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The results indicated that the majority of the participants were supportive of dating.

Increasing concerns exist about the consequences of such transformations in conservative and religious societies versus other liberal societies, because empirical research has documented an inverse association between religiosity and liberal sexual attitudes [17].

Iran as a conservative and religious society is no exception.

According to the Theory of Planned Behaviour, an individual’s behaviour is predicted by his/her intentions, attitudes toward the behaviour, perceived social norms and behavioural control [6].

In social psychology, it is widely accepted that attitudes are socially learned [26].

In fact, social construction of sexuality in any given culture defines sexual behaviours of men and women [22, 38].

Sexual permissiveness entails accepting a wide range of sexual attitudes and associated behaviours, and is influenced by various cultural factors including religious beliefs and the importance of economic exchange at marriage, as well as increased exposure to external influences due to the expansion of worldwide communications and economic changes [38].

Most parents do not play a key role in informing, educating or supporting their young people on how to manage their friendships and the potential risks posed [39].

Similar to other Islamic states such as Pakistan, in Iran, religiosity is considered to be protective for premarital sex, but it seems that due to the gap between marriage and puberty, and changes in social networks, media and communication technology as well as socio-economic development, the protective role of religiosity is diminishing [11, 27, 56, 62, 64].

The increasing trend of delayed marriages possibly explains attitude changes toward premarital sexual encounters in the Iranian context.

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