China Has a Problem With Bad Sex Advice. Can a New Exam Fix It?


Guo Yun finally found the courage to step into a sex shop last year to buy a dildo for her birthday. Before long, however, she retreated back to the streets of downtown Shanghai, confused and disappointed. “It was one of the most elegant sex shops I’ve seen in the city, and I thought they’d have... Continue Reading →

How ‘The Penis Monologues’ Challenges China’s Toxic Masculinity


ZHEJIANG, East China — On a theater stage in the city of Hangzhou, a male character reflects on the time he date-raped a woman. “I finally broke through her defense and forcefully penetrated her. Controlling her, I felt the happiness of a conqueror. The insertion of my penis seems to have stamped a seal on... Continue Reading →

My Makeover With China’s Blind Beautician


BEIJING — Sitting on the couch in Xiao Jia’s apartment, I learned how difficult it is to apply makeup to a face you cannot see. Xiao, 27, gradually lost her eyesight during her teens. Determined to avoid the life in society’s shadows that most of her blind compatriots have, she channeled her love of painting... Continue Reading →

In Cliffside Village, Hipster Bookshop Spurs Rural Revival


ZHEJIANG, East China — With the twisted mountain road blocked by yesterday’s snow, Zhao Weiren and his friends have no choice but to park their car and climb the last leg of their trip. They’ve come to visit Chenjiapu, a somewhat picturesque but otherwise ordinary village of 100 or so houses with beige plaster and... Continue Reading →

Telling Ambiguous, Ambitious Gay Stories


BEIJING — It’s the evening before filming starts, but director Lu Zhan and her main actor, Yang Zhenguo, can’t agree on what the script is really trying to say. Is “Summer” a gay movie? “It’s a love story that just happens to be between two young men,” Lu says, sitting on one of the beds... Continue Reading →

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