China Sex Museum

Admission:

RMB 20

Hours:

8am-5pm daily

How to get there:

The Tongli sex museum is roughly a 15 minute walk from the gates of Tongli Old Town. A map at the front gate can direct you to the museum.

The China Sex Museum (Zhōnghuá Xìng Wénhuà Zhǎnlǎn, 中华性文化展览) is a collection of over 1,500 artifacts amassed by former army man and factory worker turned sociologist, Professor Liu Dalin. The museum is located in the 1,000-year-old water town of Tongli in Jiangsu Province, 80 km (50 mi) west of Shanghai and easily reached from Suzhou by bus in just an hour. The museum was created to showcase the 9,000-year history of sex in China, promote a healthy attitude toward sex and further research into the topic.

Professor Dalin’s collection was initially located in Shanghai when it first opened in 1997. However, the sociology professor ran into several obstacles; he was told that the Chinese character for sex was not elegant and therefore he was not able to make a sign for his museum. After some financial and bureaucratic issues, the exhibit settled in Tongli in 2004. Once a former all-girls school, the tree-lined gardens are now home to dozens of ancient stone statutes depicting the sexual culture of China from as early as 3,000 B.C. Artifacts, some of which are made of clay, jade or silk, are displayed throughout the 3,800 sq m (4,544 sq yd) indoor and 5,200 sq m (6,219 sq yd) outdoor space.

Professor Dalin, a retired professor from Shanghai University, became interested in this topic after conducting a 20,000 person study between 1989 and 1990. His study was the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. After analyzing the data, he switched from researching modern society to ancient society and questioned why the subject of sex has long been taboo in China, especially after it was so openly depicted before the Tang Dynasty.

Dalin, born in 1932, pioneered the study of sex in China and has taken his collection on the road to Japan, Australia, Europe and the US. Several branch museums are located around China in Hubei, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Shanxi and Guangdong provinces.

The China Sex Museum in Tongli offers its venue for meetings and conferences. Many people enjoy touring the museum every year which takes about two to three hours to complete.

While some may come just for the Sex Museum, over the stone bridges and down the streets and alleys of Tongli, numerous traditional buildings and historical sights await exploration as well as notable gardens, monasteries, and tea shops.

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