The struggle of the sexless class

Hi everyone, I’ve already written a few posts for ChinaHush but I guess I should formally introduce myself. My name is CC and I’m currently studying philosophy at Peking University. I will graduate next spring from George Washington University. You can read more about me in the “About” section or e-mail me about anything at cc.huang2 at gmail dot com. Also – other places I am on the Internet: Chinamatic, Responsible China, Twitter, Tumblr.


"Dwelling Narrowness" (蜗居) (A Romance of House) was first a novel by Liu Liu until it was made into a television series in 2008. The television series depicts a story of two sisters who want to live at ease in the city but are confronted with a variety of issues, mainly ridiculous housing prices. My Chinese friends always tell me that most Chinese people save their money primarily for three reasons: to buy a house, to pay for their children’s education, to pay for retirement. If a Chinese person can guarantee that they have these three things under control, they generally do not worry about living "the good life." However, the most important pursuit – buying a house – is becoming incredibly difficult even for people who are considered to be in the middle-class, especially in large cities. The television series "Dwelling Narrowness" has become a hot topic among the Chinese population, mainly because it raises the issue of the outrageously overpriced housing market in China, but also because it brings up issues of sexual infidelity, the difficulty of non-city dwellers to move into the city, and issues of social class. The following essay looks at "Dwelling Narrowness" and the issue it raises of "sexless classes" and how it relates to power and wealth.

The Sociology of "Dwelling Narrowness": The Sexless Class and the Struggle between the Sexual Classes

By Lu Yingjiu 陆英九

In this day and age when I still have holes in my jeans, I have enthusiastically told a few of my friends that I will someday write a book entitled "The Sexless Class and the Struggle Between the Sexual Classes” (性无产阶级与性阶级斗争). However, the heavy nature of life as depicted in “Dwelling Narrowness" (蜗居) quickly made me forget about this plan.

The television series "Dwelling Narrowness" has caused critics to call it "a cruel story of sexual exploitation," and say, "in an environment with a widening gap between the rich and the poor, moral standards don’t exist, and sexual resources naturally flow toward the powerful and rich." Also, "The plundering of sexual resources has not only created a lack of social morality and justice, but has also led to a degrading sexual co-existence, few people have too many sexual resources, but instead the number of people that are relegated to sexual poverty and shortages continues to increase. This is no longer just a problem in a moral sense, but concerns the entirety of social stability."

"Sexual resources" and "sexual exploitation" are two terms that have made me think again about my previous plans and the two concepts: "sexless class" and "the struggle of the sexual classes." In a poorer day and age, when it was rather common to be property-less, most poverty-stricken men and women still had a stable family and a sexual partner to call their own. But, thirty years later, when GDP has been increasing 10% every year, and when the number of property-less are constantly decreasing − there is a rising number of men and women who are part of the "sexless class."

The reason behind the creation of a large "sexless class" is still due to an imbalance of material wealth. The most fundamental reason is also due to the most important material asset – a serious imbalance in the housing market.

Using different standards of property ownership, men can be hierarchized into four classes. The lowest ranked are men who share rent, next are men who can only rent, third are men who are merely economically competent, and the highest ranked are men with wealth and power. The first group of men have no home of their own, thus they don’t have the economic conditions to get married. They are not necessarily sexless, but their sexual partners are just like their rent – shared. Once in a while they can find women that other men have slept with before. The men who are renting a home have a home to temporarily call their own and in a protected system of monogamy they also have their own women, temporarily, but this is all provisional. A netizen says, "Dwelling Narrowness” tells us that men with wealth and power, as long as they try just a little, are invincible in chasing women." The women they are chasing are often the wives or girlfriends of the men who are renting. The men who are economically competent have their own homes, albeit modest and affordable, have their own wives, although not necessarily glamorous. These should be basic requirements for the middle class. Unfortunately, a society that is guided by power and money do not let this cautious, hard-working middle class slip away either; they still reach into their pockets and still take their women. So, the economical men become slaves to paying for their property, and the women of these property slaves are like the fruit in a fruit market to be picked through. Once they catch the eye of a rich and powerful man, few can maintain their integrity. Rich men have mansions, considerable power and a large amount of money, just like Song Siming in "Dwelling Narrowness". They can do whatever they want in this day and age that belongs to them. And as long as they like a certain woman, it is very hard for her to resist the black hole of power, wealth, and stature that they use to lure her in, especially the women of the men who can only afford to pay rent.

That is to say, the men who rent have no stable sexual resources and the men who share rent are basically of the sexless class, the men with sufficient economic means are in the sexual middle-class, and the men with wealth and power are the sexual bourgeoisie. The main struggle is between the sexless class and the sexual bourgeoisie, while the sexual middle-class sits on the fence – they want to be like the sexual bourgeoisie and steal women from the sexless class, but they are also afraid that their own women will be stolen by the sexual bourgeoisie.

The covert war of the sexual classes has been going on for years and now the war has been made public, but the fight has become one-sided. The sexual bourgeoisie use power, money, culture, property, organized crime groups, etc. to launch a comprehensive attack on many fronts. The defense of the sexless class has been completely shattered, and only the system of monogamy is giving them the ability to resist. In the meantime, the observers of the struggle, the sexual middle-class has discovered that one of the armies of the sexual bourgeoisie is attacking and closing in from behind.

The sexual bourgeoisie is not only depriving others of sexual pleasures, they are destroying the entirety of society. Zhao Xiaobo, a netizen, says, "If ‘Dwelling Narrowness’ was banned, it would not be because it contains topics relating to sex, it would be because this TV series is like a needle, it pokes at the sensitivities of the whole society, making us understand exactly what is sabotaging our values system. ‘Dwelling Narrowness’ is a vivid portrayal of society as a whole, it rips down the magnificent curtain and only leaves the tear stains to be seen."

What tactics do the men who share rent, the men who rent, and the men of the middle class have left? Don’t count on feminism, in an age controlled by men with wealth and power, women are helpless to undertake any –ism; the more rights they have, the more powerless they become. Silent Orchid Valley, another netizen, says, "’Dwelling Narrowness’ tells me that ordinary people are not fit to have love or happiness. While reality is very cruel, only those who stand proudly qualify to be happy. Happiness is only for those who do not become slaves to reality."

If the sexless class and the sexual middle-class still want love and happiness, their only way out is for the sexless class to join together with the sexual middle-class. With their backs against the wall, they must engage in drastic combat against the sexual bourgeoisie. That is, they must rupture the system created by the men with wealth and power and cut off the dirty hands that they have used to plunder society. After the rich men have lost their filthy wealth and corrupt power, they will no longer be indomitable. Then, the people who live in the Dwelling Narrowness can carry their heavy shells and step by step continue to crawl forward. It will be hard work to get the little bit of reliable happiness in their shell, to have the sexual partner that they can call their own. However, in their eyes there will be no toil, in their hearts there will be no darkness.


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“Burning Wings” by 樊凡

我燃烧了翅膀 你却像风一样
那风铃在摇晃 倾听一种悲伤
我燃烧了翅膀 到不了你身旁
我挥动燃烧的翅膀 到不了你身旁
尘封已久心伤 回归到信仰

  1. Sexually deprived male is looking for cute middleclass pussy to engage in drastic combat against the sexual monopoly of some upperclass tigers. Needs to have a mind of her own and little concern for security. Otherwise she should be clean, somewhat loyal and arguably submissive when requested. Preferably no kittens; sharp claws are allowed.

  2. I am one of the fans of your blog. and wish you to keep uploading some interesting information about china. actually those are so good to read. I am Korean, so chinese views on Korea seems even better. 😀

    1. Thank you for your support, I will keep my eyes out for Chinese views on Korea, acutaly it is a topic thats been talked about alot. However alot of them are negative…

      1. The origin of some negative comments may be Korean media or government. When my wife first came to a US lab, her new Korean colleague asked my wife while eating her apple, “Do Chinese people have money to buy apples? Do China produce apples?” My wife was very shocked by these silly questions. Out of polite, my wife once appraised her colleague for her new dress. This Korean lady again asked a stupid question, “Do you Chinese people think everything in Korea is wonderful?”

        But I believe only part of Korean people have such naive thoughts. I have a Korean colleague who is a pretty good girl.

        Anyway, what I know is there will be more than 2 million Korean people living in China by 2010, most of whom are not willing to go back to Korea. 2 million is not a small number. I would suggest “always” to ask your Korean friend in China what they feel with China and what is China.

    1. So far there are not. The devil behind the ridiculous housing price is the irrational behavior of local governments in China. Chinese government officials get promotion when they increase the GDP of the city or province they govern. And a super efficient but irrational way to get stable 8% annual increment of GDP is to sell the land-use right. Such things is happening every day…and the government enjoys it very much.

  3. Something gossipy…






  4. But I found one of the songs appeared in Dwelling Narrowness. Of course, it’s in Chinese.

    The full CD version:

    and the version that appears in the episode:

    The lyric was translated as follows

    I know it wont be forgiven
    Where is my heart going
    Who’s rowing our boat
    and making you so fascinated
    I thought I could row the boat

    It’s such a beautiful long night
    and I miss our past so much

    A kite will fly only for one thread
    But you cut the thread to seek your heaven

    I burned my wings
    but you left me like the wind

    Windbell is swinging
    and listening to my sadness

    I burned my wings
    and could not reach you

    Forget the heartbreak
    and live with the religion

  5. Wow, for someone who claims to be carrying out a “sociological” analysis, the author of that article seems to be completely unaware of the huge pile of prejudices that he’s bandying around. The text strips women of any sort of agency and treats them, quite literally, like a material good.

    1. Right, I completely agree. The author is quite blunt with how women are conceived of in this system. However, if you watch the TV series you will realize that one of the main woman characters in the show completely strips herself of agency and allows herself to literally become an object of affection. Perhaps it is not quite an issue of women “choosing” to be objects because of their economic restraints, but it is a sad fact that there are woman who eventually become a symbol of power and wealth, rather than an autonomous individual.

      1. So basically “all chinese women are whores” is the premise of this. Nice going. Keep it up !!!

        1. I was pretty careful not to be absolutist in my response.

          Also, if you understand the tone and meaning of the above article, it is a criticism of realities that the author finds in society, a commentary on the importance of economics in our social interactions, and a nuanced analysis of certain masculine values that are prominent in Chinese society.

    2. The thing is in China women often use their sexuality to barter for better living conditions, and in fact are often encouraged or even demanded to do so by society at large. Part of this might be because here filial love often trumps romantic love, or perhaps it is because living conditions are, for most people, often inadequate unless strict planning and self-control are employed.

      From the mens’ perspective, it boils down to the equation that more money = more sex. This is reductionist and ignores the choices women make in negotiating their limited economic and social opportunities, but nevertheless in practice it is basically correct.

      Nobody wants to have sex with a guy who lives with his Mom.

  6. The author of Dwelling Narrowness, Liu-liu (Six-six in English), criticized the western countries about their shameless behavior in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Dec 7 – Dec 18 2009 Copenhagen) yesterday in her own blog.



    其实温总理也不必担心。凭中国占了世界1/5人口,要是2012来了,您就是靠举国之力,也是能上船的,所以大可不必鸟那奥巴马。等真的上了船,据说那个船还是MADE IN CHINA,丫再不听你的,设机关暗道废了他。



















    1. Ther’s a place in your heart
      And I know that it is love
      And this place could be much brighter than tomorrow
      And if you really try
      You’ll find there’s no need to cry
      In this place you’ll feel there’s no hurt or sorrow

      There are ways to get there
      If you care enough for the living
      Make a little space
      Make a better place…

      Heal the world
      Make it a better place
      For you and for me and the entire human race
      There are people dying
      If you care enough for the living
      Make a better place for you and for me

      If you want to know why
      There’s a love that cannot lie
      Love is strong
      It only cares of joyful giving
      If we try
      We shall see
      In this bliss
      We cannot feel fear or dread
      We stop existing and start living

      Then it feels that always
      Love’s enough for us growing
      So make a better world
      Make a better world…

      Heal the world
      Make it a better place
      For you and for me and the entire human race
      There are people dying
      If you care enough for the living
      Make a better place for you and for me

      And the dream we were conceived in
      Will reveal a joyful face
      And the world we once believed in
      Will shine again in grace
      Then why do we keep strangling life
      Wound this earth
      Crucify its soul
      Though it’s plain to see
      This world is heavenly be God’s glow

      We could fly so high
      Let our spirits never die
      In my heart I feel you are all my brothers
      Create a world with no fear
      Together we cry happy tears
      See the nations turn their swords into plowshares

      We could really get there
      If you cared enough for the living
      Make a little space
      To make a better place…

      Heal the world
      Make it a better place
      For you and for me and the entire human race
      There are people dying
      If you care enough for the living
      Make a better place for you and for me

      Heal the world
      Make it a better place
      For you and for me and the entire human race
      There are people dying
      If you care enough for the living
      Make a better place for you and for me

      Heal the world
      Make it a better place
      For you and for me and the entire human race
      There are people dying
      If you care enough for the living
      Make a better place for you and for me

      There are people dying
      If you care enough for the living
      Make a better place for you and for me

      There are people dying
      If you care enough for the living
      Make a better place for you and for me

      You and for me
      You and for me
      You and for me
      You and for me
      You and for me
      You and for me
      You and for me
      You and for me
      You and for me
      You and for me

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