Sense and Sexuality: Chinese scholars discuss the erotic

Reading thread is a new series offering personal journeys through the Marco Polo Project catalogue. This piece is the fourth in a series by Francis Beechinor, from the London University School of Oriental and African Studies. 

erotic

Studying in China, I remember reading a chapter in our textbook about what the Chinese find attractive.  According to the book, it was pale skin.

Some students were outraged to be told that Chinese people didn’t find dark skin attractive. While Westerners often go to great lengths to tan, their Chinese counterparts were avoiding the sun as much as possible.

But what else do Chinese people find attractive? Why is it this way? How do they view sex and the sexual?

We’ve scoured the Marco Polo Project archives and pulled out some cracking articles to answer these questions.

Enjoy – and do let us know what you think.

 

中国式性感的行业标准 – Industry standards for “Chinese-sexy”

by Li Fang, 13th May 2012

 

China has a new concept of ‘sexiness’, it seems, courtesy of imported copies of UK lad’s mag FHM. Li Fang talks, rather crudely, about his taste in women.

The outright objectification of women is hard to ignore here. However, this article is darkly interesting.

Interesting, because it highlights how a single magazine can market and mould itself around another country’s taste.

Dark, because this ‘moulding’ involves pulling apart the female anatomy.

 

同床好友 Friends with benefits

by Shu Dong, 7th September 2012.

 

Friends with, or without, benefits?

There’s definitely a pressure – everywhere – for young people to sleep around. A boy and a girl can’t just talk, it seems. Some game needs to be played which revolves around sex.

Here is a Chinese girl not necessarily wanting to give into that pressure.

Arguably, this article could have been written by an American, English or Chinese person. The voice, the anxieties and the confusion are universal.

Apart from the use of QQ, can anyone see anything distinctly Chinese in this text?

 

少女援交与中国人的幸福 – Teenage girls’ ‘compensated dating’ and happiness in China

by Xu Ben, 26th October 2012

 

Xu Ben questions the happiness of underage prostitutes and Chinese men’s ‘second set of tits’.

We can’t really question the opportunities these girls are striving for. But is the alternate future they’re reaching towards realistic, or even real?

 

论中国人的处女情结 – Chinese people and virginity

by Li Yinhe, 10th September 2012 

 

Virginity is an important aspect of sexuality which is constantly being examined. Li Yinhe discusses how virginity as a custom is maintained in China today.

I’ll give you a clue: it involves hymen-repair surgery.

 

喜欢性的人可以是高尚的人吗? – Can a person who likes sex also be noble?

by Li Linhe, 3rd August 2012

 

This article is only partially translated. Will we ever know whether a person can like sex and also be noble?

Have a go at translating it yourself to reveal the answer.

 

Feel free to edit translations, translate or comment below. We love to hear your opinions and contributions!

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