Sex in Korea

Unlike neighboring Japan, sex in Korea is a slightly more reserved affair – but that’s not to say South Korea is a nation of uptight puritans by any stretch of the imagination. Outwardly the country seems torn between traditional ideology and the raw sex that floods into the country from the western world.

But Korea is also a land of startling contradictions when it comes to the horizontal mattress mambo.

It’s a country where it is considered wildly inappropriate to show off your cleavage or your bare shoulders, but where it’s perfectly acceptable for a woman to wear a mini-skirt that barely covers her underpants.

It’s a place where prostitution is technically illegal but where Seoul boasts a ‘hooker hill’ and Busan’s infamous Texas Street is a stretch of sin soaked street to rival any of Amsterdam’s red light district.

‘Love Motels’ offer hourly rates for businessmen and their lovers or cheap accommodation to foreigners not wishing to shell out for a real hotel room. I’ve seen everything from lube to vibrators to dirty hair brushes to stripper poles in these rooms.

I even saw a video camera in one.

Collectible cards showing bare breasts and phone numbers to call for a good time litter suburban streets like some deviant has hosted a ticker tape parade.

Twin barber poles indicate hair-cuts with a little ‘something extra’ and $45 home delivered coffee is more of an added benefit than the main attraction.

It’s a land where pretty Korean girls hanging out in smoky foreigner bars who come home with you to ‘sleep together’ may mean that in the most literal sense of the phrase.

Blue balls abound.

It’s a nation where they don’t believe in homosexuality, yet grown heterosexual men will hug and hold hands with their male friends.

And that’s saying nothing of the existence of the aptly named Homo Hill in Seoul…

The world of Korean sex is a world at odds with itself. For all of its adherence to traditional ideals and typically Asian ideology, Korea finds itself gradually slipping in the direction of the more wanton west.

Sex with Koreans

 

Kissing a Korean girl

I did not sleep with this girl. It's the lovely Sang Young!

I’ll preface this particular section by saying I didn’t indulge in much of the ‘local flavor’ when I was on my Korean tour of duty. It seems my bout of the so-called ‘yellow fever’ decided to hold off until I returned to Australian shores.

It’s just a little frustrating…

So the comments that follow will be based on second hand sources. Guys who have put in the hard yards to woo themselves one of the notoriously hard to impress Korean beauties or girls who have been attracted to the sensitivity or slightly more feminine (read: less hairy and smelly) appearance of the Korean man.

As is typical of many Asian countries, there is a big focus on the woman’s subservience to the man in a relationship, but it’s not always that way.

During courtship it’s not uncommon to see a Korean man dutifully following his girlfriend while she picks through shoes in a crowded Lotte Department Store. But unlike Australia – where similar practices are used to keep girlfriends happy – the process extends as far as actually carrying the girlfriend’s handbag for her.

It’s not at all uncommon to see an otherwise perfectly normal Korean man walking down the street with a fabulous Louis Vutton bag slung over his shoulder. He almost looks comfortable with it.

Almost.

But where this doting behavior seems typical of the pre-marriage period, an almost 180 degree turn is made once the ring is slipped on and the I do’s are said.

Or whatever the Korean equivalent is.

While there does tend to be a changing of the guard on this front as Korean youths adopt more western practises, there is still a focus on the man as provider and leader and the woman as dutiful follower in the Korean marriage.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to be out drinking with one of my Korean bosses and see them flirting with or even fondling a giggling younger woman. Occasionally a co-worker.

Wives ferry their husbands around like chauffeurs and seem resigned to losing their partners to regular fishing trips or drinking on the weekend – leaving them alone to take care of the kids. And if they’re unhappy with this arrangement, they do a good job of bearing their burden in silence. But that may just be the famous Korean pride.

 

What does all of this have to do with sex?

 

Being all seductive and such

Subservient in the home often translates into subservient in the bedroom. I’ve heard precious few tales of wild sexual abandon being displayed in the bedroom from my friends who have dipped their toes into the local talent pool.

Obviously pornography is not an accurate portrayal of how the average person is making their love, but I think you can learn a bit about the overarching cultural perception of sex by watching a little of their X-Rated film.

Korean pornography, by and large, follows the Japanese tradition of male dominance and female submission or embarrassment. Lying in a love motel bed with a girl I was sleeping with and watching a little hardcore porn (as you do) treated us to scene after scene of women being taken against their will and eventually ‘enjoying it’.

I’m not sure how much they enjoyed it. There’s no dirty talk or urging on. Just pitifully quiet grunting to match each of the man’s fevered thrusts. The female’s enjoyment of the act doesn’t seem to be much of a factor in Korean porn.

I’d imagine that may well bleed into the everyday lives of the average Korean as well. Obviously not to the extent that Korean men are out in forests trolling for hapless women in search of spare tires, but the stories of my female friends don’t paint a picture of attentive lovers.

And we’ll leave the stereotyping of the Asian male organ right out of it. Although where there’s smoke…

And where male dominance in the bedroom can lead to selfish lovers, it can also lead to submissive female partners. The enthusiasm for sex just doesn’t seem to be there. But can you blame them? In a country where man is supreme and where sex is still a dirty word – the image of a liberated woman who just enjoys sex seems completely out-of-place.

Now obviously this isn’t true of all Koreans. Maybe not even most. I’m basing this off my own experiences in the country and the experiences of friends who have shared just a little too much over beers.

I know of at least one female friend who happens to be very satisfied with the performance of her Korean mate. Way to go handsome!

 

But Chris, what about your sex in Korea?

 

No Korean sex makes me a sad panda...

Alas, Korean girls’ tastes tend to run towards the tall and thin for the most part. Being neither tall (5’11″) or particularly thin, I didn’t have much luck with the local girls.

There was one classy lass in a night club bathroom, but that finished short of sex. A toothy bathroom blow-job isn’t exactly the height of romance, but it is perhaps an indication of how the younger Koreans are shaking off the conservative habits of their parents.

Or maybe I just met a bad seed…

Love Land, Jejudo

 

If there’s one monument to the changing view of sex in South Korea, it’s Love Land Park on Jejudo. While it might be more accurately described as ‘Lust Land’, the park’s many sculptures and displays representing a growing love of sex in South Korea. It’s still a heterocentric view of sex, but it’s a step towards a breaking down of the old view of sex to allow room for a healthier appreciation of the carnal.

On a very rainy summer day in 2009 myself, my ex Fallon, and our friends Cody & Desiree paid a visit to Love Land and giggled like children finding their first porno as we perused the collection of erotic displays. And while that may be the reaction that the park draws from the majority of its visitors, at least its getting people to think about and talk about sex. It’s putting it out there and breaking down the taboo that dictates it belongs behind closed doors.

Cody violates some artwork. Typical American...

An Aussie caught with his hand in the cookie jar

Cody and Dez in a less typical Superman/Wonderwoman panel...

That's.... athletic?

A man and his dog. True friends.

Entering Love Land immediately takes you into a garden area in which the sculptures are scattered all over the place. Paths wind their way in and out of the displays with the same rhythmic precision of German love-making. The majority of displays tend towards eroticism and humor, but there are a few that are genuinely artistic as well.

One of the more artistic pieces on display

Thirsty?

Apparently it is true...

 

Once you’re done exploring the grounds there’s a bit of a sex museum, an internal art gallery, and the obligatory gift shop selling a bunch of sex related souvenirs. No porn or dildos for purchase, but lots of quirky little gadgets that you’d expect to find in one of those odds and ends shops.

Super sexy strap on

This wasn't in the gift shop

Once the museum and the gift shop are out of the way, the last port of call is a very cool set of mini exhibits depicting various sexual scenes. I haven’t included them all here, but a few of my favorites are below.

A couple watch on as another couple round second and head for third base.

 

Some students perving on their teacher. This happens a lot to my female friends, but usually not with mirrors.

To the tune of Unchained Melody

A mermaid and a reverse merman. Star-crossed lovers.

An old Korean couple getting it done in a minbak (sleeping room). See the next picture for their unfortunate child's reaction...

Poor kid :-(

Tiny, tiny penises

A visit to Love Land is more amusing than enlightening, but it’s good to see Koreans depicting sex in a fun way rather than as something inappropriate. While Korea hasn’t yet made the leap of representing other sexual preferences or genders just yet, the existence of Love Land is a sign that at least progress is being made.

Who knows? Maybe someday the assumption that all westerners are sexually depraved child molesters riddled with HIV will pass too…