Chinese people are showing an increasingly tolerant attitude toward pre-marital sex, with over 70 percent saying they now getting physical before tying the knot, a survey has found.
Data from 1994 showed that only 40 percent of people had pre-marital sex then, while the number was much lower in 1989 at 15 percent, the People's Daily reported citing a study by sexologist Li Yinhe.
The study titled "Report on the Health of Chinese People's Sex Life", jointly released by Media Survey Lab and Insight China magazine, however showed that women are more inclined to oppose pre-marital sex than men.
The report interviewed 1,013 people in 31 provinces, and polled over 20,000 people online in March.
Seventy percent of respondents were aged 20 to 39, and 64 percent of them had a bachelor degree.
Li said the increasingly open view about pre-marital sex was a result of changed attitudes toward sex among Chinese people who see it more as for pleasure instead of a means to produce offspring. Also, with a long period between adolescence and the legal marrying age, pre-marital sex was inevitable, Li said.
"Chinese people's views toward pre-marital sex have experienced the biggest change compared with other sex-related issues," said Li, a former professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"You would not see public attitudes on these issues change so dramatically in a few years in Western countries," Li said.
The survey was conducted after a 38-year-old woman set up a website advocating chastity. She also posted a certificate online to "prove" her virginity, the daily said.
Tu Shiyou, a master degree holder, also sought a husband who would not have sex with her for the first three years of the marriage.
China's legal marrying age is currently 22 for men and 20 for women.
The survey also said that despite the high percentage of pre-marital sex, over half of those surveyed said they had never received any kind of sex education.
Less than nine percent of people were taught about sex in school. An even fewer 1.5 percent claimed to have been told about sex by their parents.
The internet was the primary source for Chinese people to get knowledge on sex.