The eighth issue of The Chinese Journal of Human Sexuality in 2007 published a report on the sex lives of farmer workers in southeast China's Zhejiang Province, the first of its kind in China.
Zhang Wenwei, Vice Director of the Shaoxing Health Bureau in Zhejiang and also an expert on reproductive medicine, designed the questionnaire.
The survey interviewed 776 farmer workers in Zhejiang, with 481 of them married -- 307 males and 174 females.
According to the survey, 83.93 percent of the farmer workers meet their spouses yearly, while 16.07 percent haven't met for over a year. Some workers haven't gone home for more than two years. The farmer workers say that they miss their spouses the most, then their children and finally their parents. Additionally, 5.59 percent stated that they don't miss anyone.
Of the 533 migrant workers from other provinces and regions, 41.84 percent of them want a sexual life outside of marriage. Of this category 12.01 percent have that thought often, among which 24.50 percent not only have the intention, but also carry through. These men have relations with mistresses, colleagues and prostitutes. Mistresses are the most common among migrant men, accounting for 67.05 percent.
Of all the 776 farmer workers, 139 claimed that they had encountered sexual harassment -- 20 from superiors, 25 from companions, the remainder from other sources. How do they react to sexual harassment? They answered as follows: 22 accepted it; 27 tolerated it; 90 refused it.
Moreover, 54 claimed that they had committed sexual harassment and 23.9 percent of the migrant workers claim to suffer from sexual depression. In that population 26.18 of them do other things to distract themselves, while 16.18 percent masturbate, and 11.62 percent live on sexual fantasies. Additionally, some feel very bad tempered and/or use masturbation tools, while others seek a sexual life beyond marriage and/or go whoring.
Of the 500 migrant workers who answered questions about prostitutes, 51.2 percent said that they had encountered temptation from prostitutes, 22.95 percent wanted to find a prostitute and 15.82 percent had received sexual services from the prostitutes.
"The migrant workers suffer from sexual dysfunctions and diseases, but they seldom go to hospitals for treatment. The majority of them just tolerate their malady by consuming tonics or buying medicines on their own. In this way, we can see how these people view sex in general," Zhang Wenwei said in conclusion after reviewing the survey.
According to the Zhejiang provincial statistics bureau, in 2006, there were 17.83 million farmer workers in Zhejiang, with 12.60 million local farmer workers and 5.23 million non-local migrant workers. These people play an important role in enhancing the development of Zhejiang's economy.
"This survey is unique in China; it has greatly assisted the public in learning about real life situation of our farmer workers," Zhang said.
"We didn't conduct this survey just out of prurient curiosity. Actually, we want to provide humanistic care," Zhang explained.
(China.org.cn by Li Xiaohua, November 16, 2007)