"When the economy is down, sexual activity is lower as people get depressed and have less sex," said Emil Man-Lun Ng, founder and president of the Asian Federation for Sexology. "Their quality of life will decrease, with an increase in family violence and divorce."
Ng was speaking at the opening of the four-day Asian Congress of Sexology in Singapore, where panelists urged Asian governments to provide more sex education in order to boost fertility and improve quality of life.
Singapore is a city-state of 4 million people known for its strict social controls. The government bans gay sex and routinely censors films, television programs and popular songs dealing with sexual themes.
Ng, a psychiatry professor at the University of Hong Kong, said governments should introduce "very broad" sex education campaigns for children of all ages. These campaigns should cover topics such as sexually transmitted diseases and how to have sex. They could include portions of the Kama Sutra, a book about sexual positions from ancient India, he said.
Education is particularly important in Asia, as people in the world's most populous continent are more ignorant about sex than Westerners because of low literacy rates, Ng said.
Beverly Whipple, vice president of the World Association for Sexology, said it is also important for women to learn more about their sexual rights, including the right to sexual pleasure.
"Sexuality isn't all about genitals as it affects us throughout - psychologically, behaviorally, socially and culturally," Whipple said.