Having a Chinese girl in your life is definitely an interesting experience. Chinese women tend to be tender, caring and more feminine than most Western women. They don’t mind being submissive and enjoy acting cute and sweet. The problem is that when a Chinese girl decides to act sweet, she usually comes with a whole lot of sugar and just as too many cooks might spoil the broth, too much sugar might wear out the love.

If you have observed a Chinese couple before then you might have notice how Chinese men always carry their girlfriend’s purses or you might have amused yourself while watching a grown woman stomping her feet and whining like a child, while demanding her boyfriend to buy her something. This kind of behavior is know in China as Sa Jiao.

Sa Jiao does not easily translate into English. It could be called acting childishly or being coquettish, but it does not have the negative connotations in Chinese society that such words do in English. Sa Jiao, of course, is not just limited to persuading your boyfriend to buy you things. Sa Jiao involves playing a certain character when you’re around the one you love. A girl might act clingy and needy. She might pretend to be incapable of doing things she’s actually quite capable of doing on her own. While most Western men do not find weak and childish behavior particularly attractive in a woman, Chinese men are big fans of Sa Jiao. They love a woman who seems fragile and submissive as this makes them feel stronger and more like a man.

Part of Sa Jiao is a woman’s way to avoid appearing too independent or non-traditional, as these are considered negative qualities by most Chinese men. Although most Chinese men will grow desperate because of Sa Jiao one time or another, they still consider it worth the trouble. Chinese women, in the other hand, see it as an opportunity for them to reward their partners with the feeling of being superior.

Sa Jiao often poses problems, however, for foreign men who date Chinese women, as, while some men may initially be attracted to the cuteness aspect of Sa Jiao, most men quickly grow irritated with what can be seen as a demanding attitude from their new girlfriend. To a Chinese woman, Sa Jiao is about ensuring that her boyfriend cares enough for her to put her needs above his own, but to a Western man, Sa Jiao can feel suffocating.

In the West, women who are clingy or needy will often find themselves being handed down from relationship to relationship as most Western men will avoid (at all costs) women who require a “high maintenance”. Western society tends to praise women who are independent, free spirited and can squash a bug by themselves.

Understanding Sa Jiao is perhaps the most important step towards having a healthier relationship with your Chinese girl. While Chinese men understand and have dealt with Sa Jiao all of their lives, foreigners often do not know how to handle this type of attitude. The main thing to remember is that the point of Sa Jiao is not to annoy you, but to give you a chance to show how much you care for your woman by putting her needs above your own. This, in turn, gives the woman a chance to show her deep gratitude for having your strong male presence in her life.

  • James

    Very helpful post thank you.It helps me understand my Chinese wife. It is a huge let-down for her if I encourage her to do things for herself. I can’t say my wife rewards me for helping her, but remembering to do so keeps the peace. Interestingly I encourage my american daughters to be more self-sufficient, at the same time I must remember that my chinese wife may not want to do so….to bring me closer to her??

  • Bill

    Thanks for the Chinese woman point of view.
    Now for the American man (victim) point of view.
    Sajiao = Disrespectful, Abusive, Psychotic Behavior.

    There is nothing cute about an unexpected sucker punch to the stomach and groin while shopping at the mall. Nothing funny about repeated hard kicks to a back injury while you’re sleeping. It’s not playful to get slapped in the face and your nose bleed. A girl standing there screaming Chinese at the top of her lungs, dangerously waving her arms around in the middle of eating with a large group of people is not charming. Many Chinese men have told me that a Chinese woman over 30 has little to no value and a Chinese woman over 40 is only looking to steal your money. I believe it now.

    The idea of Sajiao as cute child-LIKE behavior could be endearing. Such as a little pouting or begging coupled with hugging and kissing or some “help me you big strong man”. I’m thinking this is the origin of Sajiao. But it has become distorted into child-ISH behavior in women under 30. Such as temper tantrums, crying and yelling loudly until they get what they want. Finally in women over 30 Sajiao has become an excuse for inappropriate abusive and completely psychotic behavior. Thank God, I’m no longer with a Chinese woman. I’m with a Vietnamese woman 10 times sweeter, 10 times better sex, well 10 times better everything.

    When I broke up with my ex Chinese girlfriend, I told her, “I hope you find a guy that will yell at you and hit you everyday so you can know fun it was for me to be with you”