How I Defied The Law By Buying A Sex Toy In South Korea

Simon Noh

Sex is illegal in South Korea.

No, your reverse cowgirl won’t get you behind bars but you definitely cannot bring lube into South Korea. That will get confiscated in customs like your heroin, because, to them, that is just as bad. To the democratic union, your good time is as dangerous as any drug and weapon. Also don’t try to get your kicks at sites like Pornhub, that’s outlawed too. The excuse is that they don’t want kids to see it, so we can’t see it either. Even though the country is at the pinnacle of pop art culture, it is as prudish as that church going choirgirl living in a small town in Idaho. In the end, you’re screwed, and not in a good way. So when I was living in South Korea, I decided to be a criminal, or a questionable citizen, by buying a vibrator.

That ominous feeling that the world is going to end soon comes easily when you don’t have a plastic sex toy, or a living sex toy, to occupy your time. Yes, South Korea might have some clean-cut heightened metrosexual men, but I prefer a grizzly bear. Even though I was alone, I wasn’t just going to do nothing about it. For what I can remember there were maybe two sex stores in Seoul. Even though there were love motels, places people go to have sex, I couldn’t find anything related to what I needed. So I went on a journey throughout two provinces in Seoul to solve that problem.

The first store location was like the Russian bunker where politicians pay to get peed on. If someone told me it was originally a concrete wall hollowed out with a strap on spoon, I wouldn’t be surprised. It sat under an underpass with a single door in the center and a lean Korean man in Limp Bizkit pants smoking right out front of it. He eyeballed me from the corner of his eye, threw out his cigarette, walked towards the door, stopped and then nodded in my direction while walking through the door and leaving it open. I must have had that, “please I’m desperate” look to have been accepted so easily, but whatever it was, I was in.

The inside looked like it was the place where Osama Bin Laden would make his films before or after his partaking in the sex swing. While the whole place looked like it was hollowed out, there was one manmade shelf where a collection of dust and poorly repackaged vibrators sat. The place was lit by a single light bulb through a perceived homemade electric system, and the Korean man managed to move to the back of the room and lean back on a stool while watching a show on his phone. Out of the three or four repackaged vibrators in the whole store, the cheapest one was maybe $160. Maybe it was the ominous feeling that these expensive vibrators were second hand, or maybe it was the confusion that I hadn’t seen some rat BDSM in one of the corners of the room, but I felt an uneasy feeling being in that store, so I went to the second location.

Going to the second location would be hell if I were hangover. Mickey Mouse might have decorated it after he had his college coke bender because the place was bright, cute, confusing and loud. It was extremely small, but made up for it in the pseudo light silver bubble pop packaged walls and the red spaceship counter overlaid with the thumping beat of BigBang. The sales person was a little Korean girl, probably starting out her first year of college, in a pink mini dress and a side ponytail that catered more to a childish fetish than she probably expected. Outside people walked from club to club with their neon colored ivy bag drinks, a popular delicacy for any college drinking kid. Inside the store were a series of inflatable bachelorette joke gifts than actual sex toys, so the serious buying was slim as well. There were maybe about four vibrators at the store all of which were pretty big and obscene, and ranged from about $60 to $200. I bought the $60 one. It was a little pink vibrator that would have been maybe $20 back in the states, but because of the illegal trading it cost more to sneak it in. It wasn’t great, but it did the job. Truth be told, South Korea doesn’t strongly enforce their bans as much as everyone would like to admit, but at least they think they’re protecting the children.

While outlawing a basic necessity to life is a bit explicit, it isn’t surprising. Despite being different cultural universes, we’re all the same. We’re all sexual freaks but we’re too prudish to admit it. We have always denied our basic rights as a scapegoat for our morality. Even movie star icon Mae West was arrested in New York for, “corrupting the moral youth” because of her play about sex. While the concept of sex being banned in South Korea seems odd and unusual, it is truly a way for the country to show how morally conscious it is compared to the rest of the world. Yeah, the average Joe might be suppressing his inner kink for an unhealthy amount of time, but at least the country can say it is an evolved state. Some laws are created to suppress our healthy desires, and for a moment, I broke the law to be a human being, and in the end I came back with a shitty vibrator. TC mark

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