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'The government thinks sex is dirty. I don't'

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We felt like old friends at our first meeting, and we were both straightforward. He took the bundle of bedding from me very gallantly. He skillfully put the ticking cover over the mattress and made the bed, like a long-time bachelor who handles his home proficiently and independently. I would have been touched by this kind of intimacy and care, if this were not just a one-night stand.

However, we were not that passionate -- we both had a tacit understanding of what we expected to happen. . . . He often guided me by saying, "Don't kiss my most sensitive parts so quickly. Kiss my ears first, then my nipples, my thighs. Look, aren't my legs handsome? . . ."

I almost burst out laughing. This should have been something ecstatic, fascinating, overwhelming -- instead it was more like a business transaction.

The first time he came, the ticking cover got soiled. We removed it, and started again. But there was always something wrong, as we inflexibly continued making the "love" in which neither of us believed.

Enough of that for now, I decided, and gave up. I asked about his overseas bachelor life: "How did you satisfy your sex life in Canada?"

"There are many émigré Chinese families in Canada. The husbands have to commute several times a year between Canada and China to handle business, while their wives either go to school or work in Canada. These wives are vulnerable to loneliness. They often go out to dance. That's how I became their companion."

"Always with lonesome wives?"

"Of course not. The Chinese circles there have organized various associations and some clubs for singles. Parties are often held."

"Sex parties?"

"Not so obvious. Usually, a classified ad of 'Party for Singles' is run in the media, and people would come to participate in the activities. Sometimes they play 'Key Party' . . . "

-- Translation by Betty and Saiman Hui.

Sexual revelations

How's China's sex life?

Compare Chinese attitudes to Canadians' views:

Percentage that are happy with their sex life:

China: 83%

Canada: 66%

Percentage that have faked an orgasm:

China: 12%

Canada: 43%

Percentage that have tried handcuffs/bondage:

China: 8%

Canada: 37%

Percentage that would risk sex with a new partner who refused to wear a condom:

China: 31%

Canada: 42%

According to the London Observer, the top-selling DVD in Chinese stores last year was Sex and the City.

The percentage of China's men and women who agree that same-sex partnerships should be granted the same status as man-woman marriages:

Men - 39%

Women - 50%

30% of condoms manufactured in China are considered unsafe.

The percentage of each country's people that thinks monogamy is the natural state for human beings:

China - 70%

United States - 57%

France - 44%

Germany - 40%

China manufactures 70% of the world's sex toys.

SOURCES: THE STATE BUREAU OF QUALITY AND TECHNICAL SUPERVISION, THE 2003/04 DUREX GLOBAL SEX SURVEY OF 34 COUNTRIES, EURO RSCG, IRISH TIMES, SHANGHAI STAR.

TRISH McALASTER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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