A Social History of Sexual Relations in Iran
sexual relations in iran
Willem Floor
480 pages
6 x 9"
August 2008
In Stock

This study illuminates the 2,500-year social history of sexual relations in Iran. Marriage, temporary marriage, prostitution, and homosexuality are all discussed, as well as the often unintended result of these relations—sexually transmitted diseases.

A Social History of Sexual Relations in Iran uses travelers’ accounts, Iranian and international archival sources, as well as government data, to bring together, in detail, and within the context of Iranian culture and religion, the nature, variety, and problems of sexual relations in Iran over the ages.

Finally, Willem Floor summarizes the issues that Iranian society faces today—which are not dissimilar to that of many other industrial nations—the challenge to the male claim to dominance over women; change in the age of marriage; premarital sex; rising divorce rates; rising promiscuity; prostitution; sexually transmitted diseases; homosexuality; and street children.

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Table of Contents

Preface Xiii

Chapter One
Marriage In Iran: A Family Affair 1
Imperial Iran 1
Achaemenid Period (559–330 BCE) 1
Parthian (227 BCE–224 CE) And
Sasanian Periods (226–651) 8
Islamic Period (651–To Date) 16
Premarital Sex 16
Islamic Rules Concerning Marriage 23
Contract 25
Equality 27
Marriage Restrictions (Family, Other Relationships, And Religion) 32
Socio-Economic Selection Criteria 33
Preference For Consanguineous Marriage 33
Virgins Only 35
Age 38
Widows May Also Apply 50
Beauty 53
How To Select A Partner 56
Polygyny 62
Royal Prerogatives In Selecting Women 68
Bedroom Do’s And Don’ts 73
Erotic Stimulants 84
Marital Bliss 90
Adultery 97
Divorce 109
Discussion 118

Chapter Two
Temporary Marriage A Formal Affair 123
Islamic Iran 124
What Is Temporary Marriage? 124
Safavid–Afsharid–Zand Period (1501–1794) 131
Qajar Period (1794-1925) 136
Temporary Marriage And Christians And Jews (1520s–1900) 150
Pahlavi Period (1925–1979) 157
Islamic Republic Of Iran (1979–To Date) 163
Discussion 165

Chapter Three
Prostitution an Extra-Marital Affair 171
Imperial Iran 171
Achaemenid–Parthian–Sasanian Period (559 BCE–651 CE) 171
Islamic Period 175
Caliphate Until The Mongol Period (653–1258) 175
Mongol–Ilkhanid–Timurid–Turkman Period (1258–1500) 183
Who Were The Prostitutes? 192
In Which Towns Did Prostitutes Work? 194
The Wages Of Sin 199
Was There A Red Light District? 204
Streetwalkers And Others 206
What About Non-Moslem Males? 207
Did Prostitutes Wear Special Dress? 211
Prostitution: A Taxing Affair 212
Were Prostitutes Protected? 216
Were Dancing And Singing Girls Prostitutes? 218
Bans On Prostitution 224
Afsharid–Zand Period (1736–1794) 228
Qajar Period (1794–1925) 235
Pahlavi Period (1925–1979) 253
Islamic Republic Of Iran (1979–To Date) 265
Abuse 268
Discussion 274

Chapter Four
Homosexual Relations: A Common Affair 279
Achaemenid–Parthian–Sasanian Period (559 Bce–653 CE) 280
Islamic Law And Homosexuality 283
Do Some Of The Traditions Allow Homosexuality? 288
What Is In A Name? 293
Can There Be Only Active Homosexuals? 298
Caliphate Period (651–1258) 303
Mongol–Ilkhanid–Timurid–Turkmen Period (1258–1500) 312
Lesbianism 320
Safavids (1501–1736) 321
Love For Boys Sometimes Led To Passion And Violence 325
Pederasts And Dens Of Iniquity 327
Occasional Bans Of Homosexual Behavior Had Little Impact 329
Lesbianism 333
Qajar Period (1794–1925) 334
Hunting For Boys 340
Anal Sex As A Cure 342
Homosexuals In The Royal Court, And Handsome Men From The West 343
Sisterhood Ceremony 349
Pahlavi Period (1925–1979) 350
Lesbianism 350
New Law Criminalizing Homosexuality Has Little Impact 352
Western Homosexuals Did Not Find A Gay Scene In Iran 354
Islamic Republic Of Iran (1979–To Date) 356
Bestiality 361
Discussion 364

Chapter Five
Venereal Diseases In Iran: A Public Affair 369
What Is VD? 370
What Did Iranian Physicians Know About VD? 372
What Was The Prevalence Of VD In The Nineteenth Century? 373
What Facilitated The Spread Of VD? 376
What Was The Reaction Of People To VD? 376
What Changed In Europe? 378
What Changed In Iran? 378
Prevalence Of VD Increased During The 1930s 384
Discussion 405

Afterword 411

Bibliograhy 412
Archives 412
Books And Articles 413
Websites 450

Index 451

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Willem Floor studied development economics and non-western sociology, as well as Persian, Arabic and Islamology from 1963-67 at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands). He received his doctoral degree from the University of Leiden in 1971. From 1983 to 2002 Dr. Floor was employed by the World Bank as an energy specialist. Throughout this time, he has published extensively on the socio-economic history of Iran. His more recent books include:
Public Health in Qajar Iran, Agriculture in Qajar Iran, and The History of Theater in Iran, as well as, The Persian Gulf: A Political and Economic History of 5 Port Cities, 1500-1730 and its second volume, Persian Gulf: The Rise of the Gulf Arabs, 1747-1792. He has also recently published three new titles, Travels Through Northern Persia, 1770-1774, and Titles and Emoluments in Safavid Iran.

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