Q: What do you think about premarital sex between teenagers?
A: This is common question I get from my Chinese college students. What I think about premarital sex, in other words, whether or not I agree or disagree with it is irrelevant. Teenagers in China, and all over the world, are going to engage in premarital sex regardless of what anyone thinks or feels. In fact, China has witnessed a steady growth in teens engaging in premarital sex since the Open Door and Reform Era policies began in 1976. This increasing trend of Chinese teenagers engaging in premarital sex has been coupled with decreasing access to accurate sexual health education resources. The result is an alarming increase in unwanted pregnancies, abortions conducted in secrecy, and the spread of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
As previously stated, my personal opinion about premarital teen sex is not important. What is vitally important is the recognition that Chinese teens, as well as teens all over the world, are actively seeking out and engaging in sexual activity. With that fact in mind, I feel it is imperative that all teens have easy access to accurate and reliable sexual health education and contraceptive technologies, especially condoms. Teens need to be aware of the possible negative consequences of premarital sex (i.e., pregnancy and STIs), know about the available contraceptive methods (i.e., condoms, birth control pills, etc.), how to effectively use them, and where to safely obtain them. I also feel that it is important that all teens learn how to communicate about sex with each other. Teens need to know how to talk about their sexual preferences, feel comfortable saying “no” to sexual activity, and practice how to demand safer sex practices from their partner(s).
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