China’s younger population is having less sex than their parents’ generation, according to a three-year national survey published in early August.
The report, titled “Sexuality in China: A review and new findings,” was published on Aug. 3 and written by Jia Yu, Weixiang Luo and Yu Xie. Conducted by a team of demographers and sociologists from China’s top universities, the survey included 6,828 participants.
One of the major findings in the report was that China’s younger demographic showed less interest in sex compared to their parents’ generation. Among the study’s participants who were born between 1995 and 2003, 14.6% of the male participants and 10.1% of the female participants with a partner have not had sex in the past year. The report states that these rates are “even higher than among those born in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s.”
Yu suggests that the rising prevalence of entertainment, including video games and pet ownership, may be affecting sexual desires. Additionally, busy work schedules and childbearing pressures may also decrease an interest in sex.
“Moreover, the appeal of sex itself seems to be diminishing among young people. Online games, pets, and other forms of entertainment may serve as alternatives to sex,” the report states.
For the young women who were surveyed, the idea of having sex with a partner for the purpose of “fulfilling one’s obligations as a spouse” declined sharply. Around 22% of women born before 1970 believe that having sex will fulfill their obligations as a spouse, while only 4% of women born after 1990 hold the same belief.
The survey’s male participants who wished to find a sexual partner on the internet had less than a high school education on average, and some of them born between 1990 and 1994 admitted to having paid for sex in the past.
In addition, the report found that the younger demographic showed a growing acceptance of homosexuality and premarital sex. The intolerance for premarital sex, however, remained prevalent across all age groups. Male respondents shared more conservative opinions where nearly 50% of those from the post-’80s generation viewed gay sex as “always wrong” while around 30% of women shared the same opinion.
“Sexuality in China has undergone drastic changes since the economic reform that began in 1978; these changes have been referred to as a ‘sexual revolution’ by many scholars,” the report states.
A large number of respondents stated that sex was a way of “expressing affection” and “meeting psychological needs” rather than having children. The report also found that men had a higher tendency for a better sexual wellbeing, although women were also increasingly satisfied with a sharp decline in the number women faking orgasms.
“We can see the obvious rise of the status of young women in relationships,” Yu told Sanlian Lifeweek per Sixth Tone. “That’s reflective of the awakening of feminist ideology.”