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Sexual Life

(2,239 words)

Author(s): Dikötter, Frank
What, if anything, can historians tell us of sexual life in China? The few sources which might provide us with insights into sexual life in either the imperial period or the 20th century (sex handbooks, guides to night life, manuals of marital advice, and medical treatises) are by their very nature prescriptive rather than descriptive: they do not so much reflect sexual practices as they expatiate on how sexual practices ought to be. Normative representations of sex should be clearly distinguish…