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Iran J Reprod Med. 2013 Feb;11(2):101-10.

Socio-cultural challenges to sexual health education for female adolescents in Iran.

Author information

1
Research Center for Patient Safety and Health Quality, Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
2
Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Centre, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran ; School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
3
Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Centre, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
4
Research Center for Health Sciences, Department of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.
5
Health Sciences Research Center, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite clear reasons for necessity of sexual health education for adolescents, it is a contested issue and has faced challenges in most cultures. Providing sexual education for non-married adolescents is culturally unacceptable in most Muslim societies.

OBJECTIVE:

This qualitative study addressed socio-cultural challenges to sexual health education for female adolescents in Iran.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Qualitative data from female adolescents (14-18 yr), mothers, teachers, authorities in health and education organizations, health care providers and clergies were collected in two large cities of Iran including Mashhad and Ahvaz through focus group discussions and individual in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed using conventional qualitative content analysis with MAXqda software.

RESULTS:

Our results revealed that the main socio-cultural challenges to sexual health education for adolescents in Iran are affected by taboos surrounding sexuality. The emergent categories were: denial of premarital sex, social concern about negative impacts of sexual education, perceived stigma and embarrassment, reluctance to discuss sexual issues in public, sexual discussion as a socio-cultural taboo, lack of advocacy and legal support, intergenerational gap, religious uncertainties, and imitating non-Islamic patterns of education.

CONCLUSION:

It seems that cultural resistances are more important than religious prohibitions, and affect more the nature and content of sexual health education. However, despite existence of salient socio-cultural doubtful issues about sexual health education for adolescents, the emerging challenges are manageable to some extent. It is hoped that the acceptability of sexual health education for adolescents could be promoted through overcoming the cultural taboos and barriers as major obstacles.

KEYWORDS:

Female adolescents; Qualitative research; Sex education

PMID:
24639734
PMCID:
PMC3941358

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