China’s high-speed sexual revolution

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Over the last 20 years, Chinese attitudes to sex have undergone a revolution – a process carefully observed, and sometimes encouraged, by the country’s first female sexologist, Li Yinhe.

“In the survey I made in 1989, 15.5% of people had sex before marriage,” says Li Yinhe. “But in the survey I did two years ago, the figure went up to 71%.”

It’s one of many rapid changes she has recorded in her career. She uses the word “revolution” herself and it’s easy to see why. Until 1997, sex before marriage was actually illegal and could be prosecuted as “hooliganism”.

It’s a similar story with pornography, prostitution and swingers’ parties.

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