My Story of Finding and Reading Forbidden Books in Tehran

sex and sexuality in tehran, sara jamshidi

 

Read part I here: I Had to Read Those Forbidden Books In Tehran

Read part II here: Reading Forbidden Books in Tehran

I was still sleeping when the door opened forcefully and Zara came in and told me to wake up. When I asked my sister what she wanted, she said she wanted to know what happened last night.

“Oh my God Zara, are you crazy?” I cried out.

“I am exhausted, so please let me sleep.”

I immediately regretted saying I was exhausted.

 

I was reading about genitals and sexual orgasms last night,” I replied.

“You were doing what?” she asked.

 

“Exhausted? When did you sleep then?” she asked.

“How long have you been on the phone? Was he an interesting boy? You must allow me to say hi to him next time.”

When I responded that I wasn’t talking to anyone, she rolled her eyes.

“And you want me to believe you?” she asked.

“You know what, I am going to tell Maman and Baba about your adventure.”

When I told her I was reading a book last night, she started calling out to my mom. I jumped out of bed.

“Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up,” I cried out.

“Here, I was reading this.”

sex in tehran, porn in tehran, gotluneI put Galeen in her hands.

“Sara, you cannot fool me, so you either are going to tell me what happened between you and Syrus last night, or I am going to tell Maman,” said Zara.

“Oh my god, I was reading about genitals and sexual orgasms last night,” I replied.

“You were doing what?” she asked.

Honestly, her eyes were much bigger than my mom’s pots, so I offered to read her a passage:

“Behi was lying on her side on the bed. Her back on the door and her left hands covering her breasts. ‘We do not have much time,’ Behi said. ‘The Boss Lady might call me downstairs. If you want to fuck me, you better hurry.’

sex and sexuality in tehran, sara jamshidi

Zara pulled the book out of my hand and started reading the page with disbelief. After she finished the passage, she turned to me and started asking me lots of questions.

Where did you get the book? When? Weren’t you scared? How did you find out about this?

So I told her everything.

“Do you know what happens to you if baba finds out that you have stolen the key, went up to the ambaree, and stolen the book?” she asked.

“Do you know what happens to Baba if the authorities find out we keep these books in the house?”

“Who is going to tell him…you?” I replied.

“OK, you tell Baba about the book, then I will tell him about the chocolates.”

She innocently asked what I was talking about.

“You think I do not know?” I replied.

“You had found out where Maman hides the chocolates they brought from Germany.”

When she asked how I knew this, I simply responded that there was nothing that happened in this house without me knowing about it.

She offered not to tell my dad about my nighttime adventure if I let her read the book.

Sounds fair, I responded.

porn in tehran, sex and sexuality in theran“I want to read it tonight though,” she said.

“Oh no, impossible,” I replied.

“I am in the middle of the book and I cannot wait for you to finish it.

Zara then called out to my dad.

“Ok ok, just shut up,” I said.

“I have two more books. I think they are more provocative. Do you want to start with one of them until I finish this?”

She said okay, and we ended up finishing all three books in five days. We then finished the remaining books from the box in two weeks. I think we read 15 of these books over Nowruz.

As I wrote this article, I reflected on why I was such a rebel in my conservative home country. Porn, sex, sexuality or even talking about women’s desire to enjoy their bodies, let alone eroticism, are taboos in Iran. Right after the revolution, women were forced to cover up and become invisible. But, many people like Zara and I never believed in what the authorities were trying to dictate to us. Women in Iran wear tight robes; they put on a scarf that looks even sexier than a perfect hairdo. They show off their nail polish and wear makeup. This is our way of ensuring the Iranian totalitarian regime sees the middle finger we show them. And, yes, reading porn is also our way of showing our defiance.

 


 

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