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With Low Birthrate, Iran May Make Vasectomy A Crime

With Low Birthrate, Iran May Make Vasectomy A Crime

TEHRAN — When Iran's population doubled to some 60 million between the 1970s and 1980s, it was seen as a problem for a resource-poor country in the throes of a war with Iraq and social revolution at home. Leaders moved to curb this baby boom in the late 1980s by promoting contraception and sterilization.

But now, things have changed again, and a plateauing population — and birth control — are seen by Iran's leaders as a threat to the nation's long-term security.

Iran's rulers now see a big population as a guarantee of a strong country, and consider pollution and water shortages as lesser evils. Senior clerics including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have in recent months denounced birth control, and what Khamenei says morphs, sooner or later, into policy.

Parliament approved the outlines this week of a bill to encourage population growth, including imposing prison terms of between two and five years for "permanent" obstacles to pregnancy, like vasectomy or tubectomy for women.

The Tehran representative Ali Mottahari said this was a response to the "cultural" problem of population decline that is another sign of the adoption of Western lifestyles by Iranians. Sterilization options used since 1989 had gone too far, he declared, and from the average six children per family in the 1980s, the birth rate now was 1.6, the reformist daily Arman reported.

Mottahari described this as below the reproductive "red line" for Iran and "well below" the world average. Some MPs voted against the outline bill, including one who said, you could not "whip" Iranians into having more children.

The West's "cultural onslaught" is a frequent target in Tehran politics, with another member of Parliament Morteza Aqatehrani citing headscarves, satellite TV programs and late marriages as deplorable examples of Western habits permeating society.

He urged parents to "marry your boys and girls young. Don't let them wait, that is the Western culture," the reformist Aftab-e Yazd newspaper reported.

— Ahmad Shayegan

hPhoto : Roshan Norouzi/ZUMA

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How Parenthood Reinvented My Sex Life — Confessions Of A Swinging Mom

Between breastfeeding, playdates, postpartum fatigue, birthday fatigues and the countless other aspects of mother- and fatherhood, a Cuban couple tries to find new ways to explore something that is often lost in the middle of the parenting storm: sex.

red tinted photo of feet on a bed

Parenting v. intimacy, a delicate balance

Silvana Heredia

HAVANA — It was Summer, 2015. Nine months later, our daughter would be born. It wasn't planned, but I was sure I wouldn't end my first pregnancy. I was 22 years old, had a degree, my dream job and my own house — something unthinkable at that age in Cuba — plus a three-year relationship, and the summer heat.

I remember those months as the most fun, crazy and experimental of my pre-motherhood life. It was the time of my first kiss with a girl, and our first threesome.

Every weekend, we went to the Cuban art factory and ended up at the CornerCafé until 7:00 a.m. That September morning, we were very drunk, and in that second-floor room of my house, it was unbearably hot. The sex was otherworldly. A few days later, the symptoms began.

She arrived when and how she wished. That's how rebellious she is.

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