Pei Yuxin is frequently addressedas “Doctor Pei,” not only due toher doctorate of philosophy fromthe Department of Social Workand Administration of the University ofHong Kong, but also because she is a noted“sexpert” who focuses on contemporaryChinese women. Born in 1970, Pei now works at Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-senUniversity as an assistant sociology professor.
She is considered by Chinese media tobe one of the most influential researcherson women studies along with Li Yinhe andAi Xiaoming.
Her choice of research is a theme mostChinese feel embarrassed to talk aboutin public places: sex. She once offered a10,000-yuan cash prize for female masturbationvideos and participation in masturbationresearch, creating a buzz across thenation. She claimed that she could shed newlight on Chinese society through reasearchingsexual behavior. In 2013, she publishedSex and the City: A Study of ShanghaiYoung Women Born in the 1970s. The bookrecounts the life stories of more than 40women living in Shanghai, who hailed fromvarying backgrounds, occupations, and livingconditions, but were born in the 1970s.
The book contains abundant rarely-seenfirst-hand information about sexual experienceof young Chinese women.
In traditional Chinese culture, evenmentioning sex in public is already indecent.
In the 1980s, however, the social atmospherebegan to change. After arrival ofthe internet, Chinese attitude towards sexgradually underwent revolution. Nowadays,as long as they aren’t especially devious interms of social ethics and laws, various attitudestowards sex and sexual behavior arelikely to be considered personal choices.
However, such privileges are primarilyreserved for men, and society affords muchless tolerance for women.
This situation caused Pei to begin payingso much attention to Chinese women.
She not only cares about individuals, butattaches importance to analyzing variousfemale choices and the relationship betweenpersonal choice and contemporaryChinese society, using sociological theoryand methods. She placed special focuson Chinese women born in the 1970s, ageneration that matured in the wake of thecountry’s implementation of reform and opening-up in 1978. In some ways, thesegirls’ personal choices are troubled, embodyingopenness and conservatism at thesame time.