Chinese nurse’s frank approach to sex yields dividends

Beijing, June 4 (IANS) A nurse’s frank approach to teaching her son about sex has led to her being invited to his school for sex education, a move which has won acclaim in a country where the birds and the bees are generally considered off limits in the classroom.

Zhou Li, of the Wuhan Third Hospital in Wuhan city in central China’s Hubei province, ran the classes earlier this week after her son boasted to classmates about the knowledge his mother had imparted at home through PowerPoint presentations, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

Zhou may never have imagined that teaching 11-year-old Niu Niu the basics of sex through a format designed to be cool and palatable would see her giving similar talks to more than 300 fifth- and sixth-graders at the school in Wuchang district.

She was surprised at how little knowledge the pupils had about sex.

“Some of their parents told them they were born from a rock, just like the Monkey King,” Zhou said, adding that some were even told that they were freebies given away by telecom operators.

Sex talk is still taboo in China, where thousands of years of feudal values cast a shadow over people’s attitudes. Chinese parents are usually too embarrassed to teach their offspring, resulting in low levels of sex education among the young, many of whom are susceptible to sexual abuse.

Last week, a man was executed for the rape and sexual abuse of 26 children in northeast China’s Gansu province.

It is under such circumstances that Zhou felt it was urgent to teach Niu Niu as he entered puberty.

She gave him a special gift: a sex lesson packed with PowerPoint slides.

“I gave him three science books about sex when he tried to hide his underwear after his first wet dream two months ago,” Zhou laughed. “He called me sleazy.”

In order to get Niu Niu to accept that sex education is “normal” rather than “obscene”, Zhou came up with an idea. She bought a number of famous sex education books, including “Where Willy Went”, and turned important parts of them into PowerPoint slides, after she overheard Niu Niu saying he had been interested by PowerPoint presentations at school.

The slides, coupled with Zhou’s descriptions, eased Niu Niu’s mind, and made him confident enough to talk to his friends about the lesson.

“I’m glad it worked,” Zhou said.

The story has caused quite a splash on the internet, with many users of microblog Sina Weibo lauding Zhou’s approach.

“Sex education should be regarded as a scientific subject instead of obscenity,” said a netizen with the screen name “Zuixinbianfajiaocheng”. “Zhou did a good job.”

“There should definitely be more sex education among the young,” wrote “Huohuodekuaile”.

Zhou believes parents should not try to avoid children’s embarrassing questions, but teach them about sex in appropriate ways.

“Sex education is not evil and scary,” she said. “Only when you view it scientifically can you help your children grow healthily and prevent sexual abuse due to a lack of knowledge.”

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