Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 133–150 | Cite as

A Qualitative Assessment of the Sex Education Needs of Married Iranian Women

  • Khosro Refaie ShirpakEmail author
  • Maryam Chinichian
  • Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale
  • Hassan Eftekhar Ardebili
  • Abolghasem Pourreza
  • Ali Ramenzankhani
Original Paper


Despite a comprehensive reproductive health program there is little sex education available in Iran. In this article we present results of a study conducted to identify content area for a proposed sex education program for married Iranian women. Twenty-one married female clients (23–45 years) and 18 reproductive health providers, recruited from urban health clinics in Tehran using non-probability sampling, participated in four focus group discussions. Sexual health information needs related to reproductive tract and sexually transmitted infections, “acceptability” of certain sexual practices such as oral and anal intercourse, and the sexual response cycles and physiology of men and women. Women’s sexual concerns related to communication, incompatibility of sexual interests and desire, and their ability to maintain a strong marriage. Two themes cut across women’s responses to all questions: modesty and maintaining a strong marriage. Results contributed to the design of a sex education program that addressed the specific information needs and concerns of Iranian women.


Sexuality Sex education Sexual health Sex education needs Iran 



This study was funded by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, School of Public Health and Institute of Public Health Research, Tehran, Iran, under the contract #240/7659, dated 13/03/2004.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khosro Refaie Shirpak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maryam Chinichian
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale
    • 1
  • Hassan Eftekhar Ardebili
    • 4
  • Abolghasem Pourreza
    • 4
  • Ali Ramenzankhani
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Public Health ResearchTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Human Development and Applied NutritionUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  4. 4.School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  5. 5.School of Public HealthShahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences Evin SquareTehranIran

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