Sex tutorials for women in China
IN AN unmarked room at a three-star hotel in downtown Shanghai, Ms Ma Li teaches small groups of Chinese women about a topic that traditionally has been taboo - sex.
The two-day tutorials are not cheap at 2,500 yuan (S$520), more than half the average monthly wage in Shanghai. But a rising number of women are signing up for Ms Ma's classes and similar sessions in other cities to learn about the anatomy, psychology and techniques of intimacy.
"I had absolutely no sex education at all. I thought adult male bodies looked the same as baby boys'," said lawyer Sophia Hu, 30.
Ms Ma, certified by the United States-based World Association of Sex Coaches, favours a frank approach to encourage confidence. Her lessons include explicit videos and appropriately shaped fruit for practice sessions. She avoids repeating what is available in magazines, saying tips such as "light candles for romance" are dull and not new.
In Beijing, psychologist Li Zhenhong started a series of meetings in July for women to talk openly about sex.
China's conservative attitude towards sex, ushered in by the prudish Communist Party when it took power in 1949, has been changing slowly, alongside growing affluence, more overseas travel and exposure to foreign popular culture.
The lack of knowledge is partly due to little sex education in Chinese public schools.