[health-vn] Chastity a thing of the past, say experts
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Sat May 16 08:19:34 EST 2009
Last Updated: Friday, May 15, 2009 12:15:45 Vietnam (GMT+07)
Chastity a thing of the past, say experts
Premarital sex is an inevitable and growing social trend as young Vietnamese
vacillate between traditional values and the rapidly changing new ideas of an
increasingly open society, a sociologist said.
Fewer people are choosing abstinence before marriage as Vietnamese society,
particularly young people, becomes more open, said Dr. Trinh Thang at a
conference in Hanoi on April 16.
Thang was speaking at a three-day conference titled “Contested Innocence –
Sexual Agency in Public and Private Space,” which opened in Hanoi on April 16.
The conference, held by the Institute for Social Development Studies and the
International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture, and Society,
brought together around 500 local and foreign experts to discuss different
Thang said there was a major generation gap between older and newer generations
in their perceptions about premarital sex.
The youth might accept what their parents and grandparents teach them about
abstinence before marriage, but in fact they are likely to behave to the
contrary while hiding the truth from their families, Thang said.
Sociologist Vu Thanh Long concurred with Thang, saying young people, especially
those in urban areas, have come to terms with premarital sex provided they’ve
decided to marry each other later.
Young people are caught in the throes of a “civil war” between preserving
traditional values and fitting into a quickly changing and more open world
around them, Long said.
“It is time to keep up with a world that is changing and broadening its
perceptions,” Thang said.
“A love life with safe sex prior to wedlock should be accepted the same way we
accept sex-free love before marriage,” he added.
“Men should be taught about safe sex at school and should share these ideas with
their partners because men often play the more active role in sex,” Thang said.
Extramarital affairs “a social reality”
Long said a survey he conducted of over 200 men in Hanoi, HCMC, and Can Tho
indicated that men found adultery more “interesting” than sex in their marriage.
Thirty percent of the men acknowledged they had engaged in at least one
Many of them said they had been seeing sexual partners outside their marriage
for over six months.
A 2006 Family Health International paper on sexual decision making among men in
urban Vietnam titled “Behind the Pleasure” found that 70-90 percent of men the
320 interviewees knew well had engaged in extramarital affairs.
“Extramarital sex has become a real trend among men and even women,”
Thang said. “This is a social reality.”
Home is where the heart is
Though Vietnamese people have become more open to extramarital sex, men still
considered their adultery wrong and valued fidelity, experts said at the conference.
But the same men said they could not resist it under certain circumstances.
Dr. Thang said couples should live responsibly but sometimes had to accept the
adulteries of their spouses.
But whatever they do, the couples should set limits and never cross the line,
Reported by Nam Son
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