I was born in the 1980's. My generation stands at a turning point between traditional and cultural values. After the 10 year cultural revolution, sex became a very sensitive subject that was not to be discussed in public. I have no idea about the attitudes towards sex in ancient China, but according to the famous novel ‘The Golden Lotus’, I understand that it wasn't a very closed environment at that moment. How can people avoid something so essential to their lives?
When I was in junior high school, there was a special class for sexual physiology. Why was it special? Because boys and girls were separated into two rooms to watch a video about physiology concerning their own gender. This is the only memory of sexual education that I have of my time at school. Of course, boys tend to prefer to learn in a more “vivid” way. So pornographic anime has become a popular way to learn and get ideas, which they then ‘share and discuss' amongst themselves. Probably some teenage boys watch hardcore porn, and they thus unavoidably start to develop their own feelings and ideas through discussions.
High school is the time for the first awakening of love, where first relationships are formed. Some students become physically and psychologically attracted to one another, quite noticeably. Passion and hormones make the young lovers start to explore their sexual feelings. Traditionally, in China girls are expected to behave in a more reserved manner. It is rare to hear of any sexual discussion among young girls, but boys have a different outlook. Boys like to share and show off their successful experiences of sex. Some of them may go further and discuss their techniques and ideas about sex as a sort of game. Their circle of friends gives them a sense of freedom to ‘learn’ about sex in their formative years of sexual awakening.
University is a sort of “open field” for students who leave home and have gained some independence for the first time in their lives. Students tend to fall in love quickly - maybe because of their feelings of loneliness, or due to the freedom of University life. It is the period when they change from being naive to more mature. Though they don’t necessarily explicitly discuss sex – some of the students have their first sexual experience during their years at University. It is also increasingly common for students to talk about sex. The difference is, girls start to share their sexual experiences – and especially their concerns and fears - with their close female friends, while boys prefer dealing with any potentially embarrassing sexual issues alone.
In the first few years of this century, China started to promote safe sex, and some top Universities started to sell condoms by automatic vending machines on campus. This move made the topic of sex less of a taboo subject, but it is still not discussed within the public education system, and young people still usually only talk about this with a small group of friends.
Once you enter Chinese society and start working, sex cannot be discussed openly, and it becomes an extremely personal matter. Founder of NGO Pinkspace, He Xiaopei, said she often hears about sexual violence, and most women “never experience a sense of happiness from sexual activity within their relationship, it is tragic.” She also said she hopes to increase awareness about the issue of sexual abuse of women, and to promote `proper sexual education.’
The original blog: http://blog.chinadaily.com.cn/blog-1384375-19498.html