2017-07-01 10:15
The psychology of public masturbation
By Lee Han-soo

With the “classroom masturbation” scandal involving nine middle school students taking people by surprise early this week, there has been mounting public interest in why such lewd public behavior occurs.

According to police data, lewd acts in public have increased from 1,471 cases in 2013 to 1,842 in 2014 and 2,112 in 2015.

Experts say the increase is because of the distortion of sexual fantasies and easy access to sexual material.

“With the internet becoming more easily accessible over the years, it has become easier to encounter sexual content,” Lee Yung-hyeock, a police science professor at Konkuk University, told The Korea Times. “This has led to a distortion of sexual fantasies by many.”

Lee said many people also have changed how they perceive lewd acts, leading to an increase in reporting of cases to police.

“Unlike sexual harassment or assault, lewd acts in public were seen as not much of a crime in the past,” Lee said. “The perception has changed in recent years due to the increase in public interest toward sexual crimes.”

But lewd acts are not limited to students or ordinary people, because government officials and public figures also have been spotlighted.

In Aug. 2014, former Jeju District Prosecutors' Office chief Kim Soo-chang was arrested for masturbating in public.

On June 16, 2016, Kim Sang-hyun, a third baseman for the KT Wiz baseball team, was caught masturbating in his car while watching a female college student.

On June 18, 2016, a police officer, 43, was arrested for masturbating in a parking lot in Incheon while looking at a woman. The officer fled after the woman told police.

On July 25, 2016, a police officer, 44, exposed himself on a bus from Incheon to Ganghwado. Police arrested him at a bus stop in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province, after a woman reported the incident.

Lee said there is perception that such public figures will do the right thing.

“High-ranking government officials or public figures can also have distorted sexual fantasies,” he said. “They may choose to relieve their stress or pressure by acting on these sexual fantasies.”


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