Parents, teachers still embarrassed about sex

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About a third of Shanghai's vocational school students have had sex, though almost half of them have never received any sex education, according to a report released yesterday.

Students in a middle school in Guangdong are taking sex education class.

Students in a middle school in Guangdong are taking sex education class.

The Internet and the media were the main sources for students to learn about sex, as many teachers and parents were still too shy to talk about the subject, the survey of more than 1,200 students found.

The survey was carried out by the 12355 youth service platform, which plans to carry out intervention programs based on the report and expand the programs to cover high school and middle school students. The platform is affiliated to the Shanghai Youth League.

About half of the 3,500 or so youngsters who had surgical abortions after contacting the city's pregnancy hotline (6587-6866) were students at vocational schools, according to the hotline operator.

Some female students were reported to have thought they were just getting fat and didn't know that they were pregnant until the birth was imminent.

In the survey, about 56.7 percent of students said they had been in love and 32.4 percent had sex.

Some 46.3 percent had never received sex education and 26.4 percent students were unsatisfied with the sex education they did get at school, the survey said.

About 45.9 percent of the students in the survey said that they learned about sex online and from the media, 23.7 percent from school and 11.6 percent from parents.

"Teachers never talk about sex with us," said one student, Nico Yang.

Many parents still feel too embarrassed to talk about sex with their children and believe it's the schools' responsibility.

However, some teachers have the same problem, according to the survey.

Zhou Yin, a 12355 official, said they found some teachers unwilling to talk about sex and others whose knowledge was limited or mistaken.

The youth service platform plans to coach some students directly to let them spread knowledge among their friends.

The survey found 80 percent of students knew about condoms and 60 percent knew how to use them properly. Most believed both men and women should be responsible for avoiding pregnancy.

"That result was better than we had expected," Zhou said.

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