Institute for Social Development Studies

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ISDS disseminates the research results on social construct of sexuality in Viet Nam and the book “Sexuality in comteporary Vietnam: Easy To Joke About But Hard To Talk About”



On the 6 of October 2009, at the Melia Hotel, Hanoi, the Institute for Social Development Studies has held an event to disseminate the results from their research on the social construct of sexuality in Viet Nam and also introduced the book: “Sex: Easy To Joke About But Hard To Talk About” from the authors team Khuat Thu Hong, Le Bach Duong, and Nguyen Ngoc Huong.

Within the framework of the project Capacity Enhancement for Research on Sexuality and Sexual Health in Vietnam under the fund of Ford Foundation, from 2003 to 2008, the Institute for Social Development Studies has carried out a research on social construction of sexuality in Viet Nam. The fundamental purpose of this research is to contribute to the scientific understanding on human and society, to serve as the foundations for policies and programs that aim at improving the people’s lives. Therefore, the research’s crutial target is to find out how sexuality is socially constructed in the contemporary Viet Nam by understanding the perception, attitude, and practice of sex of four generations in the last half of the century.

11Introducing the book and its tittle, on the behalf of the authors team, Dr. Khuat Thu Hong emphasized: we used to joke about sex and forgot to study seriously about it.  It is now time to explain and face the negative consequences that caused by the lack of understanding on sex, yet people feel embarrassed while dealing such issue and use traditional and moral values to avoid facing it. For the issue that people cannot joke about, hard to understand, or if they feel uncomfortable with, such as the issue of homosexuality, people would consider it as the imported matter, the disease, or something abnormal. Other issues such as adolescent start having such at early age, pre-marital abortion, HIV/AIDS prevalance, extra-marital sex become popular, disguised sex work, child sexual abuse, etc. are all the consequences from the lack of sexual knowledge and skills, yet they were blamed as the side effects from the market economy or the influences from Western culture 

The event was ended by a heartfelt message from the research team:

It is now time to learn how to talk about sex seriously. To do such thing, we have to have a sincere and open attitude, there is no place for hesitation or dishonesty. Each person’s life will be better if sex is no longer an issue that hard to talk about.10

It is now time when sex need to be researched comprehensively about yet not be considered as a negative issue related to diseases, HIV/AIDS, violence, abuse, unwanted pregnancy, or family planning. For years, sex is still a mysterious “black box” for both the science world and the policy makers. In the mean time, the society is rapidly changing. Urbanization, industrialization, and globalization are not only bringing economic growth to the country but also have changed the social relations and lifestyles of Vietnamese people profoundly. Inefficient knowledge on sex not only create and reaffirm the misunderstandings and myths about sex but also are the threats to any policy and development program because human are always the centre to all social processes and sex is the crutial part, the purpose and motivation of human’s life.

The book hopes to create inspirations for further and broader research on sexuality in Viet Nam.

Link to the book.

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