The Influence on Premarital Heterosexual Relationships on Marital Timing and Marital Desire among College Students in Tehran

Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی


Population Studies and Research Institute of Asia and the Pacific


Over the past four decades, age at first marriage has been increased considerably in Iran, particularly among females. In addition, recent evidence indicates an increase in premarital heterosexual liaisons among young people. This paper is based on the finding of first phase of the survey of a cross-sectional mix-method study which aimed to assess the influence of experience of premarital heterosexual liaisons on marriage among university students in Tehran in 2011. This paper specifically aims to examine the influence of premarital heterosexual liaisons on marriage age and desire.In the first phase of the survey, 2031 university students aged 18-40 from among 7 universities (both public and private) in Tehran were selected using two stage stratified cluster sampling method. Data collection was completed between January 2010 and May 2011 using an anonymous self-administer valid and reliable questionnaire. The mean age of respondents was 22.5, 12% were married with a mean age at marriage of 27(SD=6.32). The influence of premarital heterosexual relationships on marriage age was assessed among married and on desire to marry among single students. The results show that after control of gender, economic and cultural situation of the family, the experience of progressive (sexual) relationship between opposite sex is one of the determinant factors of marriage age among university students. Reporting experience of progressive premarital heterosexual relationships and intimacy are associated with about two years delay in marriage (b-coefficient=1.7, P<0/05) Moreover, There is a gender difference in the relations between premarital heterosexual relationships and desire for marriage. So as, both heterosexual friendships and intimacy was significantly linked with greater desire for marriage among females, while among men, only progressive intimacy was inversely linked with desire for marriage. Men with greater experiences showed lower desire for marriage, while premarital heterosexual friendship was not associated with marital desire and propensity.  The changes in trends of premarital heterosexual relationships among young people and recent types of partnerships needs to be considered more than before in evolution of marriage and the family in Iran and also differing implications of such relationships between men and women needs greater consideration.


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