I was asked to teach English at a Chinese orgy - SupChina

I was asked to teach English at a Chinese orgy

Our story last month about swinging in China reminded reader Justin Mitchell of a similar experience he had in Guangdong in 2005. He wrote about it for The Standard in Hong Kong that year under the headline “Lust in Translation: ‘Will you help me to practice my English?'” An edited version is republished here with the author’s permission. 

On Saturday, March 10 at 8 pm at the Beijing Bookworm, as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival, Robert Foyle Hunwick will lead a discussion about sexuality in China, from harassment to homosexuality, polyamory to prostitution, in the SupChina-organized event “Let’s Not Talk About Sex.” Get your tickets at The Bookworm or online.


For a foreigner in China, it’s not an uncommon question to field from strangers on trains, planes, buses, sidewalks, in stores and cafes. The urge for Chinese men, women, children alike to learn better English, even randomly and at inopportune moments, is strong.

In this case the question came from a topless middle-aged woman in the midst of a mostly Chinese partner-swapping party in Dongguan, Guangdong Province. To the budding English language student’s left, along a 20-foot mirrored wall and on four large mattresses strewn with condom wrappers, tissues, clothes, and underwear, about 20 others were engaged in a, well, the correct word is “orgy.”

In the dim light one could not clearly distinguish men from women. Others taking a break came and went from the room’s one constantly running shower, some wrapped in towels, others nude, talking, joking, and generally making as if the main event they’d just exited was nothing more than a leisurely evening at a bath house or the gym.

The would-be tutor pointed to the writhing mass of flesh and tried to speak clearly above the sounds of exertion.

“That,” I said, “that is an orgy. O—R—G—Y.”

Though it survives and apparently prospers, partner swapping is more or less passé in the West, having peaked as a shocking titillating sexual/socio phenomena in the late ’60s and through much of the ’70s before harsh realities such as STDs, combined with a socio-political swing to the right, morphed key swapping parties and publications such as Screw magazine more or less into the underbelly of the internet.

In China, it’s humming on the underground via coded missives on the closely monitored internet and on the almost-as-closely observed mobile phone QQ system [an early, popular chatting platform]. Not surprisingly, official People’s Republic of China statistics regarding couple swapping clubs or average number of sexual partners in a lifetime aren’t available. But according to an oft-cited 2005 Durex Global Sex Survey of 317,000 people in 41 countries, China ranks No. 40, with 3.1. (India is last at 3 partners while Turks are tops with 14.5).

Chinese group sex remains in the shadows (unless 400 Japanese clients and 500 Chinese hookers are involved and it turns into a brief international incident, as it did in September 2003 at a hotel in Zhuhai), and wobbles along a shifting legal and sociological line. According to China Daily: “In the early 1980s, when in one case of wife swapping, the person who masterminded a game involving four couples was sentenced to death.” More recently, in 2003 police broke up a ménage à trois (the gender ratio was not specified) in a Shenyang hotel but were forced to free the trio after being unable to decide whether they had the personal freedom as consenting adults to mix and match, or whether they should be charged with lewd behavior.

Mainland “experts” seem equally divided. Some say it’s perverted, while others say it’s to be expected as China continues to unwind. Jia Xiaoming, a Beijing psychologist, told China Daily that wife-swapping comes from “an abnormal mentality and a mind of chaos,” while Zhu Jianjun, another Beijing psychology professor, said that swinging is the natural aftermath of eras of sexual repression. As long as they do not hurt others, “we should ignore it,” he said, because eventually the pendulum will swing back to normal.

The party was hosted by an expat German furniture manufacturing baron I’ll call “Albert” and his Chinese wife, “April.” I saw it on the internet. “We have the pleasure to invite you at the Spring Naughty Party on Saturday March 25th,” the invitation began. “The party will take place at April & Albert’s home : big/warm/comfortable house, heated swimming pool, hot bubbles tub, and a fully fitted Fun room for those who are looking for more fun!”

There will be around 25-30 people: balanced number between Ladies & Gentleman will be respected to make everyone comfortable. Only good level people, respectful, not pushy, clean and easy going. There will be some old friends and several newcomers too. Lots of fun: fun, laugh, jokes, talks, and more. People will be coming from different locations: Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Shanghai, all professionals which means that everyone always ensure and guarantee a full discretion.

Of course, everyone will do as he/she wants: only watch, stay in couple, watch and play, only play, it’s up to you, just so that everyone respects the other guests freedom.

As usual, we will gather around 8:00 pm at April and Albert’s house. Then we’ll go to the restaurant near by to have a dinner all together : chat, break the ice, know each other better, warming-up.

Our home is in Dongguan … spend the night, no problem! We’ll provide mattress for the guest who want to stay at April and Albert’s home or you can you can stay at hotel just in front their home. We are looking forward to see you guys at that wonderful party!!!

Cheers!

April and Albert your “Naughty Party” hosts

Orgy organizer Albert was more than discreet. His cavernous, garishly decorated two-story home — imagine a cross between an Albanian film about Marie Antoinette and Gone with the Wind‘s Tara — nestled in a gate-guarded community, has hosted four previous sexual extravaganzas, all with no incidents other than misplaced underwear, he said.

“There is no need for the neighbors to know,” he said. “And we are cautious about who we invite.”

“Mr. Liu,” a married Guangzhou mid-level bureaucrat who brought his mistress to the party, said he was one of eight “normal” people busted in a Guangzhou hotel, briefly detained, and then freed after an interrupted orgy in 2004. “They didn’t know what to do with us,” he later said, while watching his girlfriend pair off with two other men wrapped in white towels. “We also paid some money. But we still must be very careful.”

While most of the couples were Chinese, there were also international duos such as the hosts, as well as an Italian woman and her Belgian boyfriend, the latter who nursed a bad head cold while his mate chose to care for him between stints upstairs to watch the action.

It began somewhat awkwardly. Cold weather and plumbing problems had the pool and hot tub out of commission and the swingers — dressed mostly as if they’d just arrived from their various government bureaus, banks, or accounting firms — chatted, drank wine and soft drinks, and eyed one another as a large-screen TV played a seemingly endless European porno disc with the volume off. Then Leo arrived, wife (Meimei) and mistress (Chuchu) in tow and toting two large cartons of condoms — one Chinese and one American.

A brief cheer and flurry of greetings followed.

“He’s the king!” quipped a Chinese man, who’d come as a single. “I don’t have a girlfriend and wouldn’t have one who would come to one of these, but I like the sex too much. Like a thirsty man likes water.”

Leo was the acknowledged head of a Shenzhen-based swingers’ group and something of a legend, if not for his sexual prowess but more for an income that allowed him to flaunt a wife, mistress, and a BMW — and his skills in organizing other get-togethers. Leo claimed later that there are smaller gatherings “seven days a week” in Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

He ripped open the condom cartons with a flourish and then produced a deck of pre-sorted playing cards. While matching couples with car keys is the time-honored Western method to start the swinging sexual ignition, not everyone had car keys so Leo’s dating service paired couples with the same cards.

“Who has a nine?” squealed one Chinese woman. “Me, I hope,” said a Canadian man, Ian, who groaned softly when he saw his queen was matched by a slightly stout Chinese woman who looked expectant. “Can we draw again, perhaps?” he whispered to an onlooker.

There were similar reactions, some embarrassed, others plainly anxious or nervous, and while Leo encouraged the potential hookups, all but one couple discarded their cards in favor of more wine, spontaneous mutual chemistry, or past experience.

Ian was one of those. Breaking with the swinging cliché, Ian chose monogamy with his long-time Chinese girlfriend, and after a passionate public display of affection, the pair made a Canadian-Sino merger on a long leather living room couch even as guests were still arriving.

A group gathered around them, some shouting encouragement in a mixture of Chinese and English while others, inspired by the enthusiastic display of international diplomacy, hurried upstairs to the mattresses to forge their own alliances.

Chuchu — Leo’s mistress — eventually became another focal point of sorts as the evening heated up, and she easily exceeded the Durex “3.1 Chinese partners per lifetime” statistic. At one point she rose from a pile of mostly men with whom she’d exchanged favors, raising her arms while exclaiming happily and loudly in Chinese.

I was watching all this. “What did she say?” I asked the woman who’d requested impromptu English lessons.

“She said she climaxed five times,” the woman replied. “Very lucky, I think.”


Polyamory in the PRC: A brief history of sex and swinging in modern China

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Justin Mitchell

Justin Mitchell is an American journalist with about 30 years of experience in the U.S. as a reporter, rock writer, and copy editor, and 10 years as a "polisher" for English language media in China. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado. A book about his China life and times, Shenzhen Zen, will be published soon.

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