Korea is truly a paradoxical country when it comes to the issue of sexuality. On the one hand, the place is so conservative that a man will not even touch a woman on the shoulder unless they are at least close friends, and on the other hand, there is a park full of sex statues and machines with condoms or sex toys in the open air.
Prostitution is also present in Korea, and not even to a small extent. The main problem lies in understanding what sex actually means. It’s not an expression of romance in Korea, as it is in many Western countries. Instead, it is often only about satisfying male needs.
Although sex is ubiquitous, at least in certain sections, South Korea remains prudish about it. It’s not just openly talked about. Here, men are mostly just as shy as women, and only rarely do the females comment on whether or what needs they have. Things are already different in a relationship, at least in those of younger generations. Despite everything, people often still wait for the man to take the first step. Many interviews with the younger generation show an almost unequivocal result here. Korean women are still as conservative as men.
Table of Contents
Enlightenment, relationship life, first time
The conservative wisdom stems from the Confucian values with which South Korean society is still deeply rooted. Exceptions, of course, prove the rule, like everywhere else in the world, but basically, the average can be summed up in a few certain statistics.
Enlightenment in Korea
Parents are often uncomfortable talking to their children about sexuality. Even during school, things are rather sparse here, there is no classic sex education class. Across Korea, most teachers still refuse to integrate the government-developed curriculum in this area into their classes. Instead, they teach students about Confucian gender roles.
TV, the Internet, and Jeju Island serve as relevant sources of information for sexual topics. There is a separate educational program on television that is very popular nationally. Newlywed couples head straight to Jeju for their honeymoon, where they visit Love Land, an educational theme park.
When do Koreans have their first time?
It is not entirely clear to what extent there are differences between city and country, but it can basically be assumed that people in the country are a lot more conservative than in Seoul, Busan, and Co. Although the parents would probably prefer it, the fact that their children do not have sex before marriage is not a problem for most young people if you ask around. But it’s not about the future husband expecting a virgin at any price. It’s all about the parents’ ability to evade enlightenment and then let Jeju Island’s Love Land take care of it on their honeymoon.
Korea and the weird phallic cult
The phallus cult is actually a topic of great importance in Greater Asia. While the practice of worshiping figures or statues in the form of male genitals is on the wane, there are certain areas in Korea where this is still actively pursued. Especially in the countryside, mothers pray at such statues to give birth to a son.
circumcision of boys
Koreans are circumcised around the age of twelve. Doctors have been recommending this step since the 1950s because it is said to protect against anything that could happen to that area of the body. Whether it concerns cancer, frequent bladder infections, premature ejaculation, or even complete impotence, In fact, circumcision is considered progressive in Korea.
What contraception is common in Korea?
In Korea, the principle applies that hormonal contraceptives are avoided. The pill does exist here, but hardly anyone uses it. The most common prevention is direct sterilization. If you want to have children later, use condoms. There really isn’t a taboo for women to buy condoms. Statistically, however, more women decide to take care of contraception. Sexually transmitted diseases are not talked about very openly, but the problems associated with them are not high.
How often do Korean women have abortions?
Abortion is accepted as normal in Korea, and there are separate clinics for it. A few years ago, women tended to abort mostly female offspring, but this has been declining. In any case, according to official statistics, the total number of abortions per year amounts to 1.5 to 2 million cases. That’s a very high proportion. By way of comparison, abortions are just as common in the USA, but there are around five times as many women there.
How many offspring do Koreans have?
The thing with the offspring can be seen as a kind of miscalculation. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were problems with a rapidly increasing population. As a quick countermeasure, there were attractive perks for all volunteers who could be sterilized. In addition, additional benefits for families with more than two children were canceled at that time. As a result, the birth rate in the 1990s was only 1.59, and over the years it has fallen further to 1.08, while it is already below 1 in large cities.
The government is now trying to motivate people to start families. According to various surveys, the desire to have children among Koreans is also increasing again.
interesting to know
“Would you like to eat ramyun with me?” Saying this sentence to someone of the opposite sex is formulating an invitation to have sex.
Prostitution in Korea: illegal and yet present
Anyone who engages in prostitution in Korea faces severe penalties. There is a separate anti-prostitution law that affects brothel owners and visitors alike. Many operators of such an environment try to make themselves as invisible as possible. The procedure, which is often known in connection with Thailand, to cover the whole thing with a massage parlor sometimes also occurs in Korea. It is not uncommon for the Internet to be used to prostitute oneself. There are also cases where a girl offered herself and her girlfriend played the pimp.
The main problem is the sex business abroad. Young foreign teenagers sell for a lot of money and are particularly popular with Korean fishermen. Since they go to the girls’ home country especially for this purpose, the Korean government has no recourse.
Pornography in Korea is also forbidden
There are plenty of films with sexual content. It is not uncommon for the actors to actually be naked, at least for a short time. However, it all stays on the set. You don’t see your privates, because that’s exactly the part that’s considered illegal. However, it is allowed to show bare breasts, petting with underwear, and the like.
Jeju-do and its Love Land Park
Immediately after the Korean War, Jeju Island became an extremely popular travel destination for newlyweds. As a result, various facilities were opened here that serve to educate. Among other things, a museum directly at a tourist hotspot. In 2004, a large park full of sculptures was added: The Love Land.
There are various sculptures here, some of which are even equipped with a certain mechanism to explain how sex works at all. Other statues are dedicated to sex positions that are particularly fulfilling for both parties. It’s about the foreplay, the thing itself, and always both sexes.
Sex toys in Korea: what works and what doesn’t?
While Choi Jungyoon, for example, is now setting up two branches of Pleasure Lab, an erotica shop especially for women, in Seoul, she says she is doing her part to raise awareness. Similar shops, also suitable for men, are available under the names Love Shop, Cupid Club, or Bururu. Such things can also be bought online via, for example, GMarket or Naver. In Incheon or directly at flea markets, it can also happen that you make some unexpected finds.
Other information about Koreans and intimate relationships
Below are some frequently asked questions on the subject.
How do Koreans get together?
In an article about relationships in Korea, we go into this topic in great detail. Therefore, only briefly summarized here: In Korea, you get to know each other primarily through blind dates, which you arrange over the Internet. Often, one is matched by an acquaintance and also holds a blind date here. Sometimes it is also the parents who arrange a marriage after a certain age. Partner agencies are also popular, which also aim to find a perfect spouse for the customer.
What is the average age at marriage?
Korean women marry at an average age of 20 to 25, with men approaching 30 due to military service. It is much more important how much influence the two families of the future spouses have on this connection. It’s not just about finding a life partner, but about uniting two families. Due to unsuitable relationships with each other, one of the parents may be against this relationship. Then the chance is zero, because in Korea you don’t rebel against your own family as a matter of principle. It also happened that a marriage did not come about because the bride’s dowry was too small.
How loyal are Koreans?
According to Confucianist teachings, sex is not considered an expression of feelings. According to this view, the woman is there to meet the needs of the man. It is not uncommon for men in very conservative partnerships to cheat while the woman tacitly accepts it. She herself must not do this under any circumstances, since her needs are not of great importance to Confucius.
Until a few years ago, the principle still applied that a mother’s love for her children is more intense than that between two married couples. In the meantime, however, Korean society is changing at this point. More and more divorces are happening because of marital infidelity or a lack of equality, and loyalty in a relationship is becoming increasingly important. Especially the current generation of 20 to 30 year olds hold on to those values.
How often do Koreans get divorced?
Although divorce is becoming less taboo, there must always be a valid reason for it. If you realize after a few years of marriage that you are not compatible, that often doesn’t seem to be enough of a reason. Instead, more effort is put into each other. On the other hand, common reasons for divorce are marital infidelity, loneliness, or the feeling of being treated badly by your partner. This also includes the lack of equality in the context of the relationship.
What is the usual distribution of roles among married couples in Korea?
Even in modern partnerships, the woman is responsible for the household and raising the children, while the man works for the family in order to offer them all a good life. This is now a tacitly accepted thing, which doesn’t mean everyone expects it to be. There are a lot of women who go to work themselves and that too is readily accepted by society. Among men, on the other hand, it is not common to stay at home.