大眾「性」文化

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1993 / 2月

文‧謝淑芬 圖‧蔡智本繪圖


前幾年,遠流出版社翻譯國外的兒童性教育叢書「我從那堥荂H」,因書中形容了性行為的感覺,而被認為「兒童不宜」,銷路不如預期。

就在去年底到今年初,張老師月刊出版的「金賽性學報告」,卻在短時間內銷售將近十萬本。

不僅出版界,台灣的電視、報紙等傳播媒體,近來也掀起一股談性問題的風潮。

這些現象反映了什麼?


最近張老師出版社業務部內忙得人仰馬翻,他們翻譯、出版的「金賽性學報告」,原本預估銷售量在一萬本左右,沒想到出書不到三個月,已印行初版五刷仍供不應求,張老師出版社總編輯王桂花表示,這種盛況讓他們措手不及,只得一再趕印。

跌破眼鏡的不只他們。在台灣,一般觀念仍認為「性」是個隱密性高的問題,即使有關的書籍,一向不是放在書店的角落,就是歸入家庭、婦女或醫學的範疇中順帶討論,很少獨立出來,何況明明白白標舉著「性學」。

這套以「性學百科全書」自居的金賽性學報告卻反其道而行,不但陳列在書店中央最明顯的賣場位置、還在熱鬧的街頭打出巨幅櫥窗廣告,而且書中談論到的許多性行為與觀念,以台灣目前尺度來看,可謂相當前衛、少見。

婚前惡補性知識

「性」,本來就是個吸引人的話題。自一九四七年創辦、標榜以科學方式研究性學的美國金賽研究所發表的刊物,歷來因極具爭議性,知名度不低。加上它出書時間趕上中國人的結婚旺季,不少人將這套書當作修「婚姻學分」的參考書等種種因素,都使得它大賣。杏陵醫學基金會執行秘書王瑞琪則將熱烈的市場反應歸因於:「它抓住了社會大眾對性知識需求的心理。」

一位家長發現金賽性學報告的內容,不但詳細包羅了兩性的親密關係和身心發展過程中可能碰到的性問題,以及衛生保健常識,「最高興的是,我還從『父母對兒童性行為的反應』、『父母必備的指南』等章節中找到如何處理孩子對性問題的態度」,她說。

也是基於這種需求,台灣的傳播界近來興起這股談性問題的風潮。像電視節目「女人,女人」中的單元「性不性由你」、「性向測驗」,開闢三年來,涉獵話題範圍從月經、自慰、夢遺,到性器官尺寸大小、肛交等等,尺度越來越開放,而成為節目的招牌單元。

作家苦苓和流行音樂創作者梁弘志分別錄製了談性論愛的錄音帶專輯。連最近遠見雜誌出版的婦女專刊,都不能免俗地特別闢出一個專欄來談性。至於書籍更是不勝枚舉。

媒體包裝解尬尷

「透過傳播媒體以開放、通俗或輕鬆娛樂的方式包裝,可以化解『性』話題本身的敏感度和尷尬」,常在電視媒體和報章雜誌上討論這方面問題的台灣大學醫學院教授李鎡堯認為,這是觀眾較樂於從傳播媒體接受性知識的主因。

像王桂花即自恃張老師出版社發行的雜誌素來以內容嚴肅、形象端正聞名,不會讓人「想歪了」;而且還請國內幾位致力推廣性教育的專家、學者列名推薦,以強調它的專業與權威性,著實費了一番工夫去包裝。

「讓人感覺乾乾淨淨、不帶色彩」,一位正在書店選購的讀者就表示。

電視、廣播媒體則多以延請專家和民眾一起座談,用問答、討教的輕鬆、戲謔等方式來討論問題。

作家苦苓是箇中翹楚。他因擅談兩性問題,常出現在廣播、電視節目中,在不堪演講邀約過多的情況下,索性將演講製成錄音帶,以廣流傳。如今,他欲罷不能地談遍愛、情、性、外遇、婚姻等問題,預計將可出版八套專輯,可見市場需求之殷。

猶抱琵琶半遮面

可是為什麼會一時之間出現這種「百家齊鳴」的情況?難道過去中國人真的不懂「性」?

說實在話,以世界上人口最多的民族而言,實在不能說中國人是完全不懂性。就以專門傳授「房中術」的素女經而言,雖然作者、年代均已不可考,但是東漢張衡在朱府中提及「素女為我師、天老教軒皇」,可見東漢或更早即已流傳,迄今已有千餘年歷史。即使是標榜「純純的愛」的「紅樓夢」,也未能免。

女主角林黛玉有一次吟詩作對,不小心順口露出兩句當時被視為閨閣禁書「牡丹亭」、「西廂記」的詞句,第二天就被薛寶釵叫了去訓斥一頓。可是,人稱大家閨秀的寶釵若非也背著人看過這些「淫辭豔語」,又怎麼捉得到黛玉的小辮子呢?

「可見,不是不懂,只是大家在保守傳統的包袱下,變成禁忌不敢公開討論」,作家苦苓認為,即使現代資訊較開放,有關「性」的話題仍被國人遮遮掩掩,刻意地迴避。

二、三十歲以上的民眾,大概還記得國中時,健康教育老師臉紅地略過介紹男女生理特徵的第十四、十五章情景吧!台灣早年就在這種保守的傳統習性下,認為「性」是羞於啟齒的話題;不懂也不敢問。「有一回一位早熟的女同學來經,我們還以為她要死了」,一位雜誌編輯回憶說。

張老師月刊對金賽性學報告的購買者隨機調查也顯示,其中以廿一到廿五歲的購買者最多,其次為廿六到卅歲。

精子怎麼跑到輸卵管中?

然而,雖然風氣漸開,當有心的家長或老師翻開學校教材,往往不免感到洩氣。國小只有五年級的健康教育課本中談到兩性的生理特徵。國一的健康教育課本雖也編排了相關課程,重點仍放在男女的性徵,到國一下學期才談到精子與卵子的結合,「書上說:『父親的精子與母親的卵子在輸卵管中結合,形成受精卵,叫做受精,於是一個新的生命便開始孕育了。』但是,精子怎麼會『跑』到輸卵管中與卵子結合?要怎麼跟他們解釋呢?」一位家長說,這個問題讓她傷透了腦筋。

正式的性教育管道不足之外,另有一股「反教育」的破壞力量更不容忽視。「目前社會反而大量充斥著色情訊息和錯誤的性知識,令人擔心」,婦女新知基金會工作人員黃素恩舉例,如「牛肉場」海報、脫衣秀,街頭巷尾隨處可見;誰到錄影帶店都租得到色情A片;報章雜誌上的性藥和特種行業廣告毫無遮攔;甚至讀者以兒童、青少年為主的漫畫書都泛濫著色情、暴力。

中央警官學校教授范國勇就曾問卷調查發現,約有百分之七十以上的國中三年級的學生看過色情暴力漫畫。

「校園堣ㄜ蓐瑹O險套,校外卻大賣宮澤里惠的寫真集;禁止播放性教育的影片,卻禁不了第四台和錄影帶的A片」,曾在中學任教的苦苓諷刺地說。

男性的氣魄?

每月平均要到各地學校為青少年做十場性教育問題演講的王瑞琪,也從學生發問中察覺他們深受錯誤的性觀念困擾,「男學生最擔心的問題居然是自己的生殖器官尺寸太小了!」她說,原來他們看了色情錄影帶中被誇張了的尺寸後,相形之下,感到自卑,以為自己沒有「男性氣魄」。其他像「陽痿」、「早洩」等字眼,也透過報紙上毫不設防的壯陽藥物廣告,深植他們心中。

「女性往往也成為這些錯誤觀念的受害者」,黃素恩舉例,國內不少女性在發生性行為時,連最基本保護自己不受孕的觀念和常識都不足。根據統計,台灣未成年少女中,未婚的懷孕率高達千分之十六,遠高於同為東方國家的鄰國,如韓國(千分之十一)新加坡(千分之九)和日本(千分之四)。至於未成年婦女的生育率更高達千分之七百左右,換句話說,每年大約有一萬五千個嬰兒是由未成年媽媽生下的。

魔鬼的工作?

傳統資訊不敷現實所需,加上近年國內傳播媒體尺度漸開,這股「談性」的風潮於焉吹起。不過,在台灣,這仍是個極敏感、看法兩極化的問題,放在傳播媒體上,更等於透過放大鏡看事情,稍一不慎,往往流於色情之譏,其間分寸如何拿捏,就成為傳播者的主要考驗。

七十六年國內公共電視製播的性教育節目「人之初」,就禁不住社會衛道壓力,最後無疾而終。

三年前,台視的新聞節目「熱線追蹤」,曾播出向丹麥購買的兒童性教育動畫影片,卻刪掉了性行為的畫面,而且只播出「生命之美」、「哦!原來如此」兩單元,省略了「人生的第一次」和「愛滋病的預防」,理由是不適合公開播映。

不久前,「女人,女人」節目更因直言「後庭花」、「肛交」之詞,引來觀眾激烈反彈,及輿論指責。

即使張老師出版社也曾因在月刊上摘錄「金賽性學報告」有關性行為的章節,引來學校校長電話抗議,「你不講,他們不會去想,你一講,就刺激他們去想、去做!」王桂花引述他們的話說。她只好自我安慰:當年金賽博士從事性學研究之初,也曾被社會人士批評為在做「魔鬼的工作」。

性傳播不能取代性教育

苦苓則認為,這種現象是因為適值開放之初,國人還無法用平常心來看待,「時日久了之後,大家應該可以像談政治、經濟問題一樣坦然地談性問題。」

換個角度看,公開討論和提供充足的資訊,固然是破除無知或迷信的方式,而且在可預見的未來,資訊管道會更加開放,但是,性教育的範疇並不只限於性知識部分,像最基本的兩性平等對待、互相尊重的觀念和行為,還是得靠家庭、學校和社會整體的人格教育來養成,恐怕不能完全仰賴傳播市場的供給吧?

〔圖片說明〕

P.124

透過色情錄影帶和漫畫所傳播的性知識,往往會誤導兒童和青少年。

P.126

面對五花八門的色情行業,現代人對「性」更需要正確的態度與觀念以自處。

P.129

傳播媒體能取代正式的教育管道,提供正確的性教育嗎?

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Sex for the Masses

Hsieh Shu-fen /photos courtesy of drawings by Tsai Chih-pen /tr. by Peter Eberly

A few years ago a children's sex education book translated by the Yuan-Liou Publishing Co. called Where Do I Come From? didn't sell as well as expected because it described how sex feels and was considered "unsuitable for children."

Yet in the short period of time since late last year, the Chinese translation of The Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex, put out by Living Psychology Publishers, has sold nearly 100,000 copies.

It's not only the book world--a fad for sex-related topics has swept television, magazines, newspapers and the rest of the mass media in Taiwan lately.

What's going on?


The business affairs department at Living Psychology Publishers is in a tizzy. The Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex, which was originally expected to sell around 10,000 copies, has gone through five printings in less than three months, and they still can't keep up with demand. Editor-in-Chief Doris Kuei-Hwa Wang says the success has caught them by surprise and they've had to keep rushing back to reprint.

They're not the only ones amazed. In Taiwan, sex is still generally considered a highly secretive, personal matter. Books on it are always stashed in a corner of the store or shelved in the family, women's or health sections. Very few stand out boldly on their own and have the word "sex" emblazoned right on the cover.

The Kinsey Report, which claims to be an "encyclopedia on sex," runs counter to all that. Not only is it displayed on the stand in the most conspicuous part of the store, it's also touted in huge shopwindow displays on busy streets, and many of the actions and ideas it discusses, measured by current standards, can only be termed rather rare and avant-garde.

Pre-wedding cramming:

Sex is a topic that naturally draws people's attention. The books of the U.S. Kinsey Foundation, which was founded in 1947 and prides itself on studying the topic with scientific methods, have never lacked for fame and controversy. What's more, the Chinese edition was published just in time for the prime wedding season on Taiwan, and quite a few people have treated it as required reading for "marriage credits." These are just two of the factors that have made it a hit. Wang Jui-chi, executive secretary of the Hsing Ling Medical Foundation, attributes the book's success to its "meeting the public demand for sex information."

The Kinsey Report, one parent found, contains detailed, inclusive information on sexual relations and on sexual problems that may arise in the course of mental and physical development along with common knowledge on health and sanitation. "But what made me happiest was that the chapters on "The Reaction of Parents to Their Children's Sexual Behavior' and 'Pointers for Parents' showed me the approach to take in dealing with my kids' question on sex," she says.

Based on a similar demand, the mass media have been swept recently by a wave of sex-related topics and discussion. In the three years they have been on air, the features "Sex Forum" and "Sex Aptitude Test" on the popular television program "Women, Women" have covered an increasingly broad range of topics, from menstruation, masturbation and nocturnal emissions to sex organ size and anal intercourse, becoming one of the program's main attractions.

The author Ku Ling and pop music writer Liang Hung-chih have each made cassette recordings of talks on love and sex. Even the special issue on women put out recently by Global Views Monthly followed the popular trend by devoting a special section to sex. In books, the examples are too numerous to detail.

Packaging important:

"Popular, open or relaxed and entertaining methods of packaging can relieve some of the sensitivity and embarrassment the topic is apt to cause," says Li Tzu-yao, a professor at the College of Medicine at National Taiwan University, who often discusses sex on television and in the press. He believes that packaging is the main reason audiences are willing to accept sex information from the media.

The magazines put out by Living Psychology Publishing since Doris Wang took over have been noted for their serious content and respectable image and for not giving people "any wrong ideas. "In publishing The Kinsey Report, the company invited a number of local experts and scholars who are trying to promote sex education to recommend the book and stress its expertise and authoritativeness. It really spent a lot of effort on packaging.

"It has a clean and healthy feel, without any hint of lewdness," a reader says, buying a copy in a bookstore.

On television and radio, experts are often invited to sit down with members of the general public and discuss sex-related topics in an easygoing question-and-answer format.

Ku Ling is a prime example. He's so good at talking about the sexes, he often appears on radio or TV programs and has been invited to lecture so often that he simply made tapes for wider circulation. To date he's recorded talks about love, affection, sex, extramarital affairs and marriage and expects to put out eight in all. You can see how strong the market demand is.

Coy and demure:

Why are a hundred flowers blooming all of a sudden? Can it really be true that Chinese people in the past were ignorant of sex?

Actually, considering the fact that the Chinese are the most populous people on earth, it would be absurd to say they don't know anything about sex. Although the author and date of composition of the Su-nu ching, or Classic of the Pure Maiden, an ancient manual of techniques of the boudoir, are unknown, a line in a poem by Chang Heng written during the Eastern Han (A.D.25 to 220) goes "The Pure Maiden is my teacher/Tien Lao instructed the Yellow Emperor," indicating that the book dates back to that period or earlier.

Even the classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber, which exalts "pure love," is not free of sexual innuendo.

The female protagonist Lin Tai-yu is capping the lines of an impromptu poem and inadvertently lets slip the titles of two books considered risque at the time, The Peony Pavilion and Romance of the Western Chamber. The next day she is called over and scolded by her cousin Hsueh Pao-chai. But if her cousin had never seen these "dirty books," how could she have taken her to task about them?

"Clearly, it wasn't that they didn't know about it. It's just that, under the conservative weight of tradition, sex was a forbidden topic that no one dared discuss in the open," Ku Ling says. Even if information is more open these days, sex-related topics are still shunned and avoided by the Chinese, he believes.

People in their twenties or thirties probably still remember back in junior high school when the health education teacher--blushing rosy red -- came to the part about male and female physical characteristics in chapters 14 and 15! With our conservative, traditional habits, sex was long considered a shameful, unmentionable topic in Taiwan,

Children frequently didn't understand what was happening to them during puberty but were afraid to ask. "When a classmate of mine who matured early had her first period, we thought she was going to die," a magazine editor recalls.

A random survey conducted by Living Psychology magazine on Kinsey Report buyers found that the age group with the largest number was 21 to 25, followed by 26 to 30.

How does the sperm get there?

But even though society is becoming more open, when concerned parents or teachers look into school sex education materials, they often can't help feeling discouraged. "In elementary school," a parent says," the only time sex is mentioned is in the fifth-grade health textbook, and that's only about boys' and girls' physical differences.

The seventh-grade health book has a related curriculum, but the main focus is still on biological characteristics. It doesn't talk about the egg and the sperm getting together until the second semester. "The book says, 'The father's sperm and the mother's egg join in the fallopian tubes to form an embryo. This is called fertilization, and a new life begins.' But how does the sperm get there? How do you explain that?" the parent says, adding that that's the question that gives her a headache.

Besides the inadequacy of formal sex education channels, another negative factor that mustn't be neglected is the destructive force of "miseducation." "The sexual titillation and mistaken notions that society is full of nowadays are troubling," says April Huang, who works at a women's group called the Awakening Foundation. Examples she cites are the ads for "strip shows" and "meat markets" posted all over the city, the ready availability of X-rated movies to anyone who goes into a video rental store, blatant advertisements in magazines and newspapers for virility potions and "special services" and comic books with children and teenagers as leading characters that are rife with sex and violence.

Fan Kuo-yung, a professor at the Central Police Academy, found in a survey that more than 70 percent of third-year junior high students have read comic books featuring sex and violence.

"Schoolkids can't buy condoms, but they can get hold of nude photo collections of Japanese pop stars. Sex education films are prohibited, but we can't stamp out X-rated videos and cable TV," Ku Ling, who once taught junior high school, says sarcastically.

Lacking virility?

Wang Jui-chi, who gives 10 sex education lectures a month to teenagers at schools and other places, feels that students are deeply confused by mistaken notions about sex, judging from the questions they ask. "The problem that boys worry about most is actually the size of their penis!" she says. The exaggerated sizes they've seen in porno movies have given them an Inferiority complex and made them feel they "lack virility." In addition, their use of terms such as impotence and premature ejaculation shows that the seductive ads in the newspapers for aphrodisiacs and sexual stimulants have been deeply planted in their minds.

"Women often end up victims of these mistaken ideas," says April Huang, citing the fact that many young women lack even most basic knowledge about protecting themselves from pregnancy. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the pregnancy rate among unmarried, pre-adult females on Taiwan is 1.6 percent, much higher than that in neighboring Asian countries, such as South Korea(1.1 percent), Singapore (0.9 percent) and Japan (0.4 percent). As for married pre-adult females, data at the Taiwan Provincial Family Planning Institute shows that the fertility rate exceeds 70 percent. In total, pre-adult mothers give birth to about 15,000 babies a year.

Work of the devil:

The gap between traditional information and present needs and the gradual relaxing of media yardsticks in recent years have led to the "sex-talk" wave. But the topic is still a highly sensitive one in Taiwan, eliciting polarized views, and treating it in the media is like magnifying it through a telescope and apt to draw criticisms of lewdness if not carefully done. Learning how to approach it properly is a major test for the media.

The sex education program "In the Beginning," made by local public television in 1987, couldn't and up to pressure from self-appointed defenders of public morality and died an untimely death.

Three years ago, the Taiwan Television news program "Hotline" purchased a Danish animated sex education film for children, but cut out the pictures of sexual activity and showed just two segments--"The Beauty of Life" and "Oh! So That's How It Is!"--omitting "The First Time" and "AIDS Prevention" as not suitable for public broadcast.

Not long ago, the program "Women, Women" came under a storm of condemnation and viewer backlash for using the terms "backyard flower" and "anal intercourse."

When Psychology Today magazine excerpted some chapters from the Kinsey Report, some school principals called to protest: "If you didn't talk about it, they wouldn't think about it. When you talk about it, it makes them think about it, and then they want to do it!" Doris Wang can only console herself with the knowledge that Dr. Kinsey was criticized when he began engaging in sex research as performing "the work of the devil."

Education the key:

These sort of problems, Ku Ling believes, are due to the fact that we're just beginning to open up and still can't treat the topic with calm and balance. "After a while, we should be able to talk about sex as frankly as politics or economics. Seen from another angle, open discussion and the provision of adequate information are naturally one way to break through ignorance and superstition, and information channels will be even more open in the foreseeable future. However, the scope of sex education isn't limited to information. Concepts like mutual respect and equal treatment of the sexes will always depend for their inculcation more on the family, school and society as a whole than the media marketplace, won't they?

[Picture Caption]

p.124

Children and teenagers are often misled by the misinformation conveyed by prono videos and off-color comics.

p.126

Modern-day people need correct attitudes and thinking to deal with the burgeoning sex trade.

p.129

Can the media sever as a substitute for formal educational channels in providing correct information on sex?

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