Korean Movie Review #7: My Wife Got Married (아내가 결혼했다; 2008)

My Wife Got Married 2(Source)

Starring: Son Yae-jin (Joo In-Ah), Kim Ju-Hyeok (Noh Deok-Hoon), and Joo Sang-Wook (Han Jae-Kyeong). Written by Song Hye-Jin (original novel by Park Hyun-Wook) and directed by Jeong Yoon-soo.119 minutes.

Before the mid-1990s, very few Korean movies featured a wife leaving an unhappy marriage. Of those that did, either she would ultimately return to her husband, tail between her legs, or she would face an untimely death, so great was the inevitable spiral into destitution and despair.

So, when Kim Tae-kyun (김태균) directed The Adventures of Mrs. Park (박봉곤 가출사건; 1996), who not just successfully pursued her lifelong dreams of becoming a singer, but found new romance with a second husband too, he softened the subversive social message by making the movie into a romantic comedy. But even then, he would later confess to Cine 21 magazine, he was extremely concerned at how audiences might react to such “an unexpected ending”.

Fast forward to 2008, and My Wife Got Married, about a woman who demands 2 husbands, was one of the most popular movies of the year, and even won Son Ye-jin the Blue Dragon Film Award for best actress. Not quite a comedy, and sparking minimal complaint or controversy (although women were careful not to publicly identify too closely with her character), it’s difficult not to see it as a sign of how quickly and irrevocably Korean attitudes had changed in the preceding decade. I’ve projected feminist empowerment onto it ever since.

It’s somewhat ironic then, that it turns out that the movie is *ahem* actually told exclusively from the perspective of the main male character, Noh Deok-Hoon…

*Minor spoliers follow*

Opening in Spring 2002 with Deok-Hoon bumping into Joo In-Ah on the subway, next they’re at a coffee shop, where he reminisces about missing his chance to ask her out back when they worked together, and speculating with his male coworkers about whether she wore a bra or not (as one does). Discovering a shared love of football, specifically the rivals Real Madrid (him) and FC Barcelona (her; expect many ensuing football/relationship metaphors in the movie), soon they’re having drinks, then sex at her place.

My Wife Got Married 3In a surprisingly erotic scene, Deok-Hoon has the best sex of his life, and instantly makes such an emotional, almost spiritual connection to In-Ah that it’s easy to see how wounded he would be by what audiences already know will come. But, by no means does she merely humor him in response. So, even without that benefit of hindsight, it’s no surprise that they do genuinely fall in love.

Nymphomania a historyThis is more important than it may sound. Because, before falling in love, first they are lovers (what an oxymoron!), with one scene in which she encourages him to very explicitly talk about his sexual fantasies — he struggles; she’s well aware of hers — hinting at her much greater sexual subjectivity, and willingness to act on it. Considering that just 13 minutes in, audiences were — à la Basic Instinct — reflexively craning their necks to get a better glimpse of her exposed(?) nipples, it would have been very natural and easy for writer Song Hye-Jin to have continued on that salacious, titillating basis, portraying In-Ah as a emotionally manipulative nymphomaniac that can’t be satisfied with just one man, with all the double standards that that implies.

Instead, as soon as we’re shown that they’re in love, In-Ah also says that despite that, she can’t guarantee that Deok-Hoon will be the only person she loves for her entire life. Her surprise at his umbrage with that seems both authentic and naive (a constant theme), as is her not realizing how he might feel at her continuing to drink and socialize until all hours as if she were still single.

Not that she can’t or shouldn’t mind you. Rather, it’s how secretive she is about it that is the problem, never answering her phone; it’s only when he eventually, desperately confronts her at her apartment after one such session that it seems to click. Only slightly drunk and still impeccably dressed, you sense maybe she is only testing him when she retorts that she was sleeping with someone. Either way, he leaves her.

After a month of moping around, he’s encouraged by a friend to forgive her, but also to ensure it doesn’t happen again by marrying her and then knocking her up. Surprised at his call, let alone his marriage proposal, she takes a lot of persuading, only finally acquiescing during a World Cup game.

Those that were here that magical summer, will surely understand.

My Wife Got Married 1(Source)

Domestic bliss ensues, only briefly interrupted by her moving to a different city for 4 days a week for the sake of her job; after all, such arrangements are completely normal for millions of Koreans. This movie being what is though, soon his world comes crashing down when she reveals that she’s not just fallen in love with a second man — Han Jae-Kyeong — there, but she would like him to also be her husband — not just boyfriend — just as Deok-Hoon is in Seoul. Angry, emotional, and this time also physical confrontations follow, with Deok-Hoon resolving not to let her to “win” by divorcing her.

Let’s pause for a moment here, as many viewers may well have needed to take a deep breath at this point in the movie. Because, victim or perpetrator, likely most would also been affected by cheating spouses, partners, or parents at least once in their lives. Equally likely, they resolved to never let it happen again, or to them. So, if Deok-Hoon returning to In-Ah the first time didn’t already, his acquiescing to this new arrangement surely brought many of those same feelings of rage, hurt, impotence, and frustration back to the surface.

Or perhaps I’m just projecting? Either way, frankly, if I wasn’t already committed to a review, I would have stopped watching at that point, for the same reasons I turn off most Korean dramas within 10 minutes: it’s difficult to be sympathetic to — or interested in — a character you constantly want to grab by the shoulders and just shake some damn sense into.

My Wife Got Married 6(Source)

Yet, for a time, the trio — well, technically two duos — does seem to work, providing one takeaway message that polygamy (technically, polyandry) is neither as absurd nor as evil as it’s usually assumed to be. Moreover, in the process the movie pointedly questions many of Korean society’s double standards regarding marriage, especially how prostitutes and mistresses are tolerated for men while many wives languish at home, resigned to continuing their — by their own admission — loveless, sexless marriages out of financial dependence and fears they will lose custody of their children. Many reviewers erroneously claim these are shared by Deok-Hoon; however, but for sneaking glimpses of In-ah’s breasts at work, then complaining of her not wearing a bra in public (after sleeping together just one time!), he’s only guilty of firmly believing in monogamy. Indeed, he’s the one that repeatedly lashes out at his male friend’s hypocrisy, although it’s true that he could have done so with much greater gusto at his brother’s.

However, no matter how positively it portrays polyandry, the movie also demonstrates how unfeasible it is in a society where it’s both illegal and there’s strong social prejudices against it. And, coming from a movie which can be described as a romance only by default (to those reviewers that call it a comedy, I’m perplexed at what they laughed at), you’re left wondering what the point of the 2 hours was exactly.

*Major spoilers follow*

My Wife Got Married 7 (Source)

Specifically, it’s the birth of a daughter that starkly demonstrates how the trio’s arrangement simply can’t be sustained in the face of family and official obligations. Questions of paternity aside (In-Ah wants him to love the child regardless of the who is the father, so never reveals that. Later, it’s Jae-Kyeong that reveals that they always used contraception when they were together), it soon becomes apparent that Deok-Hoon and Jae-Kyeong’s families are none the wiser.

This facade comes tumbling down when Deok-Hoon’s colleagues in Seoul see In-Ah, Jae-Kyeong, and daughter in a magazine article written by (unknowingly to them) the latter’s cousin, and assume that he’s secretly gotten a divorce. Fearing he’s slowly but surely losing both wife and daughter, and partially out of spite (really, he hasn’t felt in control of his life since the start of the movie), he responds by crashing the first birthday party Jae-Kyeong’s family has for “their” daughter.

My Wife Got Married 5(Source)

In response, In-ah disappears with her daughter, and her two husbands — this is much more believable than it may sound — come to live together and even become friends; as they say, they have nowhere else to go. When a postcard from Spain arrives 5 months later, the movie ends with both of them joining her there to watch football games and live happily ever after, as if somehow questions of employment, visas, schooling, custody rights, and social prejudice didn’t also apply there.

*Spoilers End*

Was it too much to ask that the movie delved a little more into some of those questions? Do any movies know any Korean movies that do cover alternative living arrangements a little more realistically, but are still entertaining? Thanks!

Update, Feb. 3: By coincidence, today The Atlantic had an interesting article titled “When Taking Multiple Husbands Makes Sense,” with the byline “Historically, polyandry was much more common than we thought.”

Update, January 3 2014: And today, Salon one titled “My Two Husbands.”

Korean Gender Reader, 19-25 January

Gender Programming by Sinfest(“Gender Programming” by Sinfest. Click on the image for the full strip)

The new, lite version. Sorry if anyone relied on the categories in the previous version, but 1) they were always pretty loose and arbitrary anyway (many stories could go into several), and 2) they didn’t really seem appropriate with me deliberately going for a good mix of subjects now, rather than simply collecting every story I came across. Grouping them into five at a time does make for easy mental navigation though (i.e., see what’s available for one day, move on to the next), and if you’re impatient it only takes about a minute (yes — I’ve timed!) to read the titles of all the thirty-five links available.

Enjoy!

Saturday

On Dragon’s Dol (On Becoming a Good Korean Feminist Wife; Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Lawmakers moving to set a quota for women directors at public institutions (The Korea Herald)

What are thigh gaps and why you probably aren’t going to get one from weight loss (Angry K-pop Fan)

Korean Culture Through K-pop 102: Korean Nationalism Uncovered (Seoulbeats)

— Gay in Korea: an interview with an American expat living in Seoul (Mapping Words)

Sunday

Realizing Park’s vision on gender equality (The Korea Herald)

Why Westerners Screw Up Meeting Older Koreans (Meet me at the wall)

The problematic social norms of “I Got a Boy” (My Musings)

Netizens admit to being overly harsh with female stars (Netizen Buzz)

Lee Hi Shocks Fans With Training Details (Omona They Didn’t!)

Monday

Another Friend, Another Divorce in China (Speaking of China)

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident, Part 10: ‘Recruit a Yankee strike force!’ (Gusts of Popular Feeling; Part 11; Part 19)

Korean government’s glass ceiling is intact (Korea Joongang Daily)

Kodansha is figuring out that using the kid in the nude photoshoot with Kasai Tomomi was a bad idea (Asian Junkie; NSFW?)

South Korea’s college-educated women complain about income, employment disparities (Press TV Video {automatic}; The Korea Times)

Tuesday

Korea last in OECD in female graduate employment (The Korea Herald; The Korea Economic Daily)

Do men really have higher sex drives than women? (io9)

“The Sexy Lie” by Dr. Caroline Heldman (TEDx): Great lecture about female sexual objectification and its damaging effects (Angry K-Pop Fan)

Saesang fan drugs himchan’s drink (Omona They Didn’t!)

Life in Plastic: Fantastic? (Outside Seoul)

Wednesday

Korea builds first ever school for victims of bullying AND bullies (Netizen Buzz)

High-end call girl service busted (The Marmot’s Hole)

South Korean animation: is the underdog finally having its day? (The Guardian)

Will Hosting the Special Olympics Change Koreans’ Views on the Disabled? (Korea Realtime)

Human Rights Committee Criticizes Seocho-gu Office for Banning Ad Promoting Gay Awareness (Tales of Wonderlost)

Thursday

Japanese finance minster wants old people to “hurry up and die” (io9; Visual Anthropology of Japan)

What is “Men’s Korea” (formerly Boslachi)? (Korean Gender Cafe)

Sean Hayes in the Christian Science Monitor on Korean Adoptions (The Korean Law Blog; The Hankyoreh)

So-called “Reverse Sexism” in Korea (Korean Gender Cafe)

The Promise and Perils of Feminist Criticism in Chinese Studies (Dissertation Reviews)

Friday

— “Memoirs of a Geisha” source gets fed up and writes her own memoir to set the record straight (Tales of Wonderlost)

For surgery, some patients prefer a woman’s touch (Korea Joongang Daily)

Queer Culture in Japan (Rainbow Arts Project)

Go Young Wook to Be Indicted for Sexually Harassing Minors (Omona They Didn’t!)

“Here are the best [Asian-American] responses to ‘Paper Tigers,’ in my opinion” (Phenomenology/Intervention)

(Links are not necessarily endorsements)

Quick Hit: Living as a female smoker in Korea

Coffee and Cigarettes 2003 Fume Cette Cigarette Korea(Sources: left, flygookee; right, Emmanuel Robert-Espalieu, auteur)

The other day Kim Young-hee (26) smoked in public instead of a cafe. She took out a cigarette impulsively while waiting for the bus home after a few drinks with her friends.

“I was a bit tipsy and felt like a puff. After I lit the cigarette, a random middle-aged man came up to me and started shouting as if I had done something very bad. He said, ‘I will slap your face if you don’t throw your cigarette away right now.’ He called me ‘dirty little woman.’”

She still thinks it was ridiculously unfair for him to reproach her because the man was also holding a cigarette…

See The Korea Times for more stories of similar incidents, and my The Gender Politics of Smoking in South Korea series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Newsflash, Part 4, Korea’s Hidden Smokers) for more context. As explained in the latter (see the article in the last link for a summary of the series), the stigma against women smoking leads to massive under-reporting by them, resulting in official figures of roughly 2-5% of Korean women smoking, against best estimates of roughly 20% (see here for a handy international comparison). What’s more, the previous government was accused of deliberately downplaying the figures to stress its success in lowering the (admittedly more pressing) high male smoking rate, and while technically I haven’t seen the same accusations leveled at the outgoing Lee Myung-bak Administration, I haven’t found any official acknowledgement of how problematic its figures are either.

Korean Woman Smoking SmallMeanwhile, since my last post in the series was published nearly a year ago, probably the biggest developments have been the Seoul City Council’s continuing efforts to implement its 2011 plans to increase the number of public areas being designated smoke-free to 1/5th of the city by 2014 (smoking on sidewalks was already banned in 2010); and also efforts by some companies, both public and private, that have gone so far as to make being a non-smoker a prerequisite for promotion. For more details on both of those, see “Getting Tough: Korean Smokers Passed Over for Job Promotions” by Bobby McGill at Busan Haps, who also notes that (source, right: sungjinism):

The central government is doing what it can while avoiding Korea’s third-rail of politics, the “sin tax”. Few things more quickly turn the public against you here than raising taxes on Korean’s beloved cigarettes and alcohol. And the evidence shows that aside of potentially costing elected officials their jobs, it does little to curb smoking anyway.

The last time the government raised taxes on cigarettes was in 2004 by 354 won (30 cents) when 52 percent of the male population was smoking. The rate dropped a paltry seven points to 45 percent by 2007, but then increased the three subsequent years hitting 48.3 percent in 2010 before leveling off back at the current 45 percent.

I’d agree that the government is avoiding the sin tax, but disagree that that 2004 tax hike constitutes evidence against its effectiveness: a raise of 354 won being moot when just last year, packs were still at “the very smoker-friendly price of 2,700 won each” (US$2.53 as I type this). Moreover, in November “The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project’s team of some 100 health experts from around 20 countries” said that “it is imperative for South Korea to raise taxes on tobacco products,” and also 50% of respondents in a December 2010 survey by The Ministry of Health and Welfare “said that they would seriously consider quitting if the price was at least 8,000 won per pack.”

What do you think, about any of the above? Especially those among you that smoke yourselves? Personally, when I hear of women getting threatened, even slapped in the face for smoking in 2013, I’m very skeptical about news of improvements. But I realize that that is likely much more a manifestation of general misogyny than being anti-smoking per se, with Nathan McMurray of Korea Law Today, for instance, being much more optimistic about changing attitudes:

Reducing smoking is a process that will require the collective willpower of the entire country, because it is a habit so deeply ingrained in the culture. However, positive strides have been made to reduce the number of male smokers. In fact, since I have been in this country, I have noticed that the perception/acceptance of smoking has morphed into something different than it used to be.

Either way, let me conclude by passing on some further reading I’ve come across in the past year. First, Smoking Roomspecifically gender and smoking-related, which show that — of course — it’s by no means just Korea where the number of female smokers is soaring (source, right: Jude Lee; CC BY 2.0):

Empowered women smoke more (New Scientist)

Torches of Freedom: Women and Smoking Propaganda (Sociological Images)

Female smoking death risk ‘has soared’ (BBC)

Women who quit smoking before 30 cut risk of tobacco-related death by 97% (The Guardian)

Lung cancer in women ‘to soar’ by 2040 (BBC)

And finally, on some methods for curbing smoking in general:

In an unsurprising development, smoke-free laws have lead to fewer hospitalizations (io9)

Look what they’ve done to my brands: Cigarette-makers will weather the spread of plain-packaging laws (The Economist)

Why cigarette packs matter (Bad Science)

Producing Bodies in Anti-Smoking Campaigns (Sociological Images)

Smoked out: Can a film of a smoker trigger the act? (The Economist)

Quick Hit: Radio Interview Tomorrow

Vector-BG-Yellow-Light(Source)

Tomorrow at about 8:30am, there’ll be a brief interview of me in the “Morning Coffee” section of the 7-9am Morning Wave program on Busan e-FM. More about me than than anything Korean feminism, sexuality, or pop-culture related sorry(!), if you’re still interested you can listen in at 90.5 FM or online here, or catch it later in the archives.

Also, before I forget, back in November I made a small contribution to James Pearson’s (of koreaBANG fame) article “‘Ladygate’ incidents point to misogyny on the Korean Internet” for Yonhap. Sorry for the long delay in passing that on, and please see my “Korean Sociological Image #73: The True Numbers of Korean Working Women” if you’d like more context.

Korean Gender Reader Version 2.0? (Jan. 12-18)

Korean Man Woman Looking at Viewer(Source)

As promised last time, here (yes, click the link) is this week’s new, improved Korean Gender Reader. But, frankly I’m disappointed with it. While using paper.li did save a lot of time, and the result does look much better than my regular posts, several stories I tweeted are missing; most stories you have to click the “more” links to see; their categories are completely meaningless; and the inability to choose my own descriptions to links means the headlines often give absolutely no indication of the contents (yes, I can hardly criticize given the headline to my own last post, but still!).

Without much more editorial control then, in hindsight paper.li only seems appropriate for daily collections of links really.

So, apologies for the failed experiment, and next week I’ll revert back to the old system. Suggestions for how to save time with it are still very welcome, but probably simplest and best is if I limit the number of links to the 5 most interesting stories I come across each day, coming to a total of 35 a week. Compared to the 70-100+ I normally post, that doesn’t sound too onerous, and of course all the extra stories not linked to in the KGR posts will be still available via the Facebook Page or my Twitter Feed.

You know my hips don’t lie. And I’m starting to feel it’s right. BUT…let’s check your IIEF-5 score and our PVI frequency baby. Oh yeah~

Woman's Waist Tape Measure(Source: by Janine, Flickr)

Kramare and Treichler (1996): “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”

Geher (2009): “Evolutionary psychology is the radical notion that human behavior is part of the natural world.”

There is no reason on earth to believe that these two “radical” notions are irreconcilable.

(Feminist Evolutionary Psychology Society)

Yet evolutionary psychology still has such a bad reputation among feminists.

Partially, that’s because many feminist criticisms of the discipline and its researchers — and vice-versa — are really just based on strawmen and stereotypes.

That said, it’s also true that evolutionary psychologists can indeed sometimes make outlandish, sexist claims based on little to no evidence.

Or at least, they can seem to. More often than not, it’s actually journalists that are doing that for them, who rarely have time for their caveats and qualifications. Also, journalists can sometimes simply make mistakes and/or misunderstand too, or evolutionary psychologists fail to clearly explain the purpose, methodology, and conclusions of their research.

evolutionary psychology bingo(Source)

These maxims are worth repeating, especially when you read a headline that brings an instant, smug satisfaction of being proven right. In this case, with “Why Dating Women With Slim Waists Lowers Men’s Risk for Erectile Dysfunction” by Christine Hsu in Medical Daily, which not only makes sense given everything else I’ve read about women with hourglass figures — that they’re significantly more fertile than those with other body types, which likely plays a strong role in why that one is so popular amongst heterosexual men (to the extent that even congenitally blind men prefer them) — but, sharing that preference, also reminds me that I’ve got great taste in women too.

Just taking Hsu’s word for it though, would be nothing more than confirmation bias. So, starting with her introduction (my emphasis):

Body Shapes Types Sketch(Source)

Possessing a ‘figure 8’ body has long been a trademark of feminine beauty, and now new research has revealed the reason why men tend to prefer women with a waspish waist.

The study also linked the middle proportion of a woman’s body to the likelihood of satisfaction and erectile dysfunction in her partner.

Researchers found that the slimmer a woman’s waist, the more satisfied her partner and the less likely he is to suffer impotence in the bedroom, according to the study published in the [December 2012 issue of the] journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

That study is “Slimmer Women’s Waist is Associated with Better Erectile Function in Men Independent of Age” by Stuart Brody and Petr Weiss, and I’ve highlighted that last section because — admittedly in hindsight — it should already raise alarm bells: sexual satisfaction isn’t actually mentioned in the title of the article, nor the original study. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not there, but the combination of the titles and the highlighted part does strongly imply that, somewhere within, the study will mention that female participants’ waists were measured and the sexual satisfaction and levels of impotence of their male partners.

At first glance, it appears to be done so in the abstract, (my emphasis; source, right):

Hourglass figure means more babies….To assess the association of women’s waist size with a more tangible measure of perceived sexual attractiveness (as well as reward value for both sexes), we examined the association of women’s age and waist circumference with an index of men’s erectile function (IIEF-5 scores), frequency of penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI), and sexual satisfaction in a representative sample of Czechs (699 men and 715 women) aged 35–65 years. Multivariate analyses indicated that better erectile function scores were independently associated with younger age of self and partner and women’s slimmer waist. PVI frequency was independently associated with women’s younger age and women’s slimmer waist. Sexual satisfaction was independently associated with men’s younger age and slimmer waist for both sexes. Better erectile function, greater PVI frequency, and greater sexual satisfaction were associated with women’s slimmer waist, independently of both sexes’ ages….

But then I moved on to the methodology (the first 2 pages are available at the above link), which ends the section on how the participants were chosen with (my emphasis):

The rationale for using participants who were not both members of the same couple includes prioritizing a representative sample and decreasing risk of a couple comparing responses (Weiss & Brody, 2011). The 649 women who provided complete data had a mean (SD) age of 48.1 (8.6) years, and the 685men who provided complete data had a mean (SD) age of 49.6 (8.7) years.

Christina Hendricks Marilyn MonroeWhich begged the question of how on Earth, if data on the waist sizes and sexual satisfaction of both partners in a couple was not gathered (and erectile function of the male partner), it was determined that “the slimmer a woman’s waist, the more [sexually] satisfied her partner and the less likely he is to suffer impotence in the bedroom.” This in turn spawned an interesting all-day conversation on The Grand Narrative Facebook page, and ultimately led — thank you! — to my getting my hands on the full study itself.

As it’s only 8 pages long, I highly recommend that you read it for yourselves (please email me or let me know in the comments if you would like a copy) so let me just sum it up here. As it turns out, Hsu did indeed make some mistakes (source, right).

First, the methodology:

  • Page 3, paragraph 1, mentions that “The same wording for the IIEF-5” — the test of erectile function — “was used for both sexes with the added instruction that the woman should complete it on behalf of her partner.” Earlier, it also mentions that the test is very reliable, with men’s and their female partners’ assessment of the men’s erectile function being very similar (obviously, their female partners would know!).
  • Page 3, paragraph 2, mentions that only participants completed the survey on sexual satisfaction;  and page 3, paragraph 3, that participants measured only their own waists. In short, it’s these points that already prove the error of Hsu’s link between male sexual satisfaction and female waist size that I highlighted in the introduction.

male waist sizesNext, the results (source, right):

  • The younger the men and women, the less problems with erectile dysfunction the men (or the women’s male partners) had.
  • The slimmer the women’s waists, the less problems their male partners had with erectile dysfunction.
  • The slimmer the women’s waists, or the younger the women, the more often they had sexual intercourse.
  • The slimmer both sexes were, the more likely they were to have satisfying sex lives. The younger the men were (not the women) the more likely they were to have satisfying sex lives.
  • The more often men and women had sex, the less problems with erectile dysfunction they (or the women’s male partners) had; and the younger the men (not the women), the more likely they were to have satisfying sex lives.
  • Women with slimmer waists tended to have sex more often; their male partners had less problems with erectile dysfunction; and they (the women) were more likely to have satisfying sex lives.
  • And finally, crucially, “It was noteworthy that the association of women’s slimmer waist with all measures of sexual function was independent of both partners’ age” (from the end of page 6).
No cute clothes for fatties(Source: ~PinkieNekoGirl)

That’s a lot to take in, many points seem obvious and to follow naturally from each other, and there’s certainly the possibility that I’ve misunderstood and/or misrepresented some of them myself — if you think so, by all means please correct me. Also, I don’t mean to harshly criticize a reporter who undoubtedly had less time to spend on the study than the 3 days of my semester break(!) that I ultimately did. But, although it’s very very easy to take away the message that “the slimmer a woman’s waist, the more satisfied her partner” from it, with the conclusion stating —

The findings were generally in accord with evolutionary perspectives. Men’s erectile function scores were independently associated with younger age of self and partner, and women’s slimmer waist (all factors generally associated with greater reproductive fitness). Similarly, PVI frequency was independently associated with women’s younger age and women’s slimmer waist. Sexual satisfaction was independently associated with men’s younger age, and slimmer waist for both sexes. Better erectile function, greater PVI frequency, and greater sexual satisfaction were associated with women’s slimmer waist, independently of both sexes’ ages. Thus, capacity for potentially reproductive sexual behavior, frequency thereof, and a psychological response that might support pair-bonding were all linked to women’s slimmer waist.

— for instance, Hsu does appear to have misunderstood it, also mentioning that “researchers also recorded how often the 699 study participants — Czech men between the ages of 35 and 65 years old — had sexual intercourse,” whereas actually (page 2, paragraph 5) 699 men and 715 women were surveyed, and of those 685 men and 649 women provided complete data.

Either way, I can just imagine what many journalists and advertisers would — and probably will? — make of a study which seems to say that men with slimmer wives and partners have more satisfying sex lives!

Curry Sex Life(Source)

Update — For those who *cough* don’t understand the title of the post:

Let’s Talk About 섹스, 베이비~

Kim Soo-yong's 19 Show Banner(Source)

I showed my (Korean) wife this thread. Her response:

“They think Koreans can’t talk about gay rights? How insulting. We’re more advanced than you think. Gay issues are talked about all the time on talk shows and in the media. [Those commenters] clearly do not understand Korean culture.”

(Comment at Gusts of Popular Feeling)

I would have said more “ignorant” of Korean culture, but you get the idea. And, as if to prove her point, somehow the very next thing in my browser was the new Kim Soo-yong’s 19 [R18] Show, hosted by (obviously) comedian Kim Soo-Yong and announcer Kim Min-jin, and also starring psychologist Dr. Choi Chang-ho and comedian Yun Sok-ju.

Although this particular show may not have talked about LGBT issues (yet), it hit home because it provided a second healthy reminder that Koreans are frankly talking about sex at least, despite foreign stereotypes of their extreme sexual conservatism. Indeed, there’s actually been shows like this for many years now.

Here’s the introduction to it on the Kukitv station website:

Kim Soo-yong's 19 Show(Source)

My (very quick) translation:

Men and women,

Out of feelings they share when they love each other, there’s some things they don’t understand, or they do understand but feel strange about, or they thought they understood but can be easily mistaken about.

From the first date, skinship, and sex to proposing and marriage, we need to something to clear the wish-washy, hidden, unspoken things between men and women.

For the hidden sex stories in your heart, to the secret urges of your partners whom you thought you knew well…

And fortunately for something that plays at 1:10am on weeknights, all of the 5 shows so far — and shorter segments of shows — are available on Youtube here. Here’s the full first episode to get you going:

Alas, language-wise, it’s not for the faint-hearted: the Korean subtitles are minimal, and there’s unlikely to ever be English ones available. Can anyone please recommend any similar shows that are more accessible for non-Korean speakers, and/or — seeing as they inspired this post — pass on any of those that have dealt specifically with LGBT issues? Thanks!

(Update: I should also mention the Talk on Sex podcast that I’ve been following on and off for years, but again that’s entirely in Korean).