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Premarital Sex And Extramarital Relationships

Popular culture demands that a bride be a virgin for her first marriage. Mohammadreza Hojat and colleagues (1999) showed that the majority of Iranians believe that men seek to marry a virgin. Virginity, (bekaarat, dooshizegi), chastity (nejaabat), and authenticity or originality (family with good reputation, esaalat) are among the standards employed when men embark on a search for a spouse (Hojat et al. 2000). Women can ruin the family honor by not maintaining their virginity prior to marriage, or by involving themselves in extramarital affairs. Men, in contrast, may engage in premarital sex because of the double standards that prevail in many aspects of sexual and social life in Iran (Hojat et al. 1999; Mir-Hosseini 1999).

Sexual intercourse with person who is married to someone else can carry a harsh penalty according to the Islamic criminal code. Moreover, extramarital intercourse by women is viewed among traditional Iranians as a social disgrace and a grave insult to the whole family. Fornication (zena) by women can be punished by stoning to death. At the same time, although the penalties for nonmarital sex included in the current Islamic criminal code also apply to men (if the female partner is not married), they incur little or no social disgrace for illegitimate sex. If caught in such relationships, men can often escape punishment by producing evidence of temporary marriage to their partner.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsIran - Marriage, Endogamy And Polygamy, Arranged Marriages, Temporary Marriage (sigheh), The Family, Premarital Sex And Extramarital Relationships