCAS), Institution of Risk Behaviour Reduction, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran
                [4 ]Department of Behavioral and Environmental Health, School of Public Health Initiative, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS USA
                [5 ]Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
                [6 ]Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
                [7 ]Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran
                [8 ]Psychiatry, Mental Health Research Center, Tehran Institute of Psychiatry- School of Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
                [9 ]Department of Population, Health & Family Planning, National Population Studies and Comprehensive Management Institute, Tehran, Iran
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 25 September 2015
                : 10 August 2016
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Obstetrics & Gynecology
                sexual attitude,premarital sex,virginity,sexual health,sexual encounters
                Obstetrics & Gynecology
                sexual attitude, premarital sex, virginity, sexual health, sexual encounters


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