Since the start of Iranian.com, there have been a plethora of articles devoted to relationships, especially weighing the pros and cons of marrying someone who is Iranian or non-Iranian. While the debate has been exhaustive, I’d like to address a few points that haven’t been examined yet.
Many of the men who have written to Iranian.com, especially the recent article by Intrepid Resolve’s “Disappearing Dignity” among others put an extreme focus on women’s past behaviors — who she has slept with, how many men she has slept with, etc. I find it surprising that even in the twenty-first century, our Iranian men, whether in the homeland or in the diaspora are still fixated by our hymens and use this as way to measure how good Iranian women are and how worthy they are of a relationship. In fact, it is pathetic and sad.
Let’s face it, people have sex. The problem isn’t sex, it is how people handle it and of course, being Iranian, whether living in Iran or in the diaspora, it is our culture and the fact that we have a real problem with being open about our sexuality. I have no problem with virginity; I applaud those who decide to wait until marriage.
However, not everyone decides to wait — many have sexual relations before marriage and this is also another reality. Instead of instructing women and men to not have sex or chastising those women and men who are open about their sexuality, I’d rather see Iranian men and women better educated about safe sex and are healthy about their sexuality.
A few days ago a few of my Iranian girlfriends and I were talking about the lack of safe sex practice in Iran and even in the diaspora. I’ve heard stories about Iranian men refusing to wear condoms (both from Iranian and non-Iranian women) by giving lame excuses such as that it hinders them from being totally aroused or that because if a woman’s on the pill for this reason they don’t need to use a condom (by the way ladies, being on the pill does not provide protection against STDs).
A non-Iranian friend of mine who dated an Iranian guy told me of her experience when she produced a condom from her purse before having sex to be told that only whores and prostitutes carry condoms in their purses. Excuse me? In this day and age where STDs are a matter of fact, I applaud those women and men who take precaution and practice safe sex. There is nothing slutty about it. Would you rather have a nasty STD from unprotected sex or be safe and secure? Blaming and stereotyping those who practice safe sex is disgusting and irresponsible behavior that leads to thoughtless consequences.
Great Expectations Lastly, the other issue that I believe is hindering Iranians from pursuing relationships with other Iranians is our unrealistic expectations of each other. I think these lofty expectations are the products of our parents. I can only speak of my experience in the diaspora, especially with regards to khastegari. How many Iranian mothers promote an impractical picture of what a “good girl” is? How many Iranian parents never tell the truth about their children because everyone is working under the rubric of falsities and lies?
When I hear of Iranian women speak of their sons or daughters I have to laugh. Truly, who is fooling whom? It is this culture of lies that creates problems in the success of a couple’s marriage. At the end of the day, we need to be realistic than live in some fantasy world. I’d rather my parents point out a complete picture of myself with the good and the bad qualities that I possess then some one dimensional picture that I could never attain to.
At the end of the day, my future spouse will have to lives with the “complete” me than some fictitious image. I think this is why so many Iranians have unreal expectations of each other and this also is true in terms of our sexuality. How many Iranian girls get hymen reconstructive surgery to be essentially “pretend virgins” for their husbands? Why do we exert so much useless energy by lying and hiding behind masks?
I hope that instead of criticizing women and men who engage in pre-marital sex, we can be realistic and promote safe sex within the Iranian community. There is nothing to be ashamed of regarding one’s sexuality. The only shame one should have is not being prepared while having sex. You owe this to yourself and to your future partners.