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Sex and Zen


A recently married scholar goes on a quest for knowledge of other people's wives, based on his philosophical differences with the Sack Monk…

Release Year: 1991

Rating: 5.9/10 (1,128 voted)

Michael Mak

Stars: Amy Yip, Lawrence Ng, Kent Cheng

A recently married scholar goes on a quest for knowledge of other people's wives, based on his philosophical differences with the Sack Monk. He encounters the Flying Thief, who agrees to help him find women, but only if he attains a penis as big as a horse's. The scholar has a surgeon attach said unit, and he's off and running on his mission, only to find that there are obstacles to his new lifestyle, such as jealous husbands and treacherous females.

Writers: Alexander Lee, Ying Kit Lee


Lawrence Ng

Mei Yeung-Sheng

Kent Cheng

Dr. Tin Chan

Rena Murakami

Fa Sun

(as Tomoko Ino)

Lieh Lo

Chor Kun-Lun

Amy Yip


Isabella Chow

Shui Chu

Carrie Ng

Mistress Ku

Mari Ayukawa

Elvis Tsui

Wong Chut

(as Xu Jin-Jiang)

Release Date: 30 November 1991

Gross: $396,003

Technical Specs



User Review

A well produced work of surreal erotica

Rating: 7/10

I rented this sex comedy a couple of years ago and I was definitely not
ready for the fantastic nature of its sex scenes. If you can imagine if the
same techniques used for martial arts films applied to an erotic film, you
might get a feeling of what this film is like. Sex and Zen is loosely based
upon the 400-year old "The Carnal Prayer Mat" and is one of the best known
of the Hong Kong Category III erotic films. The plot involves a scholar,
played by Lawrence Ng, who believes that enlightenment can be achieved
through a hedonistic lifestyle. For some reason, a wealthy man thinks that
it is a good idea to arrange a marriage between the scholar and his
sheltered, prudish daughter, played by Amy Yip. Yip was famous both for the
size of her breasts and her refusal to perform fully nude; a body double is
used in particular shots. After the scholar has introduced his new wife to
the pleasures of sex, he is soon tempted by other men's wives.
Unfortunately, his efforts to woo these women are hampered by both his poor
staying power and his undersized genitals. In order to be a more effective
seducer, the scholar agrees to undergo a rather extreme surgical procedure
to enhance his abilities. Following the operation, the scholar undergoes a
sexual odyssey while leaving his wife neglected at home.

This is a sex comedy and the humor can best be described as adolescent,
although I must admit that I chuckled a few times. However, the film's
raison d'etre is its lovemaking scenes. The sexual encounters in this film
start out as "merely" vigorous and then escalate to the physically
impossible and then to the gleefully excessive. What "The Blues Brothers"
did for car crashes, this film does for sex scenes. There are several
distinctions between this kind of filmmaking and Western erotic films.
First of all, the women in Sex and Zen are stunningly, naturally attractive
and don't have any silicone implants to detract from their beauty.
Moreover, the film has significant production value. Whereas murky
photography is used in sex scenes in most American films, here vivid colors
are used in the art direction, costuming, and cinematography. As a result,
the film has a surreal, fantastic sort of atmosphere. Sex and Zen also
deviates from vanilla sexuality and includes elements of sadomasochism,
lesbianism, and bondage, although all of this is carried out in a playful,
nonrealistic manner. Also, like most erotic films, this is geared mostly
towards heterosexual males but there is a bit of male nudity and simulated
male genitalia for any women or gay males who might be

Finally, a couple of caveats. An "R" rated version of this film can be
found at many Blockbuster stores. Although this was enough to impress me on
the first viewing, the editing was clumsy and the unrated film has much
juicier comedic and erotic bits (such as misplaced genitals, an unorthodox
way for two women to use a flute, an interesting bit of toe-sucking, etc.)
The unrated VHS and DVD versions give you the full effect of the film.
Also, there is a scene in which a man rapes his wife that is performed in
the same surreal erotic manner as the rest of the film. Although this
initially seems unenlightened, given the overall comic fantasy tone of the
film, it's hard to be too offended. Overall, this is a well made piece of
erotica recommended for those looking for something different.