James Farrer

James Farrer compares the attitude of premaritial sex of Japanese and Chinese youth. Both accept sex in a dating relationship, but in China sex is part of a carefully planned deal making and seen as a highly valuable gift. ChinaShmina summarized the article.


In China sex prior to marriage is linked to the concept of female’s chastity and male’s responsibility. Chinese (both males and females) base their judgments on the reactions of imaginary male (“future husband”) – “What would he think knowing that he wasn’t first?”

As one of Farrer’s interviewees said:

Boys certainly don‘t want to eat somebody else‘s left-over dish, do they?

In this sense Chinese woman’s decision to have sex is a kind of sacrifice and first sex is a valuable gift. Not only Chinese women but also Chinese men often hesitated whether to have sex if the woman was virgin…

For Chinese young adults the requirement for having sex is the comparatively high level ofcommitment in relationships. It is most usually expressed through promises “to work hard, buy a house, or take the other traveling or as vows, such as I‘ll love you forever or I‘ll make you happy for a lifetime”. Even if these promises haven’t been voiced, there is often a mutualcommitment to the common future.

Premarital sexual relationship, however, does not automatically qualify as engagement and Chinese accept that “sometimes things don’t work out.”…

Many Chinese interviewees in Farrer’s research expressed the opinion that sex is appropriate only for people who have almost finished their education and are economically independent.

It is probably the result of relative intolerance of Chinese education institutions towards the intimacy (dating) between students.

Japanese, on the other hand, regard the high school years as appropriate time to start the sexual activity.

More in ChinaShmina

The original article is not yet online available.

James Farrer, Gefei Suo, Haruka Tsuchiya, Zhongxin Sun. 2012. ―Re-embedding sexual meanings: a qualitative comparison of the premarital sexual scripts of Chinese and Japanese young adults ‖ Sexuality & Culture. Vol. 16, No.1, pp. 1-24.

James Farrer is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.


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