How to make talking about sex as acceptable as talking about food for the prudish Chinese

The aim of the workshop is to seek for inspiration, narratives and directions for designing the future of sex education for the masses in China. The rationale of the workshop is to bring forward the ‘underground’ and taboo nature of sex education into broader, mainstream conversations that might become more socially acceptable.

The research is done with a view to lead towards proposals such as desirable products for parental communication, adult enjoyment and even systems and services for further communication. The outcomes are aimed at exploring these questions:

-What is the future of sex education for the Chinese?

-Are they instructions from a central government or serviced platforms to encourage casual conversations?

-How can these platforms for discussion shift the topics surrounding sex from functionally discipline into open debates and inspirations that might enhance relationships, enjoyment and even enlighten cultural consensus?


Industry Design Engineer Wenjin Yao and I wanted to see if we could make a series of progressive designs to initiate some alternatives in sex education in China. We thought that if we gathered together her knowledge of chinese pulp history and theory on cultural transfer with my curiosity of the strange desires and services for the fringe, we’d have a pretty interesting research project. I’m in China again to complete the workshop with the help of phd students at Tsinghua university.

The workshops are split into the following 3 phases:

1.   Playing with Metaphors: a light-hearted workshop surrounding clichés of relationship ‘roles’ and sexual preferences.

2.   Sensual Experiences: discussions in the loopholes of consensus in an unconventional environment under pheromones, intimate lighting and explicit sounds in a love hotel.

3.   Futures: How could sexual details in Chinese cultural histories remains help to propose future directions for a national sexual discussion?

The workshop is on Friday the 30th of March.

If you’re in Beijing and would like to be involved, please email:

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s