No sex in the dorms?

Western attitudes add fuel to the controversy of whether sexual behaviours should be allowed in HKBU residence halls.

The absence of regulations concerning sexual intercourse in Western university dormitories may be a culture shock when compared to what many students in Hong Kong universities are accustomed to.

Mixed-gender dormitory rooms and allowing students to enter rooms of the opposite sex at any time are considered an "exotic" privilege, according to Hong Kong Baptist University student, Mr Tray Chan Cheuk-hei, who went on an exchange to Austria.

Recalling dormitory life at HKBU, Mr Chan said there were strict guidelines that emphasised the separation of the opposite sex. He was shocked when he noticed there were no such rules in the Austrian university dorms he stayed in.

In October 2013, a debate was sparked as to whether university students should be allowed to have sex in their dorm rooms when a girl challenged the related ban through performing arts outside the HKBU student residence halls.

"I further enquired into the Austrian university's policy towards sexual behavior and there was none," said Mr Chan.

"It seems that Hong Kong is the only place having stern regulations over university students' sexual behaviour in dormitories," he added.

In the existing HKBU hall regulations, rule number 12 states "any indecent behaviour or any behaviour which is deemed as causing undue uneasiness to others in the Hall is prohibited."

However, there is no single clause clearly stating sex is not allowed in halls.

"It is just understood that way," said Hall Tutor Ms Yuki Lai Hoi-ching.

"Everyone knows they are not allowed to have sex in the halls and no one has been caught in practice," she said.

Ms Lai added that she would report to the office to penalise students if there were such cases.

Her views were echoed by Ms Mario Leung Yuen-yuen, a resident at the HKBU C.N. Yang Hall. "I don't think it should be allowed," she said. "We have at least one roommate in every HKBU dorm room. Having sex in the dorms can really cause embarrassment and unease to other roommates."

While the authority emphasised "the undue uneasiness to others" in the rules, other professionals in the field speak of the universality of sexual needs among teenagers.

"It is undeniable that sexual needs are a basic need of adolescents," said Ms Stephanie Yuen Kiu-yan, a social worker of Hong Kong Christian Service who majors in teen service.

"If we over-suppress it, the adolescents may be badly affected in the long-run," she said.

With less and less days left on his exchange abroad, Mr Chan said he is increasingly treasuring the freedom he has in Austria. "I really feel comfortable and liberal here," he said.

"When I get back to Hong Kong, I think the debate over the legitimacy of sexual behaviour in student dormitories will remain feverish. It won't be settled until there is a change in the rules concerning sex," he added.

 

Reported by Nathaniel Suen  

Edited by Andrew Wan

Cover photo courtesy of Hong Kong Baptist University

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