Chinese Sex Museum

Sex Museum - the only private museum of the kind in China:

The curator of the museum -- Liu Da-ling

The museum was founded by Liu Dalin, one of the pioneering sexologists in modern China. He and his colleagues collected the expensive exhibits for many years. The museum stands out above all the entities of its kind in China. It has even earned acclaim from the world, with 70 percent of its audience from overseas.

The museum boasts a vast collection of about 3,700 erotic pieces that romp through some 5,000 years of human sexual behavior. The exhibits caused quite a stir in Hong Kong and Taiwan when they were displayed there. Some people called the exhibition "the first for Chinese people in 5,000 years." The exhibition comprises 10 sections: the evolution of sex, sex worship, the development of the marriage system, sexual oppression of women, sex accessories, erotica, sexual health, sex and religion sexuality.

Despite the prominence it gained, the museum was having a difficult time in Shanghai. With its inauguration in 1999, the museum was put in a commercial building in the pedestrian street of the Nanjing Road, with its maintenance fee sponsored by a State-owned company. Obviously this is an ideal location for the museum, for it is the busiest area in Shanghai.

Unfortunately, however, the authorities did not allow the museum to put out a sign, because the sign would have characters related to sex. The authorities said that it was upholding a national regulation that no advertisements are allowed for sex products. "At the beginning, I expected that the museum would have been very popular, but it did not develop as we wished", says the retired sociology professor and founder of the country's first sex museum.

As the museum has failed to woo visitors - only 20 to 30 per day, 50 on the weekends, and two-thirds of them foreigners, Liu has been unable to recoup his more than 100,000-dollar investment by selling 3.60 dollars entrances.

As a pioneer of sex research in China Liu, who has written more than 60 books on the subject, aimed to educate. "When I set up the museum, I hoped it could help me to publicize, to research and to rescue Chinese sexual culture to awaken people from a state of sexual ignorance," Liu says. He agrees that sexual attitudes have changed over the last several years, but says people still have much to learn. "Chinese attitudes toward sex are becoming more and more open. But it's like half an opening conservative minds have not been completely liberalized, while certain new and open things are leading sexual culture in an unhealthy direction", he says.

His sex museum will move to the canal town's Lize Girl's School, about 80 kilometers from Shanghai, and the Tongli government will cover the renovation fee of 2 million yuan. The two sides signed an agreement that the museum will stay in Tongli for 10 years, following two months of negotiations. It will start to move there at the end of this year, according to Hu Hongxia, Liu's partner.

Tongli will invest about 1 million yuan (US$120,000) in the first phase, which will involve choosing the site and decorating it. The new museum, next door to the famous scenic spot of Tuisi Garden, will cover over 7,000 square metres, which is more than 10 times bigger than now existing site. The two sides will get equal shares of the ticket revenue. But town officials reiterated the focus is not on making a profit. Liu Xinzhong, the town head, said: "I won't expect many people would come to the museum at first. Our first aim is to protect, research and exhibit Chinese culture."

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