Chinese society has traditionally treated “sex” as a taboo to be avoided.
Moreover, gender plays an essential role in traditional norms: males are expected to be proactive and take risks, whereas females are expected to be gentle and passively receptive.
Such norms have caused negative effects to environment. When children reach adolescence and have male-female relationships, especially when they become curious about sex, traditional norms frequently prevent teenage girls from discussing birth control with their boyfriends. There is a deficiency in girls’ ability to discuss sexual issues.
Intercourse is, more often than not, a sudden occurrence when there is an opportunity to be alone. At such times, teenage girls may be panic; even if they are unwilling. They comply because they have been unconsciously conditioned by traditional norms since childhood (“females must be obedient in order to be gratifying”).
Sex education does not teach males that they should respect females’ wishes – “no” means “no”, and is not a white lie.
Sex education does not teach females how to become comfortable with their own sexuality, or even about their right to determine the use of their own bodies. Once physical relationships develop, given the deficiencies of sex education, intimate relations are generally led by male students using wrong knowledge from adult films, leaving female students with no room to be heard.
Wouldn’t she notice the cessation of her periods or her growing belly? The fetus even moves during the latter stages of pregnancy! In reality, pregnant teenage girls are usually panic and uncertain of what to do. Moreover, discussing their pregnancies with their family members would entail the difficult task of revealing that they had engaged in intercourse.
Teenage girls do not have the ability to determine the course of their own sexual relationships. When teenage girls encounter such immense problems that they themselves cannot resolve alone, they are inclined towards psychological avoidance. If they still do not understand and are unclear to the availability of related resources, at that time the consequences will be a tragedy for everyone eventually.
One can hope the girls will have the courage to reject the ideal of the obedient girls in traditional culture.
In addition to the participation of the family, the health care system, society, and the government, the reexamination of sex education is very important to resolving the problem of unplanned teenage pregnancy. One hopes that educators will implement the following measures:
(1) promote grassroots development – institute sex education in elementary and high school in order to ensure that both boys and girls will have sufficient and accurate knowledge about sex, in case of facing an unplanned pregnancy at a complete loss;
(2) raise teachers’ awareness – teachers often have the greatest impact on their students. But due to the antiquated cultural norm of “don’t mention sex,” students usually hesitate to seek help or to discuss the situation with their teachers;
(3) increase the sensitivity of school counsellors to sexual matters – at present, school counsellors are not a well-publicized resource; by increasing the impact of school counsellors, sex education will not be so ineffective and the regrettable instances of female students facing unplanned pregnancy without the ability to seek assistance will decrease.