In China, when checking-out (ie, paying for things) at convenience stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc, one is met with a large display of condoms.
At first I didn’t take much notice because everything was so overwhelming.Â After repeated shopping trips, when I began to see far more boxes of Durex condoms than I’d ever seen in my life, I started to think wow, power on Durex for a foreign company to have exclusive distribution and such a great distribution system in China.
Nonetheless, we were still put-off by how prominently displayed the condoms are in every store.Â So my Dutch friend and I asked our Shanghainese friend, why do they put the condoms in large displays near the cashier?Â She explained that condoms are relatively small but expensive items so they put them in a place where the cashier can watch them to make sure they’re not stolen.
Well that makes sense…but that doesn’t explain why nearly every other street corner has a condom vending machine.Â Hmm…in a country which has and enforces a 1 child per couple policy, I guess contraception is a very good alternative to abortion.
Even so, do they need that many types and packages in so many places?Â Well, it is a big city, with a lot of people, but still…
Then today, while reading China Daily, I found the answer in the article entitled: “Student survey stumps sex specialists.”
Though I had sensed it, this article confirms it–young people in China are fairly open-minded about sex and willing to engage in it.Â And, in my opinion, far more so than in Hong Kong.
What an interesting social study it is though when you compare the US, which through advertising, shoves sexuality in your face, with China, which many foreigners perceive to be a prude, conservative, sexless society, yet both have an equally young average age of first sexual encounter.
Perhaps what’s most surprising (and disturbing) though, is the rate of teenage abortions in China.Â According to the article, “Teenage pregnancies have been on the rise in recent years; and under-age girls account for about a quarter of the 1.5 million abortions on the mainland each year.”
I can only imagine the horror of strong anti-abortionists.Â Anyway, its an interesting article, and does well as explaining the daily encounter with condom vending.