Ask the Yangxifu: Western women in China are NOT all sluts

Samantha Jones from Sex and the City
Despite what you might have seen Samantha doing in "Sex and the City," all Western women are not sluts.

[This is an excerpt from a series of e-mails from a Chinese man. He met a British woman, who he ended up having dinner with, and later spending an afternoon with her and her friends.]

For a while, I have gone crazy with western girls [in the past]. It’s like I blindly go after any western girls that are pretty, and forget what a relationship is really meant to be. So I calm down and thought for a while. Actually I don’t know this girl Tracy enough yet, so going too fast might actually hurt our future possibility, unless I just want something like fast sex or what. I think I have watched too much US drama [or got that impression from the bars and clubs]…

I found out that I just have a better understanding about Tracy, and I now know that she’s the kind of person who doesn’t like things go too fast. (For example, she mentioned to me that she met a girl yesterday the first time, and then the girl kept asking her to hangout to this place, that place, and then Tracy said she doesn’t like that, as it’s the first time, she doesn’t even know her yet, so she doesn’t feel comfortable, she said she prefers to take some time and get to know the person) When I heard that, I thought, Äre you telling me as well? :)….

I am a bit worried that I will fall into the friend zone, is there any particular precautions you would like to give me?


Too many US dramas? Perhaps. 😉

But first of all, let’s get one thing clear. Despite how much you’ve seen, say, Sex and the City’s Samantha in the sack with a different guy, or wondered over how fast women get in bed in Hollywood movies — Western women are NOT all sluts.

In fact, a 2008 study, titled ‘‘Can Women Have Sex Like a Man?’’: Sexual Scripts in Sex and the City, couldn’t explain it any better:

Just how realistic is [Sex and the City]? Tables 2 and 3 show selected data from an extensive survey of sexual practices in the United States (Laumann et al. 2000). Table 2 shows the average number of sexual partners men and women have had since the age of 18. Less than 10% of American women have had over ten partners. However, in one episode (‘‘Are We Sluts?’’ 3:6) Miranda’s list of lifetime sexual partners amounts to 42. In each season, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha each have more than five sexual partners, a feat allegedly matched by only 2.5% of women and 7.5% of men as shown in Table 3. The researchers also found that only 3.4% of women the same age as the characters found using a vibrator very appealing, 0.8% found watching others have sex very appealing, and 0.7% found having sex with a stranger very appealing (Laumann et al. 2000). Clearly the characters of Sex and the City are having a lot more sex than these researchers’ respondents.

Movies and TV aren’t called “entertainment” for nothing — and when you entertain, you go for drama, not necessarily realism. Which means, despite what you’ve seen on the screen, chances are, we’re not going to be sleeping with — or even calling “boyfriend” — a guy we’ve just met.

The reality is, the majority of Western women are just looking for that ONE guy we can settle down with. A soulmate. That best friend we can fall in love with. Or, to borrow from Jerry Maguire, someone to whom we can say “you complete me.” And that takes time — as in, getting to know someone as a friend first, and then upgrading to “dating” that person. But sorry, that usually doesn’t happen in one date, or even one week.

After all, it took me almost a month of getting to know my now Chinese husband before we finally crossed over into that dating phase. During that time, yes, he was just a friend. But at some point, I started imagining the possibility of us as a couple — and gradually, we built up to that in our relationship. We learned more about each other and became more comfortable together, which helped us take the next step.

This means, of course, that you have to show her your personality — and not be just another generic Chinese guy, as JT Tran mentioned. No girl wants a Ken Doll for a boyfriend.

Now, the question you asked is, will you be stuck in the friend zone? I can’t say with certainty, because it ultimately depends on whether she really likes you, and whether you have chemistry. But you can improve your chances.

First, always have personality, as I mentioned above.

Second, try testing the waters by flirting with her — which is also a way to let her know you’re not some asexual Chinese guy, and see if there’s chemistry (I’ll never forget the way my Chinese husband once eyed me in the hallway when I was on the phone — it was a flirtatious/longing look, and that pretty much clinched my suspicions that he had feelings for me.) Here’s a great article explaining the difference between flirting with Asian women versus Western women.

Remember, you may never get out of the “friend zone” with this girl if she decides you’re not the one for her. Maybe she’s looking for a guy with a different personality, or different interests. Maybe the chemistry just isn’t there. And that’s okay — it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. After all, I passed up more than a few really nice guys in my life, just because the connection wasn’t strong enough.

But whatever happens, you can always chalk it up to experience, and be that much more prepared, next time you meet a Western woman in your neighborhood…

Who, I’ll bet, isn’t a slut either. 😉

UPDATE: Made a few edits to the letter up top, to help better conceal the letter writer’s identity and clarify a few things.


Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture (or Western culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.

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27 Replies to “Ask the Yangxifu: Western women in China are NOT all sluts”

  1. It is good that this Chinese guy realized that he was just hunting girl for hunting, not to actually find someone important. Guys should remember what they are looking for and make it clear to the girl too, so no one gets hurt. So does this Chinese guy truly want a relationship? And what kind of relationship, does he want to get married?

    I would like to say to this Chinese guy that don’t get a girl if you just want someone, try to get that girl only if you really want to be with her. Girls don’t want to be a prize of successful hunting, we want to be special.

    And Western girls totally aren’t all sluts. And remember that even you see a girl in a bar, it doesn’t mean that she is a bad girl or looking for a one night thing. I’ve discussed this with so many Chinese students and so many seem to think that only desperate/old/bad/slut people go to bars.

    If this Chinese guy really likes Tracy then I wish him good luck! And hope to hear later on what happened.

  2. Hi Jocelyn, I’ve been reading you’re blog these few months but I’m finally back in the participation mode! First, thank you for this blog and helping dispel so many incorrect notions!

    Second, this is one definitely close to my heart. Even though it seemed every person in China wanted to set me up with a Chinese man, (which I wouldn’t have been opposed to) they would turn right around and call Westerners–or just get right to it and call me–“open.” IE, easy. I had tell them what you just said here, and of course, they still didn’t believe me. But with the over-sexualization of our media, it’s no wonder they think we’re all ‘sluts.’

    I just don’t like the term ‘slut’ at all, and will point out like Gerald did in his Facebook comment, that any woman with any perceived or expressed desire is automatically and unfairly labeled a ‘slut.’ In my ideal world, no man or woman would be shamed for his or her desires and lifestyle choices. But every country has a long way to go on that!

  3. “I’ve discussed this with so many Chinese students and so many seem to think that only desperate/old/bad/slut people go to bars.”
    Many Americans think that way too..and it does not help western women, particularly American women, when a teenage unmarried famous mother of a famous politician goes around speaking the virtues of abstinence.

  4. My Chinese boyfriend was reading over my shoulder and saw the caption under the photo….”all Western women are not sluts.” Then he asked me if that was wrong. Certainly there’s at least one, right? :)

  5. Please send this to all Chinese men so I stop having to determine if they actually like me or just think I’m easy! I’m so tired of agreeing to go on dates with Chinese guys and then within an hour or so they are calling me baby and confessing their undying love when they know squat about me!

  6. Thank you for this article, Jocelyn. I found it very interesting and informative. It really brought the issue to light, especially with the graph and great links too. Wishing everyone lots of love.

  7. As some others have said, many Chinese people associate bars with promiscious behaviour. They think that most Western women like to go to bars, so we must be easy! Of course, even though they don’t agree with this type of behaviour, they’ll try to have their way with you anyway! I’ve experienced and seen with my own eyes local guys pushing themselves onto Western girls. I know that they wouldn’t try this on with a local girl…And I am sure it’s because they think we’re “easy”. Locals – men and women are not the virgins they all claim to be either…

  8. Hi everyone, I am the man in the story. Thanks for all the comments. May I add few things before giving any update for you guys?

    – Believe it or not, personally I am not the kind of person who loves fast, speed, instant love, not even to mention sex. I have only had 1 girl friend so far in my life, for something closed to 5 years. Yet, it’s just so common to see movies where a man just says Hi to a girl in a bar, and then they ended up having sex that night. Fuelled by the fact that HK is such a paradise for many foreign man, there is a culture like Easy come easy go and just have fun in HK. And then there are w.girls saying that Chinese guys are just not confident enough, hence once for a while, I thought that’s the only way to get the girl that I want.
    Now here comes the story about me and Tracy.
    I knew her few weeks ago, somehow closed to Christmas week, we met in a bar, so I didn’t have any expectation as I never thought bar is the place to meet someone for real relationship. So I just tried talking to her for a while and got her number. In the end, she didn’t feel very well, hence I took her to a taxi so that she could successfully get out of the crowded bar safely. I could never forget what she has said during that night when I tried to get her out, “Thanks so much, it’s so sweet”, till now, this sentence still echo in my mind all the time. I feel even sweeter whenever she said I am sweet.

    The next morning I called her to see if she’s feeling better, then I tried to text her to see if we can meet again. Finally, I could have a first dinner with her. Last week, we have another dinner and drink, we also watched a movie. The more I have talked to her, the more I found that she’s charming, she’s such a nice lady, or can I say, angel? She has her own unique way of seeing the World, seeing the people around us. Now, some funny things happen, I bought her to a very quiet place and talked and asked the following questions…

    (Below are few things that we have talked, so that you guys have a better idea)
    Me: Hey Tracy, may I have the pleasure to ask you a question? (Take a deep breathe)
    Me: Do you actually have a boy friend, I was just wondering…..
    Tracy: No, I don’t. I used to have one in the past and…….
    Me: Oh, did you say you have no boyfriend, THAT’s GREAT……..
    (Then I thought, oh, what have I said, I forget to hide my happiness, so I couldn’t look at her for a while, I was so embarrassing)
    Me: Well….um….well……yes, it’s great, I think ….well, ahhhhhhhhh (In a very embarrassing way)
    Tracy: (Smiling), hahahaha, Thanks….
    Me: By the way, what will make you happy?
    Tracy: If I could make the people around me, my family, friends be happy, I will be happy, but for myself, doesn’t matter. I don’t bother to make myself happy. I don’t want to be happy just because others want me to be happy.
    Me: So, I hope that you want me to happy too, as you like to make others happy, but you know what? I will be happy if I could make you happy……
    Me: Tracy, I would like to let you know that, being an expat in HK, I guess there might be time you feel alone, though you have lots of friends, so whenever you want someone to shared with your sadness or something, I just want to let you know that you can always call me, or let me know
    Tracy: Haha, thanks so much, and let’s say if I am happy, and would like share such happiness to someone, can I call you also?
    Me: (Shocked, I thought I was dreaming)… Yes, sure Tracy, with the best smile I could ever give from my face….

    So Jocelyn, that’s something I tried to show her that I want something more than a friendship, I guess she could feel something? Agree? I don’t want to use the word Flirt to describe what I have done, afterall, I was just trying to say what I want to say from my heart….

    Now, the conclusion is that, everytime when I talked to her, I feel so comfortable and happy, and the more I know about her, I feel like I like her even more, when she looked at me, her eyes, oh…I feel like I am melting….
    These days, even when I saw some pretty w.girls on the street, all in a sudden, I don’t want to look at them, instead I turned my head away, then I asked myself, hey what’s happening to me? I don’t have a girl friend yet, so why would I afraid to look at pretty girls, then I know the reason, because in my mind, I know that Tracy has already captured my heart, I am not interested in any other girls, but she, so….. I know that I am not just hunting her because I want a girl friend…..I swear….
    So….. I will keep going, in a natural way, to get to know her better and turn that angel become my angel….

  9. This is a really disturbing confirmation of what I was already beginning to perceive here in Beijing.
    I recently had my first date with a Chinese guy who very openly acknowledged his attraction to Western women. We had been talking for a few weeks online, but that night was the first night we hung out. Well, I was really enjoying the whole thing until he decided to plant a wet one on me and begin groping me at the bar. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with PDA (really code for “wooooah buddy, slow down”), which he understood as an allowance to keep groping me as long as he was sneaky about it. I was so uncomfortable for the rest of the evening… I hope this isn’t the first of many disappointing Beijing dates.

  10. Disappointed Gal,

    I am sorry with your experience. Believe me, not every single Chinese man is like that, there are always good and bad Chinese man, so do western girls.

    I cannot deny the fact that it’s easy for CHinese man to fall into a trap, thinking that w.girls are too opened and easy, the same applied to the trap that western girls think chinese men are all too shy, not attractive. I am glad that Tracy, the girl I met, has changed my mind towards this.

    WIth warm wishes, I hope you will have a better experience next time. 🙂

  11. to: man in the story

    she’s just looking for a friend and confiding you like a friend. ‘re taking it as there’s something more there .

    Girls in general, NO MATTER WHAT skin colour would like to be friends with the opposite gender first before they think about moving past being friends. They seek an emotional connection first and traits they can admire about you before they start liking you more than a friend.

  12. Please do not believe what you see on the media. I’ve watched “sex and the city” and it’s just a show like any other shows. How can people use a show or a movie to come the conclusion that westerners and asian are exactly like that depict on the movies/shows. I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman. If you go by what the media says, you are really , really ignorant!!!!! Get your H.S. diploma or College degree and throw it in the trash can and burn it. waste all the money and time in school. White women can be extremely sweet and caring and so can asian women. Everyone is an individual. Don’t combine them in one group.

  13. I’m telling you ” the man in the story” that you have to stimulate a woman’s mind and make her laugh and smile, you will get her attention. My principle is to be very supportive and a good listener and still hold your ideas.

  14. To “Man in the Story”….I think you are doing a very good job and if things are meant to be, Tracey will let you know. I have been dating the same guy for almost 5 years, but we had a point where we were broken up for awhile. I met a VERY kind Chinese guy(from China, working here on a visa) and he at first couldn’t figure me out! He works at a bar and I was drinking alone feeling sorry for myself b/c of the mini-break up, but he was so sweet asking me questions-How am I? Why am I so sad? I have come to realize this guy is trying to feel me out as to if I am an “Easy-Sleazy” or a “Normal Girl”. I have had a few conversations with this guy, and gotten a better point of view in reference to my bf(Who is also Chinese, but born here, his PARENTS are from there)….Point of the matter is, in future encounters with him(even after getting back together w/my BF), I tend to have an easy time talking to him. You I think are the same way with Tracey. Now all women are different, but I will tell you, if I did not get back together with my boyfriend, I SO TOTALLY would have pursued my nice friend I met. Just keep spending time with her, and get to know her and I bet if she is interested in you she will open up and relax around you! GOOD LUCK!!!! 😀

  15. If being a slut one night is worrying you then get married and be done with it. If you enjoy what the world offers then travel and enjoy. Sex is only sex, unless you get attached. I obviously am in the high category. I met somone on my current travel who said was a traditional girl from China. I told her how many woman I had been with, and that I just enjoy sex. She felt she would also enjoy this. So we…. Now would she be a slut or me. If you answer this question then get married. If you agree then lets enjoy an orgasm together one day.

  16. The problem is that, in Chinese culture, anything number above one is slutty. I think Chinese people are looking at this table and going: “Yep. Western women really are as slutty as they look on tv.”

  17. Excellent post, Jocelyn. I’ve been doing a lot of research/writing about this issue lately, since it is just a prevalent in Korea as it is in China. Although some Western women know they won’t be living in Korea/China for a long period of time, and are interested in one night stands and casual relationships (which I think is fine,) most of us are not. Many Korean men see Western women as “slutty” and “easy” because of Sex and the City and Western media, but it’s a bit ridiculous, because from the sounds of it, Korean women seem to indulge in the same type of behavior as Western women. They’re merely more secretive about it.

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