The gender implications of sexual health education needs among Chinese early school leavers

Eleanor A. Holroyd, William C.W. Wong, Albert Lee, Samuel Y.S. Wong, Jonathan Wong, Phil W.S. Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: The following paper examines the sexual health needs of Chinese early school leavers from a gender perspective. The objectives were to shed light on adolescent experience and their understanding of intimate relationships, identify their knowledge of sex education and explore their sexual education needs. Design: A prospective survey design using mixed methods was employed. Subjects: A total of 28 adolescents were purposively recruited on the basis of age and sex from the YMCA in Hong Kong and 4 homogenous focus groups were subsequently conducted. In addition three individual face to face interviews were conducted. Main outcome measures/Results: A total of six gender-contrasting themes were found. These included: love and sexuality; the importance of appearance and body shape; feeling more positive after sex; the need for separate sex education classes, preferred sources of health information and sexual health needs. We found that both sexes felt that having the "right person" to deliver sex education was of crucial importance. For the girls the social pressures exerted by friends, fear of pregnancy after sex, and worry about sex without love were important topics. The girls expressed their need for further information on how to deal with social pressures, moral value clarification, the stigma of being seen to be sexually active and handling their disgust over pornography. In contrast the boys had little concern about pornography but did want to learn how to communicate and negotiate with the opposite sex. Conclusion: The differences found highlight the importance of approaching sexual health education from a cultural and gender perspective, in particular developing peer educator-led programmes to create normative support for early school leavers. Particular attention needs to be paid to the rapidly shifting and influential sources of adolescent sex education information such as the Internet and social groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalHong Kong Practitioner
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Chinese
  • Gender
  • Sexual health


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