We have to point out that the popularity of Japanese AVs in Taiwan has much to do with the local sexual culture. In our recent joint paper (Wong and Yau 2011), we demonstrated that so-called sexual subjectivities in Taiwan are discursively constituted and thus cultural, although they appear to be ‘real’ and thus universal to our informants. Our Taiwanese male and female informants tend to talk about the sexual responsiveness of their own and their opposite sex in terms of six binaries, and most crucially in terms of stark gender contrasts. In terms of these binaries, male sexual subjectivity is considered to be biological, physical, ordinary, necessary, uncontrollable, and thus ‘animal’-like, whereas female sexual subjectivity is seen as cultural, spiritual, extraordinary, unnecessary, controllable, and ‘human’-like.

We uncovered the ‘sexual scripts’ (Simon and Gagnon 1986) operative in Taiwan through asking our Taiwanese male and female informants to talk about the ‘proper’ sexual behaviours of their own as well as of the opposite sex (Wong and Yau 2011). We discovered that the sexual script of our male informants is made up of five imperatives: to initiate sex, to lead the woman throughout sex, to use several positions in sex, to perform sex for a period of time, and to bring the woman to orgasm, whereas the script for female informants is to be initiated, led, penetrated, caressed, and brought to orgasm (Wong and Yau 2011). We, however, do not mean that all Taiwanese people mechanically follow the scripts we have identified here. Nor do we argue that all of them follow the scripts to the same extent. We recognise that some follow more closely than others, some others choose to ignore the scripts and some even follow a totally different script. That is to say, the sexual scripts we identified are not the only ones in the sexual culture of Taiwan. We are well aware that there are different scripts that are followed by different social groups such as gay communities, bisexual groups, or transgenders. However, to say that there are different scripts is not the same as saying that there is no script at all, and to say that not all follow the same script is not the same as saying that they follow no script.

More interestingly, the sexual scripts we identified amount to what Evans (1997: 10) has called the ‘active-male/passive-female’ model. Evans, while acknowledging the changing sexual discourses in China after 1949, maintains that ‘little of this suggests any real challenge to the active-male/ passive-female model generally explained through natural biological structures’ (1997: 10). In fact, this model is crossed with what we call ‘sex roles of men and women’ in Taiwan (Yau and Wong 2010). In analysing the Chinese subtitling of a pirated Japanese AV clip in Taiwan, we argued that the way the Chinese subtitles were phrased revealed the sex roles ofTaiwanese men and women where the man is always the sexual subject and the woman a sexual object. For instance, in a scene where the camera focuses on the female character’s face which looks desperate and in pain, as she requests penetration, her words ‘Penetrate [me], penetrate [me]!’, are not given Chinese subtitles. The elision of the active expression of the female character’s sexual desires or desire for penetration indicates that women in Taiwan should never be active in sex.

However, this does not mean that the woman is not ‘allowed’ to express her desires or achieve orgasm, only that her expression of desires and achievement of orgasm have to be enabled by the man involved. Hence Taiwanese pirate merchants provide Chinese subtitles for Japanese AVs according to the local sex roles ofman and woman. That is, they accord to the sexual scripts of Taiwanese men and women. More importantly, the Taiwanese men we interviewed tended to understand their sexual scripts, that is, their ‘proper’ acts during sex, in terms of the male sexual subjectivity we identified. In other words, the male subjectivity has become the ‘independent variable’ that defines the proper acts of Taiwanese men’s sexual lives. The everyday execution of the sexual script of Taiwanese men in turn rehearses the discursively constituted male sexual subjectivity. The male sexual subjectivity and the sexual script of Taiwanese men are mutually defined: the former prescribes the latter in theory, and the latter confirms the former in practice. Consequently, we argue that since the sexual script of Taiwanese men instantiates male sexual subjectivity it has become isomorphic with the latter. Male sexual subjectivity as discourse and male sexual script as practice have become one and the same. Male sexual subjectivity has become just another name for the sexual script, in the course of which the arbitrariness of the construction of the male sexual subjectivity and the sexual script is forgotten. That is to say, they no longer are seen as being culturally and historically constituted. If they are not seen as culturally and historically constructed, they should be treated as natural. The result is that the male sexual subjectivity and the sexual script of Taiwanese men have become essential features of a natural order of things, a given character of masculinity in Taiwan, and finally if they are natural, then they appear to be ‘real’ to Taiwanese men.

However, unlike the case of Taiwanese men, the sexual script for Taiwanese women does not logically follow from assumptions about female sexual subjectivity. To say that female sexual subjectivity is cultural, spiritual and so on does not necessarily imply female sexual passivity. Equally, to say that women should be passive in sex does not necessarily mean that for them, sex has to be cultural or spiritual. There is an epistemological break between female sexual subjectivity and Taiwanese women’s sexual script. This epistemological break, we argue, further leads to an ontological break because if Taiwanese women perceive their sexual subjectivity and their sexual script differently, they tend to believe that they are two different things. Female sexual subjectivity here appears to Taiwanese women as their ‘real’ sexual subjectivity, while the sexual script represents the sexual norms imposed by society; the former is what Taiwanese women’s sexual subjectivity is, while the latter is what their sexual behaviours should be. That is to say, Taiwanese women do not see sexual passivity as an expression of their ‘real’ sexual subjectivity. They instead tend to understand their sexual passivity as something required by men or as their sexual obligation to men. As we shall see shortly, the sex roles of man and woman, as well as the discrepancy between female sexual subjectivity and the female sexual script, influence the manner in which Taiwanese men and women relate to pornography.