vietnam1.jpg The lovely but strait-laced traditional costume of Vietnamese women highlights the conservative and family-ruled values of this socialist country. But while the traditional costume is still donned for formal occasions, it is gradually being replaced by jeans, T-shirts, dresses and skirts in more casual settings. Likewise, the young men and women in Vietnam are undergoing a sexual revolution. The female sex spearheads the change for they have gained wider independence, mobility and exposure due to the industrialization and rapid economic growth of the country.

Young couples now secretly live together before tying the knot, outside the knowledge of their families. They kiss, touch and cuddle at public parks in the shadows of the night. Generations live together in family-oriented Vietnam, so parks in cities become secret meeting places where young people can have privacy to enjoy each other’s company and a little caressing or touching of bodies. They write blogs about love, relationship and sexual orientation. They have pre-marital sex and extra-marital affairs. A virgin becomes a thing not of beauty but rarity.

As Vietnam blooms in this newfound freedom of love, sex and relationship roles, it will have to gradually awaken to issues of sexual diseases such as HIV/AIDS, sexual orientation and change, abortion, and changes in the family institution. The pink romantic phase will pass and usher in a time of darkness and groping if Vietnam is not ready with sexual awareness and sexual education programs.