Want to know more about sex in Taiwan? Is it a liberal nation? Is sex work legal and what kind of porn do they produce?
Taiwan is a relatively small island nation covering just 35,980 square kilometres (about the size of Belgium). The country offers a blend of modern city living with traditional and ancient culture. The capital of Taipei is known for its busy night life and is influenced just as much by the west as it is its Asian neighbours of Korea, Japan and mainland China. A beautiful and affluent nation, Taiwan has plenty of diversions for locals, business visitors and tourists, including an active and liberal sex scene.
In this guide, we take a look at the culture of sex in Taiwan including some facts and stats on porn viewing trends, prostitution laws and the dating culture. You can also find information on the adult industry and LGBTQ rights.
Sex in Taiwan
Home to 23.55 million people, the country of Taiwan is densely populated with major cities like Taichung, Kaohsiung and Taipei being hubs for commerce, industry and tourism. Unlike mainland China, the population of Taiwan is largely an affluent one. Following economic reforms in the 20th century that led to the ‘Taiwan Miracle’, about a fifth of the country is considered middle class with two-fifths being small business owners, farmers and artisans. Just 20% of the nation is considered working class and Taiwan is in the world’s top 25 richest countries.
The politics of Taiwan are a little murky but can be summed up by the fact that it is an independent country yet considered by mainland China to be a part of the People’s Republic of China. Many nations do not recognise Taiwan’s independence and the country is often referred to as the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The first Asian democratic country, the people of Taiwan are historically more liberal minded than many of their neighbours. Pornography is legal and prostitution, though illegal, is largely unpoliced and widely tolerated.
Like many Asian countries, the younger generation (in particular those raised in more modern and urban areas) are very liberal minded and are more open to Western ideals of casual sex than the more traditional-minded, older generation.
Known as the ‘Strawberry Generation’, the population of Taiwan born between 1980 and 1991 are so called due to stereotyping which characterises them as lazy, soft and easily bruised!
Whether it is the Strawberry generation that can be held responsible for the new liberalisation of sex on this supposedly conservative island is a matter for debate. What is true is that Taiwan’s attitudes towards sex have changed over the last two or three decades.
There is a contrast in the role of sex within the Taiwanese culture and on some levels the country offers a face of acceptance and liberalisation with an active and open adult entertainment industry. On the other side of the coin can be found a nation that is not entirely comfortable with this very public side of intimacy. The irony is that you can find a sex shop selling all manner of toys and complex bedroom accessories but both the customers and staff may not be comfortable talking about it. A Taiwanese man may pay a prostitute for a night of unfettered passion but not feel comfortable discussing sex with a girlfriend.
Sex education in Taiwan is considered to be very comprehensive and is routinely taught from an early age. The curriculum includes safe-sex practices, gender equality and homosexuality. The policy of sex-education in early-schooling isn’t without its detractors and there are many conservative adults who would prefer to see some topics taken off the syllabus, namely homosexuality. This may seem at odds with the nations reputation as one of the most liberal countries for LGBT rights in Asia but it does reflect the disparity between what the government is doing and what a proportion of the population believe is right. About one in four Taiwanese adults is uncomfortable with same-sex equity.
Despite objections to some of the curriculum, sex-education appears to be having an impact on cultural attitudes towards contraception and safe-sex with Taiwanese men coming third in a 2012 international survey for condom usage. This is seen as a result of the country’s investment in family planning promotions following a population boom in the 1980s as well as the response to the increase in the prevalence rates for HIV/AIDs seen since the 1990s (peaking in 2005).
The use of condoms is now so common in Taiwan that specialty condom shops are common place and there is even a condom museum in Taipei.
Adult Industry in Taiwan
Pornography is legal in Taiwan but its sale and distribution are restricted by law. As is the case in many countries, adult material can be purchased in sex stores but will not be found on general sale elsewhere.
Unlike mainland China, attitudes towards pornography in Taiwan are very liberal. Over the last few decade the general consensus around porn is one of acceptance though violent and illegal porn is not regarded as acceptable.
There is not much of a porn industry in Taiwan though amateur content is readily available on tube hosting sites. This can largely be attributed to a long history of copyright law which failed to protect adult content films.
In 2012, the start-up company, Pandora Move began to set the wheels in motion to create a legal platform for distributing Japanese adult movies with an ultimate aim to produce its own content. After spending time in Japan to work on their broadcasting, Pandora secured a permit in Taiwan from the National Communications Commission based on a previous contract signed with the authority. This has set a precedent in law which should secure copyright in the future for the porn industry.
The channel now has over quarter of a million subscribers and Pandora has started work on building its production empire. In 2017, Taiwan was the location for the company’s debut VR porn film; the first Chinese adult content of this kind.
As far as talent goes, a recent competition run in Japan to find more male porn stars was won by a Taiwanese man. Japan is facing a huge shortage of willing men to star alongside the female AV idols. It is estimated that for every 1,000 female Japanese porn stars, there are only 7 male actors. In an industry worth $20 billion to the Japanese, they are casting their nets wide to tempt more men in to the sector. The competition was named ‘Taiwan’s Got AV Talent’ and could lead to a rise in male Taiwanese porn stars.
Top Porn Stars in Taiwan
Taiwan doesn’t have a huge output of stars to the adult film industry but those that have made a name for themselves are well known outside of the country.
Perhaps the best-known porn star from Taiwan is, Kobe Tai. Now retired, Tai was a popular adult movie performer during the late 90s until her retirement from the industry in 2003. Of mixed Chinese and Japanese heritage, she was adopted in Taiwan by American parents and raised in the USA. After a brief spell modelling in the mainstream markets from 1996 she was talent spotted for the adult film world. By 1997 she was regularly appearing in feature films and won the Hot d’or Award for Best American Starlet in 1997.
She was an enthusiastic performer who had a love for her work which was immediately evident from her spontaneous deviations from scripts. Loved for her vim and vigor, most fans agree that her best work is on the title ‘Scenes from a Bar’.
According to the popular tube hosting site, XVideos, the most popular porn stars from Taiwan are currently:
|Performer||Total Video Views||Asian Ranking||World Ranking|
Niya Yu was only active during the period 2007-2011 but she earned a name for herself with her petite natural figure and charming features. Her fanbase seem to love her blowjob work as well as lesbian scenes but it is her clear love of interracial scenes which may have tipped her into the international markets.
Prostitution Laws in Taiwan
Prostitution is illegal in Taiwan under the Social Order and Maintenance Act 1991. Under the law prostitutes could officially be detained for 72 hours and fined up to NT$30,000 ($1,000). Persistent offenders could even face being sent to a correctional facility for up to 12 months.
The situation has long been one of national debate and has resulted in proposals to decriminalise sex work. In 2009 policing of prostitution was ramped down and restricted to monetary fines instead of jail terms. By 2010, the government were still debating the matter but suggested that they were intending to review regulation of the sex industry with plans to allow brothels to operate as well as fixing local red-light districts. Though these plans have yet to reach a final enactment, policing of prostitution has been further relaxed.
The Taiwanese people narrowly support the intended changes to decriminalise prostitution but there is still plenty of opposition to the plans.
Despite the legal situation being in flux, sex is readily available in Taiwan and there are an estimated 100,000 prostitutes working in the country. As a rich nation, the cost of sex is not cheap and prostitutes are reportedly charging around NT$10,000 ($345). The high fees are an enticement for foreign sex workers to ply their trade and it is common to find women from South Korea, China and the Philippines working on the streets or as escorts.
Though you won’t find any brothels in the cities, you can engage the services of a professional sex worker at many erotic massage parlours and salons. In Taipei there is an active area of hostess bars, pink salons (or blowjob bars), KTVs and private clubs where tourists and locals can get personal services.
With the prevalence of love hotels (rooms rented by the hour), street prostitution is also very popular.
Taiwan Porn Viewing Trends
Each year, Pornhub produces an annual review of the porn viewing trends from across the world. The data compiled for 2017 showed that Taiwan ranks as the 28th most frequent visitor to the site with the average duration of each session lasting 10 minutes and 35 seconds; the global average is 9 minutes and 59 seconds).
Most visitors to Pornhub from Taiwan are male but 23% are female.
The latest porn viewing trends for Taiwan show that the most popular categories for 2017 were ‘Hentai’, ‘Asian’, ‘Cartoon’, ‘Creampie’ and ‘Big Tits’.
The most popular keyword search terms demonstrate a preference for Asian porn with nine of the top twelve terms being regional (ten if you include ‘Hentai’):
- Japanese Wife
In fact, Taiwanese porn fans were 246% more likely to be searching for porn in the Asian category than any other country. Relative to the rest of the world, Taiwan’s porn searches for Hentai, Cartoon, Cosplay and Creampie were all significantly higher.
However, 2017 also saw some trending searches in Taiwan including a whopping 1297% increase in the popularity of the term ‘Cheerleader’. Other top trending searches include:
- Big Boobs (up 393%)
- Chinese Model (up 313%)
- Korean BJ (up 186%)
- Japanese Big Tits (up 162%)
- Hentai (up 114%)
The top searched porn stars in Taiwan for 2017 were:
- Mila Azul (Ukrainian softcore model)
- Julia Japanese (Japanese AV star)
- Yui Hatano (Japanese AV star)
- Amanda Love (American porn star)
- Anri Okita (Japanese AV star)
Top Taiwanese Porn
Most of the big tube sites have a good selection of amateur Taiwanese porn but you can also find some good titles and clips on these alternative websites:
LGBTQ in Taiwan
The legal status for LGBTQ rights in Taiwan is not the most advanced in Asia but has improved significantly over the last few decades to include several new and important pieces of legislation. The changes have been brought about by a combination of consistent campaigning by LGBTQ activists as well as growing levels of tolerance and acceptance of diversity.
A poll in 2006 demonstrated that three in four Taiwanese citizens thought homosexuality was acceptable. A similar percentage responded to an online survey in 2013 with 76% of people in favour of equal rights for lesbians and gays.
The most recent survey in 2015 asked whether same-sex couples should be allowed to establish ‘marriage-like’ relationships; three in four respondents were in favour.
Taiwan’s legal system is a complex one and is often linked to the constitution of mainland China though much of its legislature and governance occurs at a local level. For the purposes of clarifying the legal position in Taiwan for LGBTQ rights, the following statements are correct (as of January 2018):
- Same-sex activity has never been defined as a crime in Taiwan and homosexual relations are legal.
- Anti-discrimination protection is in place for both education and employment since 2003 and 2007 respectively.
- Members of the LGBTQ community have been able to serve openly in the military since 2002.
- Transgendered individuals may legally change their gender without surgery.
- Same-sex couples may register their relationship in a civil court. Though not recognised as a legal ‘marriage’ but merely a form of reference, most jurisdictions in Taiwan have offered this since 2015.
- Same-sex marriage is due to be constitutionalised by 24 May 2019.
- Same-sex couples may not currently adopt but this area of the law is set to change.
- Gay and bisexual men are not banned from donating blood.
Taiwan was the first country to host a Pride event in the Chinese-speaking world and has been held annually in Taipei since 2003. A second annual parade is now held Kaohsiung which also attracts a few thousand eventgoers.
Generally speaking, Taiwan is regarded as a gay-friendly nation though there are still some taboos on homosexuality; conversion therapy was only outlawed in 2017. The majority of the population appears to display an appetite for equality though there are sections of the community that still believe homosexuality is abnormal.
The LGBTQ communities in cities like Taipei enjoy a relatively out lifestyle with plenty of gay clubs, bars and businesses. These cater for both local residents as well as tourists. Hate crime and incidences of discrimination are not commonplace but do happen on occasion.
Top Classified/Personals Sites in Taiwan
Taiwanese women, though Asian in looks and descent, are a different breed of female than their Chinese (semi) compatriots and other Asian women. Just like no two European countries are the same, it would be a mistake to consider Taiwanese ladies as being similar to Koreans or Japanese.
Dating in Taiwan is generally a lot slower than in other Asian countries with casual dating being more of an anomaly, particularly with Western men. The exception to this is, of course, women who are working in the sex industry for whom ‘remunerated’ dating is part and parcel of their work. Whilst this may not always be as transactional as hiring an escort, paying for rooms, meals and treats are all an element of this industry.
That said, there are a number of women in Taiwan, particularly in the capital, who are seeking casual dates with international visitors as well as locals. Just as many are interested in more serious relationships so do check the profile listings of anyone you make contact with to avoid any misunderstandings.
This site receives over 230,000 visits per month from within Taiwan. It is marketed at high-end dating with professional singles looking for quality companionship. Though that makes it sound like an escort agency, it isn’t. C-Date is a casual dating matching service with live-chat facilities and good security functions.
Most people use the site to arrange a hook up but just as many seem to use the service for flirtatious online chat. However you use it is up to you but it will cost you. Yes, you can register an account for free but accessing the contact facilities is reserved for paying members only.
Do be aware that there are reports that a lot of the girls on the site are paid cam-girls who will merely engage in video-chats and not actual dates.
Craigslist has an international reputation for its personals section and, in particular, the casual encounters section. In Taiwan, Craigslist has a good coverage for Taipei with most of the casual encounters listings probably being posted by escorts. However, there are a handful of ads which seem genuine, particularly in the ‘Women Seeking Men’ category.
The site is 100% free to use and usually offers a no-strings attached way of picking up a date. Just be sure to check that your hook up isn’t a professional to avoid a costly bill at the end of the evening.
This Russian based online dating service is free to use but as a ‘freemium’ site will charge for access to many of the more useful features such as contacting multiple members.
It is available in English and has a small coverage in Taiwan with around 1600 users per month. It is an international site so it can be useful for frequent travellers.
Love Awake is based on a similar model to Lava Place but is based in India. It has similar levels of interaction in Taiwan with around 1500 users per month.
The site is quite basic but simple to use though the search facilities leave a lot to be desired. Though free to register, you will need to pay for additional features.
It is worth having a browse around initially to see what kind of dating opportunities are available before you start.
A Taiwanese site aimed at the education sector, there are a few personal ads listed which may be of interest to some. Though these are usually looking for a long-term relationship, many will be happy to go on a few dates with guys they find attractive.
As well as online dating sites, apps are quite popular in Taiwan for casual dating. There are three which are commonly in use and are accessible to foreigners for local hook-ups.
- Paktor – Founded in Singapore, the app is available in Mandarin/Chinese and is very popular with locals. If you speak the language then this is a sure-fire go-to for a quick date. Using an integrated Google translate even makes it accessible for none-Chinese speakers.
- Tinder – The ubiquitous swiping app for quick hook-ups is also available in Taiwan and is quite popular with both western visitors as well as locals. It does have the added advantage that English-speaking is a given.
- SKOUT – Launched in 2007, this social media app aims to hook people up in the same area who share similar interests. The bias isn’t as focused on dating as the other two apps but will get you connected quite quickly to locals and other international travelers. The rest is up to you…
Featured image via Flickr.