Sex school

Taiwan plans to open an institute of sexology in an effort to reduce its divorce rate.


Chris Colin
April 16, 2001 11:30PM (UTC)

Finally, Taiwanese citizens have a rigorous academic setting in which to study "quality sex."

The Graduate Institute of Sexology will be based at Shu Te University and headed by Dr. Lin Yen-chin. It is to open later this year.

The institute is about saving marriages, Lin says. Taiwan leads Asia in its annual divorce rate, at 2.37 percent in 2000, according to the Straits Times.

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"If a married person fails to ask his or her better half to spice up their sex life, frustrations would build up and eventually ruin their marriage," Lin told the Straits Times.

Less discussed is a more disturbing number. Thirty-five percent of married women were victims of spousal abuse, according to the Department of Women Development of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party and a 1999 U.S. State Department report. Rape is on the upswing, and the general level of sex education is low. News outlets in Taiwan recently drooled over the story of a 17-year-old who had seven abortions in one year, unaware of birth control techniques, according to the report in the Straits Times.

Still, Lin sounds either wide-eyed or weird when she suggests bad sex is at the heart of Taiwan's male-female problems. The country might well be hard up for sex information, but its incidence of violence against women goes deeper. When Peng Wan-ru, director of the Department of Women Development, was raped and murdered in 1997 -- her body had 35 stab wounds -- the Asian Human Rights Commission and other groups redoubled their efforts to look for solutions.

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As usual, it's the opponents of the sex school that put it in perspective: Lin's solution may be thin, but when Taiwanese conservatives haul out their fusty, thinly veiled prudishness -- sex education will lead to more abortions and sex crimes -- she comes out looking like a saint.

No word yet on the curriculum of the sex school, but look for lots of homework jokes among students.


Chris Colin

Chris Colin is the author most recently of "Blindsight," published by the Atavist.

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