SEX ON TELEVISION IN CHINA
A show called “(Really, Really Want to) Talk About Love” has billed itself as the "Chinese Sex in the City." The show is not explicit about sex but it can be very suggestive and is very popular in Shanghai. “Sex and City” reaches a large audience through pirated DVDs.
“The Mask” is a half hour show that consists of frank discussions about sex with guests who hide their identities by wearing masks. The show is meant to be educational and inform the public about AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases and other rarely discussed sexual topics
On late night television there are a number of “infomercials” with scantily clad women advertising exercise equipment of breast enlargement products. A television talk show shown on a Qinghai provincial television station featured two Chinese women as guests. They talked about their boyfriends. One had a foreign boyfriend and talked about the wonders of his large penis. The other talked about the inadequacy of her Chinese boyfriend and said he could use a penis-enlarging tonic. Following the discussion was an advertisement for the aforementioned tonic.
Such “sexually suggestive advertisements” were banned in 2007. A total of 1,466 advertisments worth $240 million were taken off television and radio for containing ‘sexually provocative sounds or tantalizing language as well as vulgar advertisements for female underwear.” An earlier ruling banned shows about cosmetic surgery and sex changes as well as radio shows that discussed sex and drugs.”
Advertisements of sex aides are banned in China as is intellectual property theft but that hasn’t stopped the maker of a Viagra-like pill called USA Selikon from using unauthorized footage of David Beckham, Keanu Reeves and Sean Connery in their television ad to promote their product as “the secret weapon to satisfy” women. In the ad with Sean Connery, apparently taken from an interview, Connery says in dubbed Chinese, “I turned 70 this year. But with the help of USA Selikon. I have been praised by Barbara, who says I am the James Bond, forever 25.” As it mattered, Connery’s wife is named Micheline. [Source: Times of London]
In the Beckham ad, a grainy images shows Beckham playing soccer with voice saying, “Want to know how I can keep strong and running on the football field? USA Selikon capsules help me a lot.” Beckham is then shown with his arms around his wife Victoria with the voice saying, “its also the secret weapon with which I can satisfy Victoria.” Chinese lawyers said that filling a lawsuit against such ads would be more trouble than it was worth.
China’s ‘Sex and the City,’ Just Without the Sex
“Ode to Joy” was an online Chinese television series jointly produced by Shandong Television Media Group and Daylight Entertainment Television Ltd. Based on a novel with same title by A Nai, it ran for two seasons, in 2016 and 2017, and was described as China’s “Sex in the City”. During its relatively brief stint the show had millions of fans, but also a fair number of critics. [Source: Wikipedia]
Wang Lianzhang wrote in Sixth Tone: Here’s something Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha could only ever have dreamed of: a daily audience of more than 500 million views. But this is China, and “Ode to Joy,” a show being compared to “Sex and the City,” seems to have struck a chord. Ever since the first episode went online on April 18, the show has been a runaway success. On iQIYI, just one of the five streaming websites the show is available on, the episodes had been watched more than 1.9 billion times two weeks after it debuted. On microblogging platform Weibo, posts about the show have been read more than 3 billion times. [Source: Wang Lianzhang, Sixth Tone, May 5, 2016]
“The plot of “Ode to Joy,” or Huanlesong in Chinese, revolves around five young women living in the same building in Shanghai who forge an unlikely friendship after an elevator accident. Part of the show’s appeal is that the characters come from different social strata. Xiaoxiao comes from a wealthy family, and Andi has worked on Wall Street. The other three, Shengmei, Juer, and Yingying, are from humbler backgrounds and share an apartment together — a common living arrangement for young Chinese urbanites.
Over the course of the show, viewers follow the women’s attempts to get ahead in life, as well as their love lives. The plot includes an office romance, a blind date arranged by one of the girls’ parents, what it means to be considered a “leftover woman,” and other aspects of modern dating life. Yuan Zidan, screenwriter for “Ode to Joy,” told Sixth Tone in a telephone interview that she purposely wanted to write a show that explored the lives of modern women in a new way. Though the show has drawn comparisons to “Sex and the City,” the romance doesn’t extend to the bedroom, as showing sex is difficult in today’s China, according to Yuan. TV industry guidelines leaked in March warned against including “irregular sexual behavior” such as one-night stands and other depictions of “sexual freedom” in programs.
In any case, Yuan’s approach seems to have worked. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the show’s episodes were watched over 500 million times each day. Hong Mengyue, a 24-year-old office worker and fan of the show, told Sixth Tone that she was fascinated by the drama because the characters’ daily lives resemble her own. She said she likes how the characters are genuine and independent. Wu Zhili, the well-known entertainment commentator, was full of praise for the TV drama on his Weibo account. “I haven’t seen a show about modern women that was this enjoyable in ages,” he wrote. Wu was impressed by how different the five main characters are, and he said he didn’t miss the absence of a male lead.
However, not everyone is equally impressed. Most of the criticism revolves around how the show handles male-female relations.Columnist Ji Ruze expressed disappointment in a review, writing that no matter how clever and glamorous the characters were shown to be, they became dumb and flustered when confronted with love. “Regardless of whether it’s a beautiful company executive who has lived overseas or a girl-next-door type from a village, they all lose their sound judgement when faced with questions of love,” Ji wrote. Some Weibo users shared this opinion, lamenting the desperation with which the characters sought to marry rich men, as if this were the only way they could improve their lives. Another commentary criticized “Ode to Joy” for how it portrays successful women in the workplace. It said their representation “seems to go no further than holding a poker face, talking and walking fast, speaking foreign languages, and scolding subordinates.”
Sex Radio in China
Talk radio has become very popular, especially shows that touch on sex-related topics. Late-night, sex radio, call-in and talk shows, such as “No Appointment Tonight” and “Midnight Whispers” are popular in China. Callers call in questions about marriage, infidelity, ideas for finding a partner, venereal disease and strategies for coping with the "humbling effects of nature's endowments to human anatomy." Most of the calls to one show are inquiries about techniques to avoid premature ejaculation and ways to control oversexed husbands.
On a typical night there are questions about masturbation, sexual harassment, feeling for the same sex and whether a virgin bleeds when she has sex.. The caller on one show quoted in the Washington Post said that he and his girlfriend had experimented with sex but “both of us wore underwear.” He asked: “What if she’s pregnant?” and “Will her life be in danger if we have an abortion?”
One caller to “Midnight Whispers” in Shanghai told the host, "When my husband's away and I need to control my desire, I put ice cubes in myself." The host broke her off, telling her to "Ask your doctor to check if you've caused any nerve damage." A caller on another show asked if it was okay to please herself with a frozen cucumber.
A widely discussed case in the mid-1990s involved a university-educated couple that visited a doctor after a year of marriage to find out why the wife had not become pregnant. After an examination the doctor discovered the woman was still a virgin. Apparently the couple thought sleeping together in the same bed was all that was necessary to produce baby.
There are limits off how far the shows can go. The host of “Tonight Whispers” told the Washington Post, “We cannot say too much in the radio program, and should be careful how we speak, in case some listeners appeal to higher authorities and cancel the show.”
Sex and the Internet in China
The sex columnist Mu Zimei (Muzi mei) became a national celebrity after she began reporting intimate details about her sex life in her blog. By some counts her reports received 10 million hits a day. The site was particularly busy when she wrote about a parking lot encounter with a famous Chinese rock star and said it wasn’t very exciting.
Mu’s real name is Li Li. She began her career as a fashion writer for glossy magazines before becoming a sex columnist and writing about “real life” issues. Mu said she started having sex without knowing anything about birth control. By the age of 25, she said she had slept with about 70 men. She told the New York Times, “I think my private life is very interesting. I do not oppose love, but I oppose loyalty.” She told the Washington Post, “I want freedom. I don’t care about morality. I have the right to make love and the right to enjoy it.”
The blog launched the “Muzi Mei craze.” Mu gave advise on what music to play when making love, offered tips and how to have good sex in a car and described the benefits of oysters as an aphrodisiac. But revelations of things like having sex with two men at the same time proved to be a little bit too much for the straightlaced Communists. Authorities banned her book and shut down her website.
Thirty-two percent of Chinese say the Internet has broadened their sex life, compared to 11 percent in the United States.
Child sex See “Human flesh search engines”
Chinese Microblogging Community Gets Excited About Japanese Porn Star Sora Aoi
This Japanese Porn Star with “Huge Breast” — “Sora Aoi” — was invited to Shanghai Expo to promote an Online Game. Her popularity in China flared up rapidly once she got a Twitter account, and she had over 30,000 followers. Among this massive number of followers, most of them are from China...Twitter is blocked in China, so why there’s a massive number of Chinese followers appeared on Sora Aoi’s Twitter Account? And, how did Sora Aoi become so popular in China? [Source: Herman Lai, M.I.C. Gadget, June 19, 2010]
Why Chinese netizens so crazy about Sora Aoi? It began with a Chinese netizen who found Sora Aoi’s Twitter account and spread out this news over the Chinese forums and blogs. This netizen wrote on his Sina micro-blog, “Do you want to be face to face with Sora Aoi? Then go on Twitter, can’t get on twitter? Then send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, it has auto reply.” Apparently, this automatic reply regards information of skills that teach other people how to get rid of the China’s great firewall. After this message was widely spread in the internet, a huge number of Chinese followers appeared in Sora Aoi’s twitter account. After that, Sora Aoi was so surprised with the number of Chinese followers on her twitter, and she tweeted: “I’m surprised. I’m receiving many follow messages & RT from China now. Aaaaaaaaahhh, I don’t know, anyway THANK YOU!!”
The adult actress subsequently decided to join Sina Weibo after a flood of Chinese followers found her on Twitter. China Want Times reported: “When Aoi opened her Sina Weibo account (appropriately enough on Nov. 11, 2010, Chinese Singles Day), she immediately became one of the hottest bloggers in China. Aoi posted only a single short notice on her first day on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. The post read: "Hello to all Chinese friends, I'm Sora Aoi. Very pleased to meet you all. I have officially opened my Sina Weibo account, hopefully through this account we can get to know each other well." [Source: China Want Times, January 24, 2011]
In her first six hours, Aoi had gained more than 130,000 followers, exceeding her numbers on Twitter. By the end of the first day, she had 220,000 followers. Since then, she has accumulated more than 950,000 followers in just two months; a number which continues to increase at a rate of over 10,000 per day.
Even China's police have been paying close attention to Sora Aoi's microblog, with the online blog of a police station in Dalian making her blog their main item of interest. Sora Aoi's online presence is controversial in a country where pornography is illegal but also extremely popular. In fact, more and more foreign stars — of all professions, but especially Taiwanese pop stars — are using Weibo to connect to an eager Chinese audience.
The reason for her popularity on the blog, according to media reports, is that she entertains but never spams. She broadcasts but also listens and engages. Most importantly, her posts are clearly authentically from her rather than a hired PR gun. One of her posts said, "I know Chinese don't understand Japanese, so I try to write in English. But when I wrote in Japanese, I can't translation in English. SORRY!!"
She has also expressed her respect for Chinese culture and gained further popularity when she appealed to followers on her Twitter account to donate to people affected by the deadly earthquake in Qinghai province in western China in April 2010. Naturally, another crucial factor may be the daily renewal of the actress's photos.Many celebrities view Sina Weibo as a one-way channel of communication but Aoi interacts with her fans in ways that win their continued loyalty. There are tens of thousands of porn stars out there, but no other can boast nearly a million fans on Sina Weibo. Sora Aoi has clearly made the most of her opportunity.
Erotic Fairy Tales in China
According to an AFP report: “Chinese publishers have pulled a collection of Brothers Grimm fairy tales from children's shelves in book stores after mistakenly translating a Japanese pornographic reinterpretation of the tales. China Friendship Publishing and China Media Time translated the erotic retelling by the Japanese duo Kiryu-Misao without credit after mistaking them for the originals, the Global Times newspaper reported. [Source: South China Morning Post, AFP, December 8, 2010]
"We couldn't find the original German edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales, so we took Japanese editions as our references and translated those," a China Media Time official was quoted as saying by the newspaper. These included a version of the classic Snow White tale in which the heroine has sexual relations with her father and the seven dwarves, the newspaper said. After she dies, a necrophiliac prince falls in love with her body.
"The book was not supposed to be read by children, but it was put on the children's literature shelf, so we asked to pull it," the official said, adding that book stores were told to send back the edition. The new Chinese translation listed only the Brothers Grimm as authors, and the official said the process was "complicated" when asked to confirm which version had been used, the report said.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons, Sex products, Alibaba.com
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated October 2021