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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 15:49 GMT
China sex museum goes public
Sex education display in China
Attitudes towards sex are slowly changing
By Duncan Hewitt in Shanghai

China is for the first time to promote a museum on sex education as a tourist attraction.

State media said approval has been given to build the museum at a cost of $600,000 in southern Guangdong province.

Chinese teens
Teenagers want better sex education
But reports said that continuing taboos about sex meant that the plan has caused controversy.

China's first sex museum, which opened two years ago in Shanghai, is still not allowed to advertise in public.

The new museum will be built in an area of Guangdong province which state media say is known as the Garden of Natural Nudity because of its rock formations, which are said to resemble human sexual organs.


The Shanghai Daily newspaper said the museum would include information on sexual desire and exhibits on sexual behaviour and history.

But the paper said the project had so far aroused only controversy as many people remained embarrassed about open discussion of sexual matters.

Sex industry in China
Ignorance has led to the spread of disease
Officials from the local tourism department acknowledged it would take time for the museum to win acceptance.

The project has won support from leading sociologists, who say China's young generation is in urgent need of better information about sex.

Research shows that sex before marriage - still technically illegal - is becoming increasingly common but continuing widespread ignorance is leading to unwanted pregnancies and the rapid spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Free condom

A recent survey of teenagers in Beijing showed that more than half want to see improved sex education in schools. But traditional attitudes remain an obstacle.

A prominent Chinese sexologist succeeded in opening the country's first museum on sexual culture in Shanghai two years ago but it has never won official backing from the city government.

China's first TV commercial promoting the use of condoms as a protection against Aids was banned by advertising authorities after just a few days.

Nevertheless, attitudes are undoubtedly changing.

The southern city of Guangzhou recently held China's first exhibition of photographs of human nudes and a new book about the life of China's first Aids sufferer is now on sale in bookshops with a free condom included.

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See also:

17 Jun 99 | Asia-Pacific
China's youth wants sexual freedom
23 Jul 98 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese go crazy for condoms
06 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
China battles sex disease explosion
01 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
China wages war on Aids
14 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Aids spreads in China
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