A new form of engaging in sexual relationships has sprung upon Iran's virtual scene as of late, and is being widely criticized. It's legal, unlike dating websites and most chat rooms. I want to get to show off my body as much as the next woman does. In a 50-minute session, it's not only the man who is sexually satisfied.
There are also Facebook pages dedicated to women who openly announce their readiness to become concubines, some of whom refer interested men to procurers. I don't know about others, but after the sexual encounter, I am satisfied just like my sex partner is. And I also get paid, so for me, it's fair; a win-win situation for both parties involved.
And they have the sympathy of some pre-revolution fellow citizens."Life for young Iranians is not good," one middle-aged man told me, comparing the current state of the country to that of his own youth.
"They have missed out on so much.""We could do anything we wanted [pre-revolution]," said another."We could travel, drink, have girlfriends, live our lives.
Elham is a 32-year-old nail stylist who also works with one of these websites as a concubine candidate. "Sigheh"--a temporary marriage agreement also known as having a concubine--is one of Shi'ism's most controversial regulations.
In a phone interview, I ask her how she feels about the criticism that she and her peers receive from a lot of Iranians. It's religiously-accepted, it's legal, and it's consensual. What has been traditionally defined in the category of sigheh in Iran is the possibility which it provides religious families who restrict their children in their interaction with the opposite gender.
The other way sigheh is known to be concretized--and heavily criticized--is when religious married men desire a mistress, or enter sexual relations with a woman outside of marriage.
Offering me tea, he said he only need to know why I had come to Iran and what cities I planned to visit.
Before sending me on my way, he advised me to get my visa updated if I planned to stay longer than the month that the Embassy of Iran in Ankara had granted me.
Before I knew it, I was outside in the bright sun and surrounded by eager moneychangers.
A chunk of riyals was placed in my hands for a fifty-dollar note, and I was on my way to Tabriz, the first Iranian city ahead of me.