How to carry out sex education in Chinese families?

sex education in China
Sex Education

Sex related topics are not taboo in China anymore, however, many Chinese parents are still facing dilemmas when it comes to sex education at home.

In a sex education class for primary school parents in Dujiangyan, southwest China’s Sichuan province, a mother is sharing her embarrassing yet funny story of talking to her son about sex.

“My son always ask me ‘where do I come from’, I just tell him he spent 10 months in my belly before the doctor picked him out, and he will ask, ‘How did I get into your belly? Did you swallow me?’ I had to tell him his father put him inside. Then his question continues, ‘Where did my father find me and how he put me in your body?’ I just don’t know how to explain that to him. Other questions may be like “Why daddy and I can pee standing up, but you have to pee squatting? ” And my husband would say, ‘Oh my boy, it’s just a national regulation.'”

In answering one of the most common questions children may have before puberty, many Chinese parents still shy away from facing it due to a self-restrained traditional cultural background.

Dr. Chen Zhongdan, strategic information adviser of UNAIDS says parents play a vital role in promoting sexual health education here in China, as well as building a more tolerant, equal and open society.

“Many parents avoid talking about sex with their children, and this is deeply rooted in the country’s traditional culture. Mostly, their sexual concept is binary instead of polybasic, also the traditional idea of ‘one should carry on the family line’ leads to a relatively low acceptance of homosexuality. Homosexuals are facing higher pressure from family and society, and many of them lack the scientific knowledge of safe sex. Therefore, sex education is crucial here.”

Latest statistics suggest that among all the new infections of HIV/AIDS, 94% are caused by sexual transmission. Heterosexuals accounts for some 67% of these cases while homosexual 27% and the proportion is growing in large and medium-sized cities.

Zhang Yinjun, the co-founder of the AIDS Prevention & Education Project for China’s Youth or known as APEPCY for short, says scientific sex education should include all aspects of the subject.

“A proper sexual value includes sexual responsibility, gender consciousness, sex culture and scientific health. All these aspects contribute to protecting people from disease infection. Dealing with issues such as teenagers abortion, sexual abuse, and other emotion-related issues, is also part of our job.”

Starting from 2006, APEPCY has been co-operating with local schools in providing AIDS prevention and sex education classes targeting different groups of people including students of different ages, parents and teachers. Zhang Yinjun says one of their successes is to have informed parents on the importance of scientific sex education, and more and more parents have already benefitted from it and have been providing their support to sex education.

Insiders say sex education in China is still at its earlier stage, but a brighter future can be guaranteed if more parents can participate with an attitude and scientific mindset as more active school education is underway.

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