September 18, 2013
Sex Education For Adults
Can you imagine lying next to your husband or wife for three years, thinking that sharing the same bed — without sex — would be enough to cause pregnancy? In 2011, a young married couple in the Chinese city of Wuhan, both with college degrees, thought exactly that until they visited their doctor.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident in China. Yahoo News reports that the conservative attitude towards sex started in China with the advent of the prudish Communist Party in 1949. That means 64 years of sexual oppression. Things are changing, slowly.
As China’s major cities are growing in affluence, more of the population is traveling and being influenced by the popular foreign culture.
“In Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities, women are very influenced by Western, Taiwanese and Korean cultures, so have very modern attitudes to sex,” said Jay Zheng, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. “But in rural areas, some women know nothing.”
This is where the sex ed classes are coming in. Ma Li, certified by the US-based World Association of Sex Coaches, is teaching small groups of Chinese women about their bodies and the pleasures of sex. The two-day tutorials are expensive — about $410 USD. That represents more than half the average MONTHLY wage in Shanghai, but her classes are filled to the brim every time.
Ma isn’t the only one teaching such classes. Women are signing up to learn about the anatomy, psychology and techniques of intimacy in similar sessions in many cities. For example, psychologist Zhenhong Li started her own series of meetings in July for women to talk openly about sex in Beijing.
“I had absolutely no sex education at all. I thought adult male bodies look the same as baby boys’,” said Sophia Hu, a 30-year-old lawyer. “I want to understand myself and the realities of sex.”
Remember that couple in Wuhan?
“In China, schools are focused on grades, so non-examinable subjects are often changed to ones that will raise grades,” said Maggie Hu, who works for the Guangzhou-based sex education provider SexualityZone.
Ma, and other educators like her, are trying to change this. The women who attend her classes come from all walks of life — from 20-year-old students preparing for their first sexual experience to middle-aged divorcees seeking to regain confidence. Ma says not only are the schools failing the Chinese children, but the “home wisdom” gained at home is, as well.
“One of my clients said they were told by their mother that sex is like being shot at with a gun,” Ma said. “Many people will grow up thinking that sex is a dangerous thing or really shameful.”
Since China has 200 million more people than the next most populous country (India), I doubt there is a lack of sex going on. However, sex is supposed to be fun. It is supposed to be something you enjoy and look forward to, not just a duty — and certainly not like a gun being fired at you. Hopefully these classes will help.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com