Condom Sales in South Korea Rise after Adultery Legalized

Earlier this year, South Korea legalized adultery, and it’s having some surprising effects– including rocketing local condom sales into the stratosphere.


Usually, adultery is seen as just an acceptable reason for divorce. But in some countries around the world, it can actually put you in jail or worse. South Korea was one of those until very recently.

While most adultery laws historically have been to keep women’s sexual urges at bay, South Korea’s was passed in 1953 to protect wives whose husbands might run around on them. Still, anyone could be tried. In 2008, a very popular actress, Ok So-Ri, admitted an affair and was charged with adultery by her husband, which lead to her spearheading the call to dissolve the law.

Such a law will always be controversial. In South Korea, it was called into question four times before finally being dismissed, all within the past twenty-five years. The harshest penalty of up to two years jail time was often cited as a violation of civil rights.

It’s very rare that anyone was ordered to serve jail time within the past couple of decades since financial settlements are usually reached outside of court, but it was still considered a felony. Over 50,000 cases were presented before judges in the past 30 years.

Advocates for the removal of the law were quick to point out that removing the law doesn’t remove ethical or moral standards which may be forfeit in extramarital affairs, nor does it remove the option to divorce.

Laws against adultery aren’t anything new. In fact, they’ve been around for hundreds of years at least, and still exist in many countries. A few countries have very severe punishments for adultery, including stoning or death. In most western countries, adultery isn’t against the law, but it can be used as just cause in divorce proceedings.

It may be worth noting, too, that in many countries where there is an adultery ban, the law is heavily in favor of men. Punishments for women who cheat on their husbands are often far more severe than men who cheat on their wives.

Historically, the law was often worded as, “having sexual dalliances with someone of the opposite gender who you aren’t married to.” Which can lead to a little legal muddling. For instance, that makes having affairs with people who are the same gender as you legal, but premarital sex, and consensual extramarital sex (like polyamory and cuckholding) illegal.

As far as the condom surge, we’re just happy that South Koreans are being safe. There’s precedence to people in casual relationships having better condom consciousness than those in committed relationships, perhaps for that very reason– they don’t know what their partners are bringing into the liaison.

Unidus is South Korea’s top condom manufacturer, and they are reporting sales going up by as much as 15%. Whether this is all due to adultery or not can never be said for certain, but the company seems to be taking it in stride.

After all, the Unidus motto is, “You need us!” And apparently, folks in South Korea do.

[Source: NYTimes]

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