Feature Articles

FPAHK Report of Youth Sexuality Study 2006

Ref Number: ESEAOR200711b

  • Date23 Nov 2007
  • Category FPA Message
  • Targets Youth Public
  • AuthorFPAHK
  • Topic Sexual Behavior, Love & Dating, Sexual Orientation, Birth and Pregnancy, Marriage and Family

The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (FPAHK) released the findings of its Youth Sexuality Study 2006 at a Press Conference on 23 November 2007. The Youth Sexuality Study (YSS), a territory-wide survey conducted every five years in Hong Kong since 1981, reflect the changes in youths over the past 25 years in matters concerning their knowledge, attitude and behavior toward sex. The 2006 survey comprised three parts: two parts under a school survey covering students of Form One to Form Two (F.1-F.2), and Form Three to Form Seven (F.3–F.7) respectively, and a third part was a household survey on youths aged between 18 and 27.

Findings of the YSS 2006 show that while dating among secondary school students has become as common as many other forms of activity, the percentage of both boys and girls in F.3–F.7 who had sexual intercourse experience has continued to rise. However, the rate of contraceptive practice was low. Other major findings are as follows:

Sexual Knowledge

Despite a slight improvement in knowledge on conception, more than half the F.3–F.7 students did not know that the statement “Chance of pregnancy is slim 2 weeks before menstruation” was wrong, nor that the statement “Pregnancy can occur with extra-vaginal ejaculation” was correct. They were generally more knowledgeable about STDs and AIDS, but their awareness of the risk factors for HIV/AIDS transmission was lower than that of their counterparts ten years ago.

Sexual Attitude

Regarding acceptance of other’s behavior, the survey revealed that more F.3–F.7 students accepted “public intimacy between two sexes”, “premarital sex” and “cohabitation”. However, the acceptance of other people having “multiple dating partners”, “multiple sexual partners” and “induced abortion” had declined. Similarly, “premarital sex” and “cohabitation” were also the most commonly accepted behaviors of other people among the youths aged 18-27.

Dating Experience

The percentage of students who had dating experience had significantly increased among both boys and girls, reaching 46% of F.1-F.2 students and 60-63% of F.3-F.7 students. “Dating is common” was the respondents’ main reason for dating. The prevalence of dating behaviors such as “holding hands”, “embracing” and “kissing” had risen significantly.

Sexual Intercourse Experience

The prevalence of boys and girls who had sexual intercourse experience in the F.3-F.7 group continued to rise, reaching 11% overall. In 2006, 13.2% of boys had experienced sexual intercourse, representing an increase of more than 50% from 8.7% in 2001; 8.2% of girls had experienced sexual intercourse, representing an increase of nearly 60% from 5.2% in 2001. 4.7% of girls and 6.8% of boys reflected that they had their first sexual intercourse when they were below age 15. Both percentages had doubled in the last 10 years. Regarding the reason for their first sexual intercourse, the most common reason among girls was to accommodate the request of their partners while the most common reason among boys was to satisfy sexual desire.

Among the youths aged 18-27, about 4% of female respondents recalled that they had their first sex before the age of 15, compared to only 1% in 1991. Nearly half of the female respondents and more than half of their male counterparts had sexual intercourse with their romantic partners. 9% of male respondents have patronised prostitutes.

Male condom was the most commonly used contraceptive method for both F.3-F.7 students and youths aged 18-17. The majority of youth aged 18-27 who had sexual intercourse in the past six months had not sought contraceptive advice.


The pregnancy rate among 18-27 year-old young women dropped from 16% in 1991 to 10% in 2006. 28% of the pregnancies resulted in birth of the baby and 50% were terminated by abortion; whereas in 1991, 56% of the pregnancy had resulted in birth of baby while 32% were aborted.

Marriage and Family Formation

59% of female respondents and 55 % of male respondents in the 18-27 age group indicated they would get married in the future. Among them, there was an increasing trend of cohabitation before marriage.

The mean ideal parity had steadily dropped from 1.8-1.9 children in 1991 to 1.5-1.6 children in 2006. The mean ideal age of having children was 28.3 for women and 30.2 for men.

In presenting the findings, Prof Lam Tai-hing, Chairman of FPAHK’s Research Subcommittee, pointed out that these findings were still relatively conservative when compared to most western developed countries. Nevertheless, they indicated that the trend towards increased openness in sexual attitude and activity was continuing, without a clear improvement in sexual knowledge among young people.

Dr Susan Fan, Executive Director of FPAHK, called for parents, teachers and youth workers to provide appropriate sexuality education to young people. She suggested that community education programs could help young adults who have left schools to catch up on the sexuality knowledge they may be lacking. She further revealed that FPAHK would be launching a Youth Sexuality Campaign in 2008 to help young people build a healthy relationship in love.

Stressing the significance and uniqueness of the youth sexuality survey with its long history and continuity, FPAHK also called for continued resources input from government and for support from the public and the schools to sustain the survey in the future.