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Are periods taboo in Korea?


Periods are a natural biological phenomenon that affect half the world’s population. However, in some cultures, they are considered taboo and are not openly discussed. Korea is not an exception to this phenomenon. The topic of menstruation is often considered taboo and is not openly discussed in public. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this taboo and how it affects Korean women.

Historical perspective

The taboo surrounding periods in Korea has its roots in Confucianism, which has been a dominant philosophy in Korea for centuries. According to Confucian beliefs, women were considered impure during their periods and were expected to stay isolated during this time. This belief has been passed down through generations and still affects Korean society today.


One of the main reasons why periods are considered taboo in Korea is the lack of education about menstruation. Many schools do not offer comprehensive sex education, which includes information about periods. Therefore, many young girls grow up without proper knowledge about menstruation and feel ashamed or embarrassed about it.


Another factor that contributes to the taboo surrounding periods in Korea is the language used to describe them. In Korean, there are many euphemisms used to refer to periods, such as “those days” or “red days.” These euphemisms can make it difficult for women to talk openly about their experiences.

Cultural norms

In Korean culture, there is a strong emphasis on modesty and propriety. Women are expected to behave in a certain way and maintain a certain image in public. The topic of periods is often seen as too personal or private to discuss openly.

Media representation

The media also plays a role in perpetuating the taboo surrounding periods in Korea. Menstruation is rarely discussed in mainstream media, and when it is, it is often portrayed in a negative light. This can lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment among women.

Religious beliefs

Religion also plays a role in the taboo surrounding periods in Korea. Christianity, which is the dominant religion in Korea, views menstruation as a symbol of impurity. This belief can make it difficult for women to talk openly about their experiences.

Stigma and discrimination

The taboo surrounding periods in Korea can lead to stigma and discrimination against women who experience them. Women may be excluded from certain activities or events during their periods, or they may feel ashamed or embarrassed about their experiences.


The taboo surrounding periods in Korea can also affect women’s access to healthcare. Many women may feel uncomfortable discussing their menstrual issues with healthcare providers, which can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment.

Advocacy efforts

Despite the challenges, there are advocacy efforts underway to break the taboo surrounding periods in Korea. Organizations such as “Period Positive” are working to promote education and awareness about menstruation and challenge the stigma associated with it.


In conclusion, periods are still considered taboo in Korea due to a combination of factors including cultural norms, lack of education, language, media representation, religious beliefs, stigma, and discrimination. However, there are efforts underway to break this taboo and promote education and awareness about menstruation. It is crucial that we continue to challenge these negative attitudes and work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting society for all women.

Are periods taboo in South Korea?

Menstruation has been a taboo topic in public discussions in South Korea, with many considering it a private matter for women. Women in South Korea are expected to keep their private life separate from their public image.

What do Koreans use during periods?

Chapter 8 of the book reveals that South Korean women were slower to adopt disposable sanitary pads and other feminine-hygiene technologies as compared to their counterparts in Western countries. Instead, many women continued to use homemade sanitary napkins, and tampons were viewed as a foreign invention for a significant period of time.

Did Korean girls have periods?

In Korean girls, the average age of their first menstruation has decreased to 12.6 years, compared to previous generations. Many teenage girls experience menstrual pain and symptoms, but only a small percentage seek medical advice. Effective treatment plans are needed to address menstrual issues in this age group.

In which country menstruation is a taboo?

In countries like Malawi and Vanuatu, menstruation is a taboo topic, leading many girls to feel frightened and unprepared when they experience their first period and see blood flow from their bodies.

Can you go to a Korean bath on your period?

Research on medical publications and articles in Japanese suggests that doctors generally advise against women visiting an onsen while menstruating.

Do Koreans use tampons?

Similar to other Asian nations, tampons are not widely used or recognized. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Korea reported that 81% of women use sanitary pads, while 11% use tampons.

One way to break the taboo surrounding periods in Korea is to increase access to menstrual products. In many parts of the country, menstrual products are expensive and difficult to obtain. This can lead to women using unsanitary materials or missing school or work during their periods. By increasing access to affordable and safe menstrual products, we can help remove some of the barriers that prevent women from talking openly about their experiences.

Another way to break the taboo is to create safe spaces for women to discuss their periods. This can be done through community events, support groups, or online forums. By creating a space where women can share their stories and ask questions without fear of judgment or shame, we can help normalize the conversation around menstruation.

Furthermore, it is crucial for men to be included in the conversation around menstruation. By educating men about periods and encouraging them to support women during this time, we can help break down the stigma and create a more supportive environment for all. Men can play a crucial role in challenging negative attitudes towards menstruation and promoting education and awareness.

In conclusion, breaking the taboo surrounding periods in Korea requires a multifaceted approach that includes education, access to resources, safe spaces for discussion, and involvement from men. By working together, we can create a more inclusive society where women feel comfortable talking openly about their experiences and receiving the support they need.

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