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April 10, 2019

Survey Says: Despite Censorship, Porn is Hot in China

When one thinks about porn in China, one normally imagines opposites, or at the very least a non sequitur — like peanut butter and… say… lead.

China’s censorship laws, which ban the public or private presentation of anything sexual in nature or anything that “endangers ideological security, cultural security, physical and mental health of minors,” are so acute that cleavage shown via low-cut blouses on television is blurred.

Per a measure issued by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, for example, the reward in China for reporting the illegal publishing of porn has doubled to 600,000 yuan ($119,104). An erotic writer in China was sentenced to over 10 years imprisonment for including gay sex scenes in his novel. Only 7,000 copies of the book were sold online. This sentence is longer than the nation’s sentencing guidelines for most types of rape, which range from three to ten years.

In this environment, one may be shocked to learn that there is a thriving porn scene. Yet, per a survey conducted by Yummy, a Chinese platform for the discussion of women’s sexuality, that’s exactly what is happening. It turns out that 70 percent of Chinese men and 50 percent of Chinese women view porn at least once a week, per the report.

In the United States, conversely, 91 percent of all men and 60 percent of all women reported viewing pornographic material in a month.

“We already know that Chinese people do watch porn,” said Yummy founder Zhao Jing. Yummy was created to provide a platform where women can talk and ask questions about female sexual pleasure. “However, we don’t know much about what exactly they like to watch and how it influences them.”

Jing explained that she was interested in Chinese porn viewing habits after seeing PornHub’s 2018 user statistics.

Despite the existence of a national firewall that blocks internet content found to be objectionable by the Chinese government, the country has a well-developed internal internet — or, intranet — that is nearly unmonitorable by government censors. This blind spot, where porn posted on Chinese servers can be readily viewed by Chinese nationals, has led the country to turn to its citizens to spy on each other. This extends past pornography. A lead to non-pornographic objectionable online or offline content can net a bounty of up to 50,000 yuan ($7,442.58).

The survey also points to an important aspect of porn. In a culture that is sexually repressed, porn provides not only an outlet, but educational value. Though not intended as educational material, in spaces where educational material is inaccessible, pornography often serves as a proxy. Viewers look to the media for answers to questions about sexual techniques, sexual enjoyment and acceptance of different styles of sexuality. Content can serve as a conduit for further discussions with other viewers. It also may serve as a resource for those that are curious about sex.

“People say watching porn is bad — but the type of content young people view today has improved a lot, it has approached reality, and men who give pleasure to women has become the standard,” Jing said.

The survey suggests that “lesbian,” “hentai” and “MILF” were the top terms searched for on PornHub. Chinese men preferred realistic scenes with expressive women and high-quality Chinese or Japanese productions. Women preferred Western, Japanese or Korean porn that are women-focused or feature gay sex. Neither Chinese men or women preferred elder or mature porn actors, which may be a reflection of the country’s regard for elders in general.

Image via Pexels.

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