Eighteen Touches

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The Eighteen Touches or Shiba Mo (Chinese: 十八摸) is a traditional Chinese folk song with many variants throughout China. The song is flirtatious, bawdy and erotic in nature, considered vulgar and tasteless it has been banned numerous times.[1]

There are male, female, and duet variants. Some versions start with a touch of the hair, followed by nape, with each subsequent touch becoming increasingly intimate. The female versions often feature an attempted seduction through offering to allow a man to touch her in various places, some male versions a seduction through promising some reward if she allows him to touch her there. The duets pair each offered or threatened touch with a consequence, e.g. "...I can't touch you there, if I do you'll die of bliss."

The song has appeared in Chinese literature especially books that which features the common people, such as Mo Yan's White Cotton, the song is also a favourite of Jin Yong's fictional character Wei Xiaobao. The song also provides the inspiration for one of the main themes of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.[2]

As a living folk song, new variants continue to be written. For example, salacious details from recent news stories are incorporated to mock officials and current events with sexual innuendo.


  1. ^ The Erotic Massage
  2. ^ Sheppard, Anthony (June 15, 2012). "Music Box as Muse to Puccini's 'Butterfly'". New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2014.

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