Too much too soon about birds and bees

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, October 28, 2011
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Qian is son of renowned classical scholar Chien Mu.

"In sex education, the most important thing is not to teach how to use contraceptives, but to help arm students with correct moral values," Qian observed at a recent lecture in Chongqing Municipality.

In other words, correct sex education has less to do with science (know-how) than ethics.

The prevailing perception of Western practice as "advanced" is misguided, because sex is practiced much earlier in some countries, just as promiscuity is more tolerated in some cultures.

For example, in one Western country where there are "non-judgmental adolescent pregnancy counseling," and subsidies and support for single young mothers, a survey finds that more than one-quarter of year 10 (high school sophomores) students and just over half of all year 12 (seniors) have had sexual intercourse.

How to handle sex issues is culture specific, and although premature loss of virginity is no longer reason to be stigmatized or ostracized, modesty in matters of sex is still central to Chinese perception of womanly virtues.

Our ancestors believed such modesty is best protected by ignorance.

Biological clock

In the past in some areas of China, among the dowry gifts from a mother to her bride-to-be daughter was a "trunk bottom," containing a figure of a couple engaged in coitus.

Experience shows that such delayed revelation, too late by modern standards, apparently did the opposite of detracting from nuptial bliss.

It can be easily observed that, with rare exceptions, traditional Chinese matrimonial alliances last much longer than modern marriages.

As a matter of fact, in some less progressive parts of China, divorce is still rare.

Ironically, in an age when pornography is only a few clicks away, and when some television stations seem to be working overtime to coach us in skills of courtship, dalliance, and flirtation, and when artistic or real scenes of sexual situations are daily imposed on us, our educators are worried not about our children's overexposure, but about their awkward innocence.

The widely cited excuse for "self-protection" is untenable.

When sex knowledge is divulged outside of a moral and cultural context, it naturally invites experimentation, not just among the more impressionable and enterprising children and young people, but among adults as well.

So, it can be imagined that in the wake of this sex education "Great Leap Forward," education authorities should next mull coaching girl students how to deflect the advances of their male peers.

Be reminded: We are biologically timed to "wake up" in response to our mental and physical maturity.

The eagerness to introduce our children to sexuality is yet another sign of the decay of society's moral fiber.

In devoting so much of their energy to the sex issue, our educators have again betrayed their own lack of education.


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