Love and sex in China - statistics & facts

Finding a romantic love and achieving a regular healthy sex life could be a struggle for many Chinese people, especially among those living in big cities. On one side, China is facing the effects of its decades-long one-child policy and a general preference for boys - nearly 32 million more men than women in a total population of 1.4 billion. The gender gap is the widest among those of marriage age. On the other side, a pragmatic marriage-oriented dating and a relatively conservative sexual culture is rooted in the country. These reasons have given rise to online dating and relationship services, as well as adult product e-commerce.

Dating is often viewed as a pragmatic affair in China. Because of the highly competitive university entrance exam, most young people start dating after high school. The fear of the social stigma against “leftovers” - unmarried men over 30 and women in the late twenties - makes many Chinese adults take dating seriously with a clear marriage goal. Financial status is another crucial factor in partner choices. According to a dating survey, many young respondents considered a high salary important when searching for an ideal partner. Besides a stable career, the purchase of a house is generally perceived a prerequisite for marriage. These ideals make it harder to find the perfect match.

Undoubtedly, traditional values remain a heavy influence on the Chinese sexual culture. The government introduced the Sex Education Program in 2017. Yet many teachers and students find it uncomfortable to talk about sex publicly. In general, premarital sex and casual sex are less common. It is worth noting that many Chinese men find it hard to accept the sexual history of their lover. On the other side, many Chinese women see premarital sex as a sign that a relationship is heading towards marriage. However, the attitudes towards sex are slowly changing among the younger generations. A survey found out that a majority of young adults in China had sex before marriage.

In the context of the gender gap and suppressed sexuality, many local companies have scoped out opportunities in online dating and adult product e-commerce sectors. With 200 million singles in China, online dating and matchmaking is a multi-billion-yuan business, currently dominated by two platforms: Baihe and Jiayuan. Besides this, online adult product sales have been booming over recent years. Social stigma at brick-and-mortar retail stores results in more people opting for online purchases of sex toys. Among the top e-retailers who are tackling the not-so-discreet demand for sex toys, Touch, Chun Shui Tang, and Tao Hua Wu were the key market players.

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Love and sex in China

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