Thursday, July 08, 2010

Love, Sex, and the Generations

Korean society is generally much more conservative than the West, so it is really difficult to get a reading on what dating is like.

We chatted with some friends about dating.  Those in their 40's and 50's told us that they were expected to marry anyone they dated for more than a few months.  Those in their twenties said that is not the case anymore, but women start to get desperate to get married as they get around 30, so at that point they would not date anyone for months unless they expected it to lead to marriage.

All of the teachers said that they are normally "set-up" on dates by friends, so they already know about the other persons character and history.  They need to know if they find the person attractive and if they are compatible.

Because of the conservative nature of the culture, there is no way anyone can discuss sex with us, so I have been doing some research.

When you walk around college campuses, you always see signs for DVD rooms.  Apparently they are private rooms to watch DVD's and whatever else you might want to do in a private room with sofa's.

Coming of age day was while a ago and there was an article in the paper saying that many kids celebrate by going to love hotels.  These are hotels that charge by the hour.  They are not sleazy and have theme rooms. In our town of 50,000 there are 4 of these hotels that I know of.  I am told that these are popular with the young, and people who are having affairs. If you are interested, there is a blog with lots of pictures (one of which is below) that tells you more.

But how common is the premarital sex? According to an article about sex education in university students, 50.3% of boys said they have had sex while only 17.6% girls said they have had it.This does not make sense to me because of the enormous difference in the male/female ratio.  Prostitution is very common here, but I am sure the pro's will force the boys to wear condoms and other articles put the rate of condom use very low for first sexual partners suggests that the boys did not gain their sexual experience that way.

I read a study, again about sexual education, which cited two studies which had much higher numbers.  On page 204 it talked about a study from 2000:
"Moreover, with reference to the issue of sexual intercourse among adolescents in Korea, Kim
(2000, p. 10) reported that 13.4% of boys and 7.0% of girls from grades 7 to 9, and 32.5% of
boys and 14.15% of girls from grades 10 to 12, have experienced sexual intercourse.
The second study they cite is from 2003:
According to Lee et al. (2003), however, 59.3% of male students and 46.6% of female students from grade11 engaged in sexual intercourse, while the percentage of first sexual intercourse was 47.5% for 15~16 year olds, 22.8% for those under 13, and 11.5% for those over 17.
So what is the truth?  I am guessing that things are not so different here then in the west, it is just that people do not talk about it. 

No comments: