SEX TOYS, APHRODISIACS AND CONDOMS IN CHINA

APHRODISIACS IN CHINA

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ox penises
Traditional Chinese medicine shops sell deer antlers, seahorses, dried lizards, monkey brains, sparrow tongues, deer tails, rabbit hair, tiger penises and the fungus that grows on bat moth larvae as aphrodisiacs. Chinese men also consume bull and deer penises soaked in herbal wine, sea-cucumber, bull's pizzles cooked with Chinese yam, fertilized duck eggs and snake bile to boost their sex life.

Indian tribes in the Pacific northwest have mad fortunes selling geodusck, giant burrowing clams, to markets in Hong Kong and southern China. The clams can weigh as much as 16 pounds and have a penis-like neck that can extend for three feet. Wealthy diners will pay up to $100 in Hong Kong or Shanghai for a dish made with geoduk meat.

Bird nest soup is supposed to prolong erections. Deer musk is rubbed on private parts too stimulate sex. The fact that dried sea horses are consumed for virility is ironic because sea horse are a species in which the males get "pregnant."

Many aphrodisiacs either incorporate the penises of other animals or are shaped like penises. Dog penises from Thailand are sent to China and Taiwan, where they are consumed as energy boosters. A deer penis and testicles sold together in an ornate green box lined with red satin will set you back $63.

Labels on aphrodisiacs like Chinese Dragon Tonic, East Superman Pills, Strong Man Bao and Super Supa Softgels say thing like “Make yourself powerful during active sex,” ‘strengthen the functional activities of the loins and knees,” and “Battle impotence, lassitude, amnesia, and cold pain of the waist and knees,” An old advertisement for an aphrodisiac read: “Fight 100 battles in nine nights with no loss of verve and leave the ladies with cherished memories.” [Source: Daffyd Roderick, Time, March 19, 2001]

Women sometimes take special herbal medicine that reportedly shrinks their vaginal walls and makes sex better.

Websites and Sources: USA Today piece usatoday.com ; Sex Incidents in China zonaeuropa.com ; Sex Industry guardian.co.uk ; Chinese sex toy maker lacyshaki.en ; Books: “Sexual Life of Ancient China”, written by Robert van Gulik in the 1920s; “The Illustrated Handbook of Chinese Sex History” by Professor Liu Dalin and “Sex China Studies in Sexology in Chinese Culture” by Fang-ju Juan, The Sexology Research Institute of China is at People's University in Beijing. Sex History and Literature Ancient Sex Culture China.org ; Chinese Sex Literature yellowbridge.com ; Sex in Ancient China Book Review dannyreviews.com Prostitution in China : Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Shanghaiist blog shanghaiist.com ; Homosexuality in China History of Gay life in China fordham.edu/halsall

Viaga in China

Viagra sells very well in China. Even though technically it is only supposed to be sold with a prescription, it is widely available without a prescription at drug stores, sex shops and even some candy stores.

Viagra is known as "weige" ("big brother") in China. It is taken by men of all ages and sometimes given as a gift rather than cognac or Scotch. It been commemorated in pop songs has even been given to rare tigers in hopes that it will help them breed. The biggest problem with Viagra is counterfeiting. Very little real Viagra is sold. The counterfeits include Viagra look-a-likes that have the same active ingredients as Viagra and out and out fakes with no active ingredients.

China-produced impotence pills include Healthy Male Capsules and Alaska Life Strength Chest Platinum. Other commonly sold “male power enhancers” include deer penis, goat penis, dog penis and Peking Royal jelly (made from bees). They are often sold a part of a mixture such as Deer penis rejuvenation (deer penis, cattle penis, royal jelly) and Blue-Gold for Men (sheep penis, ox penis, sea lion penis, dog penis, deer penis and ginseng). These days many of these have sildenafil citrate, the active ingredients of Viagra.

The Shanghai Male Sexual Function Rehabilitation Center treats impotence and premature ejaculation with sexual-exercise machines that have vibrator pads and hoses circulating liquid herbal aphrodisiacs. One man who came to center because he only had sex with his wife four times a week told Newsweek, "Now I do my duty once a week. Putting sex in the proper perspective will build strong families for the next millennium." [Source: Newsweek]

Sex Toys and Penis Operations in China

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Vibrating penis ring

Traditional Chinese sex toys have included ancient copper dildos, silver rings that women wore on their tongues to heighten the pleasure of their partners, and dowry paintings (prints of sexual positions that were slipped into wedding gifts for the bride before her wedding night). Some Chinese used to worship phallic symbols and statues of Buddha having sex as part of elaborate rituals.

Goat eyelid was a favorite sex enhancer of the Mongols in the Yuan dynasty of the 13th century. Known as the "happy ring," it was taken from a dead goat with the eyelashes still intact and placed in quicklime and then steamed and dried to the correct texture. Before sex a man placed it around his penis to tickle his lover and heighten her pleasure during intercourse.

Chinese pleasure balls are inserted into a woman' vagina. When she rocks back and forth the balls move insider her, simulating the thrusting motion of intercourse. Chinese have perforated the penis and inserted various objects with aim of enlarging the size of the penis and enhancing woman's pleasure. Men sometimes have BB's surgically implanted their penis. They produce bumps like those on some condoms that bring pleasure to the woman.

Penis reconstruction surgery has been performed for decades in China. A study of 50 men who had their penises reattached released in teh 1980s and reported in the China Daily found that "98 percent of them found their penis functioned again" even though some operations were "one-stage reconstruction" in which a penis was pieced together from pieces of skin, bone and tissue. The article claimed that many of the men went on to father children. "A father who went through the one-stage reconstruction of the penis even mailed his daughter's photo to us," the article said. [Source: Paul Theroux]

Sex Toy Mistaken for the Fungus of Immortality

In June 2012, ABC News reported: “The discovery of a double-headed sex toy mistaken for a mystical rare fungus brought national notoriety to a Chinese village and TV program. Villagers from Liucunbu, a rural community outside western Chinese city of Xian, encountered the sex toy while drilling a new well shaft. Hard-pressed to identify the flexible, fungi-like object, perplexed residents alerted the local news station, which immediately sent reporter Yunfeng Ye to the scene. [Source: ABC News, June 19, 2012]

In her coverage of the finding, broadcast on the station’s investigative journalism program Xian Up Close, Ye thoroughly probed different aspects of the discovery, interviewing locals and inserting her own research on the alleged mushroom. Despite Ye’s earnest reporting, her and the villagers’ obliviousness of the object’s real identity has now lent itself to national amusement.

“The report opens with Ye proclaiming the discovery of the mysterious object, the likes of which “not even an 80-year-old local man has seen.” Villagers crouch around the object, floating innocently in a water-filled bucket. “It has an eye and a nose, but we don’t know what it is,” says a man who was among the drillers who discovered the sex toy.

“Describing the object’s qualities in explicit detail, Ye and the villager determine that it is a type of lingzhi, a shelf fungus of the Ganoderma lucidum species, which according to legend has the ability to give immortality. Asserting that the mushroom is rarely seen because it grows underground, she says, “When the Emperor Qin Shi Huang [the First emperor of China] was on the hunt for the secret to longevity, it is said he discovered this lingzhi was the answer.”

“After the program aired, many viewers immediately recognized the object as a sex toy modeled after female genitalia, and online video of the report gained millions of views overnight. While the video received many comments lauding the station’s and villagers’ “purity,” the day after the program aired the Xian news station posted an apology on Sina Weibo, a Chinese blogging website. “Our program last night made everyone laugh,” the apology said, expressing regret for an “uncomfortable and misleading” report. “Our reporter is very young and sheltered.”

Sex Shops, Products and Museums in China

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Chinese-made Penis Power pump

Beijing's first sex shop, the Bang Bang Peace and Happiness Health Center, opened in 1996 around the corner from the Mao Zedong's mausoleum. Not so much different from sex shops in other countries, it sold various kinds of condoms, performance creams and battery-powered vibrators and sex toys. Now there are thousands of sex shops nationwide. Sex shops are required to register with the government

A proposal by Playboy to open a “lifestyle club” in Shanghai was rejected.

Sex Museums, See Shanghai.

The Xiao brothers of Dongshuangtang village near Tianjin founded Kangle Health Products, a small company which manufactures vibrators in a one room shop rented from a local old folks home. They got the idea after reading about how some American made a fortune off of sex toys. As of the late 1990s they sold about 2,000 devices a year at price of around $9.50 a piece. Their novel vibrator is powered by an air pump and is manufactured with the help of a local rubber-boot factory. The company's slogan is "real to the touch...good for household harmony and good for social order." An impotent 70 year-old man credited the vibrator with saving his 5th marriage. [Source: Newsweek]

The sex book industry is not very developed in China. One Chinese researcher told Newsweek, "Since 1980 about 500 sex-related books have been published in China but almost none on positions or skills." In a 1994 how-to video for newlywed couples the government replaced the intercourse scenes with stills of stick figures in the missionary position. During the Lewinsky affair, a book was released called Sexy Clinton. [Source: Newsweek]

Even the Defense Ministry publishing house is trying to cash in on sex. It produces a pinup of a beautiful girl in metal-studded leather bikini holding an automatic rifle and standing in front of a Harley Davidson-style motorcycle. The Ministry of Culture occasionally prints nudes in its official magazine.

A sexually-explicit theme park called Loveland — with exhibits on sexual history and how-to workshops’slated to be built in Chongqing was axed just as construction was scheduled to begin.

Sexy Clothing, See Clothes.

Condoms in China

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A survey by the Beijing Evening News in 2006 found that only 16 percent of university students use condoms. Wu Ruomei, a sex radio host, told the Washington Post, girls are too embarrassed to buy them and worry that if the are caught carrying them their reputation will be compromised. The survey also found that boys don’t think of carrying condoms and don’t like to use them.

By one estimate 2 billion condoms are used every year in China and condom-making is a $530 million dollar a year industry. More than 300 manufacturers produce condoms under 1,000 brand names. [Source: Los Angeles Times, January 2010]

China manufactures 1.3 trillion condoms a year. Chinese condoms are thick and rubbery and people who can afford them prefer English, Japanese and American condoms which are thinner and sold in more attractive packages. Chinese word for condom is "baoxian," which means "insurance glove." “Galoshes” is a slang term used for condoms in both Russia and China.

There are few condom vending machines. Many college students have never seen a condom. Condom commercials are prohibited on television.

In the mid 2000s, the Chinese company Guangzhou Yaojian Bioscence introduced new kinds of condoms called “Clinton” and “Lewinsky.” The condoms are sold 12 to a box with the Clintons retailing for $3.70 a box and the Lewisnskys $2.25. The price difference is explained by the higher quality of the Clinton models. [Source: Los Angeles Times]

Poorly-made condoms marketed by domestic band names and counterfeit ones sold under well-known Western names are widely available in China. They can break and have been blamed for unwanted pregnancies and the spread of disease. Some of the knockoffs, including ones sold under the Trojan and Durex names, have found their way to markets outside of China and have turned up in New York, Virginia, Texas and other places.

A raid in Hunan Province in November 2009 uncovered counterfeit condoms with a well-known brand name on them being made in an underground factory in unsterilized conditions with vegetable oil as a lubricant and stored in metal drums. Authorities then set about trying to track down over 2 million of the unsafe contraceptives marketed nationwide. Some were sold under the name of well-known makers such as Jissbon and Durex. A similar raid in Zhejiang Province in 2008 uncovered a half million knockoff condoms. In another case, recycled used condoms were made into hair band.

Image Sources: 1) Sex products, Alibaba.com; 2) ox peninses, BBC;

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


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