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Students open, cautious about sex

(Shanghai Daily)

08:37, May 24, 2013

Although teenaged students today are more open about puppy love, a majority of them said in a survey they are very cautious about sexual contact in their relationships.

Nearly 60 percent of high school students said they are against sexual behavior as they believe it will hinder the development of true feelings and might leave a bad influence both physically and emotionally, according to the survey conducted by the Shanghai Education Commission.

The commission interviewed more than 800 middle and high school students in the city.

The survey found only 3 percent of middle school students and 2 percent of high school students have had sexual contact. However, about 30 percent of middle school students and 40 percent of high school students have held hands, hugged or kissed their boyfriends or girlfriends, according to the survey.

"It is common for teenagers to have certain physiological needs because they are maturing," said Dai Yaohong, who led the research.

Dai said the social environment and media are more open about sex nowadays, which has been a catalyst in leading to students maturing much faster than before.

More than half of the students said they supported puppy love while the survey also found two-thirds of the middle school students prefer to get to know each other well before starting a relationship. Meanwhile, 71 percent of high school students said they would only date people they like, the survey found.

The survey also found teenage lovers like to study together and communicate with each other through text messages.

"This kind of love values a lot on inner feelings, which is purer than many material love stories between adults," Dai said.

To teen students, the three top criteria in a partner are "be good to me," "have similar interests" and "good looking."

Dai said teenagers generally lack sex knowledge but are very curious about it.

The survey showed 78 percent of grade 10 students at Shanghai Shidong High School think they need counseling on cross-gender communication, while 36 percent want to learn more about contraceptives and safe sex.

Dai said male students are more likely to push for sexual contact and "girls are likely to say yes if their boyfriends persist."

Middle school students range from 12 to 15 years of age while high school students are aged 16 to 18.

Dai also said parents have trouble coping when they learn their child is in love.

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