Sex Education

I have noticed that sex education has been a common topic that has arose in class whether we are talking about birth and politics, abortion, or public policy and services. I came across this article written by a journalist, Jemimah Steinfield, who talks about sex education, or the lack there of, in China. Sex discussion and education was strictly forbidden in China until around the time of the cultural revolution when the Ministry of Education allowed some sex education, but mainly to teach children about the differences between men and women. They were to be taught mainly about the anatomical differences only. Even in recent years in China, schools are discussing these same topics and including ¬†nothing about contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, or sexual abuse. The problem is that since no one learns about it, no one grows up to be able to teach about it and the vicious cycle continues. Unfortunately, even though there is no education, this doesn’t mean that people are not engaging in sexual activity. The article states that a survey done in 2012 “showed that 70% of Chinese have engaged in pre-marital sex, up from just 15% of those surveyed in 1989” (Steinfield). So its clear that the population is sexually active and without proper protection and education of risk comes the potential unwanted infections and pregnancies. “Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the ascent and China has particularly high rates of syphilis, while sexual transmission now accounts for 81.7% of all new HIV infections” (Steinfield). As well, the article reports that in 2013, 13 million annual abortions were performed with one patient who reportedly had already had 13 abortions throughout her lifetime.

I found this article especially interesting based on the facts. You’d think figures like this would be making a more profound impact on a population. I found it particularly interesting in comparison to discussions we had had in class and different sexual educations experiences each student has had. The article ends stating that there has been more focus on sexual education in China in the past year, but mostly focused on protection against sexual abuse as the cases of child abuse have drastically rise throughout the past decade.

Steinfield, J. (2014, June). Do Chinese Classrooms Need to Talk About Sex? CNN. Retrieved from CNN website


One thought on “Sex Education

  1. I agree that these statistics are quite astounding, and remind me of the similar problems relating to the gap between statistics and policy for abortion. Just like the high rates of sexual activity, STIs, and unwanted pregnancy are not met with sexual education, the high rates of abortion are not met with decriminalization in many countries. Just because sex is not discussed or abortion is not legal does not mean people will not have sex or get abortions. Policymakers need to focus on what is best for the health of their populations as their first priority, rather than letting other religious or moral qualms get in the way of policy for all citizens. And as we also mentioned in class, if more women were in charge of these policy decisions, we could see a greater emphasis on women’s health in legislation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *