Sat, Jun 30, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Teenagers’ sex attitudes ‘worrying,’ group says

DIVISIVE ISSUE:A survey into youngsters’ sexual views by a family-oriented group has been dismissed by some as ‘repression under the guise of protection’

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff writer

While the majority of teenagers know to respect the “body boundaries” of others, it is worrisome that one out of five would have sex when there is mutual consent, according to a recent survey by the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF), which has urged teenagers to avoid having sex in their youth.

The survey into the behavior of youngsters aged 12 to 18 showed 93 percent agreed that “body boundaries” are important and there should not be inappropriate body contact even with one’s girlfriend or boyfriend.

The nationwide survey, released on Thursday, also found that one in five respondents think “as long as there is mutual consent, or when invited, having sex is allowed.”

Meanwhile, 40 percent of the respondents said they were unaware that having sex with people under the age of 14 could result in criminal prosecution, while sex with those aged between 14 and 16 could result in lawsuits.

TFCF deputy executive director Ho Su-chun (何素春) said the results were worrying.

“Apparently, a lot of teenagers are unaware that they could face sexual assault charges if they had sex with people under 16 even when both have consented to having sex,” she added. “Teen pregnancy is also a serious social problem.”

To solve such issues, Ho said, the “correct concepts about sex” should be taught.

“We urge the public to pay more attention to issues related to teenage relationships,” she said. “We should start from establishing correct concepts about sex, teach our children to stop others from violating their bodies, learn to respect those whom they love and not to violate their bodies, so that there wouldn’t be regrettable consequences.”

The group also released a list of “three don’ts” for teenagers, including: “don’t have sex, don’t browse porn Web sites and don’t violate other people’s bodies even with one’s girlfriend or boyfriend.”

Josephine Ho (何春蕤), head of National Central University’s Center for the Study of Sexualities, disagreed with the TFCF and accused the group of promoting the idea of “repression under the disguise of protection.”

“A high percentage of students knowing about respecting others’ ‘body boundaries’ and the fact that a high percentage of students have sex in their teenage years is not contradictory,” she said. “If they know how to respect other people’s ‘body boundaries,’ why can’t they have sex when there’s mutual consent?”

She said it is natural for those attracted to one another to have sexual desires, but that the ideas promoted by the TFCF seek to extinguish those through repression and guilt.

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