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The differences of Sexual Education Between China & America

The interview with ABC (American born Chinese) friend

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The second interviewee is an ABC (American born Chinese). She is an undergraduate student in New York City. We talk about her sexual education experience and the differences between Chinese traditional family and American school.

  1. When and where did you learn about sex? What did you learn during your first encounter with sex education or health?

  • I first learned about about sex in a physical education class during middle school. The teacher was encouraging safe practice sex and demonstrated how to use a condom.

  1. What were your sources of sexual education and what did you learn from each source? (e.g. friends, older sibling, school, parents, etc).

  • In school I learned how to safely practice sex. 
  • My parents encouraged abstinence and didn’t offer any detailed information.

  1. How comfortable do you feel talking about sex related topics with your parents? Or with other older adults?

  • I believe I feel comfortable talking with my parents about sex related topics but I never have. I’d be less comfortable talking with other adults on this subject.

  1. Did your parents ever talk about to you about puberty? If they had not, why do you think it is the case?

  • My mom talked a little about having my period but again, it wasn’t a detailed discussion. I think that may be because her mom didn’t have a conversation with her about the topic of puberty. Since she didn’t have that kind of experience, perhaps she didn’t know how to direct the subject into a full conversation.

  1. Can you share a story where you felt like the information you received about sex led to an awkward situation? If so, what action did you take?

  • I remember watching a movie with my parents and a sex scene started taking place. It was an embarrassing moment and made me feel awkward watching with my parents. During the scene, I exaggerated my horror and tried to cover up my embarrassment.  

  1. Regarding sexual education, how were the information differently presented when asking between your Chinese family and American friends? (Base on culture differences)

  • With American households, there is more of a conversation containing specific details. It is much more direct and to the point in general. 
  • In my Chinese family, more analogies are being made. They skim the surface of a conversation regarding sex but aren’t clear or open to further questions or concerns.

  1. How do you think sexual education can be improved for everyone? 

  • I think regardless of what happens in a household, school could definitely provide an open environment for subjects that may be uncomfortable or nonexistent for families to talk about. 
  • The information given in a class setting can be assured that it is reliable and dedicated to educate. It won’t be affected by any cultural differences or awkwardness.

  1. Do you think there are gender based differences when it comes to access to information about sex? 

  • I think there are differences in the information given to different genders. Some for obvious reasons such as the difference in anatomy, but also because of the different views towards sex that each collective gender may be suspected to have.

  1. What are the specific needs and challenges related to sexual health for young people in your community? 

  • I think there isn’t a place designated for sex education for young people. School may be viewed as a place for learning, but it may not be the most comfortable or private when concerns of sex arise. 
  • One on one conversation regarding sexual health may be difficult to obtain. 

  1. Is there anything I may have missed that you would like to share on this topic?

  • I think that it is important to address the fact that sex education differs among various cultures. In Chinese culture, there is a definite difference when it comes to the discussion of sex. By realizing this difference, we can work our way to ensure that every young individual is educated in this subject and has a safe place to direct their questions and concerns.


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