Journal of Qualitative Research in Health Sciences


1 MSc Student in Midwifery, Reproductive Health Promotion Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Reproductive Health and Midwifery, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Reproductive Health Promotion Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran


Introduction: The lack of accurate and timely sex education would endanger the physical and mental health of adolescents. Parents play an important role in the sexual education of adolescents, but they meet some challenges especially in Iran. The aim of this study was to describe the experiences and perceptions of parents' challenges of sexual education of male adolescents.
Method: This qualitative study was conducted using content analysis method in 2016. Data were collected by semi-structured group interviews with 25 parents of 10-19-year-old adolescents who were living in Ahvaz and selected using purposive sampling method. Data were analyzed by qualitative content analysis.
Results: After data analysis, 29 codes, 7 sub-themes (contradiction of parental views, parental confusion, barriers to communication with adolescents, the multiplicity and complexity of the sources of sexual information, cultural taboos, the lack of understanding of the need for sexual education, the missed role of school in sexual education) and one main theme (challenges of sexual education in male adolescents) were obtained.
Conclusion: The results of this study show that parents had inadequate skills in communicating with male adolescents, most of which derived from cultural taboos such as shame and hide and fear of breaking divorce between parents and adolescents. Therefore, the parental empowerment for the sexual education of adolescents with institutionalizing formal sexual education in the form of child-rearing practices is essential.


1. UNFPA. Programmed of Action. [cited 2018 Oct 5] Available from: 2. UNFPA. The power of 1.8 billion : Adolescents, youth and the transformation of the future. [cited 2014 Jun 10] Available from: 3. UNESDOC. International technical guidance on sexuality education: an evidence-informed approach for schools, teachers and health educators. [cited Jul 2019] Available from: 4. Majdpour M, Shams M, Parhizkar S, Mousavizadeh A, Rahimi Z. Informal sexuality education to adolescent girls through empowering their mothers: A field trial. Journal of School of Public Health and Institute of Public Health Research 2017; 15(3): 267-79. [In Persian]. 5. Boynton PM. Talk about sex: The battles over sex education in the United States. BMJ 2003; 327(7415): 627. 6. National Coalition For Sexual Health. The sexual health of youth in the United States. [cited 2019 Dec 24] Available from: 7. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. With one voice: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. [cited 2010 Jun 22] Available from: 8. WHO. Sexual health, human rights and the law. [cited 2019 Dec 24] Available from: 9. Walker JL. A qualitative study of parents experiences of providing sex education for their children: The implication for health education. Health Education Journal 2001; 60(2): 132-46. 10. Forozi Azizzadeh M, Mohammad Alizadeh S. Attitude and opinion of parents about sex education of adolescents and Its Contents in Kerman. The Journal of ShahidSadoghi University of Medical Sciences 2007; 15(2): 93-9. [In Persian]. 11. Faghihi AN, ShokoohiYekta M. Sexual education of children and adolescents based on islamic view and psychological studies. Biquaterly Journal of Islamic Education 2009; 3(7): 51-80. [In Persian]. 12. Orgocka A. Perceptions of communication and education about sexuality among Muslim immigrant girls in US. Sex education 2004; 4(3): 255-71. 13. Smerecnik C, Schaalma H, Gerjo K, Meijer S, Poelman J. An exploratory study of Muslim adolescents’ views on sexuality: Implications for sex education and prevention. BMC Public Health 2010; 10: 533. 14. Epstein M, Monique Ward L. “Always use protection”: Communication boys receive about sex from parents, peers, and the media. J Youth Adolesc 2008; 37(2): 113-26. 15. Ott MA. Examining the development and sexual behavior of adolescent males. J Adolesc Health 2010; 46(Suppl 4): S3-11. 16. Ranjbar H, Haghdoost AA, Salsali M, Khoshdel A, Soleimani M, Bahrami N. Sampling in qualitative research: A Guide for beginning. 2012; 10(3): 238-50. [In Persian]. 17. Graneheim UH, Lundman B. Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Educ Today 2004; 24(2): 105-12. 18. Shenton AK. Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitativeresearch projects. Education for Information 2004; 22: 63-75. 19. Latifnejad Roudsari R, Javadnoori M, Hasanpour M, Hazavehei SM, TaghipourA. Socio -cultural challenges to sexual health education for female adolescents in Iran. Iran J Reprod Med 2013; 11(2): 101-10. 20. Ebrahimi Harestani A, Mahram B, Liaghatdar MJ. The analysis of null curriculum in sex education: Focusing on the male students at junior high school. Research in Curriculum Planning 2015; 12(44): 26-40. [In Persian]. 21. Rosenthal DA, Shirley Feldman S. The importance of importance: adolescents' perceptions of parental communication about sexuality. J Adolesc 1999; 22(6): 835-51. 22. Izugbara CO. Home-based sexuality education nigerian parents discussing sex with their children. Youth and Society 2008; 39(4): 575-600. 23. Connolly J, Furman W, Konarski R. The role of peers in the emergence of heterosexual romantic relationships in adolescence. Child Dev 2000; 71(5): 1395-403. 24. Balalola S. Perceived peer behavior and the timing of sexual debut in Rwanda: A survival analysis of youth data. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2004; 33(4): 353-64. 25. Whitaker DJ, Miller KS. Parent-adolescent discussions about sex and condoms: Impact on peer influences of sexual risk behavior. Journal of Adolescent Research 2000; 15(2): 251-72. 26. Bleakley A, Hennessy M, Fishbein M, Jordan A. How source of sexual information relate to adolescents’ beliefs about sex. Am J Health Behav 2009; 33(1): 37-48. 27. Jerman P, Constantine NA. Demographic and Psychological predictors of parent-adolescent communication about sex: A representative statewide analysis. J Youth Adolesc 2010; 39(10): 1164-74. 28. Lefkowitz ES, Espinosa-Hernandez G. Sex-related communication with mother and close friends during the transition to university. J Sex Res 2007; 44(1): 17-27. 29. Shtarkshall RA, Santelli JS, Hirsch JS. Sex education and sexual Socialization: Roles for educators and parents. Perspect Sex Reprod Health 2007; 39(2): 116-19. 30. Kann L, McManus T, Harris WA, Shanklin SL, Flint KH, Queen B, et al. Youth risk behavior surveillance - United States, 2017. MMWR Surveill Summ 2018; 67(8): 1-11.