Her interest in how an “insatiable hunger for change, progress, cosmopolitanism, and modernity” was being linked to sex by young Tehranians sparked the beginning of seven years of anthropological study. In 2004, despite nationwide attention to the public execution of a seventeen-year-old girl suspected of having premarital sex, Mahdavi nonetheless found many young women willing to lose their virginity in order to participate in the changing sexual culture.

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Still others claimed parties offered escape and “eased the pain” of living in Iran.

As one man said, “Sex is the main thing here; it’s our drug, it’s what makes our lives bearable, that’s what makes parties so necessary.” “If we don’t live like this, we cannot exist in the Islamic Republic,” a woman declared.

Now we, this generation, are opening them one by one. Well, yes, with a few women at a time, but who hasn’t done that?

But I’ve watched really elaborate orgies too.” He had observed “a big group orgy in Shomal,” after being convinced to attend by a girl he knew.

Yet stories of being apprehended and arrested by the morality police were sometimes told with pride; occasionally, even parents were pleased that their children stood up for their beliefs.

Some young adults courted run-ins with the morality police in the name of activism, boredom, or both. Something to get back at them, something to remind ourselves, Hey, we are alive! But although the social and sexual revolution in Iran has brought change, especially in how young people express themselves, Mahdavi asks, if some of the repression dissolved, “would young people still resist this way?The young woman was “kissing and being kissed by three men.” Mahdavi was unable to find the man who’d driven them; later, she learned that he had been in a back room procuring Ecstasy.When talking about their weekend adventures, some of Mahdavi’s informants focused on the recreational aspect of the parties: “[There is] alcohol, there is sex, there is dancing, there is—it’s just fun! ” Others viewed the parties as a representation of “all things Western,” a way of gaining status and claiming a cosmopolitan identity; some also expressed ideas about sex as freedom that harked back to ideas underlying the sexual revolution in the United States.Here, when we go to parties, of course our bones are shaking, but we go with shaking bones. Tourism is regularly promoted as the answer to poor nations’ economic woes; beliefs about natives’ unrestrained sexuality in certain locales reinforce patterns of labor and leisure.It is not surprising that Jamaica became home to the notorious Hedonism resorts: “Unleash your wildest desires with open minds, open bars, and open relationships.” Other well-known lifestyle resorts exist in Mexico and Spain; lesser known, perhaps, are the resort in Pattaya, Thailand, or the swingers’ cruises offered off the coast of Turkey.Despite her ruined reputation, however, the young woman mused that her experience was “almost worth it”: “The sex was great, and the excitement and adventure of doing what we know we aren’t supposed to be doing, then being caught! After the Queen Boat scandal in Egypt in 2001, thirty-five members of the U. Congress wrote to Hosni Mubarak to protest the treatment of the men, who were tortured and subjected to examinations to determine whether they had had anal sex.