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Sexual Behavior in China: Trends and Comparisons


  • William L. Parish
  • Edward O. Laumann
  • Sanyu A. Mojola


Dramatic political, economic, and social changes in China over the past several decades have been accompanied by much discussion in popular media and among academics of a fundamental transformation in Chinese sexual behavior. Several studies have examined current Chinese sexual behavior but have been limited to particular provinces or cities and have been based on non-random samples. The potential threat of a generalized HIV epidemic in China highlights the dearth of population-based information on current patterns of sexual behavior that could help design better intervention strategies and prevent misguided ones. This article uses data from the first national probability survey of adult sexual behavior in China completed during 1999-2000, along with a historical and literature review, to address three key questions: 1) Has there been a revolution in sexual behavior in China? 2) Is China unique compared to other countries in these transformations? 3) What are the implications of these findings for China's risk of a generalized HIV epidemic? Copyright 2007 The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • William L. Parish & Edward O. Laumann & Sanyu A. Mojola, 2007. "Sexual Behavior in China: Trends and Comparisons," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(4), pages 729-756.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:33:y:2007:i:4:p:729-756

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. J. Udry & R. Cliquet, 1982. "A cross-cultural examination of the relationship between ages at menarche, marriage, and first birth," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 19(1), pages 53-63, February.
    2. Gil, Vincent E. & Wang, Marco S. & Anderson, Allen F. & Lin, Guo Matthew & Wu, Zongjian Oliver, 1996. "Prostitutes, prostitution and STD/HIV transmission in Mainland China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 141-152, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhiwen Xiao & Seth Noar & Lily Zeng, 2014. "Systematic review of HIV prevention interventions in China: a health communication perspective," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 59(1), pages 123-142, February.
    2. Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2015. "Sex and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 26-32.
    3. repec:eee:joecag:v:8:y:2016:i:c:p:76-84 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. M. Merli & James Moody & Joshua Mendelsohn & Robin Gauthier, 2015. "Sexual Mixing in Shanghai: Are Heterosexual Contact Patterns Compatible With an HIV/AIDS Epidemic?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(3), pages 919-942, June.
    5. Zhiming Cheng & Russell Smyth, 2015. "China’s Imbalanced Sex Ratio and Satisfaction with Marital Relationships," Monash Economics Working Papers 22-15, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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