"Offbeat" is a SmartShanghai column about stuff to look at or do in Shanghai that's interesting or weird (relatively, of course), that doesn't fit anywhere else. It appears weekly, monthly, or maybe even annually, when we're not busy working on other superfluous column ideas.
There are some, for lack of a more politically correct word, odd people out there, and even odder fetishes; nothing reveals this more than a trip to Shanghai's Sex Mall -- Kaixuan Men Daxia.
But hey, no judgements here. Who am I to estimate the boundaries of sexual normalcy? By all means, move to the boom-chica-boom of your own pelvis. At the end of the day, everyone needs a bit of lovin', irregardless of said loving coming via man, machine, or a blow-up doll named Mistress Wang-shine. Giggity.
Here's the lowdown for you on Shanghai's Sex Mall, should you feel the need to accessorize your sex life. We're going to keep it clean so feel free to zip up that fly and open up a new browser at the office. Nothing but objective, accurate and incredibly solemn reportage to ensue.
What is it?
An unassuming four-storey mall on the far side of Jing'an district near Suzhou Creek. The mall is four floors: the first three floors are a collection of small stores selling secret blends of herbs and spices. They have everything from what you usually find at run-of-the-mill Chinese medicine stores (i.e. sacks and glass jars of dried mushrooms and various roots), to sexual performance enhancers including the "African Superman" penis enlargement pills and female pills that allegedly "boast magic effect for women sex frigidity, climax failure" by having a "super effect promoting passion and shrinking vagina."
Oh, that got a laugh out of me, albeit a very serious and stern one. The fourth floor is where all the dildo vendors be at. The stores have similar products to each other and fall into three main categories: lingerie and costumes, whips and chains, dildos and vibrators. Almost all the stores carry massive boxes of condoms in various flavors and colors.
Have a look at the menu below:
Lingerie and costumes (around 90-100rmb): The Daxia definitely has come up with some creative costumes to tease the imagination. In addition to the usual suspects you see at a Halloween party on Tongren Lu (sexy school girl, sexy cop, sexy Little Bo Peep), we also saw sexy soldier, sexy racer, sexy geisha girl, and a scarily-caped sexy Red Riding Hood. As for the lingerie, you can find pieces that cover different areas according to preference. Mobile lace.
Whips and chains (around 150rmb and up): The gamut of S&M works is available at these stores including leather whips, chains, long latex gloves, stripper platform shoes, gags, leather crotch holsters and blindfolds, masks, garter belts. Good lord. Feel the pain.
Vibrators and dildos for men and women (vibrators around 60rmb; dildos around 200rmb): Wow, talk about variety -- plastic, vibrating, colored, glittered, tinted glass, Japanese, curved, hooked, straight, big, small dildos, vibrating bullets, va-jayjay imitation vibrators, nipple vibrators... the list goes on and on and on into the night! We were so astonished with some of the pieces that we had to question their usefulness and purpose. For instance, the glass dildos -- although really pretty in their purple and green-blown glass glory, look more like rows and racks of hash pipes at a head shop. The glass dildos would be more useful, and definitely less dangerous, as decorative pieces to put on top of your fireplace or piano but who knows, maybe they do serve sexual purpose that I just am not seeing.
Other interesting products: Chinese versions of "first response" pregnancy test, Chinese versions of KY Lube -- "Kuai Yue" Jelly (haha, elicited another laugh), cock rings, blond blow up dolls, vibrating blow up dolls, cock rings, anal beads, cock rings, massage oils, condoms, and cock rings.
Final Prognosis: It's a bit out the way and it's not what you would expect -- that is, a glittery, glamorous Plaza 66-esque mall with floors and floors of sex toys behind glass cabinets. It certainly isn't somewhere to take a visiting friend after a drink on the Bund (or maybe it is). Customers seem to be those that are intent on purchase and not spectacle or amusement.
Also, though the toys may be cheap, most, if not all, are made in China so questions of quality, cleanliness, and hygiene are always something to keep in mind. Having said that, it may be interesting as a cultural anthropology lesson.
According to a shopkeeper, the majority of customers that frequent the mall are Chinese men, aged 40+. Rarely do they see local women there and on occasion they have the odd adventurous couple or foreigner. Regardless, it gave me insight into Chinese sexual practices...
Namely that a lot of Chinese men over 40 like to get down freak-ay style. Ow!
Whatever melts your butter. I ain't judging.
Getting there: Kaixuan Men Dasha is at 428 Tianmu Zhong Lu (Take Metro Line 1 to Xinzha Lu Station. Cross the bridge over the river.)