China's latest viral video sensation? It's not what you'd expect. Three Chinese sex-ed videos released last week on Youku, the Chinese version of YouTube, have garnered over one million hits so far and counting. The videos, produced by a group calling itself Nutcracker Studios and funded by tech site Guokr, seek to counteract myths about sex and pregnancy in China, and do so with rapid drawings, voice overs, and comparisons to plugs and outlets. At less than two minutes each, they’ve already taken the country by storm.
Sex-ed in China is notoriously lacking. And not just in an “abstinence only sex ed” type way. As in only ten of the country’s 180,000 primary schools and 500 to 600 of its 500,000 secondary schools offer any sex ed at all. If you do the math, that’s only 0.006% of primary schools and 0.12% of all secondary schools. And even when kids do get sex ed, chances are it’s not very good anyway. One study reported that fully half of Chinese young people do not use contraception the first time they have sex. Unsurprisingly, rates of unwanted pregnancy and HIV infection are disturbingly high.
It’s bad enough that 90 percent of all parents in this typically very conservative country say that they want increased sex ed in schools.
Of course, it doesn’t help that these same parents might be having a hard time talking to their kids about sex themselves. As Foreign Policy observes, one story parents in China often tell their children is that they got them from a garbage dump — like a grimier version of the stork story, and one that makes just as much sense — and there is a widespread reluctance to get any deeper into the matter.
These new videos, however, attack myths like this directly, trying to provide accurate information to young Chinese people, as well as giving parents some basis for possible talks of their own. The three videos are titled "Where Do Babies Come From?", "Why Are Boys Different from Girls?", and (in a far more serious move) "How Minors Can Prevent Molestation."
Of course, we have plenty of teens using the Internet for sex-ed right here in the US, too. And given how controversial sex-ed in schools is becoming, and how uncomfortable “the talk” can be with parents, maybe it’s all for the best.
Meanwhile, you can check out the Chinese version of internet sex ed here. Note the drawing of the baby with a banana peel on its head.