‘My culture haunts me no matter where I go’: Iranian-American women discussing sexual and acculturation experiences Academic Article uri icon


  • Iranian-American womens' perceptions of their sexual-selves and gender roles are influenced both by the cultural context of their life experience in Iran and their acculturation in the USA. In a qualitative study, using narrative as methodology and a feminist theoretical framework, individual interviews were conducted with 24 first-generation Iranian-American women in southern California. The narratives revealed that these Iranian-American women felt attached to their home culture while also having a desire to distinguish themselves from it. In so doing, they realised that their individual sexual-selves and gender roles stemmed from their life experiences, such as home culture memories and new cultural exposures. The degrees of adjustment during the acculturation process provided women with challenges in dealing with the consequences of new experiences and the shame and guilt of shedding old cultural norms. Acculturation offered these Iranian-American women a fuller understanding of their gender role and sexual-self perceptions. An understanding of cultural impact on women's life experiences may assist healthcare professionals in their efforts to assist women in determining innovative intervention where the needs of gender role and sexual-self-concept are concerned.

publication date

  • July 29, 2013