By Tiffany Ap
We’ve known for some time that Chinese parents are much too squeamish to discuss the finer points of sex with their kids, and that curious youths were resorting to learning about the birds and the bees from the internet, but now it looks as if some schools around the country are starting to pick up the slack. They are now offering sexual health classes to students – and not the creepy religious kind.
Nanjing Normal University (NNU) and Nanjing University of Finance and Economics (NUFE) are examples of schools now offering courses which cover reproductive health and the prevention of STDs.
It’s no secret that Chinese youths are notoriously shy about sex. While the classic condom-on-banana scenario at NUFE ensured a few good laughs from the class, the dire need for proper sex education trounced any embarrassment, as was evidenced by the classes’ immense popularity. At NNU, spaces filled up so quickly, students essentially had to fight to secure a spot.
It’s not only being taught to university students either. A sex education camp was held last August for younger children between the ages of 8 and 13 in Shanghai. Although it only managed to enroll participants from 18 families, it opened up public discussion on how parents should approach sex education.
These classes are a welcome step in the right direction as Chinese health and education experts have been urging people to focus on educating single youths (and not just married couples) about their sexual health. And to a generation where sex has largely been ignored, taking these classes could mean avoiding unwanted pregnancies and diseases.
From China Daily:
According to a nationwide survey released in May, 60 percent of the 22,288 single young people polled on the mainland, aged between 15 and 24, are open to premarital sex and 22.4 percent of the respondents admitted to having taken part in sexual intercourse.
In contrast to their tolerant attitudes, only 4.4 percent of the respondents had correct knowledge about sexual health, while 14.4 percent were aware of HIV transmission and prevention.
The class offerings should help to ease increased abortion rates linked to lack of sexual education and may be a sign that Chinese society is loosening up on its attitudes towards sex. But at least until parents are more comfortable with explaining to their children where babies come from, it’s good to know that some students can now look to schools to fill in the gaps.