The Independent is reporting that “sex education everywhere in China, no matter in the countryside or city, remains, on the whole, a blank”, says Professor Fang Gang, a ‘sexologist’ and associate professor at Beijing Forestry University, who has been pushing for systematic sex education to be written into the national curriculum.
It may seem paradoxical then that China has one of the highest rates of contraceptive use in the world, standing at 84.6 per cent in 2009 for married women or those “in unions”, according to a UN report. China’s contraceptive policies are primarily targeted at married women, following the introduction of the one-child policy in 1979. But today, targeting married women is simply not enough, given the soaring rate of premarital sex.
“Very few in the educational world, including schools and teachers, support the practical side of sex education”, says Prof Fang. One of the primary concerns, from parents and educators, is that too much knowledge too early will promote premature sexual behaviour.
Prof Fang says there is simply “too much protest” holding back progress. Last year, he ran a series of training seminars in Shandong province for teachers using his own textbook that addresses masturbation and female empowerment. It met with so many objections from parents that the local authorities called a stop to the programme.
Without formal sex education, young people are forced to rely on online advice, as well as trial and error. For my generation, born in the 1980s, any mention of sex was anatomy-based, or in biology class.
Do you agree that China needs to have formal lessons in sex education? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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