Primary sex textbook launched
(10.25.2011)

Students mark red for private parts and green for areas that can be touched at a sex education lesson at a primary school in Shanghai yesterday.

 

“No, you cannot touch my private parts!”

A group of primary school students were taught to say this loud and clear in a local sex education class yesterday, when new sex education textbooks were introduced to pupils in Shanghai following numerous debates on early-age sex education in China.

“We have forbidden zones on our bodies. The parts of a boy or girl that are covered by swimsuits are the private parts,” teacher Hou Ping told some 30 third-graders at the Primary School Affiliated with the Shanghai University of Science and Technology.

The class also aimed to show the children how to protect themselves in accordance with rules described in the book “Boys and Girls.”

None of her students were giggling or bashful when teachers instructed them on how to protect their private parts.  “I like the class because it contains a lot of games,” said a girl student named Xia Qingying.

Students were asked to fill in different colors in the touchable parts and untouchable private parts of characters in the textbooks.

They seemed to enjoy reading the colorful textbooks, the city’s first sex education textbooks for early grades.

Before this, the book had triggered controversy among many parents who complained that the content is too advanced as it introduces the names of private parts and explains fertilization with colorful illustrations.

Now the book for early grades is being trialed at 18 local primary schools.

Teachers of the other 17 schools were invited to attend the demonstration class yesterday in a training program.

Some parent representatives were invited to sit in.

Parents were impressed. Wang Dongdong, the mother of a girl, said, “It’s a pity that we, born in the 1980s and 1970s, did not receive such scientific sex education.”

Wang said she supports the sex education class very much because it helps her with questions about touching.

Wang said that she told her daughter to protect herself from others after watching a TV news program about how a tutor seduced a student.

Her daughter replied to her, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m very sensitive to sex.” The answer surprised Wang because she was unsure what the word “sex” meant to her daughter.

“I wanted to talk about sex with her, but I didn’t know where to start,” she said. 

However, some people still find it hard to accept the idea of sex education for primary pupils. “Do children need to understand so clearly?” asked 25-year-old John Yang. “Why not keep their childhood innocence for longer.”

A lack of appropriate sex knowledge has been linked to rising teenage pregnancy rates in some cities.

According to statistics from the Chinese Medical Association released in 2009, Chinese girls typically begin to enter adolescence when just over nine years old.