The Timing of Sexual Debut among Chinese Youth
Wei Guo, Peking University
Zheng Wu, University of Victoria
The age of sexual debut is declining in China. However, there is limited knowledge about the determinants of early debut. This is a concern because young people lack knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health and are at risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. The data come from the National Youth Reproductive Health Survey, conducted from 2009-2010, which examines the sexual behavior of over 22,000 unmarried youth (aged 15-24) from mainland China. Life tables are used to estimate the survival distribution of sexual debut across gender, urban/rural location, and region. Cox regression models are used to estimate the gender-specific determinants of early sexual debut. There are gender, urban/rural, and regional differences in the timing of sexual debut and the age-related prevalence of sexual experience. The determinants of early debut include gender, family structure, parental education, formal sex education, and community setting. These determinants have gender-specific effects.