Fri, Oct 10, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Pre-nuptial chastity goes for a loop in new China

SEXUAL REVOLUTION Western-style market reforms have caused a boom in adolescent dating, adultery and promiscuity, recent research indicates

REUTERS , BEIJING

Only about a third of Chinese newlyweds enter the bedchamber as virgins, a new government report estimates, underlining the extent of the sexual revolution in a society that once swore by pre-nuptial chastity.

Research published by the State Family Planning Association showed 60 percent to 70 percent of men and women engaged to be married had previous sexual experience, the official Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

However, it was unclear what percentage of couples had slept with other partners.

In the most sexually active region of China, 90 percent of people surveyed had had intercourse before marriage, while in the least active, the figure was 44 percent, Xinhua said. It did not name the regions.

The study analysed 196 reports compiled from 1990 to 2000 based on medical examinations Chinese were required to undergo before marriage.

Such medicals are no longer required under new marriage regulations which took effect on Oct. 1 and are meant to trim the bureaucracy from the registration process.

Pre-marital sex was a social taboo in traditional China and during the first 30 years of Communist rule.

But attitudes towards sex relaxed greatly after China embarked on Western-style market reforms in 1978, unleashing a boom in adolescent dating, adultery, prostitution and other kinds of promiscuity which the party has blamed on the decadence of liberal bourgeois mores imported from the West.

A recent study by prominent People's University sexologist Pan Suiming suggests that nearly twice as many marriage-aged youths today have sex before getting hitched than their parents did when they were young.

He found 72.2 percent of men between the ages 25 and 29, and 46.2 percent of women, had had pre-marital sex.

Among people above 40, only 45.7 percent of men and 24.1 percent of women had sex before tying the knot.

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