“Sex, sex, sexual intercourse, penis, penis, vagina.” More than 150 undergraduates are sitting in a lecture hall at China Agricultural University in Beijing, shouting loudly. Many are sexually active, yet for most it is the first sex education class they have attended.
Their instructor hopes that shouting such words will help youngsters talk more openly about sex. Lu Zhongbao, a 24-year-old student, says he was told as a child that he “emerged from a rock”. When he started having sex with his university girlfriend he had little idea about contraception. This evening he arrived an hour early armed with another question: will masturbating damage his health?
It is not just China’s economy that has loosened up since 1979. The country is in the midst of a sexual revolution. But a lack of sex education means that many are not protecting themselves, resulting in soaring abortion rates and a rise in sexually transmitted diseases. Education on the subject is compulsory in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan—societies that have some cultural similarities with China. But most Chinese schools teach only basic anatomy.
Where classes happen, most students are merely given a textbook. “Happy Middle School Students”, written for 12- to 15-year-olds in 2006 and still widely used, refers to sperm meeting egg without describing the mechanics of intercourse. A more explicit volume for primary-school pupils published in 2011, which did explain how sperm were delivered, was criticised for being pornographic. Read more via The Economist