Alyssa Abkowitz 沈丽莎: Sex Toys and ‘Er Nai’: Inside China’s Unfolding Sexual Revolution


Alyssa Abkowitz reports: In 1989, sexologist Li Yinhe conducted a famous survey that showed 15% of Chinese respondents said they had premarital sex. Today, that figure is about 71%, according to local figures. “China is becoming more adventurous in the bedroom,” said Zhang Lijia, author of the forthcoming novel “Lotus,” which looks at prostitution in modern China.

“China is becoming more adventurous in the bedroom.”

Ms. Zhang was speaking to a mostly younger crowd at Beijing’s Bookworm Literary Festival on Sunday. She was joined by Jemimah Steinfeld, author of “Little Emperors and Material Girls,” which focuses on China’s sex and youth culture, and Faramerz Dabhoiwala, who has been called the Stephen Hawking of sex for writing “The Origins of Sex,” which looks at the western sexual revolution of the 18th century.

Pictures that an Internet poster on China's Weibo microblogging site went viral when it was suggested they were of officials in Lujiang County.

“Chinese women gingerly began to unbutton Chairman Mao’s jacket. For a long time kissing on a bus was something we only saw in foreign films.”

— Zhang Lijia

Only several decades ago, “Chinese women gingerly began to unbutton Chairman Mao’s jacket,” Ms. Zhang said, referring to the 1980s, when women started to wear makeup and shorter skirts. “For a long time kissing on a bus was something we only saw in foreign films.”


“Er nai, as modern-day Chinese mistresses are called, are deeply entwined in business practices, because having multiple mistresses is a sign that a man has the pull to seal a deal.”

Today, sex is everywhere in China, from adult stores on nearly every corner in Beijing to young entrepreneurs, such as one interviewed by Ms. Steinfeld, who wants to import quality sex toys because he thinks Chinese sex toys are faulty. (This could be a tough road, as the majority of sex toys are made in China and exported around the world, Ms. Zhang said).


“There are women who have lovers just for fun too. Male prostitutes are far more expensive here because they have more work to do.”

Judging from the panel discussion, progress is mixed. As Beijing looks to pass its first domestic violence law, cleavage is being banned on television. One of the most popular items sold at roadside sex shops is hymen repair kits. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Nirbheek: New Gun Made for Women, Will it Make Them Safer? HELL Yes

This news feature is riddled with subtle (and not-so-subtle) anti-gun bias, and has an overall tone that I think is condescending to women. And men. Even the original title’s suggestion: ‘…but will it make women feel safer?” is offensive. The reporters here are all male, and though they make an appearance of getting contrasting points of view, it’s obvious that these men do not approve.

Which is interesting, because every woman in India that’s beaten, raped, or killed, is a sister. A wife. A mother. A daughter. Someone with men in their lives who endure profound suffering, having a family member victimized. These men don’t need to be insulted by some fatuous reporter narrating a news segment. The Supreme court in India recently ruled–not unlike here in the U.S. –no one is obligated to be a victim, and the option of protecting yourself, with deadly force if necessary, is a fundamental, universal human right.

A minor, but annoying error, in the news report, is the image on screen repeatedly flipping back and forth between a certified Nirbheek, and a gun that is obviously not a Nirbheek (it looks more like a hammerless Smith & Weapon or Ruger .38) with no effort to explain the repetitive, arbitrary appearance of gun that’s not relevant to the news report.

More worrisome: the most glaring falsehood in this video news report appears a few minutes in, when the narrator asks if “arming half the population” is really the answer. Excuse me? Who said anything about arming half the population?

Then he suggests it’s not really about protecting victims, it’s just a marketing ploy by gun companies. A smug comment, but about what you’d expect from an anchor, media figure, or news reporter who enjoys the luxury of working in an office building protect by armed private security guards. Someone who takes his personal safety for granted.

The notion that anyone is advocating that half the population– every woman in India–should be armed is misleading, absurd, dishonest, and stupid. Even if a fraction of the adult female population (or any other group that’s vulnerable to predators and violent criminals) were armed, 5-10%, or only 3%, this is a powerful deterrent. The evidence backs this up. Rapes and murders are always higher in places with the strictest anti-gun laws, where citizens are forbidden or restricted from individually protecting themselves.

[See Maps made by the U.N. office on Drugs and Crime clearly show that where gun ownership is highest in the world, crime is lowest on a per capita basis]

In fact, that’s the whole point of a concealed weapon. An attacker can’t know who is, or isn’t carrying one.

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Defense Against Rape: Meet the Nirbheek, India’s First Firearm for Women

Lightweight revolver intended for self-defense amid rising sexual violence against women

Nirbheek weighs 500 grams, can fit into a purse.

What’s the most rational, effective way to combat the rising tide of rape and violence that plagues women in India?  Arm them. Yes. The threat of deadly force is a proven deterrent. A concealed weapon is a potent equalizer. A weapon designed and manufactured for women, named in honor of a martyred gang-rape victim, is sure to send a message.

[See also: [VIDEO] Nirbheek: New Gun Made for Women, Will it Make Them Safer? HELL Yes]

From the Times of India:

LUCKNOW: Giving more power to women to defend themselves and as a tribute to December 2012 gangrape victim Nirbhaya, the Indian Ordnance Factory, Kanpur, has manufactured Nirbheek, a .32 bore light weight revolver, India’s first firearm designed for women. At 500 grams, it is also the first IOF handgun made of titanium alloy.

“The revolver is capable of firing six rounds loaded in a revolving chamber, hence any misfire of a round does not affect next shot, unlike in a pistol.”

Priced at Rs 1,22,360, Nirbheek was launched on January 6 and has already received around 80 formal enquiries and over 20 bookings. “At least 80% bookings are from women licensees,” says Abdul Hameed, general manager of IOF. Described by arms experts as an Indian hybrid of a Webley & Scott and Smith & Wesson, for its simple mechanism and light frame, it is the smallest revolver made in India — an ideal to fit a purse or a small hand bag.

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