A university professor and renowned sexologist has revealed how many of China’s youth remain lacking in proper understanding of reproductive health due to the lack of sex education in the its education system.
“Sex education everywhere in China, no matter in the countryside or city, remains, on the whole, a blank,” Professor Fang Gang of Beijing Forestry University said.
According to The Telegraph, Prof Fang has been endorsing a systematic sex education to be incorporated into the Chinese national curriculum for years, but was consistently met with strong opposition.
He states that even the basic yet important information, such as contraception, remain excluded in the subjects and explained that for the past decades, nothing much has changed in the student curriculum.
It is important to note that while China may have indeed has the highest rates of contraceptive use in the world, the country’s contraceptive policies are mainly targeted at married women. This is due to the one-child policy enacted by the government in 1979. The issue, however, goes beyond married women as the rate of premarital sex continues to rise.
When the contents of a school book called the “Scientific Sex Education” was leaked online, China’s outdated perception and attitudes towards premarital sex were brought into the public spotlight.
First published in 2004, the book reportedly remains in use in China’s schools. It makes references to sex as a “sin” states that boys will view girls who “sacrifice their body” with premarital sex as “low”.
A woman who participates in pre-marital sex, the book states, will “degenerate” towards immorality and “if she doesn’t quickly get married, she will turn from an innocent person to an impulsive one who easily yields to lustful boys.”
Figures from 2012 reveal that 71% of single Chinese engage in premarital sex, which is more than double than the number in 2006 at 35%.
Abortion has become too normalized in Chinese societies that abortion ads are usually found even inside university campuses.
Every year China aborts, by official estimates, around 13 million, not counting self-induced abortions and other outside means. The even more staggering part about it is that more than 50% of these were done on women aged 25 and under, according to 2013 statistics from the National Institute of Population and Family Planning.
While the need to update the current curriculum is understandably urgent, Prof Fang finds difficulty in dealing with conservative mindsets, not just of the architects of the study programs, but also the teachers themselves.
“Very few in the educational world, including schools and teachers, support the practical side of sex education,” said Prof Fang.
For one, there is still a strong belief among teachers and parents that educating students too early may promote sexual behavior prematurely. According to Prof Fang, such opposition will prevent any systematic form of sex education from ever coming to pass.