EMA in Hainan and the Northwest

Essay by azn4life91University, Bachelor'sB, October 2012

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EMA in Hainan and the Northwest

Among many of Chinese minority groups, and among the Han communities in certain areas, musical activities exist and that are traditionally inseparable from local sexual customs. These activities are referred to as Erotic Musical Activity or EMA.

EMA is a type of folk activity whose overall form is vocal and or an instrumental performance, whose ultimate goal is lovemaking that may or may not lead to marriage, and which is an essential component of local sexual customs on Hainan Island.

In EMA social life, instruments and instrumental performance are an essential part of the search for sexual partners by young people. As is the custom among most people of China, the Li and Han communities of Hainan Island do not explicitly and directly express love or sexual affection verbally to each other. Instead, a Li person prefers to sing a love song, to play a piece of sweet melody of an instrument, or to give an instrument as a gift.

A musical instrument or performance acts as a medium between a medium pair, symbolising love or sexual affection. When a Li child reaches puberty, the parents build him or her, a hut, separate from the family home. The grown up son or daughter sleeps in this hut, either alone or sharing it with one or two young people of the same sex from families of the same line of paternal descent. Basically, the hut serves as a venue for dating sexual partners and love making. A young male may visit a young female from a different line of descent in her hut and if the woman or women accept the male's song of lovemaking she will allow him into her hut for sexual endeavours. In contrast, the Han society does almost the same...