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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
Pre-marital sex 'usual' in China
Chinese couple cuddling
Attitudes to sex in China are changing
Most newlyweds in China have had sex before they marry, a new government report has suggested.

Research published by the State Family Planning Association showed that in most regions, 60-70% of people had lost their virginity before they applied to get married.

The findings underscored a dramatic shift in attitudes towards pre-marital sex in China, where in the 1970s and 1980s, such behaviour was still considered taboo.

The Family Planning Association's figures were based on 196 research reports issued between 1990 and 2000, and used information from medical examinations.

These check-ups were compulsory in order to obtain a marriage certificate - until changes in the law last week.

An official with the association said more studies needed to be done on attitudes towards sex.

"Knowledge, attitudes, capability and behaviour of the unwed towards sex is still outside the national survey of population and health", said Gu Baochang, deputy executive director of the association.

"This isn't good for making policies and launching programs on sex health," he told the French news agency AFP.

Correspondents say that many of the Chinese public are eager to find out more about sex themselves.

When a new sexual education textbook was put on sale in the university district of Beijing, earlier this year, it sold out overnight.

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