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Iranian girls not getting enough sex education, professor says

TEHRAN, Iran, 11 May 2000 (AFP) -- A lack of sex education is dooming Iranian girls to "unnatural" puberty and a lifetime of insecurity and resentment, a Tehran university professor said in newspapers here Thursday.

"Our girls do not go through puberty naturally, and they don't receive a realistic explanation of gender and its related issues," said Ahmad Akuchakiyan, cited in the Ham-Mihan daily.

"If teachers and parents don't give young girls an open-minded explanation during this period, many of their questions and expectations will turn into a deep-rooted knot that can never be untangled," he said.

He said they would suffer from "insecurities, dependencies and resentments," and decried the traditional custom of marrying off young girls when they hit puberty.

"The traditional practice of giving girls into marriage at age nine, particularly in the villages, has had dire effects," he said.

There is no sex education on the official curriculum of schools in the Islamic republic, but couples are separately informed about birth control when they take pre-nuptial blood tests before being granted a licence to marry.