Attitudes of Chinese women towards sexuality and birth control.


A small survey was conducted in the Vancouver area by the authors to determine some of the current beliefs and attitudes of Chinese women toward birth control and sexuality. 10 Chinese women aged from 16-72 were interviewed. Traditional beliefs in filial piety and in the concepts of Yin (negative, female force) and Yang (positive, male force) were subscribed to by the eldest women who also perceived a lack of fairness in the double standard permitting male promiscuity while prohibiting female sexual freedom. The elder women also felt that the balance of Yin and Yang would promote sexual satisfaction and good health (homosexuality represented an imbalance and was therefore unhealthy). Only 1 woman had received sex education in the home since most sex-related topics were considered taboo. The Canadian born women had been educated in school regarding sex and felt that this experience made them more responsible in sexual matters. Strict rules about behavior during menstruation were adhered to by the eldest women: no hair-brushing, eating of hot foods, or sexual intercourse; they also viewed masturbation as acceptable in women since their Yin is a renewable resource. Masturbation in men was frowned upon since it would lead to a depletion of Yang and possibly cause infertility. The Canadian born women viewed masturbation as a normal sexual act. Contraception was seen as negative by the 1st generation women whereas the younger women valued family planning as an improvement in thier lives. Coitus before marriage was viewed as acceptable and during marriage and pregnancy as enjoyable by the younger women; the elders felt that premarital intercourse resulted in a loss of prestige whereas marital coitus was seen as a duty and intercourse during and after pregnancy as dangerous for the unborn child and the mother. The ease with which these women dealt with the conflict of adhering to their culture while assimilating into a new environment was influenced by age, language ability, education, length of time spent in Canada and generational status. It is possible that due to the sensitive nature of the questions and limited interview time these women may not have fully disclosed their feelings. Nurses must understand and be sensitive to cultural differences in attitudes and force themselves to see each area of concern from the client's viewpoint. In dealing with Chinese women a female nurse, preferably one who speaks Chinese, is more accepted.

Cite this paper

@article{Ellis1982AttitudesOC, title={Attitudes of Chinese women towards sexuality and birth control.}, author={Dana Ellis and Mun S. Ho}, journal={The Canadian nurse}, year={1982}, volume={78 3}, pages={28-31} }