This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Background Sexual practices as an important aspect of reproductive health have many physical and psychological effects on people's lives, there is limited evidence on such practices and their pattern among Iranian women. Hence we aimed to determine different types of sexual practices among 19—45 year old married Iranian women.
Methods This cross-sectional study was conducted among married women, aged 19—45 years, attending Taleghani Public Health Center for annual gynecologic examination during November to May using convenient sampling. The participants were enquired about their experience regarding different types of sex, as well as their views and feelings about such practices, using an anonymous questionnaire.
Results The mean age of the participants was 34 years. All had ever experienced vaginal sex and Due to some stigma attached to non-vaginal sexual practices among women in Iran, the feelings of women with regard to different sexual practices were also examined in this paper.
Conclusion This study showed that non-vaginal sex among women is considerable and because of less favourable views of women towards such practices, it seems that these practices might have psychologically impacts on women's life.
Hence, counseling and educational programs designed for married men and women can include some factual information about different types of sex. Anal sex, Oral sex, Sexual behavior, Sexual practice, Vaginal sex, Sexual health, Reproductive health Introduction Human sexuality has been considered as one of the most important aspects of reproductive health and quality of life 1.
Until recently, almost all research on sexual behavior was largely focused on vaginal intercourse. Because of cultural limitations, health care providers cannot discuss oral and anal sex and their consequences explicitly with women Oral and anal sex are important, due to their association with negative sexual health outcomes, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HPV or HIV in fections , abnormal anal cytology and anal cancer 9 , Despite the commonality of oral and anal sexual behaviors in some countries 11 , these behaviors are considered unnatural, immoral and a taboo in some other countries including Iran Whestheimer and Lopater believe that people who participate in abnormal sexual behavior mostly suffer from feelings of inefficiency and low self-esteem A study on the sexual perception of young females in Iran demonstrated that there were misperceptions sex and oral and anal sex was considered less risky compared to vaginal sex Previous studies conducted among adult populations have reported controversial findings regarding the prevalence of sexual behaviors.
Considering the increasing rate of oral and anal sex 18 and their negative physical and psychological impacts, estimating the prevalence of various sexual behaviors can increase awareness and help health policy makers and providers to enhance sexual health. In the present study, we aimed to determine the prevalence of some forms of sexual behavior vaginal, oral and anal , the feelings of women practicing them and some factors related to these behaviors among married Iranian women, aged 19 to 45 years.
Methods This cross-sectional study was conducted on married Iranian women aged years in to Participants were selected, using convenient sampling, among women referring Taleghani Health Center for annual gynecologic examination. All the participants were informed comprehensively about the study and written informed consent was obtained prior to their participation.
All participants were interviewed by trained staff. Of eligible women, 20 women cancelled before the interview and 3 others withdrew during the interview; complete data were obtained for women. Since there seemed to be no valid or reliable questionnaire on women's sexual behavior in Iran, researchers developed a questionnaire based on instruments used for other populations, adopted form books and articles and concepts of sexual specialists.
The questionnaire contained 64 items in three sections: The content validity of the questionnaire was assessed by 15 gynecologists, psychologists and sexologists.
The internal reliability of the questionnaire was confirmed using test-retest and measuring the Chronbach's alpha, which showed an acceptable correlation of 0. In this study, vaginal sex was defined as a penilevaginal penetration. Given oral sex was classified as any contact between the mouth, including lips and tongue of a woman and the penis of a man. Receiving oral sex was defined as any contact between the mouth, including lips and tongue of a man and genital of a woman.
Anal sex was penileanal penetration. The demographic and reproductive characteristics of the women are presented in Table 1. Table 1 Demographic and reproductive characteristics of the participants Variables.