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Examining China’s sexual behaviour from a network perspective

Jing Li, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Giovanna Merli, University of Wisconsin at Madison

China is undergoing major changes in sexual norms and behaviors. Sexual unions other than marriage are increasing in recent years. Meanwhile, the country is also facing an STD epidemic, especially HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is expected to spread to the general population via heterosexual transmission. Thus, a comparative study about the mixing patterns in different types of sexual unions will enable a more comprehensive understanding about the sexual behaviors of China. The outcome will also carry public health implications. This paper relies on data from the Chinese Health and Family Life Survey and log-linear models to compare age and educational mixing patterns across two types of sexual relationships, the primary relationship and the secondary sexual relationship. The research finds age and educational homogamy in both types of relationships. The homogamy in the primary one is stronger. In addition, in the situation that two types of partnerships coexist, people are consistent about their preferences.

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Presented in Session 12: Sexual behaviour and sexuality