Want to know about the sex scene in Seoul?
The capital city of South Korea is home to over 10 million people and more than 25 million in the greater metropolitan area. Seoul is one of the top five economically powerful cities and is a bustling metropolis of culture, commerce, entertainment and tourism. Seoul is Asia’s most liveable city and benefits from having the second highest quality of life. There isn’t much that you can’t find in Seoul and the sex industry is well -represented, particularly in the thriving red-light district of Itaewon.
In this guide, we take a look at the adult industry in Seoul and the various ways you can find entertainment around the city.
- 1 Prostitution in Seoul
- 2 Seoul Escorts Guide
- 3 Sex in Seoul
- 3.1 Brothels
- 3.2 Kiss Bangs
- 3.3 Karaoke Bars/KTVs
- 3.4 Love Hotels
- 3.5 Hostess Bars
- 3.6 Room Salons
- 3.7 Swinging Clubs
- 3.8 Erotic Massage Parlours
- 3.9 Strip Clubs
- 3.10 Street Prostitutes & Red-Light Districts
- 3.11 Sex Shops
Prostitution in Seoul
Prostitution in Korea is illegal, and the country has been trying to clean up the face of the sex industry since it passed special laws on the trade in 2004. The enactment of the law was an unpopular one which led to largescale protests from the prostitution community.
Despite various operations to clamp down on sex tourism and prostitution, enforcement of the law is lax and it is still easy to find a service in Seoul. Due to the amount of money being traded, the sale of sexual services is largely tolerated with corruption reportedly contributing to the virtually free-trade.
As home to almost 50% of the nation, it is no surprise that the majority of South Korea’s prostitutes can also be found in Seoul. Estimates as to the numbers of women working in the industry in the capital are varied with some placing the figure at around 100,000 but many believing this to be significantly higher.
Certainly, Korea has a huge sex industry which reportedly brings in an annual $13 billion (roughly 1.5% of GDP) with more than 20% of Korean men having visited a prostitute. There is a culture of men paying a prostitute in order to lose their virginity.
Many women work as escorts while others provide sexual services in one of the range of adult orientated venues such as kiss bangs, juicy bars and room salons. The majority of women working in these establishments are Korean though there are also a high number of Russian sex workers in Seoul. This is largely due to the fascination that Korean men have with blondes. You can also expect to find a large number of Chinese and Filipino women working in Seoul.
As with a lot of countries in Asia, Korea’s prostitutes are not always willing to service foreigners (waygookin). This is as much to do with a stigma over infection risk as it has to do with the perception of the size of western dicks.
Though Seoul has a couple of red-light districts, the face of street prostitution (as in many countries) has been shifting over the last decade. With more working women offering their services online, there are less who are prepared to spend much time on the streets. However, it is possible to pick up on Hooker Hill in Itaewon as well as in some juicy bars.
Prostitution in Seoul is very much a modern day culture with the arrival of US Troops in the 1960s. Camp Town brothels were set up close to the stationed troops and the Korean Government player a part in establishing a sex trade to service the military.
Seoul Escorts Guide
In keeping with the rest of the region, there are various escort directories, agencies and websites catered to serving the lucrative escort market.
Whilst we cannot advertise these sites explicitly, they are easy to find online.
There are various escort directories and classified sites densely packed with adverts posted by escorts, call girls and agencies. You don’t have to search far to find them.
In addition, you can try sites like Adult Friend Finder where it’s possible to hook up with both escorts and ordinary Korean women.
Want to try your luck picking up women in bars and clubs?
It’s not easy. but it’s possible! See our guide to hookups in Seoul for more information.
Sex in Seoul
Though illegal, brothels do exist across South Korea and it is generally a case that you will need to read between the lines of what a store is purporting to sell and what is actually available. Usually, you will be approached before you even reach the store front.
Most commonly found to be brothels are massage parlours, barbershops and whisky bars. There are also establishments known by the locals as blowjob joints, kissing bars and window shops.
Depending on the venue, you can expect to pay in the region of 80,000 KRW to 130,000 KRW ($75 to $125) for a service.
A lot of the venues change names and even move around so it isn’t always easy to provide a recommendation of establishments or give addresses. However, you will find that the red-light districts are all well-served by various types and styles of sex-venues. See ‘Red Light Districts and Prostitutes’, below.
There are a couple of ‘strip’ salons which are, to all intents and purposes, brothels.
Kiss bangs (or Korean Kissing Rooms) are exactly what you would expect; bars and clubs where you can pay to spend time kissing and fondling with a Korean woman. There is usually limited relief offered though it is expected that you will jerk yourself off during the session (you are reminded to clean up after yourself with notices in English).
A few kiss bangs have girls who might offer a foot job or hand job and you might even get to play with her breasts and suck her nipples. The benefit of kiss bangs over other venues is that the women are often college girls earning some extra cash. Just bear in mind that touching below the waist is likely to get you ejected.
You pay for a set period of time which is usually 20-30 minutes for around $40 and foreigners are mostly welcome.
- The 7 Shop, 7 Kiss bang, Yanghwa-ro 18an-gil
- Kiss Time, World Cup Buk-ro 2-gil
- Kiss Time, Namhyeon 1-gil
Karaoke bars are a popular form of entertainment in Asia and these bars offer the opportunity to book a private room in which you (and a group of people) can spend an evening. Most are not set up to offer any adult services but those in the red-light areas can arrange for you to be accompanied by a hostess who can provide more than just a good singing voice. You can expect manual services and some oral and DFK. Some venues offer packages which include an hour at a hotel within your charge.
Love Hotels are simply hotels that charge by the hour instead of by the night; also known as ‘short time’ hotels. They are littered all around Seoul with those in the red-light area being prime spots for prostitution. Most do not organise the women directly but are used to the transient nature of their clientele. Many have good facilities and are set up for an erotic atmosphere including mirrored ceilings with some having jacuzzis and double showers. Most have vending machines on each floor with the basics such as lubricants, condoms and even some sex toys.
Most working women will have a preferred love hotel which they use and if you pick up you will need to bear in mind that her fee does not include the cost of the hotel.
Also known as ‘Juicy Bars’, you can pay for female company at these overpriced bars from a scantily clad Korean girl. The price of the drinks is split between the bar and the girl and for that, you get to be fawned over for the time you are at the bar. Outside of Hooker Hill, many of the women will not perform any additional services but there are certainly occasions when they do; this depends on the rapport.
It’s a popular way to spend an evening for some Korean men as well as western tourists and is a uniquely Asian pastime. It is rumored that these bars were originally set up for the US military. Whilst westerners may enjoy the attention of a Korean woman it isn’t as satisfying as spending the same amount of money somewhere you know your hostess will put out. Drinks cost around 20,000 KRW ($19) and you can find these in any red-light area, particularly in Hooker Hill.
The set-up is simple; head on in and buy a girl a drink. After you spend a little time with her, she will give you a price for a service. Oftentimes this is quoted high and you can negotiate down. Her initial offer will certainly depend on whether she thinks you are new to the game or not. Expect to pay around 70,000 KRW ($65) for a quick service. Once you’ve agreed a price, she will take you to a private room. The service is a quick one and is not your average GFE, more a quick bang. After you’re done, there are usually basic wash facilities to clean yourself up with.
More expensive than the juicy bars and more popular with businessmen are room salons. The drinks here are more expensive and you can easily spend over $200 or more but the girls more than make up for it. They are usually elite looking women who know how to wait on the men so you can mix business with pleasure in style. There are no sexual services included but some of the girls will be amenable to extending their company after business has been concluded.
Koreans aren’t known for their swinging but there is a small scene in Seoul.
Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul |
Desire is a local swinger’s sex club which was opened in March 2009.
It is quite exclusive and you will need to contact the club’s management before visiting to establish admission fees and protocol. However, the club has had some good reviews and, if you can get in, should offer a good night out for couples. It is recommended that you can speak Korean.
Erotic Massage Parlours
Happy ending massage in Seoul is also known as tukitang (anma means massage) and there are plenty of places providing this kind of service. Unlike many countries where distinguishing a relaxation massage salon from a sex salon can be tricky, Korea uses a system of barber poles to indicate their services.
The striped red/white/blue poles are usually located directly outside of a massage parlour with one pole meaning they offer manual relief only and two often indicating more; this could be oral or even full services.
The prices vary by venue and some charge more for western tourists than Asian tourists, but they are amenable to a little negotiation. You can expect to pay anything from 50,000 KRW to 100,000 KRW ($50-$100) for 30-40 minutes.
As ever, getting a service in some places can be tricky as a foreigner but there are some that do, particularly in Hooker Hill, Itaewon (see ‘Red-Light Districts’, below). There are also a couple of spots in Yongsan and Ansan worth checking out; just look for the poles.
There are other private strip clubs in Seoul but many are not open to foreigners, or at least not to Westerners. It is possible for Japanese tourists to gain entrance to these smaller local clubs in the red-light areas. Some nightclubs have performers who get topless but these are becoming few and far between.
You could always try Starbutts, Hard Rain and Russian Riviera in Itaewon.
Street Prostitutes & Red-Light Districts
Seoul has a lot of red-light areas though technically they should be called pink-light areas due to the puce lights that these areas emanate. There are thee main districts in the city, all providing a good variety of establishments that offer sexual services. You can find a more detailed guide to the red-light districts of Korea in our guide.
Hooker Hill (Itaewon)
Hooker Hill is the largest and most popular red-light district in Seoul and is known for being a service area for the US military. Though it does have some local patrons as well as Asian tourists, Hooker Hill is known as being a very westernized area of Seoul. All of the sex businesses that are set up in the area are foreigner-friendly and waygookin will have no problems getting serviced here.
Hooker Hill is located near the Itaewon train station and starts waking up at around midday; however, the area doesn’t really liven up until after dark.
You can find kiss bangs, juicy bars and love hotels around the area but they aren’t the cheapest you can find in Seoul.
As a tourist area, prices can be ridiculously high here but remember that most offers will be made hoping to catch a gullible client and can always be bartered. If an ajumma or street walker thinks you are a newbie, you may well get quoted as much as 400,000 KRW ($376) for a full service but you shouldn’t expect to pay any more than 100,000 KRW ($94) for any service in Hooker Hill.
Known as Oh Pal Pal 588, this is one of Korea’s most famous red-light districts. Though the area has declined in terms of popularity over the last decade there are still a few sex workers lingering in the neighboring area.
The area is current being redeveloped and most bricks and mortar venues have been winding down over the last 12-18 months.
Also known as Miari Texas, Mia-ri is situated in the Hawolgok-dong area of Seoul. It isn’t the nicest of areas and there are parts which are not just seedy but dangerous. However, it is a popular place for Korean nationals to visit. There is no question about why either; there are plenty of brothels to choose from but few which will allow foreigners.
You can reach Miari Texas by Exit 10 of Gireum Station. The entrance to the area is covered by set of long curtains which leads to a warren of alleyways. Unlike Hooker Hill, there are no glass windows and neon lights but instead ajummas approach men in the street to coax them inside private rooms. In this way, there is no confusion about whether you are welcome or not and if you are approached then your business is wanted.
Expect to pay around 90,000 KRW ($62) for a full service.
There are a lot of darkened windows around the red-light districts with the ‘No Minors/19’ signs which turn out to be little sex shops. Most stock a mixture of the bedroom basics as well as some novelty Asian sex toys.
The love hotels also have vending machines where you can pick up condoms, lubricants and other essentials.
There are a couple of more welcoming sex shops around the city which offer a pleasant way to shop.
3rd floor, 541-17, Shinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Situated in a low-key area of the city, the Pleasure Lab is one of South Korea’s newest sex shops. It’s a sleek store which has a reputation for its all-inclusive atmosphere. When you first arrive you can be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled into a kind of Apple Store. The range of products isn’t extensive but they are high-tech and fashionable.
The store was founded by Jung-yoon Choi, a Korean businesswoman who has had to fight cultural stigmatization to bring the store to fruition.
The Pleasure Lab is open as follows:
- Monday to Saturday: 12.00pm to 9.00pm
- Sunday: 12.00pm to 6.00pm
Seoul, Jung-gu, Chungmuro 1(il)-ga
The Bururu sex store is easy to find and stocks a good range of adult material including basics and essentials, sex furniture, clothing and porn.
It’s a bright and open shop with very friendly staff who will be more than happy to help you with your search.
Bururu is open as follows:
- Monday to Friday: 9.00am to 10.00pm
- Saturday and Sunday: 11.00am to 11.00pm
Best of the Rest
The following stores are reportedly work checking out:
- Burr, 5th floor, 56-1 Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
- Play Spot, Check Road 22 Road 18, Jongro-gu, Seoul
- Load View, 1002, 10th Floor, Garden Tower, Yulgokro, Jongno-gu
- Adult Rod, 3rd Floor, Samyoung Building, 308-1 Jongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- Red Container, 154-1 Itaewon Road, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- Burr Life, 246, Noksapyeong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- Safe Adult Goods, 106, Seongchang-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- Play, 167 Shinchon Road, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul B1
Featured image via Flickr.