South Korean Condom Sales Rise After North Korean Nuke Test

It would appear that the North Korean test of a nuclear device has prompted the South Koreans to get busy.

As tends to be the case in disasters and crises, sales of condoms and reservations at motels surged in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test on Oct. 9. One online hotel reservations site reports that everything is completely booked up through the end of the month in what it calls an “exceptional” flood of guests. If there is apathy about security among Koreans, there is also a silent terror seeking release in sex.


Experts offer various explanations. “There has been research showing that following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, U.S. citizens also engaged in more sexual encounters than normal,” says Seong Gyeong-won, head of the Korea Institute for Sex Education. “Prof. Pepper Schwartz, a University of Washington sociologist, insists that as the level of anxiety in a society rises, people are capable of experiencing more passionate desire.”

via Carolyn O’Hara, who titles her post “South Koreans make love, not war.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    Then perhaps we should let Iran get a nuke – if it lets some of us get some.

    Nukes for nookie! heh.

  2. legion says:

    Yeah, Mark! I vote for a new slogan:
    “Make love and war!”

  3. Anderson says:

    Or were South Koreans simply more reluctant than before to bring children into this crazy world?

  4. donsurber says:

    I would have thought the toilet paper sales would have risen.

    But that’s just me.

  5. I think the phenomenon has been noted before, but it is usually linked to a desire to pass ones genes along. It would seem the condoms are an intellectual compromise to a biological imperative. Insert Woody Allen joke here.

    I remember my wife buying toilet paper in the run up to the first gulf war. She remembered stories from her parents of shortages during WWII and she wasn’t going to be caught stranded on the toilet bowl. I tried to explain to her that while the stories of rationing during WWII were likely real, the economic efforts for the first gulf war were not likely to recreate such a condition. I think we worked through the last of our TP stock during Clinton’s second term.

    After 9/11, she did not feel a need for a similar type of emergency stores stock piling.

  6. madmatt says:

    maybe nobody wants to risk potential birth defects

  7. Mark says:

    Or were South Koreans simply more reluctant than before to bring children into this crazy world?

    Well, if they are using condoms, sounds like they still don’t want kids to come into this crazy world!