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Encouraging pre-marital sex?
Updated: 2004-03-22 09:31

If boys and girls are too shy to share with parents or elders their problems or confusion about sex, they might be able to get the kind of help they need from a new consulting center in Shenyang, Liaoning Province.

The first of its kind in Northeast China, the center is sponsored by Shenyang Family Planning Committee. ¡°We just want to help youngsters get adequate sex knowledge or take precautions in their sexual behavior,¡± Huang Juxiang, a doctor at the center told Beijing Today. ¡°Young people can either seek help from our hotline or get outpatient services for knowledge about reproductive health.¡±

The center can also help young girls conduct abortions and if they have suffered rape, the center can even help restore the victim¡¯s hymen. Charges for this kind of service are lower than in hospitals, according to Huang.

However, since its opening at the end of February, the center has not been as popular as expected. Controversy has arisen over whether local governments should help female youngsters have abortions. There are also questions as to the efficacy of the center in providing sex education. Opinions follow:

Mr. Geng, a middle school teacher in Shenyang

I think the help this center offers might encourage pre-marital sexual behavior. Even though young girls are not adults, they still need to learn to take responsibility for their behavior. By offering to relieve the possible pressures and dangers of sex, the help that the center intends to offer can only result in more freedom of sexual behavior among young people.

Moreover, most young girls prefer private medical institutions to conduct abortions for the sake of privacy. So even if the center charges less than that of other medical institutions, I don¡¯t think pregnant females will visit the center because it¡¯s still an official organization.

Huang Juxiang, doctor at the Shenyang Sex Consulting Center

Since the opening of our center in late February, there have not been many young visitors. The questions asked by most youngsters are focused on two areas, one being various reproductive health problems facing them, like masturbation, seminal emissions, menstruation and pregnancy. The other is psychological problems during puberty.

In my opinion, I think the founding of the center is necessary for teaching young people, especially young girls, how to protect themselves considering the increase of pre-marital sexual behavior and early pregnancy. We will mainly target young people to equip them with basic contraception methods and reproduction knowledge.

Tian Yanchun, a free-lancer from Hubei

It¡¯s humanitarian behavior for the local government to offer sex education to youngsters and help them conduct abortions when they have unexpected pregnancies. But the service of restoring the hymen is really ridiculous, as it reflects an outworn concept of virginity.

There is no direct connection between the innocence of a female and whether her hymen is still in place. Strenuous exercise can cause the breaking of the hymen. And more and more people nowadays don¡¯t care or have more understanding about the pre-marital sexual behavior of their partners. So the fact that Shenyang Family Planning Committee offers this service wll only confirm outdated ideas about virginity.

Ms. Wang, mother of a high school student from Shenyang

I¡¯m only afraid that our children will be more eager to experience pre-marital sexual behavior if the center can ofer this kind of service like teaching them about contraception, helping conduct abortions and even handing out free condoms.

Zhang Sining, researcher at the Academy of Social Sciences of Liaoning Province

People should not make a fuss as to the emergence of young lovers. With the improvement of people¡¯s living standards, an increasing number of young people are physically or sexually well developed, while sex education for juveniles till lags behind. So we cannot totally blame youngsters even if they have made mistakes. Most parents or teachers just avoid talking about the sex education problems of young people, but actually the enlightenment of sexual knowledge is much more important than teaching our children skills of daily life.

Liu Li, vice director of the Shenyang Sex Consulting Center

Since the pregnancy of young girls has become a new social problem, we should face up to it. Instead of seeking help from parents or teachers, some young girls who become pregnant have to visit illegal medical institutions to conduct abortions which can sometimes lead to sterility. So we would rather educate and help these youngsters to learn self-protection and regain confidence than allow the existence of single mothers. It¡¯s much more useful to help young girls prevent pregnancy by offering adequate and accurate sex education than to only help them compensate for their mistakes.

Sun Geng, a magazine editor in Shenyang

Those young girls who have suffered from unexpected pregnancy are like lambs losing their way who badly need humane care from the government. And the role of the government should be like a guard keeping watch at night. Without the guard, young girls will be totally in despair.

Though the government can take precautions, there will always be certain number of drug addicts, pimps and prostitutes, as well as unexpected pregnancies in a society. Therefore, the government should try to minimize these problems and take precautions.

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