11/14/2013 04:10 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Iranians Question Tradition on Sex, Virginity and Marriage

Most traditional and religious Iranians, particularly those who live in smaller provinces, believe that women must save their virginity for marriage. Regardless of how sexually experienced the groom may be, ideally, the bride must be untouched.

A large number of middle class and most religious affluent families remain faithful to the necessity of virginity at the time of marriage, and strongly believe in it as a principle to this day. Respected norms in social groups in Iran, however, have changed quite a bit, and are in the process of even further change.

Women who desire to be sexually active prior to getting married are often times faced with the dilemma of preserving their hymen or enjoying their sexuality, especially if they live in traditional circumstances. There seems to be no question about some Iranian (and most observant Muslim) men's overwhelming desire to be "the first one."

Some young single women who engage in pre-marital sex undergo hymen restoration surgery; a generally uncomplicated procedure usually done in an ob-gyn's office, reconstructing the broken hymen. The operation should, in an ideal situation, be done in a hospital, but since it is an illegal procedure in Iran, it must be performed covertly. By the same token, this kind of surgery is costly and not affordable for many.

Read more on Al-Monitor.