What Are Korean Kissing Rooms & Are They Cool?

Skirting anti-prostitution laws with a little paid kissing on the Korean Peninsula.


According to the YonHap News (I know you're familiar with that outlet), Korean law enforcement bros have been busting up brothels left, right, center and behind since a statute was passed in 2004 banning sex for money as an occupation. Read: Korean Court Rules Against Going Dutch

Industries are a little like sharks. They have to keep moving and eating seals and surfers else they'll sink and starve, respectively. And no industry is more adept at evolving than prostitution (with the possible exception of the X-Men). It's fought legislation, moral posturing and various maladies of the bathing suit region.


Prostitution purveyor have been disguising their operations as massage parlors, karaoke dens and, sometimes, housekeeping services (if my knowledge of 1970s porn is accurate). But Johnny Law (also known as Jin-y Law on the Peninsula below the 38th parallel) is hip to those ruses. So, Korean bordello-owners/operators have started a little thing called Kissing Rooms. Read: 10 Surprising Facts About Kissing

The Kissing Room is an establishment wherein a chap pays a gal to plant a nice wet one on his grill. Evidently, the smooching and tongue tennis is as far as the physicality is supposed to go (though who has ever had a make-out sesh with someone that didn't include a little grinding and light but respectful groping?). Authorities are worried that these lip-locks will lead to something more illicit. Read: Korean? Male? Need a Wife? Try Vietnam.


The Man, though, is having a hard time closing down these Kissing Rooms, because they happen to be clandestine and very security-conscious. Were I in law enforcement, I would track the shipments of Binaca and cold sore cream. According to people who keep these statistics, no one knows how many Kissing Rooms are out there, but it's said that massage parlors have doubled since the '04 crackdown on houses and other domiciles of ill repute. Despite being "illegal," it seems that many Asian cultures are tacitly okeedokee with prostitution. Read: Koreans and Their Three-Year Itch

And before you begin casting stones, let me remind you that these United States, particularly our treasured state fairs, have a long and colorful history of a corollary to Kissing Rooms: kissing booths. Sororities and various other women-intensive organizations have long used the kissing booth for fund-raising and merry-making. While I have never seen a kissing booth, I have heard them referenced in literature and cinema. Read: 5 Reasons Kissing Is Good For You

If the Koreans keep struggling with Kissing Rooms, I believe we will have a new subject for the next picture from star of song and film Rain: Kiss Of The Hidden Kissing Room.

Note: I would like to point out that Rain is both the Justin Timberlake and the Jet Li of South Korea. So he's a pretty big deal.