Ethical considerations and challenges of sex education for adolescents in Iran: a qualitative study

  • Kobra Joodaki ORCID PhD Candidate in Medical Ethics, Department of Medical Ethics, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Saharnaz Nedjat ORCID Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Knowledge Utilization Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi ORCID Associated Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Bagher Larijani ORCID Mail Professor, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Ethical considerations; Sex education; Adolescent; Medical ethics; Reproductive ethics


Adolescence is a period in one’s lifetime during which sexual maturation occurs. Major changes and increased sexual instinct raise many questions in the minds of adolescents. Receiving wrong education or inappropriate information can affect adolescents’ life and future deeply. Obviously, ethical considerations cannot be ignored in nationwide macro policies and educational programs on such a sensitive issue. In this qualitative study, we attempted to explore the ethical considerations and challenges of sex education for adolescents.The study was conducted between May 2015 and March 2017. Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews with 25 participants, and MAXQDA 11 was used for coding.Six hundred sixty-two codes (662) were extracted and classified into four categories: 1) the potential risks of sex education for adolescents; 2) the advantages of sex education for adolescents, and the approaches; 3) the challenges in the interval between sexual maturation and marriage, and the role of religion; and 4) the measures implemented in Iran.Shame, embarrassment, and some cultural beliefs surrounding the subject of sex education are obstacles to providing adolescents with the necessary information. According to the principles of medical ethics, the main principle in sex education is beneficence, and sometimes infringement of confidentiality has its advantages. 


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How to Cite
Joodaki K, Nedjat S, Vahid Dastjerdi M, Larijani B. Ethical considerations and challenges of sex education for adolescents in Iran: a qualitative study. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 13.
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