I snuggled in bed wishing I got more out of sex. While I enjoyed sex I didn't get much joy from it, not the way it was portrayed in movies and romance novels. I lay on my side and studied the Shanghai cityscape outside the hotel window. The night-time skyline glowed pinkish-white from the radiant mix of incandescent and neon lights. China was a land of mystery and I wondered if there was some ancient Oriental sex secret I could learn?
My husband, Harry, rolled over pulling me towards his bare chest into the spoon position. I frowned when I felt his erection against the crack of my ass. The erection no doubt was fueled by his recollection of the short-skirted Chinese waitress who flirted with him at supper. My husband's hand groped my large round breast encased beneath my favorite flannel nightie. It was his way of initiating sex and engaging in foreplay. After fifteen years of marriage the back-to-belly spoon position had become our sexual norm. My nipples harden more the result of natural arousal than any real desire I had for sex. When I didn't resist his advances Harry, slid his hand under my nightie and down the front of my granny panties. I gritted my teeth as his middle finger penetrated my dry interior. I hissed, "Harry, not so rough."
"Sorry, Babe," he whispered soft and sincere. He kissed my ear.
Gradually, I grew wet. I slipped my thumbs underneath the waistband of my panties and brought my knees up towards my breasts. Sighing I plucked the panties down my legs, a slight kick when they were around my ankles completed their departure. I raised my upper knee to allow my husband's hardness to penetrate my hairy pussy. My not quite greased entrance stretched around his cock with a slight sting as he stabbed it inside me with too rapid a thrust. I gasped, "Ouch!"
The silky moist heat of my pussy enveloped Harry's cock as he penetrated me. No sooner had the base of his cock made contact with my puffy pussy lips than he made a rapid withdrawal, just leaving the tip of his cock inside me. After just a couple of long strokes, his passion rose. His cock plunged into the wet crevice between my thighs with more frantic thrusts. Harry thrust once more and buried himself inside me. As cum spewed from his cock he cried out, "Cumming, Babe, cumming."
I felt my cunt grow wetter as my husband shot his load into it. I sighed pleased he was finished. Soon he softened and slipped out of me, trailing his wet cock along the cheek of my ass when he rolled over. I heard his contented snoring and envied him. Sleep refused to visit me as I wondered if my unenthusiastic compliance would be enough to keep my husband of fifteen years sexually satisfied.
The next morning we rose early and carried out our morning ablutions before placing a video call to our children back in the United States. There was a twelve hour time difference between Shanghai and our home in Connecticut so the children had just finished their supper. Harry's parents had volunteered to leave their warm retirement home in Florida and babysit their grandchildren so I could accompany Harry on a twenty-one day business trip to China.
"Grandpa kicked the snow blower when it wouldn't start," reported my ten-year-old daughter into the computer monitor.
My thirteen-year-son also piped-in as he came into view. "He cussed it, too."
"I just bet he did." I chuckled.
Harry interposed, "Son, why didn't you start the snow blower? You're old enough and big enough to run it."
I charged to the defense of my son. "Don't be so rough on him, Harry, he's just a boy."
"He's a friggin' teenager. Quit coddling him, Raquel" countered my annoyed husband.
The conversation broke down as excuses, blame and justifications bounced back and forth like intercontinental missiles. Finally, I managed to restore order among the talking heads and said, "We're running late. Your father has to go to Nanking. You guys help your grandparents out and be good we'll be home in a few more days. We love you."
I closed the laptop with a frown. I asked Harry, "Why can't I come with you?"
"We've been through this already, Raquel. I have to go with Mr. Chen and checkout the Nanking plant. It's just overnight. I'll give you a video call tonight. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day we'll do something special when I get back. Maybe a romantic supper here in the room, okay?"
"Okay." I surrendered as I straightened the knot in Harry's tie. I gave him a peck on the lips then pulled him into a loving embrace. I rubbed his balding head comforted by the familiarity of him. I whispered in his ear, "I love you."
He broke our embrace and slipped on his overcoat before grabbing his overnight bag and computer case, "Learn something about Chinese culture while I'm gone and have a good time."
"I will. Xin is taking me to the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium today."
"I love you," he brushed my lips and opened the room's door, "really I do." He headed out the door to catch the Bullet Train to Nanking.
The bang of the closing door echoed hollow within mine heart. I whispered, "I hope so."
I left the Manchurian Hotel soon after Harry's departure. I walked with my head tucked down to repel the drizzle. The temperature was too warm for the rain to turn to snow but it was still cold. The dark blue University of Connecticut hoody I wore was enough protection. The gray weather matched my mood as I entered Mickey D's, the one American fast food restaurant that apparently was on every corner in Shanghai.
After a quick wait in line, I pointed to the photo of the "Big Breakfast" on the picture menu that the restaurant made available for non-Mandarin speakers. The smiling Chinese girl behind the counter pointed to the number digitally displayed on the cash register. I gave her the required money in exchange for the tray of food.
I found a vacant table with two empty chairs. The coffee I sipped provided a welcomed jolt of caffeine. I opened the colorful cardboard box that held two pancakes, a tablespoon of scrambled eggs and two sausage patties. I poured syrup all of it before forking a bite into my mouth. As I chewed I searched the similar Oriental faces that populated the dining area for my Chinese interpreter, Xin, pronounced "Shin."
It was Xin's, habit to be several minutes tardy for our meetings. While I ate I wondered how the Chinese could get the letter X to make a "sh" sound. It was one of many Oriental mysteries I couldn't figure out.
Harry's counterpart, Mr. Chen had recommended Xin to be my escort around Shanghai while he and Harry conducted business. Harry worked for Ives Manufacturing which contracted parts overseas for final assembly in the United States. An Italian competitor that owned several manufacturing plants in China had gone out of business at the end of last year. So Ives had sent Harry to China to purchase those plants.
Xin appeared just as I had finished my breakfast and was working on a second cup of coffee. She shed her overcoat to reveal a dill green longed sleeve wool sweater mini-dress. Printed along the left side of the dress was a Chinese ink painting of black dragon. The dress fitted her petite five foot frame with eloquence. She looked like she was dressed for a Saturday night date instead of day of sightseeing.
"It's about time," I huffed looking at my watch.
Xin sat down with her own cup of coffee. She glanced at her watch and smiled before she responded. "No big deal. The Aquarium is just now opening. We'll have plenty time to see the fish."
"That's not the point." I sulked. "When you make an appointment for nine o'clock you should arrive at nine o'clock."
Xin shook her head. "I was not presentable at nine o'clock." She leaned across the table before she whispered, "I put a smile on husband's face this morning before he left town. I had to bathe."
I was incredulous. "What? You're using sex as an excuse."
"Sex is not excuse, an excuse is a bad thing. Sex is a very good thing. Correct sex is the source of happiness. Happiness brings joy and longevity."
"What do you mean by correct sex?" I asked using my fingers to make air quote marks.
Xin sat back and crossed her stocking encased legs. "Correct sex means you feel pleasure in your entire body, not just your genitals. The sensations of ecstasy last for hours. Your sexual simmer is extended outside of the bedroom into your everyday life."
"I've never had sex like that," I frowned, "I guess I've never had correct sex."
"Like many Westerners you view sex in a goal oriented way. You think the orgasm is the only purpose of the sexual encounter, the better the orgasm, the better the sex. Correct sex prolongs the pleasure and amplifies the orgasm. Correct sex brings the Yin and Yang into harmonious balance."
I stared blankly at the coffee remnants in the bottom of my cup, "I rarely have orgasms."
"No wonder you're grouchy. You have incorrect sex. Incorrect sex is the source of pain and leads to depression and death. Incorrect sex makes you and your husband out of balance."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I growled.
"Everything has both Yin and Yang aspects that are interconnected and interdependent. Yin and Yang are bound together as parts of a mutual whole and give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. The interaction of the two gives birth to new things. For example a shadow cannot exist without a light."
"So what's the difference between Yin and Yang?"
"Yin is characterized as soft, wet, and passive. Yin is associated with water, femininity and nighttime. Yang is hard, dry, and aggressive. Yang is associated with fire, masculinity and daytime."
I furrowed my brow. "So women are Yin and men are Yang?"
Xin nodded. "Exactly, together you and your husband make a marriage, two halves make the whole. When you and your husband are in balance, the marriage is harmonious."
Comprehending I nodded. "I see, the Yin and Yang must balance each other for harmony."
"Exactly." Xin's elated voice rose. "Nature always seeks balance to be in harmony."
"If correct sex brings the Yin and Yang into harmony then incorrect sex makes the Yin and Yang out of balance?" I asked.
"Yes." Unease lined Xin's face.
"What is it?"
"I do not mean to offend you, Raquel. You are my very good American friend. But, I must warn you that there are Chinese women who will take advantage of your husband's sexual imbalance. They are called White Tigress."
"You haven't even met my husband, how dare you suggest he'd be unfaithful." I sneered as I crossed my arms across my chest and glared at Xin.
"It is true I do not know your husband but I do know men. And, men who are out of balance are easy to tempt, after all they are seeking balance. Simple flirting can lead to a more intimate encounter especially if the man has been out of balance for a prolonged time. A White Tigress, will take advantage of such a man."
A tear trickled down my cheek as I recalled the waitress from last night, was she a White Tigress? Had she sensed that Harry was out of sexual balance? I looked at Xin and asked, "I love my husband I don't want to lose him. What can I do?"
Xin patted my hand, "First you must always be presentable."
"What do you mean by presentable?"
"Look at how you are dressed. A lose hoody with a big dog on it. Don't you know that it hides your glorious breasts? And, those baggy jeans do not flatter your figure at all."
I was defiant. "They're called mom jeans. I dress to be comfortable."
"Since we have been sitting here, a dozen men have passed by and each one has glanced longer at me than you, even though you are foreigner with large breasts."
"Are you saying you're better looking than me?"
"Not at all, "chuckled Xin, "I'm just more presentable at the moment. Most men, especially Chinese men would be mesmerized by your large breasts. But, since you hide them they are looking at my legs which I am presenting." She emphasized her point with a swing of her leg.
"I'm married. I don't care what other men think of me."
Xin frowned exasperated. "You should. If other men desire you, your husband will desire you even more." Xin leaned forward like a co-conspirator. Her voice lowered an octave. "My husband knows other men find me desirable and that is always in the back of his mind. It helps to keep him focused, focused to succeed."
"That's logical. How do you even get wisdom like that? You're what twenty-two?"
Xin smiled, "I am twenty-five. I am a White Tigress."
"What exactly is a White Tigress?"
"A White Tigress is a practitioner of Fang Shù, which in English literally means, the bedroom arts. I perform these bedroom arts to attain tashi."
I asked, "Tashi?"
"Auspiciousness future," Xin's slant-eyes narrowed as she thought of her situation, "I want an auspicious future and I use the bedroom arts to get it. I grew up in a rural village where most girls have little or no opportunities for a better life. The year I graduated high school I had an instructor whose pregnant wife no longer gave him sex. He was out of balance, so I put him back in balance with my virginity. He made sure I had a place at university for harmony's sake."
My eyebrows shot-up in surprise. I choked, "Wow."
"At university I practiced the bedroom arts with my English teacher, a recently divorced Australian. To keep our relationship in balance, he tutored me until I could speak English quite well, yes?" A huge grin broke across Xin's Oriental face.
I nodded. "Yes, your English is perfect."
"After university I worked for Mr. Zeng. He's a very important man for his company. He must split his time between Shanghai and Beijing. When he is in Shanghai he is away from wife and gets out of balance. I became his mistress to keep him in balance."
"Did he promise to leave his wife for you?"
"Of course not." Xin shook her head. "He's been married twelve years and has a ten year old son. He is not going to give that up and I didn't expect it. I did, however, expect him to make certain introductions for the sake of balance and my tashi. He introduced me to my husband, who works for Mr. Zeng, by the way. And, he also recommended me to Mr. Chen as a translator, who recommended me to you."
"So a White Tigress is a woman who practices the bedroom arts to get an auspicious future?"
"Exactly and by doing so we help keep everything in balance."
I was curious so I asked, "Does your husband know you were Mr. Zeng's mistress?"
"Not was mistress, still am mistress."
My mouth gaped open in shock. I blinked and asked in exasperation, "Your husband knows?"
"Yes, he knows. He understands that Mr. Zeng is a powerful man and power brings certain privileges. Mr. Zeng gives my husband certain perks for his tolerance. This keeps harmony."
"Does your husband cheat on you?"
"Of course not, that would cause imbalance. Harmony comes from balance. My husband knows if he does not get us a bigger apartment in the next two years, we will be out of balance and he will be my ex-husband, therefore he must succeed. To succeed he needs Mr. Zeng to be happy. Fucking me makes Mr. Zeng happy."
Shocked, I stammered in surprise, "Your husband tolerates your affair with his boss but you'd divorce him over the size of an apartment?"
She nodded, "In China, marriage is less a union of two individuals and more a joining of two extended families. The marriage is not considered consummated until a new generation is produced. Romantic love, which you Americans value so much, is desired but it is a secondary concern. Marriage is a familial obligation designed to protect the established order. Men must demonstrate their worthiness as providers. Their devotion is displayed by their achievement."
"I can understand all that but that doesn't explain why you'd leave your husband over an apartment."
Xin flashed a patient smile. "We have a two bedroom apartment. My husband and I share one room and my mother-in-law has the other because in China, the children care for the elderly. If my husband wants me to have his baby, if he wants to expand our family, then he must expand our living arrangements by providing an apartment with three bedrooms not two."
"I can see the logic in that, a cold-hearted logic but, logic."
"Ancient Chinese proverb says, it is just as easy to love a rich man as a poor one."
I laughed, "I think that's a universal proverb not just a Chinese one."
Xin rose to her feet and shimmied into her overcoat, "I think we need to go but not to the Aquarium."
After a thirty minute taxi ride, we were dropped off in front of a pagoda type building on Wuding Road. The sign on the gated entrance written in both Mandarin and English read: "Ancient China Sex Culture Museum." We walked through the gate into a small garden that was part of the entrance to the museum.
Wide-eyed I stuttered, "What the hell is that?"
Xin looked in the direction I was pointing and saw a four foot tall statue of a Chinese man sporting an erect penis that was four foot long. Xin blushed. "That is an ancient fertility god. What did expect to see at an ancient sex culture museum?"
"I've never been to a sex culture museum, modern or ancient. I'm surprised your government allows it."
Xin glowered and said, "Many government bureaucrats may find the public examination of sex dangerous but many more hold culture in high esteem and sex has been a part of Chinese culture since the beginning. The government does not run this museum. In fact, it is the only private museum of any kind in China."
"The museum houses ten sections of exhibits," Xin used her fingers to count them off as she recited them, "the evolution of sex, sex worship, the development of the marriage system, sexual oppression of women, sex accessories, erotica, sexual health, and sex education."
"You've been here a lot, huh?"
"I was a tour guide for Western tourists when I was at university. This was one of the stops. There are over 1000 items on display here representing 6,000 years of Chinese culture. There were many more sex artifacts that had greater cultural value but bureaucratic bias categorized them as pornographic and had them destroyed."
Stopping in front of a display case that contained a 5000-year-old vase painted with pictures of frogs I asked, "What does the frog have to do with sex?"
"The frog is a prolific breeder, so it was an object of fertility worship for the ancient Chinese."
At a wall covered with a series of ancient eight by ten inch paintings featuring Chinese couples in various sex positions. Xin made a wide sweeping motion with her hand and said, "These are the techniques of Fang Shù that lead to Heavenly Earth. These are the bedroom arts practiced by the White Tigress."
I studied the paintings with a wry gaze.
Xin continued, "There are six steps to Heavenly Earth, represented by the six different sexual positions depicted in the paintings."
"I've made love to my husband like that," I said pointing to a drawing of a couple engaged in the missionary position, "but I wouldn't call it heavenly."
Xin studied the painting for a moment. "It's not just the position and it's not just one position. It is all six positions done in order while your man performs the Order of Nine for the Jade Wand."
"Okay, so what's this Jade Wand stuff?"
"That is the art of Yin and Yang thrusting. Your man needs to thrust his penis inside you in a sequence of nine shallow thrusts then one deep one, followed by eight shallow then two deep, working his way through the series until the final sequence is one shallow and nine deep thrusts."
I blinked as I calculated in my head. "That's ninety thrusts."
"Yes, after ninety thrusts you change into the next position. The six Yin and Yang positions must be done in this order to achieve Heavenly Earth," Xin pointed to the appropriated painting depicting the position as she recited them. "First, the Flying Frog, second the Yoked Fish, then the Conquering Rabbit, followed by the Flying Dragon, Wrestling Monkey and the Stalking Tiger. In addition, the man must not orgasm before the last sequence of the Jade Wand of the last position."