A sexual revolution is taking place in China. Merely three decades ago, the act of pre-marital sex was forbidden. But now sex is more openly discussed and acceptable than ever before. This article provides an interesting look into the changes that have been taking place in China’s sexual landscape
During the Mao era, the communist party would select one’s spouse, and millions of people were doomed to have sexless, loveless marriages. For young lovers, the world was a hostile place, in which sex was forbidden before marriage. Any open discussion about sex was unthinkable, and the term “sex life” referred solely to reproduction. Sex was not meant for enjoyment, since people’s attention had to be completely focused on the party.
All of that has been changing in the past few years, as China’s Sexual Revolution has been happening full force.
Watch: Sexual Revolution in China
Until recently, sex stores in China have been heavily regulated by the government. In the past few years, however, the government has relaxed its grip on sex stores as it tries to cope with a fast spiraling AIDS crisis. Allowing sex stores to operate serves as a sex education motivator: people go in for sex toys and receive a short sex education class along with their purchase. China’s first sex shop only opened in the mid-90′s, but today, Beijing alone has an estimated 5,000 sex shops, practically in every corner of the city. Some of them are as busy as supermarkets, catering to a new kind of hunger. In fact, the sexual revolution has been happening so fast, that there are now more sex shops in China’s major cities than in most Western ones. For the past ten years, sex shops have been spreading all over China, and people are gaining interest.
“It is not surprising that there are more sex shops in Beijing than in New York -- because the need is greater.” says Zha Jianming, an author and an academic. “Sex shops have become an epidemic -- like Starbucks. It is necessary part of daily life now. You need to drink coffee -- you need to have sex.” Chinese hunger for more sexual freedom is growing by leaps and by sounds. Muximei, a beijing based blogger, broke the sound barrier a few years ago: She recorded a round of her own love-making, and then she put it on the internet for millions of Chinese people to listen. So many people tried to access it, that the internet servers crashed for days.
“What I did caused a pretty big shock for traditional people. they called me a whore.” says Muximi. “My most shocking blog was about meeting a rock-star in a bar, we went to an alley near the bar and made love. Afterwards, I blogged about it and rated his performance a 7 out of 10. For me having sex is abasic human entitlement.” Muximi created quite a stir in what has been the first (but certainly not the last) attempt to show how open Chinese society really is. She has impacted many girls who followed her footsteps and done the same.
The influence of the sexual revolution on Chinese youth is great. Teenage girls today are leading lives that their parents could not have dreamed about and would never understand. Many girls are having sex at an age as early as 13, sometimes even younger than that. “We don’t care what our parents think -- we just want to have fun” says one of the girls.
China’s sexual revolution is yet another result of the opening policies that China has been promoting for the past three decades. Even though many Chinese welcome the transition from a conservative society to an open one, the sexual revolution might be too much for some to handle. “My generation made love after marriage”, says sexologist Lei Da Lin, “Today, the younger generation always has sex before marriage, and maybe for only one night”.