Sex is a taboo topic in Chinese society. Movies and television shows with sexual content are often censored. Stores selling sex toys or pornography are hidden from the public eye, and if one can find one they usually have no cashier available out front. As a result, sex education is no where to be found in the Chinese school system.
From my experience, the schools I went to never gave me any sex education, except for standard health lessons such as having periods, and even so these lessons were very brief and scarce. I can recall one day in elementary school of the teacher separating boys and girls into different classrooms. In the classroom with girls, she talked to us about periods and handed us some information sheets. At my home, my parents tried to give me some sex education but could not find the right words to express the concept to me. As far as I know, that’s very common among many families, therefore both Chinese schools and parents don’t often teach anything relating to sex.
Schools do not approve of students having romantic relationships. Therefore, they do not emphasize sex education. In middle and high school, teachers would repeatedly warn us of the consequences of having relationships at a young age, primarily due to being unable to focus on our studies and at risk of falling behind. Students who broke the rule would be called to the teacher’s office along with their parents to be disciplined. Sometimes, through the loud speaker, they would call out the students and state the reason why they were being punished in a rather humiliating experience.
Interestingly, in contrast to the lack of sex education, advertisements on abortion are seen everyehere. I have always seen flyers of abortion clinics on public transportations around my city. This phenonomon could be a part of the abortion campiagn China had while it was still under the One Child Policy.
It seems that Chinese society often demonizes sex, keeping it away from young students. However, in my opinion, the lack of sex education and the attitude of secrecy regarding sex might cause students to have a biased and unhealthy image of sex that stems from youth.
Girl Museum Inc.