Located on East Fuchengmen Road in Beijing's Xicheng District, the Adam & Eve Health Center sells adult health products including contraceptives, pregnancy test reagents, aphrodisiacs, sexual intercourse supplements, masturbation products, glamorous underwear and etc. The small shop of approximately 20 square meters enjoyed great popularity for a time during the 1990s and was described by foreign reports at that time as "a kind of symbol of China's reform and opening to the outside world".
The exhibition style of the products in the shop is comparatively "implicit and low-pitched", according to a recent Beijing Youth Daily report. Sales women wearing white gowns are polite and courteous but leave customers to choose products by themselves. Conversations, if any, are conducted in a very low voice.
"There are more men than women customers," the shop manager told the newspaper reporter. "But it's now commonplace for men and women to come in together. People behave calmly and confidently while choosing products and asking questions. Some customers even ask us to connect the power and demonstrate the products. Some care about whether the products are on discount or not. Some even buy the products to be used as 'mysterious prizes' for their New Year's party."
Wen Jingfeng, 49, the founder and board chairman, said that his original intention of establishing the shop remained unchanged: namely, to increase knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and help Beijing residents to overcome "cultural fallacies" about sexual behavior.
To display sex products in public and not consider them pornographic marks a big change in Chinese people's conceptions towards sex, Wen explained. "And the change is so fast that it has far exceeded my expectations."
"What happened 15 years ago sounds like an old story," he continued. "The shop opened on January 8, 1993, a cold day after a big snowfall. We didn't have our first customer until 16 days had passed. A man in his early 20's walked into the shop without thinking. Wearing a military coat, he whistled and looked up and down at the commodities on the shelves. He was so shocked when he came to understand what the commodities were that he suddenly stopped whistling, his mouth dropped wide open. By and by, his expression changed from embarrassment to seriousness. Finally he took some money from his pocket, bought a box of condoms, and left the shop quickly without saying a single word."
"That was my first deal, worth only 9.6 yuan," recalled Wen. "I was so excited at that moment that I ran out of the shop and spent 10 yuan on a tray-full of steamed stuffed buns in a nearby restaurant and shared it with my colleagues in celebration."