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70 pct of people have pre-marital sex: study

By Zou Le (Global Times)

14:54, April 09, 2012

Chinese people are showing increasingly tolerant attitudes toward pre- marital sex with over 70 percent now having sex before tying the knot, according to a survey.

Figures from 1994 showed that only 40 percent of people had pre-marital sex then, while the number was much lower back in 1989 at 15 percent, according to studies conducted by sexologist Li Yinhe.

The Report on the Health of Chinese People's Sex Life, jointly released over the weekend by Media Survey Lab and Insight China magazine, showed that women are more inclined to oppose pre-marital sex than men.

The report interviewed 1,013 people in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, and polled over 20,000 people online over the past month.

Seventy percent of respondents aged from 20 to 39 and 64 percent of them hold a bachelor degree or above.

"Chinese people's views toward pre-marital sex have experienced the biggest change compared with other sex-related issues," said Li, a former professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"You would not see public attitudes on these issues change so dramatically in a few years in Western countries," Li told the Global Times.

The survey came out after a 38-year-old woman set up a website advocating chastity, which stirred up online debates. She also presented the media a certificate to prove her virginity.

Tu Shiyou, a master degree holder, even went further and sought husband who she stated would not have sex with her for the first three years of the marriage. Her move drew mostly criticism but also some voices of support.

According to Li, the increasingly open view about pre-marital sex is a result of changed attitudes toward sex among Chinese people who see sex more as for pleasure instead of a means to produce offspring.

Also, with a long period between adolescence and the legal marrying age, pre-marital sex is inevitable, Li told the Global Times.

During the legislative sessions last month, Huang Xihua, a deputy of National People's Congress, submitted a proposal calling for the legal marrying age to be lowered.

Huang said there are a large number of people who are living together and have bona fide marriages, but their rights could not be protected because they are under the legal marrying age.

She said that a high marrying age also postpones the time of giving birth, which is not good for mothers.

China's legal marrying age is currently set at 22 for men and 20 for women.

The survey also examined other areas. Despite the high percentage of pre-marital sex, over half of those surveyed said they had never received any kind of sex education.

Less than 9 percent of people were taught about sex in school, with even fewer at 1.5 percent claiming to have been told about sex by their parents. The Internet was the primary resource for Chinese to gather sex knowledge, with others simply figuring it out as they went along.

According to the survey, men and women have slightly different preferences in terms of where they get knowledge about sex. The Internet was the top choice for men, while women preferred to learn through their own experiences.

"In a society of diversity, people's choices are also diversified and we need to respect those different lifestyles," Li said.

Li Mao contributed to this story

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