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Love and sex in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

The themes of love and relationships are heavily engrained in Korean dramas, movies, and even K-pop songs. Additionally, Korean television is overflowing with couple-matching programs. However, between youth unemployment and unstable socio-economic situations, younger generations are more concerned with financial stability and their own health than feeling the love of family or a partner. Young Koreans in their 20s and 30s have been labelled as the 3-po (Sampo in Korean) generation, known for giving up on love, getting married, and giving birth. The decline in the number of partners people have before marriage each year is an example of this trend.

This latest trend has led to the increase in online dating app usage. The online dating app market reached 200 billion South Korean won in 2018 and was expected to double in two to three years. Younger generations, who may be reluctant to communicate face to face, are increasingly moving towards social dating apps, preferring these as they can easily get exposure to a wide variety of partners. Typical dating apps included Noon Date, Amanda, and Tinder. There are also a few matchmaking companies targeting those who want to get married. These companies match couples in a similar social position or with a similar background. Around 40 thousand couples who met through the matchmaking company Duo eventually did get married.

South Korean society is slowly opening up to sexual culture. According to one survey, 40 percent of male respondents and 30 percent of female respondents said they would start having sexual intercourse within a month of dating. In addition, the prevalence of sex toys among South Koreans has grown in recent years and one out of every five Koreans stated that they were using sex toys.

Unfortunately, digital sex crimes, such as illegal filming, have increased significantly in recent years. Last year, the Burning Sun scandal revealed crimes of a sexual nature and involving illegal video sharing between famous K-pop stars. The following year, the production and distribution of illegal sexually exploitative content through cloud-based messaging app Telegram were exposed.

On the other hand, a total of 43 percent of Koreans accepted the LGBT community. The Seoul Queer Culture Festival, which started in 2000, is attended by about 150,000 people every year. However, marriage of same-sex couples in Korea has not yet been legalized. According to a survey, the share of South Koreans who agreed on the legalization of same-sex marriages doubled in 2019 compared to 20 years ago. In particular, more than half of the younger generations supported same-sex marriages, indicating future generations may be more open to change.

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Love and sex in South Korea

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