Home / Local News
Tue, Jan 11, 2000 - Page 4 News List

Education key to helping the young deal with sex

SEXUALITY With a number of major sex-related stories making headlines last year, sex education professionals agree the stories reflect contradictions in society's attitudes but differ on how to deal with the problem

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Teenage sex and sex-related drugs dominated Taiwan's top 10 sex-related news items in 1999, sex education professionals said yesterday.

The rapid increase in youth HIV infection around the world was the top story of 1999, according to the list author, the Mercy Memorial Foundation (杏陵醫學基金會), a non-profit group promoting family values and sex education.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, over a third of the 30 million people in the world with AIDS are between 10-24 years.

It is estimated that some 2.6 million young people are infected with HIV every year, the equivalent of 7,000 every day, or five every minute, said Hsiung Hsien-chih (熊賢芝), a director of the foundation.

The second-ranking story was the news that 57 percent of Taipei's senior high school students were not opposed to `one- night stands' and that 53 percent of them admitted to having such experiences. The news, from last November, came on the heels of a survey conducted by Taipei City Councilor Chen Hsueh-fen (陳雪芬).

Over the past 10 years, teenaged girls in Taiwan have become increasingly open about sex, the foundation said.

The story that pre-marital sex among teenagers also increased four-fold over the last 10 years, from 6.9 percent to 26.7 percent, ranked third on the list.

Another focus of sex-related news last year was drugs. FM2, a so-called "date rape pill," was sold illegally from locally-based Web sites as was the still-outlawed abortion pill RU486. This ranked fourth on the list.

The introduction of RU486 was delayed due to its high failure rate in clinical tests.

The legal import of the anti-impotence drug Viagra made it to fifth place in the rankings.

Interpreting the list, foundation members said that sex education was lagging behind the increase in sex-related Web sites.

"The influence of pornographic Web sites has distorted the ideas and behavior of teenagers in relation to sex. An understanding of safe sex is very much lacking," Hsiung said.

She said that although society has reached a consensus on the need for sex education, such education is still not widespread.

The Ministry of Education announced guidelines last year to deal with cases of sexual harassment and related offenses on school campuses, in which it mandated a four-hour compulsory sex education course each semester.

Hsiung questioned the effectiveness of such a course. She said what most schools did was to hold large lectures for hundreds of students, in which most students paid little attention to message being conveyed.

She added that the teaching methods did not give students a real understanding of the issues.

Other sex education professionals had a different interpretation of developments on the sexual scene in recent years.

Wang Ping (王蘋), secretary general of the Gender and Sexuality Rights Association (台灣性別人協會), said society should adjust its view on the changing phenomena of youth sexuality.

On the one hand, society has sought to protect women from being harmed sexually, but is also anxious to see an increase in pre-marital sex for women. This reveals a contradiction in society's attitude towards women's sexuality.

Wang added that fears about sex on the Internet only tended to widen the generation gap in regard to sexuality issues, adding that the list reflected a male and adult-oriented view of sex.

This story has been viewed 5489 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top