Let’s (sort of) talk about sex

It appears that China is undergoing a kind of sexual evolution.  I would have popped an R on the front of the last word in that sentence, but feared that it could be an overstatement, not to mention the best way to draw the attention of people who like to scan the internet for words like that.  Hmm, anyway …

I was a bit surprised to find that it wasn’t uncommon to see shops like the one above, or like the one in my neighbourhood that has a lovely big window display full of “lifestyle products”.  And these are just regular streets in regular neighbourhoods (I am yet to see what could be classed as a red light district).

In most hotel bathrooms too, you will discover a basket of cheeky personal products, some overtly sexual in usage and others I’m not sure of.  It seems that Chinese society is quite upfront about this stuff, although only in recent years.

The name of these condoms translate (I think) as “I can”, a coy but supportive message to the user, although a little diminished by the English subtitle: “like fire to one’s heart’s content”

Traditionally (under Confucian law), sexuality was strictly regulated.  Promiscuity and adultery were harshly punished, the latter resulting in jailtime for the lady and total castration for the gentleman (or should I say, soon-to-be eunech).  A good example of the punishment and the crime being a little disproportionate.  That said, eunechs could always look forward to a startling career as the emperor’s confidant – that’s what always happened, right?

This pack contains both a “vibrated” and a “condom”.  Huh wot?

For much of the 20th century, sexuality was greatly repressed … primarily because one’s personal desires were meant to be sacrificed for the dream of societal togetherness.  From the 1980s onwards though, as economic policies shifted, so too did the social stances of government.  Sex was returned to the personal sphere.

This is like Invasion of the Body Snatchers starring a giant banana.  Confusion would surely abound: “Right, so we have to stretch this thing over your upper body…”

A key change was the reworking of marriage laws in 2003, which simplified not only the process of marrying, but also unmarrying.  By necessity, this also removed the requirement that before marriage, a woman would need to prove herself (via a physcial examination) to be a virgin.  A general modernisation of a many social policies also occurred.  Interestingly, one of China’s most restrictive social policies – the one-child policy – has lead to some expansion of personal rights.  Implied in this policy is the separation of sexual behaviour and child-production … that the former can be pursued purely for reasons of pleasure. 

Some kind of washing product, a “pure Chinese medicinal” supposedly.

Of course, there would be many more factors at play here.  The internet now provides ready access to all sorts of information and entertainment.  China is more global, with people inetrested in seeing, if not adopting, Western ways of doing.  A growing middle-class, focused on personal rights and fuelled by increasingly higher disposable incomes, have both the desire and means to push some social boundaries.   And, like much of the world, sex-related disease and crime have forced a more frank discussion of some critical issues.

These panties (both for men and women) are 100% Fashion Sexy and have Good Air Permeability.  This would make them easily rippable, rather than aimed at gassy botbots (not so sexy).

It’s all very new still.  Much of the stuff I read online suggests that while people are apparently more comfortable discussing the topic, they are not necessarily becoming better informed.  There are lots of amusing stories told by counsellors and health professionals, like the college couple, prepared to take the “big step” and having bought the right precautions, having no idea about what goes on what, or in what.  But, also less amusing ones about women  use abortion as their primary means of “contraception”, unaware that there are other options available.  

“Competitive men’s socks”.  I am sure they are just socks.  For putting on you feet under shoes.  But without buying them and opening them up, I can’t rule out that ‘sock’ is just a euphemism.

Hopefully the gap between “talking about” and “being informed about” will close quickly.  Along with the sex shops and readily available contraception (on the counter of every convenience store, not just in hotels), universities and schools are introducing education programs and better social support for students.  And the internet, despite attempts at controlling it, must also be giving plenty of teenagers a pretty good education as well.  I guess evolution is never a steady process.

An amazing expanding towel, irresponsibly without a warning about placing the uncompressed towel in one’s mouth (like the ones I have seen in Australia).

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