Sex, drugs, and Tianjin University students

We both tagged along with the Bright Future class this week. This was the birth control lesson, where the 27 students were split into groups and each given a different kind of birth control to examine and read about before giving a report to the class on how it’s used, what it does, and its advantages and disadvantages. It’s mostly listening practice for me, but it’s fun to spend time with the students. Jessica’s been going every week, and this was my second time.

To give you an idea of where these students are coming from regarding sex ed, here’s an excerpt from an article written this week by Chuck, the Bright Future intern:

“How many students have received sexual education in their schooling?”

Two hands went up.

“How many have talked to their parents about sex?”

Three more hands tentatively went up…

“How many haven’t ever received any formal sexual education?”

Almost all hands were in the air.

It’s difficult to imagine that most of the students in the room were sophomores in one of China’s top universities…

As development and western influences change China at a breakneck pace, China’s youth are often left trying to navigate tumultuous times with no compass or map. Youths’ exposure to more sensitive issues… are, at best, sporadic and terse even in the most modern cities. When asked about where students get information concerning relationships and sex, one male responded, “We mostly come across these ideas through media and what we see on TV and movies.” Others nodded in agreement.

There is also an anonymous question box for the students. In Chinese culture, peer pressure can be greater and saying “no” can be harder, for various reasons. Here are some of their questions from the week before, which was a “refusal skills” class where they discussed and practiced refusing unwanted sexual advances:

  • Someone said, “Men hope to be a women’s first love and women hope to be a man’s last love.” Is there logic behind this? Do men really care about being a woman’s first love?
  • If the other person is “clutching their ears,” continues to make requests, won’t give up after being refused, then what should I do?
  • Can a woman ever forget her first love?
  • What is the attitude of university women towards dating? What are those who are in relationships thinking? Do they really just date in university in order to have the experience? Do they really care about things like wealth, height and background?
  • Sometimes I think that when you directly share your opinions and give suggestions [in refusing someone], it still doesn’t always help you reach your goal. Sometimes the other person simply won’t accept your point of view. So what is the best way to indirectly refuse someone?
  • Are males less “pure” than females?
  • Do men really care about their partner’s sexual history?
  • Does starting sexual relations early have negative physical effects?
  • How do become more confident when refusing other people?

In this photo (click for big size), Jessica talks with a bunch of the girls after class got out.

3 thoughts on “Sex, drugs, and Tianjin University students”

  1. That sounds like a really good thing to help. When I came to Tianjin I wanted to do some volunteering but so far haven’t got round to anything. One of my friends was working in Yunnan on A1DS projects(promoting safe sex, informing people about it). In the UK when I was younger(16-18) I used to volunteer on a helpline.

  2. Yeah I can see that it would. I’d love to do some volunteer work in China, I’m considering staying another year after July(I’m supposed to go back to my uni in the UK in September) then starting uni again in the UK in 2009. If I did that I’d probably do some volunteering as well as studying.

  3. Bright Future rocks – it just kills me that my Chinese is still too poor to really put in or get much out of these classes. The students and the classes have tons of interest to me on so many levels.

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