HANGZHOU, China—To those of us who cover the adult entertainment scene, legendary actress/director Veronica Hart is a familiar sight—though nowadays, under her real name, Jane Hamilton. What with movie production down and VCA, the company for which she directed big hits like Misty Beethoven: The Musical, Being With Julie Ashton, Still Insatiable, White Lightning and dozens more, having been sold to Hustler, Hamilton's been spending her time production managing other directors' features, and even did a stint as a tour guide at the recently-closed Museum of Sex in Las Vegas, where she has a home with her husband.
But there's one other thing that's taking up a fair amount of Hamilton's time: Sex education ... in China.
"It's absolutely awesome!" Hamilton exclaimed enthusiastically. "I've been going with my son Michael. I dragged him kicking and screaming into this business. He's a sex and intimacy coach over there. We've been over for not that long; probably about two years. He went over as my assistant, and you can talk and theorize about stuff, but until you actually put it into practice, it makes a lot of difference. What we teach is being able to make a connection and, you know, how do you make a connection? You engage the other person; you look at their eyes, you touch them, you feel them, and then when they're comfortable, you move into their personal space and then put your arms around them and hug them—and it's one thing for me to do that, and it's completely obvious, as you can tell, completely different when you have a handsome young man doing it, and Michael kind of found his calling there.
"We have women lining up to be able to make a personal connection," she continued, "so he gives a lot of the women their first-time feeling for love. Hugging, kissing, emoting, being nice, being very loving is new to them, I think. With the more American films that are allowed into the country, and the more they are exposed to that, the more they'll incorporate it. I think it's much easier for the younger people, perhaps.
"With the freeness that the younger people are feeling, there's also so much sexual misinformation, and there's a lot of STDs running around, so we warn them about that and how to recognize them," she cautioned. "We don't teach about any other kind of sexuality except heterosexuality, and the best knowledge I can give women is to be able to pleasure themselves. If they can't change their husband, they can't change their relationship, at least they can find sexual pleasure for themselves."
The Hamiltons were last in China about 10 days ago, having affiliated themselves with a growing chain of adult retail stores and clubs called Sediva Maison. The chain, which is unique in China, is owned by a wealthy Chinese woman known only as "Dr. Eros," who's been studying at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, where Hamilton recently received a Doctorate in Human Sexuality, in part because of her work educating Chinese citizens.
"Sediva Maison is our new brand, and we will have more new stores in China," said Dr. Eros through a translator. "For now, we just have one big showroom."
The stores would probably best be described as upscale boutiques, since along with certain sex toys like vibrators, which are legal in China, they'll be selling sexy fashions—but they'll also be teaching their customers how best to use them.
"In addition, there are services like educational services, courses that teach and train people in couples intimacy, sexual knowledge and things like that," Dr. Eros said. "And people have already been conducting courses and events like that throughout different provinces in China for several years."
AVN was recently allowed to view a video of the debut party for Sediva Maison, which attracted retailers, entrepreneurs and "glitterati" from all over China, and consisted mainly of a fashion show for the dresses, lingerie and other festive wear that Sediva Maison will be selling.
"The show was divided into four big segments to represent the different lines of clothes," Dr. Eros explained. "There was a Metropolitan Seduction, and all that, and other segments are Wild Seduction, Role Playing, and House & Comfort; those are the names of different themes."
It was an international showing, and surprisingly, featured few Asian models on the runway.
"A lot of the models that work in China are foreign and European, and so it's very easy to find them," Dr. Eros said. "And also, a lot of our products are manufactured or brought in from Europe and the U.S.."
Sexuality in China is a changing phenomenon. For instance, strip clubs are outlawed in the country, but as a recent on Jezebel.com noted, one Taiwanese restaurant named "Funny Sex" features waitresses dressed in plastic suits that mimic the nude female body. Soup is served in bowls sculpted to resemble female breasts, desserts are moulded to resembly sexual organs, and there are inflatable dolls for diners to play with while waiting for their food to arrive.
"We want to make sex something fun," said Mrs. Chen, the restaurant's assistant manager. "We want to present human genitals to our customers in a really fun way."