In my recent blog I discussed on how the Christian view that all premarital and extramarital sex is forbidden amounts to the claim that you get to have one sexual partner for your entire life, and that this seems a simply unrealistic restriction on human nature. That there is at least some condemnation of religion implied in this discussion is undeniable. However, many Chinese women tell you that this expectation of pre-marital chastity exists in their society as well and is not in any way connected with religion but is an expectation of what might be called traditional Chinese culture. That there is more than one source of stupidity does not in any way surprise me, nor does in any way undercut my critique of religion.But it does require that traditional Chinese culture come in for some criticism as well. Hence I want to look briefly at the situation with regard to expectations of chastity in in Chinese culture. Men who are dating Chinese women should know at least the general outlines of what they are walking into.
Although an application of the Christian rule would require that everyone be chaste before marriage, in fact this happens very rarely in America. One statistic I have seen is that roughly 25% of all males and 17% of females have had only one sexual partner. Since over 75% of all Americans are Christians that means that a lot of people in America are going to hell. Oh well, it’s where all the fun people will be anyway. But the bottom line is that most men and women who get married in America are not virgins.
Unfortunately, I know of no reliable statistics on the number of Chinese females who have sex before marriage. I have to rely on anecdotal evidence. I would, however, like to add that my anecdotal evidence is far from insignificant. I ran a philosophical discussion group for two years in China and this topic came up several times. In addition, in the last couple of years I have taught critical writing and have had students write essays on this topic and discuss it with the class. My sense is that a large majority of Chinese women expects to enter into marriage as virgins or to only have sex with one man their entire life. If I had to guess, it would be that it is almost the exact opposite of the statistics with American women.
The reason for this is that most Chinese men have a strong expectation that their wives will be virgins when they marry, or that if they have sex before marriage, he will be the only man she has sex with in her life. The reverse, however, cannot be said to the hole. Most Chinese men do not expect themselves to be virgins before marriage or to limit themselves to a single partner their entire lives.
We can and should discuss the pros and cons of the second wave feminism of the 1960s. It was a mixed bag. But in my estimation, one positive benefit was that it at least formally eliminated the inequality between men and women on this point to the extent that now most Western men will admit that if it is ok for them to have multiple sexual partners before marriage, it has to be ok for women to have multiple partners before marriage. This does not always work out in practice, but it is hard to find a Western man who will not admit to this basic principle of fairness. By contrast I have found few Chinese guys willing to adopt the same line of reasoning.
Peter Vernezze blogs on various topics about Chinese dating, Chinese women and things Chinese. For trusted Chinese dating services and for beautiful Chinese Women join http://www.ChinaLoveMatch.net