There is a Sexual Revolution Taking Place in China.

November 28, 2017

A review of “Behind the Red Door” by Richard Burger
Review by Tom Carter

Among the many misimpressions westerners tend to have of China, sex as some kind of taboo topic here seems to be the most common, if not clichéd.  Forgetting for a moment that, owing to a population of 1.3 billion, somebody must be doing it, what most of us don’t seem to know is that, at several points throughout the millennia, China has been a society of extreme sexual openness.

And now, according to author Richard Burger’s new book Behind the Red Door, the Chinese are once again on the verge of a sexual revolution.

Best known for his knives-out commentary on The Peking Duck, one of China’s longest-running expat blogs, Burger takes a similar approach to surveying the subject of sex among the Sinae, leaving no explicit ivory carving unexamined, no raunchy ancient poetry unrecited, and, ahem, no miniskirt unturned.

Opening (metaphorically and literally) with an introduction about hymen restoration surgery, Burger delves dàndàn-deep into the olden days of Daoism, those prurient practitioners of free love who encouraged multiple sex partners as the ultimate co-joining of Yin and Yang.  Promiscuity, along with prostitution, flourished during the Tang Dynasty – recognized as China’s cultural zenith – which Burger’s research surmises is no mere coincidence.


In this video, “The sexual revolution in China is underway, but not without its contradictions. The ‘sexless China’ over three decades ago is long gone, but gays still enter sham marriages, some women have hymen restorations before their weddings, and some men have a second ‘wife’ or a mistress. In an interview with Xinhua, Richard Burger, author of ‘Behind the Red Door: Sex in China,’ explains the ongoing Chinese sexual revolution.”

Enter the Yuan Dynasty, and its conservative customs of Confucianism, whereby sex became regarded only “for the purpose of producing heirs.”  As much as we love to hate him, Mao Zedong is credited as single-handedly wiping out all those nasty neo-Confucius doctrines, including eliminating foot binding, forbidding spousal abuse, allowing divorce, banning prostitution (except, of course, for Party parties), and encouraging women to work.  But in typical fashion, laws were taken too far; within 20 years, China under Mao became a wholly androgynous state.

We then transition from China’s red past into the pink-lit present, whence prostitution is just a karaoke bar away, yet possession of pornography is punishable by imprisonment – despite the fact that millions of single Chinese men (called bare branches) will never have wives or even girlfriends due to gross gender imbalance.

Burger laudably also tackles the sex trade from a female’s perspective, including an interview with a housewife-turned-hair-salon hostess who, ironically, finds greater success with foreigners than with her own sex-starved albeit ageist countrymen.

Western dating practices among hip, urban Chinese are duly contrasted with traditional courtship conventions, though, when it comes down to settling down, Burger points out that the Chinese are still generally resistant to the idea that marriage can be based on love.  This topic naturally segues into the all-but-acceptable custom of kept women (little third), as well as homowives, those tens of millions of straight women trapped in passionless unions with closeted gay men out of filial piety.

Behind the Red Door concludes by stressing that while the Chinese remain a sexually open society at heart, contradictive policies (enforced by dubious statistics) designed to discard human desire are written into law yet seldom enforced, simply because “sexual contentment is seen as an important pacifier to keep society stable and harmonious.”

____________________________

Travel Photographer Tom Carter traveled for 2-years across the 33-provinces of China to show the diversity of Chinese people in  China: Portrait of a People, the most comprehensive photography book on modern China published by a single author.

This guest post by Tom Carter first appeared in China in City Weekend Magazine. Reblogged with permission of Tom Carter. Behind the Red Door was published by Earnshaw Books.

Tom Carter is married to a Chinese citizen, and he lives and works in China.

Advertisements

The Evolving Sexual Revolution in China: Part 5 of 5

December 20, 2014

Most of the prostitutes in the cities are village girls and many have little orno idea about safe sex. This is causing an increase in HIV, because many of the men refuse to wear condoms. Sometimes, when the girl says no, the paying customer will rape her.

The sexual revolution in China is fragile. While the new China supports it, the old China is afraid of the changes. Adultery and divorce are on the rise. Kids are leaving home, and there is a growing generation gap.

In the video, one older Chinese man says that China is not used to this. Under pressure from the older generation, the police end up raiding bordellos and arresting prostitutes.

However, now that China’s sexual revolution is in the open, it will be almost impossible to stop without a return to Mao’s Cultural Revolution and few in China want that to happen. At first, the government tried to stop what was going on but soon backed off, and parents, who grew up in Mao’s puritanical era, don’t want their children to experience the same repression.

With this new found freedom, women are gaining power that they never had before, and many families now value having female children. Few want to return to the way things were.

Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1

View as Single Page

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Low-Res_E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The Evolving Sexual Revolution in China: Part 3 of 5

December 18, 2014

In China today, teenage girls are living lives their parents never imagined and don’t understand. The teens are very open about what turns them on in a guy. Many do not care what their parents think. They only want to have fun—sounds like the United States, doesn’t it?

Listening to the conversation between this group of Chinese girls sounds like listening to spoiled kids in the US talking.

The teens often go out clubbing and the nightclubs are equal to or better than the best in the West. The nightclub featured in the video has life-sized wall paintings from Cultural Revolution posters while teens dressed in sexy clothes dance and grind to loud music. These changes started in the late 1990s.

Even in China’s rural villages, the sexual revolution has been felt as millions of young women leave the villages to the big cities and experience what the urban Chinese are doing. The first stop is the hair salon.

The media is even climbing on board this sexual revolution. Glitzy magazines, like the Chinese edition of Cosmopolitan, feature the stylish, hot and sexy.

Continued on December 19, 2014 in Part 4 or return to Part 2

View as Single Page

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Low-Res_E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The Evolving Sexual Revolution in China: Part 2 of 5

December 17, 2014

According to a 2004 survey, only twenty percent of Chinese men know where to find the clitoris, while fifty percent of Chinese women haven’t had an orgasm. Sexual ignorance and dysfunction is common. Mao’s Cultural Revolution left invisible scars.

China also has a new, popular holiday, Valentine’s Day. On February 14, cupid and roses have become fashionable. Nightclubs hold Valentine’s festivals where  couples meet, drug use is common and kissing leads to sex.

Private businesses that cater to romance and sex are flourishing in China. Some shops are a cross between a sexual education center that also sells adult sex toys. In Beijing, there are an estimated five thousand sex shops and business is booming. This industry is worth billions.

When the first graphic sex Blog came online, the server crashed and was down for several days. When the government censors shut down a sex Blog, more replace it.

Continued on December 18, 2014 in Part 3 or start with Part 1

View as Single Page

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Low-Res_E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The Evolving Sexual Revolution in China: Part 1 of 5

December 16, 2014

The world’s biggest country is going through the world’s largest sexual revolution.  From the Internet to corner sex shops, China is changing. But lost in the mix, millions of single men can’t find a date much less a mate.

As China goes through what the West experienced in the 1960s, Mao’s Little Red Book has been replaced with a black book filled with phone numbers and date information.

Mao’s taboos against capitalism and sex have been gone for decades. With these changes comes the dark side—drugs, prostitution, HIV and STDs. Under Mao, sexuality was crushed. Everyone wore the same baggy colored clothes. Everyone had the same haircut. Young couples who fell in love and were caught were punished. But tday, cosmetics, perfume and stylish clothes have replaced Mao uniforms.

Millions are learning about romance and love. However, millions of others have been left with sexual, psychological problems and are very ignorant about sex. They were victims of Mao’s Cultural Revolution’s sexual repression.

Continued on December 17, 2014 in Part 2

View as Single Page

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Kindle_LR_e-book_cover_MSC_July_25_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


China’s Sexual Revolution (viewed as single page)

April 27, 2011

The world’s biggest country is going through the world’s largest sexual revolution. From the Internet to corner sex shops, China is changing. However, lost in the mix, millions of single men cannot find a date much less a mate.

Changes are talking place as China goes through the West’s 60s rebellion. Mao’s Little Red Book has been replaced with a black book filled with phone numbers and date info.

Mao’s taboos against capitalism and sex are gone. With these changes comes the dark side—drugs, prostitution, HIV and STDs. Under Mao, sexuality was almost done away with. Everyone wore the same baggy colored clothes. Everyone had the same haircut. Couples that fell in love and were caught were punished. Today, cosmetics, perfume and stylish clothes have replaced Mao’s uniforms.

Millions are learning about romance and love. However, millions of others have been left with sexual, psychological problems and are very ignorant about sex. They were victims of Mao’s Cultural Revolution‘s sexual repression.

According to a 2004 survey, only twenty percent of Chinese men know where to find the clitoris, while fifty percent of Chinese women haven’t had an orgasm. Sexual ignorance and dysfunction is common. Mao’s Cultural Revolution left invisible scars.

China also has a new, popular holiday,Valentine’s Day. On February 14, cupid and roses have become fashionable. Nightclubs hold Valentine’s festivals where couples meet, drug use is common and kissing leads to sex.

Private businesses that cater to romance and sex are flourishing in China. Some shops are a cross between a sexual education center that also sells adult sex toys. In Beijing, there are an estimated five thousand sex shops and business is booming. This industry is worth billions.

When the first graphic sex Blog came online, the server crashed and was down for days. When the government censors shut down a sex Blog, more replace it.

In China today, teen girls are living lives their parents never imagined and do not understand. The teens are very open about what turns them on in a guy. Many do not care what their parents think. They only want to have fun.

Listening to the conversation between this group of Chinese girls sounds like listening to spoiled kids in the US talking.

The teens often go out clubbing and the nightclubs are equal to or better than the best in the West. The nightclub featured in the video has life-sized wall paintings from Cultural Revolution posters while teens dressed in sexy clothes dance and grind to loud music. These changes started in the late 1990s.

Even in China’s rural villages, the sexual revolution has been felt as millions of young women leave the villages to the big cities and experience what the urban Chinese are doing. The first stop is the hair salon.

The media is even climbing on board this sexual revolution. Glitzy magazines, like the Chinese edition of Cosmopolitan, feature the stylish, hot and sexy.

China’s one-child policy, created to control the growth of the population, is complicating the sexual revolution.

By ending the pressure on Chinese women to have many children, this has liberated them to do other things. Now Chinese women have the freedom to get an education and find a paying job.

The one-child policy also created another problem. Since Chinese families have always favored having boys, many women get abortions when the fetus is identified as a female. This has led to a growing imbalance between the number of men and women.

Now, millions of poor men cannot find a mate. With so many poor men unable to find women, gangs and crime have become a problem.

China now has the fastest growing sex industry in the world. A decade ago, there was little prostitution. Today, there are many brothels masquerading as massage parlors. Some are modeled after the brothels in Thailand.

Capitalism has arrived in all its guises, and the same problems the US has with sex slavery and drugs is now a problem for China too.

Most prostitutes are village girls and have no idea about safe sex. This is causing an increase in HIV. Many of the men refuse to wear condoms. Sometimes, when the girl says no, the paying customer will rape her.

The sexual revolution in China is a fragile one. While the new China supports it, the old China is afraid of these changes. Adultery and divorce are on the rise. Kids are leaving home. There is a growing generation gap.

One older Chinese man says that China is not used to this. Under pressure from the older generation, the police must crack down, raid bordellos and arrest prostitutes.

However, now that China’s sexual revolution is in the open, it will be hard to stop. At first, the government tried to stop what was going on but soon backed off. In addition, many parents, who grew up in Mao’s puritanical era, don’t want their children to experience the same repression.

These changes are talking place while women are gaining power and many families now value having female children. Few want to return to the way things were.

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Low-Res_E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Young and in Love in China

January 20, 2011

Kellie Schmitt of CNN Go Asia wrote, “Love & Other Catastrophes: Conquering China’s young-love taboo“.

The China that Western Sinophobes, gossips and stereotypes paint is not today’s China. Anyone that reads this Blog regularly knows that China is not the “Party” but is the people. That’s why it is called the People’s Republic of China.

In fact, Schmitt is a Shanghai-based writer whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist’s Business China, Marie Claire, World Hum and Backpacker. I haven’t read all that she has written but this piece was worth mentioning.

If you want to learn about China, you would have to travel to China often or live there as an expatriate as Schmitt has. Marrying into a Chinese family also helps.

While living in China, Schmitt moonlighted as a restaurant reviewer for City Weekend Shanghai. She’s gone falcon hunting in Yunnan, drank fermented mare’s milk in a Mongolian yurt, and attended a mail-order bride’s wedding and donned qipaos with Shanghai’s senior citizens.


Another example of being young in urban China. The world this generation knows is not the world their parents grew up in.

Instead of playing it safe and staying primarily in modern China around other foreigners and expatriates as many do, Schmitt has “tasted” what being Chinese means.

Schmitt has written often of China. Visit her profile page to see topics she’s written of from Shanghai’s lesbian sub-culture to debates held at the 15th century Sera Monastery by Lhasa monks.

As for young love, Kellie Schmitt writes, “In Shanghai, teachers and parents widely prohibit dating in high school, urging students to study instead.”

But for Enid and Michael (the couple Schmitt writes of), their love was “worth a little sneaking around”. That was when they were sixteen.

When they turned 22, they were still together and got married. When Schmitt wrote the post for CNN Go Asia, Enid and Michael were 26. As in all marriages, Enid and Michael have had their difficulties but it appears love has kept them dedicated to each other and together. I recommend Schmitt’s post to learn more of how China is changing.

Discover more of China’s Sexual Revolution

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.