Sexuality

Avoid sex to get a better husband

lalalal.jpg
"When your boyfriend wants it, tell him it's wrong..."

The special report page of the July 3 issue of Southern Weekly, a newspaper famous for its liberal politics, is about an emerging chastity movement in China.

The thinking behind the Chinese chastity movement is certainly different from similar movements in the US and other Western countries.

Along with the report are three independent stories with a shared theme: the confusion about keeping chaste. Below is a translation of one of the three stories.

Modern stories of chastity

by Shen Liang

Shen Fan, a 25-year-old girl, studies philosophy at Nanjing university. Like most girls in the country, Shen Fan's chastity education was mainly from her parents' nagging and preaching, a calculation of benefit and loss about keeping or losing chastity.

Every summer and winter when she goes back to her family in Handan, Hebei Province , she watches TV with her parents, a habit she has kept for more than ten years. As always, every time there is anything about premarital sex on TV, Shen Fan's mother can't conceal her contempt: "This woman doesn't have brains."

Aside from watching TV, "chastity education" is also permeated through small talks, for example, gossiping about friends and relatives. A cousin of Shen Fan, four years her elder, was criticized for being too intimate to her boyfriend by the older generation of the family. "How stupid! Doesn't she mind the man taking advantage of her," said Shen's mother.

"There are two kinds of women in mother's eyes when it comes to sex: smart ones and stupid ones," said Shen Fan.

Shen Fan's "chastity education" lasted over ten years. When Shen Fan was in middle school, she hardly played with boys, let alone went to any parties. She didn't feel she needed to. Even now, she never goes home later than 9 o'clock when she is with her family on holidays.

Sometimes her mother tells Shen Fan her own story: When she was sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, she and her girl friends were determined not to marry the peasants. Their determination paid off: after they went back to the cities, all of the "sisters" got married with government cadres, doctors and businessmen—all of them urbanites. Every time Shen's mother meets these friends, she becomes even more proud of herself for making a sound choice.

"My parents believe that the most important thing for a woman is to marry into a good family, and losing virginity before marriage is losing competitiveness, which may lead to losing an opportunity of a good marriage," said Shen Fan.

Moreover, a woman can be respected or disrespected simply for chastity. "When my parents got married, my mother was a virgin, which gave her a sense of moral superiority, especially when quarreling with father."

One time when Shen Fan went to Beijing to meet with her boyfriend, she received a phone call from mother the moment she stepped into the hotel. After she knew that her daughter was with a man in a hotel room, the mother lost her temper. Shen Fan said she was shouting so loudly on the phone that her boyfriend even heard it from another room. "Be careful, you know what is important." said the mother after Shen promised her boyfriend wouldn't stay.

"They would be very happy to hear that my boyfriend loves me more than the other way around. The most ideal scenario to them is that he has fallen deeply in love, while I still keep my cool," said Shen Fan, "they want tangible benefit."

Now Shen Fan has a new boyfriend, but she has not told her parents, because he cannot meet her parents' standards for a prospective son-in-law. Another thing she does not want to let her parents know is that they had sex. Shen Fan said she tries to avoid wearing warm-colored clothes because that makes her feel less guilty.

Links and Sources
There are currently 17 Comments for Avoid sex to get a better husband.

Comments on Avoid sex to get a better husband

pushing chastity in a nation of 1.3+ billion people strikes me as a hard-sell.

Parents always say the same thing but boys always can find a way to get over it. The words in the picture are hilarious but the translation lose all the tastes.

Thanks for translating stuff like this.

I don't know how to do a trackback, so here's the link: 'True Love Waits'... with Chinese characteristics.

I read the Chinese article. I have a feeling that some details were spinned by the reporter.

Good choice, Mr. Mu! Of the three stories, only Shen Fan (#2) merits a complete translation. The amusing highlight of the first story (page 1) is the part where Wang Quan Quan compares the experience of losing one's virginity (breaking the hymen) to the first time eating a watermelon:
“处女膜该在何时破已经成了我的心理障碍。社会太乱了,结婚太晚了,不知道什么是对的。以前结婚等于初夜,现在完全乱套了。”王泉泉说,“如果有一天,大家说这就跟你第一次吃西瓜一样,那我就随便找个人,找个时间,解决了就完了。”
The best bit of the Shen Fan story is her parents fear of their daughter not only losing competitiveness by losing her virginity, but also having her social status (身价) getting discounted:
沈凡说,“我妈怕我身价打了折扣,错过本可以够得到的婆家。” (* Translator's note: In most Chinese-English dictionaries the Chinese word 身价, which literally means "body price", can also mean "the selling price of a slave".)

The third story (page 3) merges the topic of Christianity and chastity. When chaste Christian Chinese girl Ah Jun's college boyfriend gets aroused he always went to the bathroom and resolved the issue himself: “我一心要守,他有了冲动都去厕所自己解决。”
This boyfriend leaves her later to go live with another woman who helps him resolve his arousal issues, so after graduation Ah Jun marries her first boss. He brags to another staff member about eating watermelon on his wedding night. The marriage ends after little more than a year and Ah Jun then summarizes her view of chastity in China by comparing herself to Gillian Chung and modern Chinese men to Hong Kong celebrity sex tape actor Edison Chen: “在中国的现实就是,陈冠希可以干,但阿娇不能。守贞的‘贞’都放在了女人身上,清纯的淑女们连生殖器都不该有。”

Actually there are thousands of these articles on the Chinese Internet. You can read all kinds of quirky anecdotes and adult reproductive health tips, often accompanied by photos of attractive Western women in "warm-colored clothes". I wonder if Graham Earnshaw has any articles from 1981-83 concerning sex education in China. Those were the wonderfully naive days before the Internet when some married couples in the world's most populous country actually believed that simply sleeping in the same bed could produce a pregnancy.

i am agree with Shen's mother. all women must keep their virginity before got married.

hahaha! that's laughable!

Wow, this whole chastity idea seems so incredibly bizarre to me. How does chastity give you "confidence" when arguing with a husband, how does that make you wrong or right in any way? Sex is just a natural, pleasurable instinct, like eating food, it's no big deal at all. Sex is not the same as love. Love is finding a perfect partner you can have a family with and want a friendship with forever. Sex is just an unstoppable instinctual drive that rewards you with pleasure when you gratify it, again, like eating. I think old-fashion people are terribly confused and living horribly bleak lives with little or no reward in it. So sad. Sex is a gift from God, people treat it like it's some sort of curse...tragic

i agree w/ the mother,
i don't want chinese ppl to end up like
how americans are like these days.

The double-standard is rather breathtaking, but of course not terribly surprising.

It should be noted that in the US teen evangelicals, despite all the years of abstinence "promise keeper" claptrap, engage in sexual activity at a younger age AND with more individuals than with their secular counterparts.

Of course China certainly isn't the US, but I think it's fair to assume that many of these filial, pious daughters are simply lying through their teeth.

The blatant repressiveness and fearfulness toward sexuality doesn't surprise me, because every culture does it, including the West, which usually pretends to be so sexually progressive and superior. I'm glad that in the West our laws have made some progress toward eliminating the double-standard, but let's not entertain the attitude that in the West we are so sexually superior to the Chinese when it comes to fearfulness and repression. We mostly just express these things in different ways.

For example, the understanding of sexuality Stephan Larosels shares above is, ironically, sexually fearful and repressive. He's echoing the popular Western notion that says sex is "no big deal" and "just" a natural drive. But this, too, is repressive and fearful because it insists on reducing human sexuality to much less than it is - to the nice, safe, domesticated level of a mere biological function of which we ought not to make a big deal and don't need to fear. This attitude conspicuously ignores the obvious: that human sexual intimacy is intricately integrated into the core of our beings - psychologically, emotionally, physically - in a profoundly complex and powerful way, which we still understand rather poorly. It's a physical manifestation of a much deeper relational reality that impacts us profoundly, whether we treat it that way or not.

All that to say, I hope we Westerners don't read this article and then feel culturally superiour and look down on China's culture because of it. In the West we ourselves, on both sides of the Sexual Revolution cultural divide, still demonstrate fearfulness and repression toward human sexuality. We just do it in different ways and cover it up with a thin veneer of P.C. self-righteousness or traditional notions of propriety. I'm not saying China's culture doesn't have major problems regarding sexuality, I'm just saying that they aren't alone in that regard.

@Pananamajack - Promise Keepers was for married men, about being faithful husbands and fathers; it wasn't about abstinence. Maybe you're thinking of True Love Waits, which led the evangelical teen abstinence movement. TLW may use 'promise rings,' but I'm not sure about that.

Well, I think this will change soon.
Its similar to the economic game theory. If other competitors are willing to offer extra service, and this particular supplier isn't will to comply. The higher paying buyers are more likely to commence commerce else where.

Re: Joel

Thank you Joel for your comment.. I find it is one of the most intelligent statements about sexuality from a secular, Western point of view that I have heard.

Sex is not "just sex", as is often stated. I could not agree more. It is much more than that.

Sex is something that kills the spirit within a person. When a man has a task to fullfill it is advised that he keep away from sex, especially when is premarrital sex. From the look of thing, sex has destroyed a lot of great men and women in the history. It is desirable thing but yet destructive. this brings me to the conclusion that some things we eat can really kill us even when others eat them and survive.

Thanks, Bryce.

I should probably mention that i didn't come to that critique of mainstream Western (or mainstream media's) sexually from a secular perspective. My particular nonsecular perspective predisposes me to see sexuality as something extremely positive and profound, and so powerful that we treat it lightly/disrespectfully at our peril... but i promise i didn't pick all those p-words on purpose! =)

I completely agree with your comment Joel. It seems the world over, we still do not know how to respect the mystery of sex. Whether casually engaging in it, degrading it to a biological function or using it as a bargaining chip, all these behaviors completely undervalue what sex is actually an entry into~

...something we still have yet to truly fathom.

Chastity is a scam to oppress women.

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
laomo2010x80.jpg
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives