Wives, Husbands, and Lovers: Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China

Deborah S. Davis, Sara Friedman
Publication Date
Stanford University Press

What is the state of intimate romantic relationships and marriage in urban China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan? Since the 1980s, the character of intimate life in these urban settings has changed dramatically. Wives, Husbands, and Lovers examines how sexual relationships and marriage are perceived and practiced under new developments within each urban location, including the establishment of no fault divorce laws, lower rates of childbearing within marriage, and the increased tolerance for non-marital and non-heterosexual intimate relationships. The book chronicles what happens when states remove themselves from direct involvement in some features of marriage but not others.

Tracing how the marital rules of the game have changed substantially across the region, Wives, Husbands, and Lovers challenges long-standing assumptions that marriage is the universally preferred status for all men and women, that extramarital sexuality is incompatible with marriage, or that marriage necessarily unites a man and a woman. Each chapter compellingly illustrates the wide range of potential futures for marriage, sexuality, and family across these societies.