Everett Yuehong Zhang is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and Anthropology at Princeton University. He is the co-editor of
This chapter begins with the discussion of a popular thesis that sexual repression resulted in impotence in the Maoist period. Leaving aside the relationship between impotence and sexual repression, this thesis leads to the discussion of whether and why sexual desire was repressed under the socialist state. The structural limitations of Maoist collectivism—the impact of the danwei and hukou systems—led to sexual repression, a point no previous study has made. This point is critical for understanding the rise of the impotence epidemic (the rise of desire) in post-Mao China.