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Sex Ads

Research and Images compiled by Selene Zhang and Katrien Jacobs


On all major websites and social media platforms in mainland China, whether they are government owned or not, sex workers' ads will pop up and try to catch your attention[1]. Despite the fact that all such content is officially banned and practically monitored, sex ads will occupy the bottom of your screen, will fill the side bars or will whirl around like bubbles in specific pages on,, etc. Naked girls are trying to distract you from your daily news, your economic and weather reports, whether you are vegging out somewhere or are in the middle of a serious meeting.

In a discussion on about the pervasive quality of these sexual explicit ads, ChengLi, a deep Internet user answered: “In this world, there is nothing that can reach half of the Chinese population except sex ads.” The ads even appear on high school websites: on November 9, 2015, on the official website of a high school in Sichuan province, a sex worker’s ad had popped up. In ShenYang province, a porn website link was found inside of the “holiday exercise book” for primary students under the name “ShenYang’s Civil Blog”[2].

The Douban Salons

Douban (, is a Chinese social media website allowing registered users to share information and create content related to film, books, music, recent events and activities in Chinese cities. In 2013 it pledged a humongous membership of over 75,000,000. It also allows users to create different groups depending on their interests. In one group named “flirting”, user “太小啦”posts her photo with a title: “Sunshine is comfortable on my body and makes it itchy.” [3] We can trace her posts in different groups from “encounter” to “don’t be shy”. Sometimes she leaves her personal contact information and comments on other photos. She is one of the typical sex workers, a subtle and educated woman who knows who to play the webs, going under cover as a person versed in literature or hobby discussion groups. Or perhaps she is also genuinely interested in those topics but trying to make some money at the side. And who would blame her?

Wuyi, Jinyun, Songyang and others Small Towns

Zhihu. Zhihu ( is a Chinese question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by the community of its users. In this Q&A website, sex workers are adapting their ads depending on different features of platforms. For example, a dozen of questions appeared in a short time on October 28 2015, asking whether there is a “service” in a specific location in China, such as Wuyi, Jinyun, Songyang, followed by the same telephone number  and directing users to an adult sex club.




















Material Girls in Your Private Chats

Sex workers who feign to be models, actresses, literati etc., are called “Periphery models”, or “Business models”[4]. They may be university students or housewives who pose as models. They give you straightforward prices and offer diverse services including “hosts for eating, drinking and sleeping”, “attending sex party” and even “hosts for drugs”[5], and one can earn a good income[6].

On a list named “Material Model” circulating in WeChat, we can see over 206 introductions of models, with mostly sexually explicit photos and bodily measurements. We can find that the source of the list comes from “Modelagent 2008” and includes a phone number to contact her. Cui Zixuan, one woman who worked as model/sex worker, said: “A lot of girls can’t resist money. Rich business man only treat them as tools. They do not only ask for accompany, but also BDSM, drugs. The heavier we are treated, the higher the price can be.”
























[1] 沈阳, “[时代议题]警惕网络泛色情化”, TIME WEEKLY, May 26, 2015,, Retrieved February 28, 2016.

[2] “中学官网色情广告盘点学校出现的色情广告”, 人民网, July 19, 2015,, Retrieved February 28, 2016.


[3] 太小啦, DOUBAN,, Retrieved February 28, 2016.


[4] “「外圍女」真想調查”, 騰訊娛樂《貴圈第28期》, June 21, 2013,, Retrieved February 28, 2016.


[5] “明碼標價 驚曝外圍女淫亂真相 【圖】”, 中國網, April 16, 2013,, Retrieved February 28, 2016.


[6] “「外围女」是怎样的一个群体?”, ZHIHU, May 30, 2014,, Retrieved February 28, 2016.

(Research amd Images compiled by Selene Zhang)

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