Non-reproductive sex practices in Asia have historically been a source of fascination, prurient or otherwise, for Westerners, who being either Catholic or Protestant, were often struck by what they perceived as the widespread promiscuity and licentiousness of native inhabitants. Graphic descriptions, and pious denunciations, of sodomy, bestiality, transvestitism, and incest, abound in Western travel narratives, missionary accounts, and ethnographies. But what constituted indigenous sexual morality, and how was this influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, and Christianity over time and place? What sex practices were tolerated or even encouraged by society, community, and religious ritual, and what acts were considered undesirable, transgressive and worthy of punishment?

Sexual Diversity in Asia, c. 600-1950 is the first book to foreground same- sex acts and pleasure seeking in the histories of India, China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. Drawing on a range of indigenous and foreign sources, the contributors, all renowned experts in their fields, shed light on indigenous notions of gender and the body, social hierarchies, fundamental ideas concerning morality and immorality, and episodes of seduction. The book illuminates - in striking case studies – attitudes toward non-procreative sex acts, and representations and experiences of same-sex pleasure seeking in the histories of Asia. 

This path-breaking book is an important contribution to the study of gender and sexuality in Asian cultures and will also interest students and scholars of world history. 

part Part I|64 pages


chapter 1|22 pages

Other pleasures?

Anal sex and medical discourse in pre-modern China 1
ByVivienne Lo, Penelope Barrett

part Part II|38 pages


chapter 4|16 pages

Strange bedfellows

Male homoeroticism and politics in Thai history
ByTamara Loos

chapter 5|20 pages

The shogun's lover's would-be Swedish boyfriend

Inoue Masashige, Tokugawa Iemitsu and Olof Eriksson Willman
ByTimon Screech

part Part III|36 pages

Crimes and sins

chapter 6|14 pages

Sodomy in seventeenth-century Manila

The luck of a mandarin from Taiwan
ByRaquel A. G. Reyes

chapter 7|20 pages

Male–male sex, bestiality and incest in the early-modern Indonesian Archipelago

Perceptions and penalties
ByPeter Boomgaard