Young Chinese pursue better sex lives
Updated: 2011-10-09 09:16
BEIJING - Twenty-six-year-old Zhao Chunpeng couldn't wait to open his tightly wrapped black parcel and check out the Constellation condoms he ordered online three days ago.
"My girlfriend and I are always willing to try new things and these new items sound very creative," Zhao said. "I'm sure she'll like the Aries condoms I bought."
The Constellation series include 12 kinds of condoms, all of which differ in color, shape and thickness and are designed around a theme borrowing from the 12 constellations featured in Western astrology.
Designers have added fashionable elements to condoms and other products in order to satisfy the changing demands of China's young people, according to Wu Hao, a designer from the Guilin Latex Factory, a leading Chinese condom producer.
"For many young people, these items are used not only for the purposes of contraception and disease prevention, but to improve their sex lives," Wu said.
The Constellation condoms, as well as many other products, attracted numerous visitors during a sex and reproductive health exhibition held in Beijing between September 24 and 26.
"It is a perfect idea to combine quality with creativity in a product," said Li Jiwei, an exhibition visitor.
"I'm very interested in such novelties, but it also could be commercial gimmick," said Li, adding that he would purchase the product "if the quality is as good as its creativity."
Zhao is one of many young Chinese who have developed a preference for purchasing sex products online.
"It makes me feel embarrassed to go to a store to buy condoms, but online shopping makes it much easier," Zhao said.
A number of online shops have sprung up recently, selling every kind of sex product imaginable. XMYBOX, an online sex toy retailer, imports products from abroad and resells them to domestic consumers at prices ranging from 100 yuan (15.62 U.S. dollars) to 1,000 yuan.
"Compared with domestic products, imported sex toys are more fashionable in design and are thus more popular among young people," said Sun Dong, XMYBOX's chief designer.
"Many conservative Chinese believe that sex toys are pornographic and obscene, but more and more young people have started using them to make their sex lives better," said Sun.
Male consumers account for 70 percent of Sun's company's sales, he said, adding that the number of female buyers is expanding.
Chinese people have traditionally held negative attitudes toward sex, regarding it as a taboo subject that is not to be talked about openly. However, after three decades of economic and social reform, people have become more open about sex, said Li Yinhe, a sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a major government think tank.
"Young people have begun consuming sex products in order to enjoy better sex lives, as they have realized that it is not shameful, but a natural and healthy way of life to have sex," Li said.
Sex culture festivals and trade fairs showcasing the latest sex products and promoting new concepts are held annually in China, not only in the hip coastal cities of Shanghai and Guangzhou, but also in relatively conservative inland cities like Zhengzhou, the capital of central China's Henan province.
Booming domestic demand for sex products has attracted entrepreneurs who wish to claim their share of a promising market.
"It is a lucrative business, with the top five online shops in China reaping 1.2 million to 1.5 million yuan each month in retail sales," said Sun.
The domestic industry has become more competitive since 2007 due to an increasing number of market players and a rising demand for high-quality products, he said.
"Young consumers not only demand high quality, but creativity as well, so we have to constantly introduce new products and concepts to satisfy their demands," Sun said.