Sexual Mixing by Age and Education in China

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

Major changes in sexual norms and behaviors are occurring in China. Sexual unions other than marriage are on the rise. The country is also facing a comeback of STDs and an emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is expected to spread to the general population via heterosexual transmission. We use log-linear analyzes to examine and compare age and educational sexual mixing patterns for primary and a secondary partnerships reported by respondents to the China Health and Family Life Survey. We find that: (a) age and educational homogamy are present in both types of partnership; (b) social constraints more strongly govern primary relationships; and (c) individuals who experience both types of partnerships are consistent about choice of partner in term of demographic and social attributes. Our results have significant implications for our understanding of the social organization of sexual partnering in China as well as for the potential for spread of sexually transmitted infections.

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Presented in Session 67: Dynamics and Patterns of Sexual Behavior in China