Sex Education Exposure and Perceptions of First and Second Generation Iranian-Americans in Southern California

By Roxanna Alizadeh
Submitted to Session S5055 (Undergraduate Research Poster Session, 2017 Annual Meeting
North America;
Gender/Women's Studies;
The purpose of this research is to identify and explore attitudinal differences in Southern California regarding sexual activity pre/post-marriage, sex education, contraception, and family planning of first-generation Iranian immigrant parents, and second-generation Iranian immigrant daughters following the latter’s exposure to sexual education in American schools. To analyze differences in perceptions of the two groups, second-generation Iranian-American females ages 18-35 who have graduated from American high schools, and first generation Iranian immigrant parent(s) of daughters of the same criteria were recruited online through Iranian organizations and communities. A total of 22 respondents completed online anonymous questionnaires, where 11 first-generation parents were asked about their knowledge of their daughter’s sex education and their views about her sexual life, and 11 second-generation daughters were asked about their exposure to sex education and their views on their sexual lifestyle choices. Both groups also answered open-ended questions about what they felt influenced their beliefs about how important, satisfying, and fulfilling sexual activity is to life. A positive correlation between daughters’ exposure to sex education in U.S. school and their making more liberal independent decisions about their sexual lives was found. Similarly, it was found that first-generation Iranian immigrant parents that had more awareness of their daughters’ exposure to sex education believed sex education to be more important. Responses to open ended questions illustrated that although perspectives on sexual lifestyle choices are increasingly liberal based on exposure to dominant U.S. culture and sex education, these perceptions and attitudes are predominantly seen within the context of marriage.