Asian Women, Interracial Relationship, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Asian american women have been found to be at higher risk than are asian american men to get Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). These figures cannot be explained by lack of education or information. In East Asia, there is no such “extra risk” for asian women. Furthermore, the samples in study are not poorly educated. Not to mention that asians easily surpass whites in income, IQ, and SAT scores in Math. Finally, among the other races in the US, the gender disparity in STD rates is far less pronounced.

As we shall see, the lack of power among asian women in interracial relationship with white men helps to explain their high rates of STDs, given the sexual activity among white men. Therefore, white men could have more control over asian women than they would have with white or black women.

In a 2007 study, Hahm et al. found that 13% of asian women had ever had an STD, compared to 4% for asian men. These figures for asian women are likely to be underestimated, due to under-reporting. Also, if a relationship with asian men does not increase their risk of getting an STD, restricting the data for asian women in relationship with white men is likely to produce a much higher number than 13%.

Predictors of STDs Among Asian and Pacific Islander Young Adults

Hahm, Lee, Ozonoff, Amodeo

METHODS: Data were derived from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Wave 3; the sample consisted of 605 female and 578 male Asian and Pacific Islander young adults. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess factors associated with ever having had an STD.

RESULTS: Thirteen percent of females and 4% of males had ever had an STD. Among those who had had an STD, 75% were female, 9% had ever been paid for sex, 31% had had sex before age 15 and 55% had had multiple sex partners in the previous 12 months. Being female (odds ratio, 4.1), being Indian (compared with being Filipino; 4.8), having ever been paid money for sex (4.7) and having had more than one sex partner in the past 12 months (2.5) were associated with increased odds of having had an STD diagnosis. The more respondents believed that STDs were responsive to treatment, the greater their odds of having had an STD (2.3); the more they believed that STDs had negative consequences for a relationship, the lower their odds of having had an STD (0.7).

Asians and Pacific Islanders are one of the fastest growing minority groups in the United States. From 1990 to 2000, the Asian and Pacific Islander population increased by 46%, whereas the total U.S. population grew by 13%. The number of Asian and Pacific Islander adolescents and young adults is also on the rise: During the same time period, the 15–24-year-old age-group registered a 26% increase. [1, 2] From 2004 to 2005, the Asian and Pacific Islander population grew at a faster rate than any other U.S. racial group. [3]


Asian culture places great importance on the family system, family harmony and maintaining traditional gender roles. Adolescents’ premature sexual activity may be viewed as an embarrassment and a threat to family harmony. [22] This may explain Asian and Pacific Islander adolescents’ delayed initiation of sexual activity. Level of acculturation may also help to explain their sexual behavior: Although the majority of Asians and Pacific Islanders with HIV or AIDS are foreign-born [23] (i.e., less acculturated individuals), more acculturated Asian and Pacific Islander young women are more likely to have had sexual intercourse than are less acculturated ones. [24] Once Asian and Pacific Islander adolescents believe they have violated family values, they may feel little motivation to return to those values; this may explain the lack of difference in sexual risk behaviors between sexually experienced Asian and Pacific Islander adolescents and adolescents of other races.


Data and Sample

Our study is based on data from the 1,183 Asian and Pacific Islander young adults (605 female and 578 male) who completed Wave 3. Eighty-five percent of the young adults in this sample reported that they had had sexual intercourse.


Independent variables include gender; age (in years); and ethnicity, categorized as Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Asians and Pacific Islanders (e.g., Hawaiians, Samoans and Cambodians).


Sample Characteristics

Our sample comprised young adults from several ethnic backgrounds; 60% were Chinese or Filipino (Table 1, page 233). The mean age of young adults in this study was 22 (standard deviation, 1.8; not shown); the majority (84%) were 20–24 years old. Ninety percent of our sample reported speaking English at home; those who spoke English at home and were U.S.-born represented the largest group (52%). Those who did not speak English at home and were foreign-born were the smallest group (5%). […]

Among our total sample, 9% of participants had ever had an STD (Table 2). Four percent of young men and 13% of young women reported having had an STD (p<.0001 — not shown); chlamydia was the STD most commonly reported (5%). […]

STD Predictors

Gender, several of the sexual risk behaviors and most of the Health Belief Model constructs were significantly associated with an STD diagnosis at the bivariate level (Table 3). Among those who had ever had an STD, three out of four (75%) were women, 9% reported that they had ever been paid money for sex, 31% had had sex before age 15 and 55% had had multiple sex partners in the 12 months prior to the survey. […]

We assessed whether gender, ethnicity, sexual risk behaviors and Health Belief Model constructs were associated with STD status (Table 4, Page 236). Young women had four times the odds of young men of having had an STD (odds ratio, 4.1). Indians were significantly more likely than Filipinos to have had an STD (4.8). Respondents who had ever been paid for sex and those who had had more than one sex partner in the 12 months prior to the interview also had increased odds of ever having had an STD (4.7 and 2.5, respectively). […]

In the multiple logistic regression model, having had sex before age 15 was no longer significantly associated with having received an STD diagnosis. Agreement between each pair of sexual risk behaviors was quite low (kappas, 0.05–0.27), suggesting that collinearity is not the explanation for this null finding.


Overall, 9% of study participants reported some type of STD. Chlamydia — a risk factor for pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to ectopic pregnancy and infertility [43] — was the most common STD in our sample, in keeping with national trends. The proportion of our sample who had ever had chlamydia is strikingly similar to the overall prevalence in the young adult population in the United States (5% for females and 4% for males in 2000). [44] Combined with the documented increase in HIV acquisition among Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, [11] this finding qualifies them for the list of minority groups requiring increased public health attention.

Gender Disparity

However, the gender disparity in our sample is larger than that found in other studies of nationally representative samples. For instance, Kaestle’s study (white, 44%; black, 51%; and other, 5%) indicated that among those who were STD-positive, 58% were women and 42% were men, [29] a markedly lower disparity than was found with our sample. A study by Ford and colleagues (white, 68%; black, 16%; Latino, 12%; Native American, 1%; and Asian and Pacific Islander, 4%) found that women had 40% higher odds than men of getting a positive test result for STDs, also a smaller disparity than that found in our sample. [45]

What explains the gender disparity in STDs among Asian and Pacific Islander young adults? The most compelling explanation may be that Asian and Pacific Islander women have broader and more racially diverse sexual networks than men. Studies consistently show that Asian and Pacific Islander women have higher rates of interracial dating and interracial marriage than their male counterparts. [46–48] Among married Asians, 27% of women, but only 14% of men, were married to partners who were not of their own race. [49] Jacobs and Labov, using data from the 1990 census, found that Filipino women were three times as likely as Filipino men to marry a white partner. [46] This pattern of greater interracial relationships among women than among men was consistent among Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian Americans. [46] Data from the 2000 census show that Asian and Pacific Islander women were three times as likely as Asian and Pacific Islander men to marry white partners, and six times as likely to marry black partners. [50] Thus, interracial contact through Asian and Pacific Islander women’s broader sexual networks might expose them to higher rates of STDs.

Given that black-asian couples are very uncommon, the explanation that black-asian couples could be responsible for the worrying high rate of STDs found among asian women is unconvincing. In fact, when asians married someone from a different race, they mostly married whites, and most of asian-white couples consist in white men and asian women. In the United States, 40% of asian women newlyweds are actually engaged in interracial relationships, a number responsible for the high rate of unmarried asian men, since white women are more attracted to black men, not to asian men (most of black-white couples involve a white bride and a black groom). The explanation, as Hahm argued, probably stems from the fact that “Condom use is hard in a culture where women are raised to be accommodating and polite.” … “Asian and Pacific Islander women also have broader interracial dating patterns than Asian American men. This might explain why these women are exposed to higher rates of STDs.” White men are indeed more prone to sex than are asian men. In a subsequent paper, Hahm et al. discussed the consequences of the natural lack of power among asian women when it comes to sex.

Gender Power Control, Sexual Experiences, Safer Sex Practices, and Potential HIV Risk Behaviors Among Young Asian-American Women

Hahm, Lee, Rough, Strathdee

Abstract. We examined the prevalence of three domains of sexual behaviors among young Asian-American women: sexual experiences, safer sex practices, and potential HIV risk behaviors. We also investigated the impact of gender power control on these domains. Among sexually experienced women, 51% reported using condoms during their most recent sex act, 63% reported inconsistent condom use, and 18% reported ever having forced sex. Multiple logistic regression analyses revealed that women’s perceived lower relationship power control was not associated with vaginal sex or safer sex practices, but it was powerfully associated with forced sex and all three potential HIV risk behaviors.


Asian-American women are emerging as a group newly vulnerable to HIV infection. Although Asian-Americans comprise 4% of the US population and Asian-American women constitute 1% of female AIDS cases in the US [1], their estimated annual increase of HIV was the highest among all racial/ethnic groups between 2002 and 2004, increasing by 14.3% according to data from 33 states. In the same time period, Black, White, and Hispanic women showed proportional declines in HIV rates [2]. Heterosexual contact accounted for 80% of all HIV transmissions among Asian-American women, compared to White (65%), Black (74%), and Hispanic women (69%). One factor possibly contributing to the high proportion of heterosexual HIV transmission is Asian-American women’s lack of power in interpersonal relationships with men.


Outreach and Recruitment

This study is part of a larger cross-sectional study (AWSHIP) designed to examine the prevalence and characteristics of HIV risk behaviors and the factors associated with those behaviors among Asian-American women. The data was collected from January 2010 to July 2010, and a total of 448 Asian-American women between the ages 18 and 35 were screened for eligibility.

Statistical Analysis

Of the 410 total Asian-American women who completed surveys, analyses were restricted to women aged 18–28 (N = 355) because we were particularly interested in the sexual behaviors of young women. We used X² tests to compare the prevalence of sexual behavior outcomes among women by three levels of gender power relationship control (Table 2). Finally, we fit a series of multiple logistic regression models to estimate the relative contribution of gender power relationship control on the three domains of sexual behavior while controlling for individual, family, and community related factors (Table 3).


General Characteristics of Sample

Our sample was 355 Asian-American women aged 18–28 (mean, 21.3; SD, 2.5). The highest proportions of young women were Chinese (n = 203, 57.2%), followed by Koreans (n = 70, 19.7%), Vietnamese (n = 54, 15.2%), and mix of these ethnic groups (n = 28, 7.9%).

The Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Behavior

Table 1 describes the prevalence of the three domains of sexual behaviors within our sample. Among the total sample, 59% reported vaginal sex (n = 209, 95% CI: 53.9, 64.2) and 18.3% reported anal sex (n = 65, 95% CI: 14.3, 22.4).

Among sexually experienced women, 18% reported a forced sex experience (n = 38, 95% CI: 12.8, 23.2). Only half of the women reported using a condom during their last vaginal or anal sexual encounter (n = 106, 50.7, 95% CI: 43.9, 57.6), and less than four out of ten reported consistent condom use in the past 6 months (n = 68, 37.2, 95% CI: 30.1, 44.2). Approximately 30% of sexually experienced women did not use condoms during sex when they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs during sex (n = 36, 29.0, 95% CI: 20.9, 37.1).

Associations between SRPS and Sexual Experiences, Safer Sex Practice, and Potential HIV Risk Behaviors

Table 2 describes the prevalence of three domains of sexual behaviors based on the level of SRPS. … low SRPS [indicating substantial male dominance and control] was associated with potential HIV risk behaviors. Among women with low SRPS, 34.0% (95% CI: 20.4, 47.5) reported having multiple sex partners, compared with 27.7% (95% CI: 16.5, 38.9) of those with medium SRPS and 10.6% (95% CI: 3.0, 18.2) with high SRPS. Similarly, among women with low SRPS, 46.6% (95% CI: 33.3, 59.8) reported ever having had a potentially risky sexual partner, compared with 35.6% (95% CI: 24.4, 46.9) of those with medium and 25.7% (95% CI: 15.5, 35.9) of those with high SRPS.

Table 3 depicts results from multiple logistic regression models examining correlates of levels of SRPS (high, medium, and low) and the three domains of sexual behaviors, controlling for individual, family, and community related factors. … SRPS was significantly associated with forced sex (OR = 4.06, 95% CI: 1.45, 11.35, p = 0.01) and all three potential HIV risk behaviors. That is, compared to the women who reported high SRPS, women with low SRPS [indicating substantial male dominance and control] were 2.3 times more likely to report anal sex (OR = 2.25, 95% CI: 1.07, 4.71, p = 0.032), 4.9 times more likely to report having multiple sex partners (OR = 4.85, 95% CI: 1.71, 13.67, p = 0.003), and 3.5 times more likely to have ever had a potentially risky sexual partner (OR = 3.53, 95% CI: 1.56, 7.98, p = 0.002).


Our sample of young, unmarried Asian-American women, 59% reported ever having vaginal intercourse. This finding is in accordance with previous studies [29, 30] which found that the prevalence of vaginal sex among Asian-American young women is lower than in other ethnic groups. Data from the US Centers for Diseases and Control and Prevention also suggest a substantially higher prevalence of vaginal sex among women of other ethnic groups (White 88%; Black 89%; Hispanic 90%) [31]. Nonetheless, nearly one-fifth of sexually experienced women in our sample reported a lifetime prevalence of forced sex, which is similar to prevalence reported among White and Hispanic women [31].

[…] Approximately one quarter of sexually experienced Asian-American women reported having more than one sex partner in the past 6 months, which is lower than that reported for other US female ethnic groups [37]. However, the proportion ever engaging in anal sex (18%) was similar to that of other ethnic groups [38].

Relationship Power Control is Associated with Potential HIV Risk Behaviors

This study demonstrates that women who perceive themselves as having highly controlling male partners were 2–5 times more likely to have engaged in anal sex, have had multiple sex partners, have experienced forced sex, and to ever have had potentially risky sexual partners, even after taking into account individual, family, and community related factors. This finding may be explained by a fear of a controlling male partner’s negative response, which would discourage women from exerting their own control or assertiveness.

The CDC data tell the same story :

HIV and Asian & Pacific Islander Women

Recent analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that Asians and Pacific Islanders (A&PIs) have the highest rate of increase in new HIV infections in the nation, the only statistically significant growth among any racial or ethnic group. Though HIV is still seen as a men’s issue, the rate of increase for A&PI women is actually higher than that of A&PI men. Despite this, most A&PI women are not aware they are at risk for infection.

Recent studies found that A&PI women are four times more likely to get an STD than A&PI men. … A&PI women are less likely to express their sexual needs, negotiate condom use, or make empowered sexual decisions.

The pattern holds true even outside of the United States. For instance “[75 percent of] pregnant Asian teenage women in New Zealand abort their pregnancy compared to 59 per cent and 32 per cent of European and Maori teenage women, respectively.”

Asian Women ‘Sexually Reckless’

This was fuelled in a large part by data that showed that induced terminations among Asian women increased from 9.8 per cent in 1997 to 13.16 per cent in 2001. The data also indicated that the number of Asians at an abortion clinic had increased from 12 per cent in 1995 to 55 per cent in 2002. […]

In the same year (2001), a report published by the District Health Board of the Auckland region found that reproductive and sexual health was among the top three reasons for hospitalization among Asians in the 25-64 age group in 1999- 2000. […]

Incidentally, Asians are now the third-largest ethnic group in New Zealand, followed by the European and Maori communities. Within the Asian population, the Chinese are the largest ethnic group, followed by Indians and Koreans (Statistics New Zealand, 2004).

Given the fact that the gender differences in STD rates in East Asia show little differences, according to the WHO report (see Table 2, 3, 4 & 5), the finding that asian women have much higher sexually transmitted disease rates than asian men in United States can be attributed to interracial relationships, particularly with white men. It is well informed that whites may have a tendency to serial date asian women, one commonly invoked reason is the fact that asian women are obedient and docile (and probably also for sex). Another explanation for the high prevalence of white men-asian women couples is that asian women look more child-like, as this was commonly called “neoteny”. Also, a striking finding is the fact that the age difference of white men-asian women couples is twice the age difference of the other couples : it is very plausible that white men are looking at the youngest women among asians. Asian women seem not only to be feminized but also infantilized. Furthermore, as this has been pointed out by a blogger on Asian Nation :

The other issue that comes into play here is how Asian women are frequently fetishized. Historically, it was very common for Asian women to be portrayed as docile, subservient, exotic, mysterious, and/or seductive. These images can be traced back to Chinese prostitutes who were “imported” into the U.S. back in the 1800s and through the prevalence of “war brides” (Asian women marrying U.S. military servicemen) after World War 2, and these images are constantly reinforced and perpetuated in the media.

In their book “Korean American Women: From Tradition to Modern Feminism” Young I. Song and Ailee Moon tell the same story :

Doubts and mistrust toward White males in these relationships arose from numerous encounters by Korean American and Asian American with certain types of White men. In my study, many Korean American women encountered men who, for whatever reasons, pursued and dated exclusively or predominantly Asian/Asian American women. These men were so common and identifiable that the women had special names for them; they were called “Rice Kings” or “Asianphiles,” or men with an “Asian fetish” or “Asian fixation.”

It is well known that asians (men and women) are consistently sexually conservative. If sex is an addiction for white men, who generally think about sex “almost 19 times per day” – a quite impressive figure – the finding that asian women are more likely to get STD in a relationship with white men instead of asian men is quite expected.

Just think about it. How can the “One-Child Policy” be even applied in China ? Obedience and submission are rooted in chinese culture. They have a strong sense of authority. They are extremely respectful of hierarchy. This is true among men and among women. Genetics can also play a role. Heritability generally accounts for ~50% of the variance in personality characteristics.

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Human Psychological Differences (Bouchard, Jr. & McGue, 2003)

Genetic and environmental influences on human behavioral differences (McGue & Bouchard, Jr., 1998)

Genetic Influence on Human Psychological Traits : A Survey (Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., 2004, see Table 1)

Happiness is a personal(ity) thing: the genetics of personality and well-being in a representative sample (Weiss A., Bates T.C., Luciano M., 2008)

Recall that most of white-asian couples consist in white male with asian women while white women are dating black men, and that intermarriage rate is growing faster and faster (14.6% in 2008 compared to 6.7% in 1980, in the US, according to the Pew Research Center). This combined phenomenon suggest an increasing rate of unmarried asian males, because of asian wife shortage.

Certainly, whites would object to this statement — wife shortage is not a concern for them after all — especially those who embrace liberal ideology. They would justify this kind of relationship as an anti-racist behavior, and a praise for multiculturalism, a way of thinking claiming the acceptance of others while being responsible for the high rate of unmarried asian men (and black women, incidentally). To think otherwise means that the world they cherish, that is, a world of multiculturalism accompanied by an ever-increasing rate of intermarriage, will come to an end. It is well informed that liberals and atheists (these two characteristics are highly related, according to the GSS data) are far more likely to be interested in asian women. Unsurprisingly. Multiculturalism, on which depends their whole system, is not the unique alternative and way of thinking, despite all the efforts made by western countries to impose their way of thinking to others. But as the case of Japan demonstrates, there is a lot of reason to think that homogeneity is in fact more socially advantageous.

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