South Korea's answer: Sex

Condom sales and bookings at several of South Korea's pay-by-the-hour "love motels" surged after North Korea's nuclear test, according to statistics released on Thursday.

South Koreans are used to living in the shadow of war, and life has continued as normal across the country in the wake of the October 9 test. But statistics on the number of condoms sold in recent weeks suggest despite their blase reaction to the North's nuclear bluster, many South Koreans may be seeking solace in sex.

A leading chain of convenience stores reported on Thursday that their condom sales rose to an average of 1,930 a day in the week after October 9, compared to 1,508 a day for the year to Septermber 30.

It was impossible to know whether the increase in sales was directly linked to a heightened sense of vulnerability or stress among South Koreans. However, the head of the Korea Institute for Sex Education, Seong Gyeong-won, said "People tend to have urges to procreate in times of extreme situations."

A popular online reservation site for South Korea's "love motels"-the popular term for lodgings built for clandestine rendezvous-also reported a rise in bookings immediately after the heightened security threat, according to a report in the mass-circulation newspaper Chobun Ilbo.

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