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Umekawa, Sumiyo (2004) Sex and immortality: A study of Chinese sexual activities for better-being. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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My thesis sets out to figure out the whole outline of Chinese sexual art, fangzhongshu (the art of the bedchamber). Although studies on this subject have drawn academic attention especially since the reappearance of the earliest extent of the genre in 1973, the clarification of Chinese sexual techniques seems obscure to me. It is my contention that clearer understanding of what is fangzhongshu will contribute towards a greater appreciation of ideas, theories and intellectual backgrounds in Chinese sexual techniques as well as of their practical methods. The thesis is divided into four main chapters. I begin with a diachronic review of account of the sexual art, with investigations into several individual viewpoints for and against it. In the second chapter, I will survey intellectual backgrounds of phenomena surrounding the sexual art, so as to establish a tentative explanation of the art. The third chapter focuses on practical aspects of sexual techniques by categorising them in accordance with the purposes that each method attempts to achieve. The fourth and the final chapter will be devoted to investigate sexual arts in relationship with the images of xian (Immortals) and religious operation. The results of this analysis would indicate that fangzhongshu was a collection of sexual techniques containing three different dimensions; they were methods to actualise general hope for better-being, techniques not for male but for female pleasure and numinous practices for communication with the world beyond.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10

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