China / Society

Teenagers lacking safe sex knowledge

By Wang Qingyun ( Updated: 2012-09-27 15:07

China needs to improve the level of sex education as many teenagers lack basic knowledge of contraception, according to experts at a seminar on teenage sexual health education in Beijing, on Wednesday.

Xu Zhenlei, a researcher in the field of teenage sexual health with China Sexology Association, said better data needs to be obtained on teenage sexual activity in order to work out how best to tackle the issue through education.

"If the rate is only about 20 percent, then educating teenagers on how to use a condom may increase it, which neither schools or parents want," he said.

Zhang Meimei, director of the center of sex education at Capital Normal University, believes schools should approach the subject in a subtle manner.

"There should sex education in schools, but it is very hard to conduct courses obviously themed on this subject in China," said Zhang.

"Instead, we must find other ways to conduct sexual education inside and outside of school."

She said any sexual education should be adapted to Chinese culture.

"Sex education models that are successful in other countries may take a long time to work in China," she said.

"However, we cannot simply compromise on sex education and allow traditional ideas to hold us back."

A survey conducted by the China Population Communication Center in 2009 and 2010, which covered more than 10,000 people in six cities, most of whom were unmarried teenagers, found that parents and teachers of 49 percent of the teenagers had not talked to them about sexual development. In addition, 32 percent of junior middle school students surveyed said nobody had told them why their bodies were changing and the parents of 74 percent of senior middle school students had not spoken to them about sexual knowledge.

In 2010, Peking University conducted a survey on 22,888 unmarried Chinese people aged 15 to 24, which found that of the 22.4 percent who had had sex, more than half had used no contraceptive method the first time.

According to an online Chinese survey of 2,060 people aged above 18 in 2011, sponsored by condom maker Durex, 48 percent aged 19 to 24 had had sex.

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