Iranian youth, in their latest act of protest against Islamic clergy and parliament, are having premarital sex… loads of it!

In a study of 142,000 Iranian students over the past decade, the Iranian Parliament determined that 80 percent of unmarried women have been in relationships with men and that 17 percent of all respondents identified as homosexual. Both are considered criminal offenses and, in some cases, are punishable by execution.

Islamic clergymen, furthermore, are aghast at an explosion of prostitution and clandestine sex houses.

A document published by the Iranian Parliament and obtained by VICE News laments the findings and provides some rather brazen claims as to what is causing such devilry:

“Under present circumstances, sexual desires are intensified due to high-calorie diets and sexual stimulants such as images and movies containing lustful nudity, pornographic images, and movies, etc… Therefore the average sexual maturity age is decreased, resulting in earlier puberty of teenagers. On the other hand, lack of suitable circumstances for permanent marriage, as well as the adverse teachings of Western culture, have resulted in sexual relationships and behaviors beyond rational and religious restrictions of Islamic societies.”


Such revelations are at stark contrast to the strict moral code enforced by Iran following its 1979 revolution, which turned a Western-friendly Middle Eastern presence into a bastion of politicized Islam. For instance, women are legally obliged to cover their hair in public, and sex outside of marriage is entirely forbidden.

The punishments for disobeying the obligations of the moral police are serious. Iran has been condemned internationally for a recent string of executions of alleged “sodomites.” More than 400 Iranians accused of gay sex have been executed in the first half of 2014 alone.

So, are young Iranians blithely succumbing to nightly passion or purposefully arousing a revolutionary fervor?

Evidence of widespread Western hookup culture in the Islamic Republic appears to be a continuation of an upward trend – a secular, Westernized youth that is increasingly rebellious against repressive theocracy.

This trend first became evident in 2009 when young Iranians took to the streets to dispute the validity of the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a notoriously right-wing supporter of rigid orthodoxy. Dubbed the “Green Revolution” by Western media, the widespread protests first suggested cracks in Iran’s post-Revolution iron façade.

Such cracks grew more conspicuous when Iranian women recently posted photos of themselves on social media removing their mandated headscarves.

Another breaking point came this year when several Tehrani youngsters were imprisoned after recording their own music video of Pharrell’s hit song “Happy.” The video featured men and women dancing alongside each other (illegal), with the women appearing unveiled (gasp).

To all appearances, Iran’s government, isolationist in its foreign policy and regressive in its morality laws, is diametrically opposed to a free-spirited youth.

As 60 percent of Iran’s population is under the age of 30, the fate of the nation’s experiment in Islamization lies in their hands.

And it seems that with recent surges of youth rebellion in Tehran’s streets, on social media and in bedrooms, trouble lies ahead for Khomeini‘s vision of an Islamic Iran.


Thomas Freeman is Texas-transplant and aspiring journalist trying (but often failing) to navigate New York City. A current NYU student, Thomas also writes articles and manages media content for 20to30.

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