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Monday, April 16, 2012

Shy Hongkongers urged to have more sex

MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2012 - 19:52

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HONGKONG: Sex experts are urging Hongkongers to strip off their reputation as some the least active lovers in Asia to get more out of their sex lives and overcome challenges of privacy in a cramped city.
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Sex experts are urging Hongkongers to strip off their reputation as some of Asia's least active lovers and get more out of their sex lives, even if it means dismantling core social values. AFPpic
"People say Hongkongers have the least amount of sexual knowledge in the world. One of the reasons is they have no place to have sex," said professor Emil Ng, associate director at the Family Institute of the University of Hongkong.

Financial pressure, career-driven mentalities and limited space are seen as key drivers of a fertility rate that is one of the lowest in the world by some measures, with an average 1.04 births per woman according to the World Bank.

Ng, who believes monogamy in general is "behind the times", thinks another factor driving Hongkong's sexual timidity is sky-high property prices.

Younger Hongkong residents typically live at home deep into their 20s or 30s because they can't afford to marry and move out earlier, meaning that many sleep in close proximity to their parents in cramped apartments.

"Hongkong is too crowded and lacks the privacy people need to have sex," said Ng, who organised the fifth Hongkong Sex Cultural Festival which took place last month.

The festival, held jointly by the Family Planning Association of Hongkong and the Hongkong Sex Education Association, aimed to promote more liberal views on sex in the socially conservative southern Chinese city.

And in a sign that traditional Chinese attitudes towards sex may be changing, a record number of visitors showed up at the recent 2012 China Adult-Care Expo of adult wares in China's biggest city of Shanghai.

This year's expo — Asia's largest trade fair for the adult industry — was the biggest in the event's nine-year history, attracting thousands of visitors, Hongkong's South China Morning Post reported.

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In a picture taken on March 10, 2012, a couple walk along a beach in Hongkong. AFPpic
Under the covers

When it comes to going under the covers, Hongkong couples are content with having sex less than twice a week, according to a 2011 survey published by City University's Community College.

More than half of the women questioned in the Hongkong survey admitted feigning illness or tiredness to avoid sex when they were not in the mood.

The study of nearly 1,000 adults aged 36 to 80 showed that men were satisfied with having sex an average of 1.9 times a week, while women were content with 1.6 times.

This compares with the top rate of more than three times per week in Greece, more than twice in India and less than once per week in Japan, according to British condom manufacturer Durex, whose 2008 survey found Hongkongers ranked third lowest in the world in sexual confidence.

"Hongkong is always near the bottom of the list in terms of sexual frequency in those Durex annual surveys. It may not be a very scientific research, but it still says a lot about Hongkong," said Ng.

A similar Durex survey released last year also showed a decline in sexual activity in China. Thirty-nine per cent of respondents said they were sexually inactive, a 15-per centage point increase from 2006.

The problem is worse for heterosexual women than for men in Hongkong due to cultural issues tied to status and wealth, and social expectations about the role of women, said Dr Petula Ho, a sexologist from the University of Hongkong.

Making matters worse for women, they vastly outnumber men in Hongkong. There is less than one man for every 1.2 women between the ages of 20 and 39, according to official figures from last year.

"Straight women in Hongkong are in poverty in terms of sex. They have few sexual possibilities and options. Even if you're a male truck driver, you can find a woman in rural China," Ho said.

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