I don't know either. Sometimes I wonder whether the Chinese intellectuals can understand each other. I don't want to boast, but it may take ten Umberto Ecos to understand an average Chinese intellectual. In any case, I guess your sentence means something like:
[While] marriage is a [social] institution imposed by the government, what really matters to an average person is his or her sexual life.
Thank you Ghabi! I agree with you... sometimes the language of Chinese intellectuals is totally incomprehensible. But your translation should be good... thank you! It works well with the rest of my translation.
Xiaolijie, this sentence came from "蚁族" by Lian Si, from the chapter about sexual life of Chinese young people. It is said that young people don't want to get married and just think about their sexual life.
Marriage is like a regulation imposed by the government. But the sexual life is the real entity of "marriage" of ordinary people.
Tell me if you can't understand. I know my English is not good.