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BEIJING (Reuters) - Sexual frustration amongst migrant workers in China's booming southern province of Guangdong is leading to a host of social problems and must be tackled, state media on Saturday cited a local official as saying.
Guangdong, China's export powerhouse, is home to about 30 million migrant workers, the most in the country. Many leave wives, husbands or children in their native villages to seek the higher wages factories pay compared with agricultural work.
The China Daily quoted Zhang Feng, head of Guangdong's provincial commission of population and family planning, as saying these migrant workers suffered from "severe sexual repression."
"Sexually transmitted diseases are spreading faster among migrant workers, whose sex lives have long been neglected," Zhang said.
Many migrant workers turn to sex workers during long periods of separation from their spouses, he said.
"Unsafe sex by migrant workers will lead to a rise in venereal diseases and other social problems," Zhang said.
The newspaper cited a recent survey on migrant workers' sexual habits as showing that up to 36 percent of married men had experienced severe sexual repression.
The problem was not limited to men.
"Many young women who have migrated from rural areas, where sex education is nonexistent, experience a culture shock in bustling cities. They may follow in their friends' footsteps by adopting a more open attitude toward sex," the China Daily said.
"Some women reportedly take modeling jobs, and others end up married but accepting their husbands' second wives or mistresses. Other women may even go as far as participating in the online sex industry, such as chatting to men online while nude."
Zhang said he was asking Guangdong's provincial assembly to tackle the problem by thoroughly investigating it.
"Again this year, I am asking for the government to do the research. Migrant workers will develop less interest in work if they cannot satisfy their sex needs," Zhang said.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jerry Norton