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Making a Meal of It, A Cross-Cultural Study of Sex, Published by Outskirts Press

Award winning educator Dr. Jui-shan Chang’s cross-cultural studies of sexual mores, behaviors and understandings in Chinese and Western cultures reveals new contrasts between these cultures regarding self-identity, human relations, roles, love, sex, marriage, family and life-course transitions over time.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, August 21, 2011 --( Sociologist, author, educator and psychotherapist Dr. Jui-shan Chang announced today the release of Making a Meal of It, Sex in Chinese and Western Cultural Settings, published by Outskirts Press. Chang’s ground-breaking study reveals different embedded meanings of sex for people in Chinese and Western cultural settings: the Chinese primarily understand sex as a “meal of sustenance” while Westerners see sex as a “game” for individual recognition, validation and self-completion.

This book frames sex within issues of self-identity, manhood/womanhood, marriage and family under the common impacts of modernization in contemporary Chinese societies (Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China) which have been through different systems of political economy and colonial experience; as well as between the Chinese and Western societies that have been grounded in differing civilizations.

Despite decades of loosening premarital sexual mores in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which appear to converge with Western values, Chang’s comprehensive study finds that there is still a fundamental difference in the embedded meanings of sex between these two cultures. Her cross-cultural, sociological approach has been able to locate and understand Chinese and Western sexual practices at a more significant level: sexual practices may appear the same but don’t necessarily mean the same in different cultural settings.

For the Chinese, sex is not who you are, but what you do, especially in relation to familial duties. In the West, however, Chang has found that sex is not what you do, but is rather who you are. These insights not only help explain the difference in self identity and the meaning of sex between the two cultures, they also show why the conventional Western perspective of modernization and sexual permissiveness is inadequate to understand Chinese sexuality.

Chang’s findings are based on twenty years of comparative research on the two cultures through surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews and the study of cultural artifacts. Besides providing a deeper understanding of Chinese and Western cultures, Chang’s study also shows how the “recognition” that is so closely tied to sex in contemporary Western society is crucial, as well, to an understanding of the predicaments of self and relationships.

Chang also presents to readers the innovative and therapeutically helpful notion of a trans-cultural wisdom bank that can be used as a repository of possible solutions to recurrent problems in sex and relationships faced by individual from all cultures.

Making a Meal of It is available on-line in paperback through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and at for a maximum trade discount in quantities of ten or more.

Format: 6 x 9 paperback cream ISBN: 978-1-4327-6821-8 SRP: $23.95
Kindle $9.99
Genre: Family and relationships/love and romance/social science/marriage and family

About the author:

Jui-shan Chang holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in sociology from National Taiwan University and a Doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan. She has also undertaken specialized training in psychotherapy and couple therapy in Melbourne. She has worked as an academic for the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, the East-West Centre in Hawaii, the University of Tasmania, the University of Iowa, and the University of Melbourne. A contributor to top journals and presses around the world and an award winning educator in Australia, she is currently also a psychotherapist in private practice in Melbourne.

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