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Int J High Risk Behav Addict. 2016 Jan 24;5(1):e23159. doi: 10.5812/ijhrba.23159. eCollection 2016 Mar.

The Viewpoints of Sexually Active Single Women About Premarital Sexual Relationships: A Qualitative Study in the Iranian Context.

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Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, IR Iran.
Iranian National Center of Addiction Studies (INCAS), The Risk Behaviour Institution, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, IR Iran.
Health Metrics Research Center, Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research, Academic Centre for Education Culture and Research (ACECR), Tehran, IR Iran.



Premarital sexual relationships could harm youth's health in terms of sexually transmitted infections or increased risk of unprotected sexual behaviors. Sexual abstinence has been recommended to prevent young adolescents from adverse outcomes of premarital sexual relationships.


The aim of this study was to explore the viewpoints of sexually active single women about premarital sexual relationships in the Iranian context.


In this qualitative study, we recruited 41 young women aged 18 to 35 years. Data were collected using focus group discussions and individual interviews. We employed conventional content analysis to analyze the data. Multiple data collection methods, maximum variation sampling, and peer checks were applied to enhance the reliability of the findings.


Eight themes emerged from the data analysis: 'acceptance of sexual contact in the context of opposite-sex relationships, 'sexual activity as a guarantee for keeping the boyfriend in the relationship', 'premarital sexual relationship as an undeniable personal right', 'having successful marriage in spite of premarital sexual relationships', 'virginity as an old fashioned phenomenon', 'love as a license for premarital sexual behaviors', 'goal-oriented relationship as a license for premarital sexual behaviors', and 'experiencing premarital sexual relationships in order to gain perfection'.


Results of this study could be applied to designing interventions, such as promotion of preventive beliefs or educational programs regarding premarital sexual relationships in conservative societies. These interventions could start within families and continue at schools and universities.


Iran; Premarital Sex Behavior; Qualitative Research

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