The traditional concept of sexuality expects women to be chaste before and faithful during marriage, while allowing men to have several sexual partners before and after their wedding. Though men are not encouraged to engage in extramarital affairs, they may stay in their marriages or return to their families if they so choose (J.-S. Chang, 1999). While most Taiwanese American men who live and work in the United States rarely have the opportunity to do so, some financially successful "astronaut" husbands are known to practice de facto polygyny. Upon returning to work in Taiwan or mainland China, they often live with a mistress, their so-called "small wife" (xiao taitai) (J.-S. Chang, 1999). The wives of such estranged husband who stay in America are not able to express their sexuality, which often leaves them rather frustrated. In contrast with men, women who are unfaithful are expected to divorce their husbands (Avenarius, 2003).

Sexual conduct and sexual expression for second-generation immigrants are strongly influenced by mainstream American culture, and pop culture in particular. Both genders are educated in sexual matters. Although women are still required to practice modesty, their attitudes toward sexuality are often more liberal than those of men (Chia et al., 1993).

Homosexual expression among Taiwanese Americans is to some extent shaped by the gay movement in North America (Eng & Hom, 1998). It differs considerably from the experience of homosexuality in Taiwan which is less visible and continues to be influenced by the Confucian ideal of compatible polars which create a dyadic relationship.


The experience of courtship has changed considerably over the years. Many first-generation immigrants had few opportunities to meet members of the opposite sex. Prior to immigration, potential marriage partners were found either through a matchmaker or the introduction of a friend. Since the majority of immigrants who entered the United States as graduate students were men, the unmarried among them often asked a fellow Taiwanese classmate to introduce them to a sister or cousin when he went back to Taiwan on vacation. After the exchange of letters, a future wife arrived on a fiancee visa and the couple got married in a small ceremony in the United States. The interethnic marriage rate is not very high among firstgeneration immigrants. However, Taiwanese American women within this group tend to a have a higher likelihood than men to marry a member of a different ethnic group (Sung, 1990).

Second-generation Taiwanese Americans start their courtship experience in the form of dating in middle and high school, much like other American children. As stated earlier, parents expect their children to finish their education before entering marriage. Women usually wish to find more equal partners and try to avoid being cast into the traditional female role. They often date Taiwanese or Chinese men as well as European Americans, whereas Taiwanese American men usually look for Taiwanese, Chinese, or other Asian women. Although Taiwanese American families prefer their children to marry other Taiwanese Americans, marriage to a mainland Chinese is almost as acceptable. Marriage to a partner from a different Asian American group or to a European American is tolerated. Wedding ceremonies tend to be elaborate if the parents are included in the planning process. They often are a blend of both Western and Taiwanese customs.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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