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Can you kiss in public in Korea?

Can You Kiss in Public in Korea?


Korea is a country with a rich culture and traditions that date back centuries. While the country has modernized in many ways, certain customs and practices are still held in high regard. One of these is public displays of affection, particularly kissing. In this article, we will explore whether kissing in public is acceptable in Korea or not.

Understanding Korean Culture

To understand the Korean perspective on public displays of affection, it is important to understand their cultural values. Koreans value modesty, respect, and harmony. PDA can be seen as disrespectful and disruptive to the peace of the community.

History of Kissing in Korea

Historically, kissing was not considered an appropriate expression of love in Korea. Instead, love was expressed through poetry, songs, and other forms of art. However, with the influence of Western culture, attitudes towards kissing have changed over time.

The Law on Public Displays of Affection

There is no specific law against kissing in public in Korea. However, Article 262 of the Korean Criminal Act prohibits “obscene acts” in public places. What constitutes an obscene act is open to interpretation, but excessive kissing or fondling could be considered obscene.

Public Attitudes towards Kissing

While attitudes towards kissing have become more relaxed over time, it is still not widely accepted in public spaces. Older generations tend to frown upon PDA, while younger generations are more accepting.

Where is Kissing Allowed?

Most Koreans prefer to keep their romantic moments private. However, kissing on the cheek or forehead is acceptable among family members and close friends. Kissing in private spaces like parks or secluded areas is also more acceptable than doing so in crowded places.

The Influence of Media

Korean media, particularly K-dramas and K-pop, often depict romantic moments that involve kissing. While this has helped to normalize kissing to some extent, it has also led to unrealistic expectations of what is acceptable in public.

How to Show Affection in Korea

While PDA may not be acceptable in Korea, there are other ways to show affection. Holding hands, hugging, and linking arms are all common ways to express love and friendship.

Respecting Korean Culture

As a foreigner in Korea, it is important to respect the cultural norms and values of the country. This includes refraining from excessive PDA, particularly in public spaces.

Consequences of Public Displays of Affection

While there may not be legal consequences for kissing in public, there can be social consequences. You may be seen as disrespectful or disruptive to the community. It can also lead to uncomfortable situations with locals.


Kissing in public is not widely accepted in Korea. While attitudes towards PDA have become more relaxed over time, it is still important to respect cultural values and norms. Remember that there are other ways to express love and affection without causing discomfort or disruption in public spaces.

Is public affection allowed in Korea?

Public displays of affection such as passionate kissing and prolonged hugging are generally viewed as unsuitable and gaudy in South Korea. Instead, they are considered intimate moments that should be shared between partners in a private setting.

Is kiss common in South Korea?

It is common to see couples in South Korea holding hands, giving pecks, or even kissing in public, which may be surprising to those from European or American cultures. Korean couples are more open in expressing their affection towards each other in public.

How do Koreans flirt?

In Korean culture, flirting is similar to what is portrayed in Korean dramas, where individuals use charming, endearing, and adorable sayings to win the heart of someone they are interested in. Along with romantic expressions, people also use aegyo (애교), or acting cute, to flirt.

Are Korean men physically affectionate?

In Korea, it is common for people of the same gender to show physical affection towards each other in a non-romantic way. Friends may sit in each other’s laps, hold hands, stroke arms and hands, put their arms around each other’s shoulders, and hug in a way that is comfortable and accepted.

Can a Korean date a foreigner?

Although there may be a language barrier, many Korean men prefer to date foreigners because they are open to learning new languages. Therefore, if you are an African American woman and have feelings for a Korean man, don’t hesitate to express them. This could be your opportunity to fulfill your desire to date Korean men.

What is the age difference between marriage in Korea?

In South Korea, individuals over the age of 18 (males) or 16 (females) can get married with the consent of their parents or guardians. If consent is not given, the age of consent for marriage is 20 in Korean age (equivalent to 19 in international age). Additionally, 20 years of age is also the age of consent for sexual activity.

Tips for Visitors

If you are visiting Korea and want to show affection to your partner, there are some things you can do to avoid causing offense. Firstly, try to keep your romantic moments private. Avoid kissing or excessive displays of affection in public places like streets, buses, or restaurants. Instead, look for secluded areas like parks or quiet corners where you can express your love without disturbing others.

Another tip is to be mindful of the people around you. If you notice that others are uncomfortable with your behavior, it’s best to tone it down or move to a more private location. Also, try to learn some basic Korean phrases and customs before traveling to the country. This will help you understand the cultural values and norms and avoid causing offense.

Lastly, be respectful of the local culture and traditions. Remember that Korea has a rich history and unique customs that have been passed down for generations. By showing respect for these traditions, you will not only avoid causing offense but also gain a deeper appreciation for the country and its people.

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