Sexual perception refers to the attitudes, expectations, beliefs, and values associated with sexual behaviors. Adolescents’ sexual behaviors is affected by the knowledge, attitudes, values, beliefs, and social norms in their society. In this respect, the sexual perception of adolescents can be studied from a cultural perspective. The present study was designed to identify factors affecting Iranian adolescent girls’ perceptions of premarital sexual relationships. A qualitative study was conducted using a conventional content analysis approach. Data was collected using in-depth unstructured interviews with 18 adolescents recruited through purposive sampling. Data analysis resulted in the development of a primary main theme, meaning and value of sexual self-care, and three main categories: significant others, sexual norms, and attitudes, and perceived risks. Overall, findings of the present study revealed that the sexual perceptions of Iranian adolescent girls motivated them to abstain from premarital sexual relationships. However, apart from the perceived double standards involved in social norms and attitudes identified in the study, the presence of a conflict caused by their families, schools, and peers necessitated the importance of establishing and consolidating parent-adolescent communication about sexual issues. Findings of this study point to the need for appropriate sexual education for adolescents and parents to promote adolescent sexual literacy and health.


Adolescent Girls, Premarital Sex, Sexual Perception, Abstinence, Content Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Zainab Alimoradi, Ph.D. is with the Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Research Institute for Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases, Qazvin University of Medical Science, Qazvin, Iran. Please direct correspondence to zainabalimoradi.sbmu.ac.ir@gmail.com.

Nourossadat Kariman, Ph.D. is with the Research Center for Midwifery and Reproductive Health, Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran. Please direct correspondence to n_kariman@sbmu.ac.ir.

Fazlollah Ahmadi, Ph.D. is with the Department of Nursing, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran. Please direct correspondence to ahmadif@modares.ac.ir.

Masoumeh Simbar, Ph.D. is with the Research Center for Safe Motherhood, Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran. Please direct correspondence to msimbar@sbmu.ac.ir.

Kelly-Ann Allen, Ph.D. is with the Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Clayton, Australia. Please direct correspondence to drkellyallen@gmail.com.

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