James Turnbull's picture

Yes, Old Korean People Have Sex Too…


( Source )

But perhaps as you’d expect, they’re generally not using protection. A quick report from The Daily Focus on Wednesday:

Number of STD Cases Among Old People Rising

While the national total number of STD cases has dropped overall, the numbers of people aged 65 and over contracting STDs has risen sharply, it emerged on the 28th.

The Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service presented its “Current Situation Regarded STD Treatment Recipients” report to Assemblywoman Son Sook-mee of the National Assembly Health Welfare Committee, according to the data of which the number of cases of people aged 65 and older receiving treatment for STDs was 44,000 in 2007 and 64,000 in 2009, a rise of 43% in just 2 years.

In 2007, people 65 years and older accounted for 4.0% of all cases of people treated for STDs, but this has risen to 5.5% as of March this year.

Little information to go on unfortunately, but Seoul residents may be interested in placing that into the context of the prostitution culture around Jongmyo Park in Jongno, which caters to the thousands of male retirees that spend their days there. From a “Korean Gender Reader” post in March last year:

James Turnbull's picture

“Want to Sleep With a Foreign Woman?”


A provocative article title from Yahoo! Korea yesterday, yes?

Alas, actually it’s only about one lawmaker’s concern over the growing number of “lewd” internet advertisements these days, among which presumably that’s a common slogan. But that does underlie some of the street harassment and groping that many foreign women experience here, so it’s interesting in its own right.

As is the irony and hypocrisy of Yahoo! Korea posting such an article in the first place too. For Korean portal sites are virtually like The Sun newspaper in their content, tone, and adherence to journalistic ethics, like I said of them last year:

Unlike their English-language counterparts, you have roughly a 50% chance of opening Naver, Daum, Nate, Yahoo!Korea, and to be greeted with headlines and thumbnail pictures about sex scandals, accidental exposures (no-chool;노출) of female celebrities, and/or crazed nude Westerners.

And indeed, scroll to the bottom of Yahoo! Korea as I type this, and just today’s “image galleries” below include lingerie photoshoots and “beautiful Russian news anchors”, let alone the links on the rest of the site.

James Turnbull's picture

Groping in Korea: How Bad Is It Really?

( Source: leftycartoons )

Not that I ever really did think that women should consider street harassment as flattering of course.  But this cartoon is eerily effective in getting that message across, and it’s no wonder that’s it’s received nearly 300 comments over at Sociological Images.

Naturally, it’s made me curious as to how bad street harassment in Korea personally, and now I realize that I’ve largely overlooked that in favor of covering workplace discrimination on the blog, and most recently the landmark sexual harassment lawsuit against Samsung.

I did know about bbikkies (삐끼) though, or men that literally drag attractive women into nightclubs to encourage men to spend their money there (see here also); that Korean dating culture actually condones stalking; that this sometimes affects foreign women (see #12 here); and that Caucasian women especially are hypersexualized by the Korean media and/or often get confused for Russian prostitutes; and so on.

But groping? I’ve never really thought about it, except in passing: after all, what guy does?

James Turnbull's picture

Sex as Power in the South Korean Military: A Follow-up


( Source )

Unfortunately, there is endemic sexual abuse within the South Korean military, which has grave implications for a society with universal male conscription: each year, perhaps 15% of 250,000 conscripts experience sexual abuse as either victims or perpetrators.

That figure comes from the journal article “Sexual Violence Among Men in the Military in South Korea” by Insook Kwon et. al., Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 22, No. 8, 1024-1042 (2007), in which I was happy to read that much of the researchers’ data was obtained by interviews with soldiers in their barracks with the official cooperation of the Ministry of Defense. Signs of changing attitudes? Alas no, as I have just discovered that it still remains one of the least transparent institutions in Korea:

When the Cheonan sank [in March], the initial reaction was shock and sadness, which quickly gave way to rage: with a government accused of dragging its feet, but also with a military that seemed unprepared for a North Korean attack.

But anger with the military runs deeper than over a single event. Mistrust of the institution is widespread because it has failed to open itself up, using the excuse of national security, while the rest of the country has embraced democracy.

EvilSlutClique's picture

No, it's not the same thing...

[This blog was previously written for in February 2009. After a recent discussion with Arvan, he asked us to repost it here.]

Not too long ago, we had a little discussion (er, argument) about sex work. One of the biggest problems in arguing about sex work, is that so many people do not completely understand what sex work is (or more importantly, what it isn't). Sex work is not the same thing as sex trafficking or sex slavery. It just isn't.

So first, a little vocabulary lesson.
  • Sex work refers to the "commercial sex" industry and, while it is often used interchangeably with the term "prostitution", can actually include any income-generating activity or form of employment related to sex (prostitutes, exotic dancers, nude models, pornography performers, sex phone operators, sensual masseuses, dominatrices, etc.)
  • Prostitution is the act of performing sexual activity in exchange for money or goods. There are many forms of prostitution - some legal and some illegal (depending on where it takes place) - such as "street prostitution", "brothel prostitution" or "escort prostitution".
  • Sex tourism refers to traveling (typically from rich countries to poor countries) in search of sexual services.
Now here's the thing to remember... all of the above definitions have one common requirement: consent.
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