Prostitution, however, remained — both off the books and on. To this day, clerics will issue licenses for “temporary marriage,” authorizing assignations that may last for decades, or for as little as an hour. The latter are common even in the backstreets of Qom, the holy city crowded with seminaries and lonely seminarians. By the government’s own account, transactional is common across the country. Of the 40% of who have had their first encounter at age 14, according to the Youth and Sports Ministry, many have likely lost their virginity to a prostitute.