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Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Asia$
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Tiantian Zheng

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824852962

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824852962.001.0001

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Pleasure, Patronage, and Responsibility

Pleasure, Patronage, and Responsibility

Sexuality and Status among New Rich Men in Contemporary China

(p.108) Chapter Six Pleasure, Patronage, and Responsibility
Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Asia

John Osburg

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the role of mistresses and sex workers in elite business networks in contemporary China. Based on his fieldwork with a group of wealthy entrepreneurs from 2002-2006, Osburg examine the role these women play in mirroring status and forming alliances between elite men. Most of his male informants maintained a strong division between the “outside” world of business, pleasure, and romance associated with their mistresses and the domestic realm of “responsibility” associated with their wives. Paid forms of sex, although an integral part of business entertaining, ranked the lowest among these men’s sexual relationships, yet many men support their mistresses with lavish gifts of cash, cars, and apartments. Thus, Osburg analyze the tensions generated by the ambiguous status of these relationships which operate in a grey area between commodified and uncommodified realms and are rooted in both sentiment and financial interest.

Keywords:   China, sexuality, masculinity, new rich, sex workers, mistresses, entertainment

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