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Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2015 Feb 21;17(2):e18301. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.18301. eCollection 2015 Feb.

How does a group of Iranian youth conceptualize their risky sexual experiences?

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Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, IR Iran.
Iranian National Centre of Addiction Studies, Institution of Risk Behaviors Reduction, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
Department of Adult Health Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, IR Iran.
Department of Psychology, School of Education and Psychology, Isfahan University, Isfahan, IR Iran.
Department of Islamic Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, IR Iran.



There are restrictions as well as lawful and religious prohibition for sexual relationships in Iranian society.


This study explores the varied experiential reality of Iranian youth and their risky sexual experiences.


Data collection is based on semi-structured interviews with 30 single young men and women. Observation of interactions of youth in different settings has been another source of information. Interviews were microscopically content analyzed.


The accounts of risky sexual experiences included gendered behavioral, cultural, and cognitive factors. In the re-contextualizing process, these accounts were categorized by two main themes: "gendered sexual script" and "cultural scenarios of interpersonal interactions". The notion of "male power" was evident in the responses provided by the participants. Women seldom asked for condom use due to limited knowledge about STIs-HIV/AIDS and unpleasant experiences with condoms. Men had limited knowledge about various sexual modes of HIV and STIs transmission and did not use condoms consistently because they had not seen themselves at risk of STIs or HIV as well as their belief about the decrease of sexual pleasure.


Rising youth awareness, creating a positive attitude, and appropriate knowledge about safe sex practices are seminal. It is also vital to ensure access to gender specific sexual and reproductive health services for youths, empower women, and strengthen their sexual assertiveness as well as the elimination of all forms of gender-based inequalities.


Behavior; Risk Taking; Sexual Behavior; Youth

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