Sex Education in China

Something that I think should take up more space on politico agendas than it actually does. I may not have researched the topic quite as far some would like, so readers, be mildly patient – constrictive criticism and comment is always helpful.

Earlier this year in May, it was featured in published in media, mainly online, that China was awaiting the opening of its first sex theme park in the city of Chongqing, aiming to address taboo surrounding the subject and improve sex education. Within a week, and before the official opening of this “Love Land”, it was reported that it had closed. Reasons given were that residents were unhappy about the so-called visibility of erotic scenarios and found it vulgar.

This is all very fair. I was certainly stunned when I saw pictures of the entrance, featuring a rooftop rotating sculpture of a thong-clad pair of women’s legs.

Entrance of the park (Clickable! For a link to the Guardian's article)
Entrance of the park (Clickable! For a link to the Guardian's article)

For me, China may not need the blow to the stomach that this park represents, but it certainly needs some cold water in the face of the exponentially increasing cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

It is not uncommon to find polar opposite on the matter.

As China welcomes more and more Western culture, and to some extent adopts it in its own media, young people have their eyes pried open to the sex culture, get curious and, for the lack of a better fitting word, excited. They want to go explore, only to find that they have very little information about sex, or more importantly, safe sex. Doing their own research is somewhat out of the question, because it is “naughty”. Yes? Even so, it is difficult not to have come across any sexual references, and so young people testing the grounds through contact with each other  are at the base (well, not quite) of the STD calamities.

The other end is well illustrated by a married couple, 22 and 24 years old I believe, walking into a clinic, asking why they could not get pregnant. It was soon discovered that they thought sleeping in the same bed would do the trick.

Li Yinhe, an expert on sexual attitudes at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said: “While disapproval of sex stemmed from religion in the west, in China it was largely rooted in a traditional focus on the family instead of individual enjoyment – leading people to deplore premarital and extramarital sex.” [Guardian, picture link]

However, people are not clueless, and while schools still stay away from the topic, some sex education clinics have precariously opened their doors in larger cities, although without accumulating much of an audience. Yet.

Personally, I do feel that the issue is in the government. Most people who can dictate what is taught in school – the best place to start spreading the word if you ask me – grew up when it was all very “hush hush”, and are now reflecting that point of view on society. So perhaps they need to embrace the love (gosh that was corny!) a bit as well.

Or parents will simply have to start having those stereotypically awkward sex talks with their children once they hit puberty, again. Haha!


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