"Most of them resort to lies like [saying] they had jumped from a height, or ridden a bicycle, or had been beaten by their fathers," he said.Farahnaz describes hymen restoration as "the stupidest thing in the world," but adds, "Maybe we should look at this from the point of view of adventurous girls who are constrained by society's traditions and customs." Divorced women sometimes undergo the operation to disguise the fact that they have been married.Farahnaz, who comes from a devout family in Tehran, has studied abroad and had two boyfriends without losing her virginity.
There is no law requiring proof of virginity as a condition of marriage, but custom and practice have an enduring force in Iranian society.
"Many people still define a girl's decency on the basis of virginity," Farahnaz, a 27-year-old woman, said.
Hesam, who lives in Iran but has experience of life in other countries, regards hymenoplasty as "insulting." "I wouldn't have a problem if my future wife had had sex before, but I'd be offended if I realized she had undergone surgery just to conceal it from me," he said.
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Maryam, now 31, got married at 14 and divorced at 19.