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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

CHINA: Premarital Intercourse Rising, Sex Education, Regulation Questioned


Xinhua News Agency (04.11.12) - Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Premarital sex in China has skyrocketed in the last 20 years, according to a survey of people in 31 areas across the country. The results were published last week in an official Community Party magazine.

Among respondents, 71.4 percent indicated engaging in premarital sex, a 30 percent spike from a 1994 study. The findings renewed debate surrounding China's legal marriageable age (20 for females, 22 for males) and sex education. During the current National People's Congress legislative session, Huang Xihua, a deputy to the NPC, recommended lowering the age to 18.

Sex education, long a taboo in traditional society, has gained traction among officials. Sex education textbooks were introduced in Shanghai and Beijing in October. Peng Xiaohui, a sexologist at Central China Normal University, heralds the uptake of early-age sex education. Peng notes Chinese children conventionally would not be taught about sex, neither by families nor in school.

Research results noted 24.5 percent of respondents received information on sex from the Internet, including through pornography, which is strictly prohibited and censored by public security departments and the government.

According to Shanghai high school teacher Li Hui, most male college students know how to download porn. Hui believes exposure to information on sex is somewhat helpful, but increasingly strict oversight has made access more difficult.

Yu Dongyan, a medical worker at the Accidental Pregnancy Hotline for Teenagers, asserts many young girls are hurt by their lack of sexual knowledge this time of year. March and April (around two popular romantic festivals - Valentine's Day and White Day) are peak times for abortions, Yu said.


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Information in this article was accurate in April 11, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.