Sex Education in Chinese, America, and Latina Cultures

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Table of contents

  1. American Culture
  2. Chinese Culture
  3. Latina Culture

Sex education has always been a subject causes great concern in the field of modern education. Whether virginity is equivalent to purity? whether premarital sex greatly reduces the value of women themselves? Different eras and cultural backgrounds cause in different interpretations. In traditional Chinese culture, we can see the oppression of masculine to women's sexual autonomy, women are regarded as a male accessory, sexual autonomy to the Chinese women is a wild wish before 18th century. Even in modern times, sex education, sexual openness, and sexual autonomy have long been seen as a sensitive public issue in China.

In Yixing's article, we see a shift in contemporary sex education from the original claim to protect chastity and rejection of sex to how to protect girls themselves in the current time of sexual intercourse. This is undoubtedly a major advance in sex education in Asia. Western culture, I always think that compared to Chinese culture is relatively open, however, Valenti examines Western society under the connection between virgins and women's values, reminding me that this origin of virginity and prejudice against women is omnipresent. As we living in a society that advocates gender equality, this serious discrimination against single-sex should not exist. In this article, I focus on the relationship between losing virginity and the social reaction to examine how people in contemporary society use the resources of cultural ideas to make sense of themselves as sexual beings. Furthermore, I look forward to cracking the purity myth by comparing the different views of Eastern and Western cultures on sex education, to implement true gender equality and the freedom to express personal will.

American Culture

In the article “The Cult of Virginity” by Valenti Jessica, she believes that there is a widespread misconception in the United States that a woman's value depends on whether she is sexually active, in other words, a woman who loses her virginity before marriage can harm herself extremely. Furthermore, Valenti believes Myths and media are instilling in young women in the United States that it is shameful to lose their virginity. The most typical example is the story of Eve and Adam, behind this mythological story, to express that stealing forbidden fruit is an 'evil' behavior, therefore, the behavior is often used to describe someone unable to restrain his desires and to do something wrong. However, why is premarital sex considered a wrong behavior? As Valenti states “ women are still being judged on something that does not exist: virginity(Valenti 19).

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I think, before discussing the effect of the term “virginity” on women, we should first discuss the definition of virginity; then further discuss why in the eyes of many Westerners, losing virginity is equal to the loss of purity? The author of the book Virgin: The Untouched History, Hanne Blank had seriously considered whether she was still a virgin before she started writing, but either in the medical literature or any book that mentioned the term “virginity” they all do not well define the true meaning of “virginity”. The term “virginity” seems to be a product of masculinity and to achieve some people's illusions about purity, most women are bound by a needless value. Virginity was originally used to call girls who had not tried sex yet, but due to the social issue that occurs causes by early sex intercourse, women who did not respect their bodies were branded debauchery, so it is relatively pure to maintain chastity. From Valenti's article, it is clear that women's value is not equated with whether to keep virginity, and even that keeping virginity before marriage is somehow considered a symbol of loyalty, purity, but the right to exercise and experience sexual autonomy should not be stigmatized.

Chinese Culture

According to the Chinese author Yixing wang's article 'Female Virginity Complex' Untied: Young Chinese Women's Experience of Virginity Los and Sexual Coercion, she mentions the contradictions of modern Chinese women after the first sexual act. Yixing believes that the goal of sex education should no longer be to 'protect' young girls and to maintain their 'purity,' but to teach them the right sexual behavior. The article also points out a key issue, 'sexual coercion'. Unlike American culture, old Chinese masculinism has made this phenomenon more frequent, and that women's attitudes toward sexual purification and moralization through their unwanted sexual behavior only exacerbate young women's sense of helplessness in terms of sexuality. Girls know how to protect themselves in sex, but they don't know how to refuse sex. The term sexual coercion is somewhat different from rape. As a student who grew up in the context of Chinese culture, things about sexual coercion are commonly happened around us; especially when women are the weak social lying side, regardless it is for academic studies, political future, a performance opportunity, or anything related to personal interests. Some of the women are willing, but reluctant, to use their bodies as a shortcut to success, and as Yixing says, the sex education that China needs now is no longer about teaching women how to be pure, but about protecting themselves in sexual behavior. I think, if you want to use proper sex education to eliminate the rampant phenomenon of sexual coercion, the right values are the most important part of making young people aware of the importance of the body, although the ownership and use of the body is in their hands, but that does not mean that they can be free. I think the most difficult thing on this issue is how to strike a balance between the rule of law, social ethics and sexual autonomy. I agree with this way of interpreting sex education, rather than explicitly forbidding, it is better to provide knowledge of safe sexual behavior, and to teach the new generation of young people the right values, to let them make choices for themselves. Children who grow up in this educational system, will not see premarital sex as an 'impure performance', but a different choice. Of course, in such a relatively open atmosphere, there will also be a certain degree of negative impact. It is undeniable that early sexual activity can lead to some cases of early pregnancy and even more single-parent families. On the one hand, we should make compromises under the tide of democratic thinking and sexual autonomy, on the other hand, we should also take into account ethics and the maintenance of social order. I believe that there is still a long way to go, both in the improvement of the education system and in the establishment of the judicial system.

Latina Culture

In Garcia's article “The Sexual (Mis) education of Latina Girls”, she points out that sex education for Latina girls is different from the American model of education. Latin sex education is more like a “must' for young Latin girls to secure the chance of higher academic achievement. A large amount of Latina girls learning sex education not because they want to enjoy sex, or because they want to protect themselves from inappropriate sexual behavior, but vigilant themselves that premarital sex will harm their future. Latina girls generally believe that premarital sex affects their future because their parents might withhold financial assistance on tuition, and the expenses for college. Therefore, for most of the Latina girls, learning sex education is a way to exchange a better future. In this case, we can see that there are huge cultural differences, and Latin America's exclusion of premarital sex is more extreme than the way China and the United States deal with it, which stems from family oppression and discrimination, and is relatively more likely to influence the values of the next generation. People tend to impose what they are bearing on their children, forming a vicious cycle. On the other hand, regards to sex education, Latina girls are expected to know everything about sex, instead of teaching them practical and accurate knowledge that enable them to embrace safe sex.

For instance, Latina girls are educated to “use a condom” while having sex with others but never been taught the way of wearing a condom properly. Such education would lead to more misunderstandings arise because there is no education of the most correct way, most people can only seek the help of their friends, and misconceptions are often spread at this time. Garcia mentioned in the article “I contend that Latina youth are at risk but that the real risk here lies in the fact that they are being taught a particular lesson about who is to be held accountable for the inequities in their sexuality education, their general education, and in their social worlds—that they are the ones who will be held primarily accountable” (Garcia 81). I think this is a problem that the new generation of Latina youth should face and solve, as the value of sex behavior has already integrated and inherited into the society which becomes a mainstream value. In this case, I would like to justify the true meaning of a correct sex education. Firstly, sex education needs to be non-exclusive, education is not just for specific students, but everyone in the public. It is hard to imagine why young Latino girls are so afraid of their parents after learning that they have sex, regardless for fame or religion, these cannot be used as a bargaining chip to ruin a child's future. Secondly, since sex education is considered a form of education, it should be true and ensure that every student knows how to use the right protective measures to protect themselves and their partners during sexual behavior.

These three articles explicit different views and interpretations on sex education within China, the United States, and Latin culture. There is nowhere to tell if sex education is right or wrong, neither excessive openness nor conservatism is appropriate. Therefore, in this article, I come up with three models of sex education that I think are most in line with the expectations of modern society. First of all, neither sex nor virginity should be labeled, as Valenti and Garcia mention, women's premarital sexual behavior seems to be considered shameful by society, and for Latin girls, it may even affect their parents' willingness to continue their financial support toward their daughter. As an adult, unforced sex should not be criticized and discriminated against. Secondly, “bravely says no”, even in contemporary sex education, we can still see many 'reluctant' sexual behavior, although they are not necessarily called 'rape', but good sex should always occur at complete consent. Finally, not only young people but their parents should be educated. I think the content of sex education is not only guidance on safe sex, more importantly, it is to instruct the value behind an accurate sexual behavior. If the parents of students can also be educated and be optimistic to view safe sex, the misconceptions and miseducation of sex would be greatly reduced.

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Sex Education in Chinese, America, and Latina Cultures. (2020, December 24). WritingBros. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
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