Adam and Eve
The Adam and Eve, China’s first legal sex shop, opened in Beijing in 1993. The market has since exploded, and now ‘adult healthcare’ centres can be found in cities and towns right across the country.
Medical fix or fun?
Staffed by assistants in white lab coats, sex shops are less erotic emporia than commercial drop-in centres for the sexually dysfunctional. Like the many private sex clinics that have opened since the mid-1990s, these shops offer medical solutions for problems with intercourse.
Vacuum pumps, constriction devices and Viagra (and its many local imitations) assist men with erectile dysfunction. Chinese herbs cure premature ejaculation. Lubricants, aphrodisiacs and friction devices ease female lack of desire.
But the medical veneer is fast wearing thin. Sex toys are replacing sex aids, and the obscenity laws, which ban all eroticised images, are being outpaced by the momentum of a market where pleasure sells better than cures.
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