Young Chinese paying the price of sexual ignorance: college students
Eleven students at Beijing Normal University have held a demonstration to demand sex education at China’s colleges, saying ignorance surrounding sex and relationships is causing major social problems.
In a 15-minute demonstration, they held up signs that read “Adult videos can’t be our sex education; universities must say yes to sex education” and “We want to enjoy safe sex lives”.
“We would like to see sex education based on gender equality and respect for different sexual values,” said “Dada”, a Jinan University student who participated in the event.
Although the government has tried to implement sex education among teenagers, it has made little progress.
“Sex education moves forward slowly because schools focus on exams. Teachers have no time for it,” said sexologist Ma Xiaonian.
Dada said the ignorance of some students was “ridiculous”. Her boyfriend didn’t understand her pain during menstruation and thought menstrual blood was blue as indicated in sanitary pad advertisements.
“My own sex education was practically nothing,” said Dada.
Most Chinese universities have no sex education course, but they do experience suicides in cases of unrequited love or relationship disputes, campus sexual assaults, and abortions.
A 2011 survey by market research firm Sinotrust found that only 50 percent Chinese college students admitted using contraception during sex.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission reported in 2012 that about 13 million Chinese women, half of them college students, induced abortions each year.
The 11 demonstrators claimed these problems could be addressed through appropriate sex education.
“College is the last chance to get a systematic education. After graduation, most students marry and need to educate their own children,” said Xiao Ying, another participant from Beijing Forestry University.
Xiao Ying believed college education would help students “do better in terms of answering their own children’s questions in the future”.
Dada agreed: “Universities should encourage students with different sexual values to communicate with each other, and this way they will learn how to negotiate with their partners and protect themselves in a relationship.”
Communication between the sexes was important, said Lu Peiwen, the only male participant from Xi’an International University.
“In China, most men pick up sex knowledge from adult videos, but these contain unfiltered information leading to misunderstandings about relationships,” said Lu. “Bridging the gap between genders can remove those misunderstandings.”
The next day the demonstration moved to a subway station.
“We hope our voices can be heard by more people and they can join us in our campaign,” Dada said.