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While researchers have long examined the dating and mate selection patterns among young adults, the vast majority have utilized Western samples.

In order to further our understanding of the changing nature of dating behaviors and attitudes, this study examines a sample of young Chinese adults and focuses upon the gender differences therein.

From this perspective, filial piety and the continuation of family lineage are of tremendous importance (Han ).

One of the enduring cultural traits is “xiao,” which, in the most basic sense, refers to filial piety.

While dating and sexual activity among Chinese college students have been previously noted by researchers (e.g., Xu ), comparatively less is known about the attitudes and expectations of youth concerning these behaviors.

In regard to premarital sex, for example, some studies have reported that 86 % of respondents approve of it (see Tang and Zuo ).

In China, marriage and family life continues to be a central element within Chinese culture, with adolescents and young adults typically assuming that they will eventually find a partner.

China is typically regarded as a collectivistic culture, in which obligations to the greater society and social institutions (e.g., the family) are considered more important than individual traits and needs (Kwang ).Even the behaviors within dating appear to be rapidly changing over time.Behaviors such as holding hands and kissing in public, which may been somewhat taboo only a few decades ago, in China, are now becoming increasingly commonplace (Xia and Zhou ) reports that over one third of college students in China had become sexually active while enrolled in school.The Chinese character for “xiao” can visually be interpreted as a child with an old man on his back (Han ).The long-standing expectation of “xiao” is that children devote their lives, without question, to their parents and families.

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Women, in particular, appear to be more focused on pragmatic qualities in prospective partners.

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