‘What’s this?’ Sex education debate after China mother finds condom in teen son’s bagjessie tan
A public discussion about sex education in China has been kicked off by a mother in eastern China who told the media it shocked her to find a condom in her teenage son’s schoolbag.
The single mother from Zhejiang province said she saw a suspicious object at the bottom of her son’s schoolbag when she was checking his schoolwork earlier this month, the Qianjiang Evening News reported.
“What is this?” Asked the mother, surnamed Xu.
She said when she realised it was a condom, both she and her son, a secondary student, were embarrassed.
Xu said her son, who is believed to be 14 or 15 years old, has never kept secrets from her and explained that it was something “he felt too shy to speak about”.
The son said at school, two boys in his class brought a pack of condoms to the classroom and played with a condom by throwing it around.
The boy said the condom accidentally fell into his schoolbag. He later used a piece of tissue to wrap it up and threw it away into a bin, said the mother.
Xu said she felt afterwards that it was necessary to talk to her son about sex education.
“I told my son that a condom is not something that should necessarily make you feel shy. The wrong part of this is that these two students should not play with it in the classroom,” she said.
She said her son overcame his shyness and was curious when she briefed him on how condoms were used.
“I had planned to buy some to give him a detailed introduction, but I thought it’s not appropriate for me to discuss that with him,” said Xu, who eventually passed a book on physical health to her son to read.
Jin Lingjuan, a form teacher from Tianhang Experimental School in Hangzhou, also in Zhejiang province, said children’s curiosity about sex is actually a good opportunity to provide sex education.
Jin said she once taught a first-year secondary class about sexual knowledge and psychological health for adolescents.
The teacher said the contents ranged from sanitary pads and condoms to contraceptive measures and the prevention of HIV infection.
“The kids listened carefully,” she said. “I think when the students are aware of sexual knowledge, and their curiosity has been met, they won’t make sex jokes any longer.”
Xu’s condom discovery in her son’s schoolbag story has attracted more than 330 million views on Weibo, with thousands of people commenting.
“Nowadays, many children aged 11 to 12 know everything. I think it’s better to educate girls about sex early; otherwise, they will be taken advantage of. For boys, they usually learn it without a teacher,” wrote one user.
“If it were a girl, her parents would be anxious, furious, worried, and frightened, if they found a used condom in her schoolbag,” another person commented.
Shenzhen-based sex education expert Hu Ping wrote in her book Shan Jie Tong Zhen that there’s an increasing trend of children seeing an early onset of puberty, with some girls starting to have periods as early as nine years old while some boys as young as 10 can start to develop symptoms of spermatorrhea.
Hu suggests that sex education for children should thus be carried out earlier than before.