Azadeh Moaveni

Sex education in Iran

Iranian-American journalist recalls the government-sponsored premarital sex class she was required to attend before her wedding in Iran.


Recently by mehrdadmCommentsDate
Omid Djalili: The Baha'i Faith in Words and Images
Dec 05, 2012
Dimmed Lanterns
Dec 05, 2012
Iranian TV shows off 'captured US ScanEagle drone'
Dec 04, 2012
more from mehrdadm
I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

What a stupid video

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

First of all, Azadeh did not discover Iran. She did that in Lipstick Jihad and I had my fatwa set back then. But who doesn't discover Iran? How dare you? Some people need to do this rather than sit at home in California and write boloney about the shah. I'd rather she do this than the latter. Before you say your bits about how crappy she is, read some of her book. She gives a voice to people who HAVE no voice. I'd almost call them sub altern, but I'm not sure if I agree with this (where the hell is Hamid Dabashi?)

Actually, her husband has a neat role in setting her Western exotic experience straight about Iran. Read this book dog damn it THEN set a fatwa.

This video is bull. I'm sick of everyone focusing on sex and sex lessons. The actual passage is nothing much in the book except that her husband tells her how they were taught to have a good sex life to avoid divorce. The problem with Azadeh's books, this happened with LJ with the talk of nose jobs and Madonna as a whore, was that they over take the other MORE important parts of her books because just as Iranians are obsessed with weewees and vaginas, so are Americans. It's frustrating and sad because people miss the important stuff she says about voting and Ahmadinejad. Read the dog damn book my fellow prisoners. Thanks.

Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on



Flying Solo

by New Yorker (not verified) on

I got married too in a city hall after signing a 32 page document for my Iranian aghd va aroosi too. All I got was a piece of paper! I didn't get anything else! Where was my gift?!!!

Flying Solo

Truth is stranger than Fiction

by Flying Solo on

Mr. New Yorker,

I am writing about it on this thread.  I got married twice to the same man - once in late 1996 in Great Neck, Long Island where nothing was asked of me other than an ID. I was given a gift by the State of New York - a small plastic bag which contained samplers of cleaning liquids, two toothbrushes, a small tube of toothpaste and a pamphlet on contraception.

In 1997 Tehran, my intended and I had a much more comprehensive experience before we could go to the local 'daftar' and get married.  We had to pass a urine test, a blood test, receive tetanus shots, sit through premarital counselling, have a background check to make sure there were no other spouses. 

You want more?  My NY marriage certificate is  a ONE-LINER on a piece of paper. MY Iranian 'ghabaleh' is 32 pages. 

I gave you a reference if you want to go check the veracity - but it matters very little to me.  I am merely sharing with people who may wonder what happens in America when they go to get a marriage license. 

I have respect for Ms. Moaveni. I am frankly surprised somewhat with the blase manner in which she approaches this very subject.  I expected a much better presentation from her.  Having said that - I accept that she may have come across this piece of news late in her residency period in Iran.

Afterall how many brides and grooms share with their families about premarital counselling. It is a lot more fun to talk about the dress, the party, the drinks and the guests. 

Thanks for the exchange. I look forward to seeing you on my articles and your comments. And remember those articles are ALLLL fiction. :)


Flying Solo this is unbelieveable

by New Yorker (not verified) on

I feel like I'm living in 1920s. Seriously I have lived in Amrika for 32 years and the first I hear about goodie bags from Govt for tootpaste and laundry detergent next to a marriage cerfiticate.

Write about it and give us some links. I think this is a good topic to discuss. Here in land of the sexual freedom and information people still do not know what to do on honey moon?! Presumably they've done it before and are not virgin!

Flying Solo

No Joke

by Flying Solo on

Mr. or Ms. New Yorker:

Great Neck, Long Island - 1996 (Call the city office and see if you will get a goody bag with your marriage license in 2009).

I don't joke on serious pieces.

Ms. Moaveni is reporting about pre-marital education in 2009 as if it was recently implemented. Not so - this practice has been in place for quite some time.

BTW, you haven't visited my pieces to have a good laugh lately. I still remember your comment about publishing in the New Yorker. LOL. Each time I get my copy I wonder if you get yours and we can exchange ideas.

Best of luck.


Flying Solo -- for real??

by New Yorker (not verified) on

"Oh, in New York my intended and I received a plastic bag which contained soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, and a brochure on contraception."

Is this a joke?! Are you telling me taxpayers pay for toothbrushes and soaps? I've never heard of it.


Sex In Islam

by Darioush (not verified) on

Sex in Islam in contrast with other Judaeo-Christian religions is highly encouraged and is rigorously followed by all its adherents.
In fact all types of sex with children, many animal species, and inanimate objects, in all kinds of positions, which puts karma sutra to shame, are encouraged and are fully described in many hadith and tozihel-masael of ayatollahs. (Read khomeini’s t.m. for further reference and enlightenment).

According to the Islamic laws and traditions muslim men, even if they are 80, can marry children at the ripe age of 9 and can even take the children home earlier at age 5 or 6 for who knows what purpose?!

Thus due to the complex and sophistication of all the issues related to sex in islam muslim children receive comprehensive sex education at an early age perhaps from 5 or 6 years of age by their parents, neighbours, pasdars, mullas (visit faizieh for first hand knowledge) etc….
Therefore we must not be surprised that the Iranian children are more advanced in sex education in comparison to their counterparts in the rest of the world.

P.S. There seem to be one type of sex that is forbidden according to some traditions and that is sex with the infidels unless it is a rape!??


It not the whole thing

by Anonymous2 (not verified) on

I guess this is a series story about Iran and does not end here. She has just started to travel around, with her Iranian passport of course, and write up to undermined what she sees here and there. It's a shame that she makes fun of all the details in everyday life in Iran. Like other countries, Iran has good and bad sides. For a true comparison, please have a trip to Midwest, south and north states. You will find Iran superior in many ways.
Having sex education in elementary school, for those who have not developed sex organs, is a disaster not something you be proud of. It shows how sex-freak young children are in this land.
Please think twice when talking about Iran. Write thoughtful books not what you see and you don't like to make money and remember you are not just talking to CA audience.
Please comment Iran by itself and don't make a utopia out of the US which all of us know where it stands. If you have forgotten your Iranian heritage, we have not.


Berkeley Resident maybe you should move.

by walkingOnAir (not verified) on

I do not understand what is your complain. She is doing exactly what you are trying to do. She is dispelling the myth that exists in the west about
IRI discouraging couples from enjoying sex.

By the way, this myth exists in the west due to lack of women's rights in Iran, and not because there are no explicit sexual images everywhere in Iran.


Great Perspective

by Feroonman (not verified) on

I recommend for everyone to watch the full version (63 Minutes) at:


Especially if you have not been in Iran for a while it should give you a different and uplifting perspective. Incidentally, the fact that this nay sayer moron eroonman did not like it should be a great testimony to the quality of her work.


I think its important to

by Berkeley Resident (not verified) on

I think its important to catch the orientalist tone with which she talks about these premarital classes.

It says a lot when she makes the remarks about how she was surprised that in Iran, they encourage couples to enjoy sex.

This is, actually, not surprising at all if one doesn't look at our Iranian society through a western filter which will have you beleive that Islamic countries discourage sex. In fact it is quite the opposite. In Christianity, sex is discouraged. Sex is seen as something sinful. That is why the pope and cardinals and high religous positions require celebacy.

In Islam, however, sex between two married individuals is very much encoraged and always has been. In every Islamic country, married couples are not discouraged from enjoying sex. Extramarital sex is discouraged (understandably so) but sex is very much seen as something that should be enjoyed and experimented with between two married people.

Moaveni probably doesn't know this and thinks that because there isn't explicit sexual images everywhere in Iran, unlike perhaps many Western countries, that sex is something taboo in Iran. It is openly talked about in schools maybe (hence the reason for such classes right before you get married) but it is very much something you are encouraged to engage in and enjoy in holy matrimony.

Whether you agree with this view of sex as being between only two people in the bond of marriage is beside my point. I only wanted to demonstrate how her narrow conception of Iranian and Islamic society is tainted by her Western upbringing.


To: Valicore

by Anonymous Everyday (not verified) on

If "California English" is air-head English, then thank goodness I never lived in California.

How can Ms Moaveni expect to be taken seriously as long as she speaks like this? Remember, she is not only speaking to a Californian audience. I have actually been a fan of her work, but watching this was such a slap in the face. She is not a surfing teenager anymore! If she wants to talk about serious topics than she act the part.


Open your ears and don't be so defensive

by Valicore (not verified) on

I saw this in person and it was really an eye opening experience. She is from the SF Bay Area and we actually do talk like her, look it up, it is called "California English." I'd compare it to all the Iranian girls here that scream "Khubiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" everytime they see someone they think might be Persian. Or the hilarious accent from Yazd. The MOST illuminating thing she said (watch the long version) was about the fact that Iran is NOT a meritocracy. That is to say, parents are killing themselves with 10 jobs so their kids can sit around a bitch about how much Iran sucks while they smoke, drink, and generally do nothing useful. I think it's great that she is an Iranian-American who is discovering Iran. That's a lot more than a lot of Iranians I know.


Catholics and Mormons get the same class.

by eroonman on

While it may seem archaic, once again this version of Islam shows that it is nothing more than a copy cat religion trying to abscond with other religious rituals and call it their own. Catholics, Mormons and yes, even Jews get the same teachings when they marry in the orthodoxy. While it may appear amusing and funny or ludicrous, the real joke is that this aberration of Islam is nothing more than a wannabe, and this ritual is the feeble attempt at legitimization.

This is a non-story. The more it gets covered the more their advertising works.I do agree though, that Ms. Moaveny is not the greatest writer or spokesperson we have.

You Can't Always Get What You Want


Azadeh Moaveni should be in a Iranian jail

by She should be locked up (not verified) on

Never liked Azadeh Moaveni...never have and never will.

A couple years ago she wrote a piece for a U.S. newspaper (can't remember which), while still in Iran, bragging about how she had gone to one of these underground parties in Tehran, smoke, drank, and generally had a good time.

I am suprised the authorities didn't pick up on this...where's Savak when you need them? Anyway...she broke the law then and should have gone to jail. Now don't argue with me about if drinking is legal or not...she broke the law and was dumb enough to write about WHILE IN IRAN! Just another Irani who has "discovered" her roots and is trying to make a quick $ on it. I call that a "sell-out"


I totally agree with Nader.

by Fedup (not verified) on

I totally agree with Nader. Another Iranian-American who just discovered Iran! She is obviously after fame and money and Iran is small price for it.


Fer Sure!!

by Fanoos (not verified) on

You're right, Anonymous Everyday. She does talk funny. Like, she sounds like, umm, you know, like those girls you know? twirling their hair, batting their eyes, and like chewing gum when they talk like that?


She is very intelligent...

by Anonymous Everyday (not verified) on

but why does she have to speak like the girls from "Clueless".
As much as l like her writing and respect what she has achieved in her life, I can't stand the way she talks. What's up with that?


Wow very surprising

by Roya154 (not verified) on

this is surprising - i had no idea the government in Iran was doing this! But its very good and something every country should have, no matter how often we are told this in magazines(and never in sex ed classes!) couples should be reminded about the physical aspect of sex and that communication will lead to better sex - and by going to these classes i think this message will stick in the couples' minds.

Also Azadeh sounds like a really smart woman - will she be doing any talks in the UK?


She is illuminating, and hope inspiring.

by walkingOnAir (not verified) on

Thank you for this posting. This is definitely one of the greatest postings of this site in my opinion.

I also watched the full version (63 Minutes) at:

It was so very illuminating, uplifting, and hope inspiring. I loved the way she encouraged us to reclaim Iranian for ourselves and not to substitute Persian for it. Personally, I never need to reclaim it because I never relinquished the Iranian attribute for Persian. I am very impressed by her. Dear Azadeh Moaveni you definitely are the proud daughter of Iran (Persia).


sounds like

by MRX1 on

jap (jewsih american princesses) from long island talimg to  moon bat liberal idiots about her latest trip and discovery. when is this going to air in NPR?


Nader Vanaki

Another Tourist/Journalist

by Nader Vanaki on

I can't believe this moron is a journalist who writes for the Times and asks if she can be dismissed from the family planning class in Tehran because she lived in CA.

So I guess we have to buy and read her book and be amazed at how life is so different in Iran than the U.S.

Wow, another masterpiece by an American-Iranian who has just discovered Iran.  Last piece I read from her was about Basij stopping the car she was riding in, one night after a party.  Unbelievably astonishing tale!


Changes since 2005

by Susan Gerd (not verified) on

As of 2005 they've made some changes. Following the one hour lecture, there is now an hour of practical exam!


She both ...

by Manoochehr, Not Solo (Actually, with two pretty gals!!) (not verified) on

writes well, and speaks well ... I am watching the long version (60+ minute long) now on the site ..

Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on