Public displays of Affections in South Korea

How affectionate can you be with your significant other in public in Korea? Public displays of affections (PDA) in Korea are not as common as some other parts of the world. Many Koreans don’t feel comfortable showing too much affection to your boyfriend or girlfriend in public. It is rather considered as taboo. A little kiss on the forehead might look cute. But, being touchy and bluntly movie-type making out sessions in public is not something you can see neither often nor really tolerable. So, if you happen to have a Korean girlfriend or boyfriend, it might be a good idea to define what is acceptable and what not.


Though, the young generation in South Korea has become more open-minded in terms of public affections. However, older generation’s mentality is still much conservative than younger generations.  Apparently, some have been asking for the government to step up to regulate public displays of affections that make other people uncomfortable.   Even though some young Korean couples see it as expressing their love, a lot of people have been calling to complain about couples causing disturbance due to their heavy public displays of affection in subway in 2012. For that reason, the warning announcements have also been made during subway rides. There was also a warning sign for couples that show too much affection in subway.


At the same time, it is commonly accepted to see Koreans of the same gender to be touchy. For instance, it is perfectly normal to see girls holding hands together. A lot of foreigners find it weird that especially Korean women hold hands. However, Koreans say that it just shows a close friendship and a normal thing to do. So, if you are a female, linking arms or holding hands are nothing to be surprised for. Even for men, it is perfectly normal to be affectionate towards your friends in Korea.  You will see Korean men putting their arms one another, and they are quite affectionate towards one another. As a side note, that doesn’t mean South Koreans are open to homosexuality. This doesn’t mean you must behave in a certain way in Korea. However, it is always helpful to understand one’s culture while you live in it.



Leave a Reply