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Understanding life in North Korea boils down to embracing two contradictory ideas: the situation for people in North Korea is more different than we can possibly imagine, and yet all people around the world are fundamentally the same. My trip to North Korea vividly displayed this basic fact of life.
There is perhaps no greater example of this than North Korea’s dating culture. While visiting the Juche Tower, I observed a group of young North Korean female soldiers practicing for the Mass Games.
However, the liberalization of dating culture in North Korea was probably driven by the crises of the 1990’s.
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.
Dating culture only really liberalized in the 1990’s.
Barbara Demick’s book , which is based mostly on refugees’ accounts of their lives in North Korea during the 1990’s, reported that “the country doesn’t have a dating culture.
A liberal sex culture is certainly not encouraged, but as far as sex is concerned, people make their own choices.” Another refugee explained that many North Koreans begin dating in middle school.
Students aged 14 or 15 are sent into the countryside to help farmers for 40 days in the spring and 15-20 days in the autumn.
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.
On the other hand, sex and dating in North Korea can carry deadly consequences.
In between their goose-stepping drills these women were doing something that amazed me – they were gossiping.
These were not the Nazi robots that the international media normally portrays the North Korean military as being, but real people. After all, they were schoolgirls (or I guess technically army-girls)!
It is rare for anyone to date or marry outside of one’s songbun (social class based on political loyalty).Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating