Traditionally, marriage is a near universality in China. However, in the coming decades, owing to the growing sex imbalance, millions of men will be unable to marry. As a consequence, bachelorhood is becoming a new demographic concern, particularly affecting men from the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups. In China's cultural context today, heterosexual marriage remains a prerequisite for family formation and, in rural society particularly, the legitimate setting for sexual activity. Under such circumstances, bachelorhood is likely to produce privations on various fronts, the consequences of which for both the individual and the community are still largely unknown. This article focuses on the opinions and sexual behaviour of bachelors, and highlights significant variations from those of married men. It is based on the findings of an exploratory survey conducted in 2008 in selected villages in a rural county in Anhui province, referred to here as JC county. The survey provides insights into the more general situation of rural men unable to marry in a context of female shortage, and indicates the conditions a growing number of Chinese men will face in the near future.