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After meeting with experts and other tourists to North Korea, I learned that my experience was not unique.I can report with confidence that North Koreans flirt, date, and fall in love just like everyone else.In fact, it is quite common for teachers to share alcohol with their students as a token of good will.The loosening of North Korea’s information blockade has even spurred an influx of foreign pornography into North Korea, and the spread of DVDs carrying South Korean dramas into North Korean people’s homes is also changing expectations and attitudes towards relationships.In fact, in many ways the rules regarding sex and dating are relatively lenient in North Korea.One refugee noted, “The culture of sex in North Korea is not conservative.Like in the South, North Korean sexual norms have evolved from that of a traditional Confucian society to something more modern. People flirt, date, and get married there just like anywhere else.
Therefore, both the people and the regime relaxed their conservative stance on sex and dating.The cost of having a doctor to perform the procedure is exorbitant.As a result many resort to dangerous methods of pregnancy termination such as falling down heights or ingesting tuberculosis pills. As a refugee explained, “In middle school, in the age of 16, it is very important for students to have a girlfriend and also participate in the gang fight.” Those that failed to do both were ostracized.However, the liberalization of dating culture in North Korea was probably driven by the crises of the 1990’s.
From the people’s perspective, the imperatives of day-to-day life trumped any social hang-ups regarding dating or sex.Dating culture only really liberalized in the 1990’s.