Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 1063–1071 | Cite as

Sex Guilt and Life Satisfaction in Iranian-American Women

Original Paper


Although the experience of sex guilt has been considered among a variety of ethnic groups, the area has not yet been empirically explored among Iranian American women. The present study investigated the relationship between sexual self-schema (i.e., beliefs about the sexual aspects of oneself), acculturation, and sex guilt, and it further examined the association between sex guilt and life satisfaction in Iranian American women. A total of 65 Iranian American women, with a mean age of 31.3 years (SD = 11.7), completed five self-administered questionnaires. Findings indicated a significant inverse correlation between sexual self-schema and sex guilt. More specifically, women who endorsed negative self-views regarding their sexual self reported higher levels sex guilt. Results revealed that acculturation was unrelated to sex guilt, when the effect of being Muslim or non-Muslim was controlled. Women with high sex guilt reported significantly lower levels of life satisfaction. Moreover, analyses for mediation effects supported sex guilt as a partially mediating variable between sexual self-schema and life satisfaction. Levels of sex guilt were higher among Muslim women when compared to women of other religious affiliations. Additionally, Muslim women appeared to be significantly less acculturated to Western ideals than other religious groups. The present findings suggest that mental health professionals who provide services to Iranian American women need to consider the negative effects of sex guilt, particularly among Muslim women.


Sex guilt Iranian Muslim Sexual self-schema Life satisfaction Women 



The authors would like to acknowledge Ron Duran, Ph.D., and Jennie Euler, Ph.D., for their contributions as dissertation committee members. We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of Dr. Euler.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, Los Angeles, Ph.D. ProgramAlhambraUSA

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