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College Students Give Nod to Dating, Sex Education

A recent survey by the Beijing Sexual Health Research Association indicates that about 95 percent of college students support dating while in school, and a huge majority feel that sex education should be improved and made more accessible.


A sample of 15,000 college students from 38 universities around China were asked questions concerning sexual health.


Students without siblings tend to date more than those with brothers or sisters. There appears to be a correlation between grades and interest in the opposite sex: those with the highest and lowest grades become interested earlier than those in the middle ground. Half the number of boys who are attracted to girls say they do not readily communicate with their families and feel that they are ignored at home.


More than half the undergraduate respondents approved of hugging and kissing, yet only 26 percent of the boys and 7 percent of the girls felt that having sex was acceptable. This suggests that the mainstream of college society still thinks sexual intimacy is a serious matter. At the same time, 45.5 percent of the boys think living with a partner prior to marriage is a good idea, while only 26.8 percent of the girls give cohabitation the nod. Parental attention and school performance also affected responses in this regard. The belief that love can exist without marriage drew 60-63 percent of the votes.


Sexual experience of undergraduates (%):


Experienced sexual intercourse (All)

Experienced sexual intercourse (Age 24-26)

Experienced sexual intercourse (Age over 27)

Sexual experiences other than intercourse












Age is clearly a major factor in sexual experience.


Faced with 34 questions about what they considered most important factors in a sexual relationship, 85.2 percent of the boys and 88.2 percent of the girls said polite communication was at the top of the list. Love and marriage came next. Similar views concerning open-mindedness toward sex, libido and contraception were also on the list.


Another survey of undergraduates was conducted on the topic of sex education.


In recent years, there has been growing awareness of the potential importance of sex education to teen health; certainly, young people are looking for information. Age and gender influence their selection of sources for that information: younger students tend to turn to magazines for discussions of sex, while older ones are more inclined to examine medical texts.


Professor Gao Dewei, head of the Beijing Sexual Health Research Association, says that there is no sex education textbook used by colleges and universities nationwide. Estimates put the number of universities offering optional sex education classes at less 10 percent.


About 26.9 percent of male students and 30.8 percent of female students think lectures are the best way of learning about sex, with public classes and optional classes coming in second. However, more than 90 percent of college students say that sex education is badly needed, and 85.1 percent think the existing forms are too conservative. Some 80 percent of the female respondents and 75 percent of the males held the opinion that correct guidance should be offered to students.


(China.org.cn by Wang Ruyue March 5, 2004)

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