A screen grab of Chinese renowned sexologist Li Yinhe's paid sex course on the Chenzao application.
Public welcomes online course launched by renowned sexologist
Prominent Chinese sexologist, Li Yinhe, has recently launched an online course that she hopes will bring concepts such as early sex education for kids and respect for homosexuals to her audience through what she calls a "new publishing mode," she said on Tuesday.
"Hello, Li Yinhe", is the name of the course which Li Launched in January on Chenzao, a women-oriented mobile application backed by a technology company in Beijing under the same name.
The course consists of eight parts with topics ranging from sexual pleasure and masturbation to LGBT issues, and charges 199 yuan (.20) for access.
"Using my expertise in my fields of research - marriage, family, gender and sex, which my audience are most concerned with - my course aims to address the problems they may encounter in their daily lives, such as how to educate their children on sexual knowledge and how to deal with extramarital sex or forced arranged marriages," Li told the Global Times on Tuesday in a special interview.
According to the sexologist, who has has around 1.8 million followers on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, tickets were soon booked out after launch, and the Chenzao company is adding space for another 2,000 viewers.
Online paid courses on applications and paid Q&A sessions on platforms including Sina Weibo have become a new publishing form and trend for knowledge, and my target audience [for the sex course] are people in their 20s and 30s, while around 90 percent of them are women, Li said.
Need to know
Most Chinese netizens welcomed the idea.
A survey carried out by Tsinghua University in 2013 shows that 71 percent of Chinese people have premarital sex.
Among them, 100 percent of people born in the 1980s and 1990s have sex before marriage, though only a relatively small proportion of them are well-educated about sex.
"The course comes just in time. China is in dire need of sex education. I myself had zero idea until I became an adult. I recently met a little girl, as young as 12 years old, who expressed her doubts online about sex, which illustrates how precious and rare Li's course or similar courses on sex are in China," wrote a Weibo user with the name "Angel-fool" under Li's Weibo post on January 10.
However, some expressed worries that the courses would be taken down or censored if it got too popular, as it touches on one of the most sensitive topics in China.
However, when asked for comment on how to strike a balance regarding how far the course would go on the topic and the depth of each talk, Li said that she has not yet received any rectification notice from the authorities and nothing could be regarded as taboo in her studies, including section that addresses the issue of homosexuality.
Li's online course is a great method for bringing sex education to the public, and the content is as good as those in face-to-face lectures, Peng Xiaohui, a sexology professor at Wuhan's Central China Normal University and a research fellow of the China Sexology Association, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Following the law
China's Population and Family Planning Law stipulates that schools shall, in a manner suited to the characteristics of the receivers and in a planned way, conduct among pupils education in physiology and health, puberty or sexual health.
However, many principals and heads of primary schools, middle schools and even colleges and universities neglect the law, putting sex education aside for fear they will draw criticism from conservative parents, Peng explained.
Admittedly, promoting sex education in China remains an arduous mission, but progress has been made as the government is now discussing how to conduct this kind of education, rather than talking about if it was necessary at all, Peng said.
Peng continued to stress that although the Internet-plus mode can greatly facilitate sex education, the threshold for online sex education-related content should be set strictly by the authorities so that only those who have spent years conducting earnest research in the field are allowed to provide such content, otherwise it could be abused by irresponsible lecturers.
Peng also warned that people with entrenched traditional attitude on sex could take advantage of online sex knowledge platforms to cause trouble under the guise of LGBT or feminist movements.