sex shops and products


sex shops and products
All sorts of sex products in the name of health care are for sale in shops and on the Internet. Gone are the days of puritanical socialism when people could not even find open display of bras in stores and had to present their identification indicating ‘Married’ for contraception. Now lovemaking devices are widely available in department stores, university campus shops, speciality boutiques, not to mention pharmacies and health-supply stores, as sex is considered a physiological phenomenon. Among them are the Adam and Eve Health Care Centre (Yadang xiawa baojian zhongxin) at 143 Zhaodengyu Road, Beijing, which is reportedly the first sex shop in China. Founded in 1993 as a stateowned enterprise, it has set up a branch at Beijing’s Xinjiekou area and has over a hundred employees, including doctors, pharmacists and psychologists, and a production base. Following the name ‘Adam and Eve’, three brothers surnamed Wu in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, established their own Adam and Eve Health Care Products Company Limited (Yadang Xiawa baojianpin youxian gongsi), the Adam and Eve Sex Health Care Store (Yadang Xiawa xing baojianpin shangdian) which has a branch and over ten chain stores in Shanghai. There are also other sex shops with similar names, like the Shanghai Adam and Eve Adult Toys Shop (Shanghai Yadang Xiawa chengnianren shangdian). Countless sex shops with other names have sprung up, too. Products such as prickly clitoral stimulators, garish plastic vaginas, physiotherapeutic rings, aphrodisiacs, vibrators, condoms and disinfectants are all for sale in shops, some of which have online businesses. Shop assistants, many in clinical white coats, are handy for help. All companies claim that they will not reveal anything sensitive on the mail order parcel out of respect for clients’ privacy. Condom vending machines have been installed in urban areas.
Condoms are even found on the bathroom counter in Shanghai’s ordinary hotels for the Chinese. The measure seems more to prevent STIs (see HIV/AIDS and STIs) than to implement the one-child policy, as seldom would a company send a married couple on a business trip. Over 300 companies produced 2.4 billion condoms in 2001 of various brands, but only 50 per cent of the products were considered of good quality. As a prescription drug, Viagra is sold at hospitals and designated shops, but fake Viagra found in sex health shops may indicate that Western products are catching up with zhuangyang (invigorating the yang or male sexual potency) and buyin (nourishing the yin or female body) tonics sold at traditional Chinese medicine shops. The government has approved joint-venture sex product manufacturing. Locally made Durex, Jissbon and other foreign brand names have been brought to the Chinese and exported abroad. One of the Wu brothers has a joint-venture company with Japan called Ailü (Love Partner), where 90 per cent of the products are for international markets. Another Wenzhou company boasts its products on www.mmhy.net/ english/aboutus.htm called ‘China Loves Sex Toys Online’, and the Chinese name ‘Lameisi’ literally means ‘Spicy Girls Think [of Sex]’. All these toys demonstrate how far China has gone in its sexual behaviour (see sexuality and behaviour). In 2003, the authorities lifted the long outdated ban on condom advertisements amid concern at the HIV/AIDS situation.
McMillan, M. (1999). ‘China’s Eden’. China in Focus 7: 8–10. [Note: the Chinese website provided at the end of this article has been changed to www.adam-eve.com.cn]
HELEN XIAOYAN WU

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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