When someone mentions Iran, what images leap into your mind? Ayatollahs, religious fanaticism, veiled women? How about sexual revolution? That's right. Over the last 30 years, as the mainstream Western media has been preoccupied with the radical policies of the Islamic Republic, the country has undergone a fundamental social and cultural transformation.
So what is driving Iran's sexual revolution? There are a number of potential explanations, including economic factors, urbanization, new communication tools, and the emergence of a highly educated female population -- all of which are probably partly responsible for changing attitudes toward sex. At the same time, however, most of these factors are at play in other countries in the region that are not experiencing analogous transitions. (Indeed, a wave of social conservatism is sweeping much of the Middle East, while Iran moves in the opposite direction.) So what is different in Iran? Paradoxically, it is the puritanical state -- rigid, out of touch, and dedicated to combating "vice" and promoting "virtue" -- that seems to be powering Iran's emergent liberal streak.
“We think we understand the rules when we become adults but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.”