The liberalization of Chinese attitudes toward sex, despite the near-absence of sex education, has led to a sort of bedroom farce that would be hilarious if it didn’t result in at least 13 million abortions a year. College students in particular feel comfortable having sex; now, if only someone had taught them how to put on a condom. “People born in the 1980s and '90s are most in danger,” one tells Michelle Tsai. "We're liberal, but we didn't have any sex education."
Internet message boards buzz with questions about whether kissing can lead to pregnancy—and, of course, many computers are rigged so finding the answer is impossible. “There's a gap between how open people are about sex and how informed they are,” Tsai writes on Slate. As a result her student interviewee—who went to a Qing Dynasty text for condom advice—and her roommates all arrived at college virgins. By graduation, one had had 3 abortions in one year. And that 13 million number? It doesn’t include unlicensed procedures—or the 10 million abortion pills sold each year.