To assess the risk factors for casual sex and infections among the sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic attendees in two disparate Chinese cities, an STD clinic-based cross-sectional study was conducted to provide demographic and sexual behaviour information. Participants were recruited from nine STD clinics selected by mapping strategy. STD prevalence was 69.4% (68.6% of men and 65.2% of women). The most common diagnoses were non-gonococcal urethritis (22.2%), genital warts (13.2%), syphilis (11.6%), gonorrhoea (8.4%), chlamydia (6.3%) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) (5.8%). Of 536 participants, 22.5% reported having casual sex in the last three months, younger age, less education, unawareness of transmission routes and having had casual sex in the last three months were independent risk factors for acquisition of an STD. Single or separated marital status, nonlocal residency and STD diagnoses were independently associated with having had casual sex. After decades of exceedingly low STD rates in China, a full panoply of STD diagnoses are now evident. Both for reproductive health concerns and for stemming the expansion of HIV spread, STD control and prevention must be revitalized as a priority for China's public health and medical institutions. Effective training is a priority, given the dearth of STD-experienced health-care workers.