“Love” may be one of the most heavily used words in Persian literature. Famous poets Rumi, Hafez, and Sa’adi obsessed about “eshq” centuries ago, though their words most often referred to divine and spiritual emotions.
Discussion of physical love was another matter. As in many cultures, it was long a taboo subject, and the advent of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution did little to change that. The trend for decades has, in fact, been evident in annual police crackdowns that target women showing too much hair, or boy-girl handholding in the streets.
So it might be a surprise that one of the hottest-selling DVDs in Tehran --- at least at souvenir stores that cater for Shiite religious pilgrims to the Shah Abdol-Azim shrine, south of the capital --- is one that seems to encourage something of a sexual revolution, Shiite-style.