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Dating culture only really liberalized in the 1990’s.Barbara Demick’s book , which is based mostly on refugees’ accounts of their lives in North Korea during the 1990’s, reported that “the country doesn’t have a dating culture.

This may ruin any current relationships, and hamper dating prospects in the future.

Furthermore, the lack of proper sex education makes sexual contact a risky proposition.

Understanding life in North Korea boils down to embracing two contradictory ideas: the situation for people in North Korea is more different than we can possibly imagine, and yet all people around the world are fundamentally the same. My trip to North Korea vividly displayed this basic fact of life.

There is perhaps no greater example of this than North Korea’s dating culture. While visiting the Juche Tower, I observed a group of young North Korean female soldiers practicing for the Mass Games.

After meeting with experts and other tourists to North Korea, I learned that my experience was not unique.

I can report with confidence that North Koreans flirt, date, and fall in love just like everyone else.

Girls learn about sanitation and raising children but are left ignorant about sex.

One refugee asserted that, “There are no contraceptives and they have not even heard of a condom.” Pregnancy is grounds for expulsion from school. However, since the 1990’s abortion has become illegal.

Holding hands in public just didn’t seem risqué anymore, considering that prostitutes were openly selling themselves on the street.

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