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Sex textbook causes controversy

(Shanghai Daily)

08:44, August 19, 2011

A NEW sex education textbook for pupils in Beijing has sparked controversy around the country because of its explicit description of intercourse and its graphic illustrations.

While the textbook claims to give children proper guidance about sex and teach them how to avoid sexual abuse, some parents worry that the content is not suitable for primary school students.

There are different versions for primary school students in low, middle and high grades with content that includes chapters about "My body" and "AIDS prevention and control."

In one chapter called "Where do I come from," it details the process of intercourse and explains how sperm meet the egg. Cartoon style pictures help explain the terms.

Beijing education officials say the textbook will be used in selected schools on a trial basis from next month and will be expanded to all primary schools in the capital.

Zhang Meimei, director of the Capital Normal University's sex education center, said the textbook combined Western sex education and traditional Chinese culture and would provide correct guidance for students and parents.

Zhang said sex education was too simplistic or non-existent in many primary and middle schools.

However, some parents said the book is too revealing, and some even feared it could lead to the early onset of puberty.

A number of online comments criticized the graphic nature of the book and detailed parents' fears about the effect the pictures would have on their children.

"It is just a pornographic book. What if my son copies the gestures in the book," said one father surnamed Zhang. "It is too early for primary students to know such detailed information about sex."

On the other hand, an online survey revealed that most people welcomed the book. Only 18 percent of some 1,200 participants said the book was too bold.

Dr Cheng Xiaomei, who is part of the medical team behind Shanghai's 65876866 hotline that dispenses sex advice and helps girls and young women who find themselves pregnant, described the book as "very helpful."

"With earlier puberty, teenagers must receive proper sex education as early as possible," Cheng said.

"I have received phone calls from some girls worrying about the possibility of pregnancy after kissing boys. There were also girls who had no idea they were pregnant until their stomachs started to swell," she said.

Research conducted in Beijing showed that its primary school students had a poor awareness of sex and less than 20 percent had sex education in school.

Officials from Shanghai Education Commission said there was no one textbook on sex education in primary schools. Sex education in the city was fairly basic and didn't go into much detail.

However, the commission's Cong Haiying said Shanghai had no plans to follow Beijing's example.

"Sex is sensitive, so we don't want to be radical," she said.

Chen Zhong, a Shanghai mother with a daughter and son at primary school, said such a textbook was a good way to spread proper information on sex. "We want them to know the right thing from the right channels instead of some misleading sources like the Internet," she said.


Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

Gorege at 2011-08-2261.185.201.*
Worry too much. Now children can get much more information about sex from about openly. tell them the consequence of unmarital sex
MUKESH at 2011-08-1959.93.197.*

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