Sex, Law, and Society in Late Imperial China

Matthew Sommer, 2000

Sex work, gender, rĂ©gime and the legal code in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Sex work was the employment of a certain class of women who were essentially relegated to sexual slavery. It was much more improper for a higher-status woman to engage in the like than someone of this category. In addition, the procurement of sex work by male bureaucrats had many more repercussions for them – including dismissal – than it did for the women they employed. According to this book, some emperors were known for their taste in men, and their status was supervening with regard to the usual social institutional prohibitions on same sex relations. That being said, it appears that prohibitions only came into effect as a result of partial dissolution of the existing rigid class hierarchy; pointing to a paradigm of role-based order that merely shifted its latent focus.