Yang Zi is one of many Chinese entrepreneurs, but she's looking to fill a specific niche with her shop Boutique L'Amour : catering to sexually unsatisfied Chinese women's carnal needs.
In addition to a shift in a culture that once — legal and otherwise — discouraged open discussions and displays of sex and sexuality, Yang and others see economic factors at play in Chinese women's desires to have their sexual needs met.
China's new prosperity is allowing people to think more about sex, Yang said, quoting a Chinese adage that translates as "Only once you have enough to eat and warm clothes to wear can you satisfy sexual desires".
Although it certainly essentializes those who live in poverty and ignores the fact that the poor and disenfranchised not only want but certainly seek and have good sex. The difference, however, is that they don't have (as much) money to spend to do so.
Yang's store is described like this:
While the vast majority of Beijing's sex shops are tiny cramped collections of cheap and low-quality Chinese-made goods, Yang pushes the envelop both on price and raciness with her mostly imported products.
In the front window stands a mannequin in a leather bondage bikini. Nearby, a 5,000-yuan (730-dollar) harness used for upright intercourse hangs suspended from the ceiling with accompanying stirrups. Other sex toys range in price from 200 yuan up to a princely 7,000 yuan.
Splattered red paint covers the floor like blood stains, while a loft upstairs features a bed on which sex paraphernalia is displayed.
I don't have $1,000 to spend on a sex toy, either!
Cultural observers in China are also quick to point out that society has changed at the same time that economic conditions have allowed people the money with which to explore more expensive options for sexual fulfillment.
While prostitution has made a conspicuous comeback in China from the puritan days of radical communist rule, open personal expressions of sexuality remain modest compared to the West.
But the atmosphere has loosened after 30 years of exposure to the outside world, said Li Yinhe, a well-known commentator on sexual issues.
Despite government efforts to rein in Web porn, the sexual frontiers are being pushed by a more adventurous generation of mostly urban young people, she said.
Ah, porn. That's certainly one answer to the question of whether porn inspires fantasies or is only responding to them.
There is, of course, probably a third (and even concurrent) explanation: that of the power of women in a society. As we've previously discussed, when women's educational levels and economic power increase in a society, their willingness to ask for and pursue sexual pleasure seems to increase concurrently. But, of course,education and economic power are indications of the level of autonomy and independence women are able to achieve in a society — and those bring more openness about women's sexuality and their pursuit of equal (or, in some cases, greater) access to sexual pleasure.
Sex Sells In New Chinese Cultural Revolution [The Times of India]
[Image via foxxyz]