20 Shades of (lack of) Consent: Part 2 – K-dramas

I Love K-dramas! I love the complexity, the well-fitting OST, the slow motion scenes  and how they often manage to combine both serious and light tones in the same dramas. These are dramas that tackle some of society’s most important issues while letting us enjoy some empowerment and swoon worthy romance. I really enjoy watching both C- and K-dramas. While C-dramas often offer more light and fluffy romance with a side of assault, when I choose to watch K-dramas I often look for some complexity and depth accompanied with a side of romance, that empowers . 

This leads us in to the difference between part one and two of this article: While part one mainly focused on the behaviour to watch out for between all the light  fluffy and  gooey stuff in C-dramas. Part two focuses more on the relatable portrayals of relationships, the women who try to  break loose from abusive relationships, non consensual behaviour, revenge porn,  power relations, vulnerability  as well as some sweet, sweet romance to lighten the mood, and kisses… yes, lots and lots of more or less consensual kisses await you by the end of this article!

Kiss on the cheek

Screenshot from Weightlifting fairy  Kim Book Joo 

* Note: notice the use of the word often, there are always exceptions in dramas from both countries. 

A while back I asked people on MDL to help me vote for and list the worst male leads as well as the cutest couples. Not really surprising, many of the same dramas appear on both lists showing that the idea of good and bad really is subjective. I am not sure how much consent is taken into account when deciding if a male lead is good or bad, but when I write about consent I have a pretty good Idea of what I mean. 

The following part is quite similar to the previous article (with a few alterations), so if you have read part one you can skip ahead to the green and red (or gray, for those of you who have achromatic vision) checklist below.

What is consent and what defines consensual relationships?  

 “Permission for something to happen or agreement to do something” (Oxford Languages ) 

“Consensual Relationship means a mutually acceptable romantic, dating, or sexual relationship between individuals.” (source)

The way I use it, consensual relationships are relationships and acts built on mutual agreement, not by contract but by interest and respect between people who are under no obligation and do not risk ramification  by refusing (or changing their mind mid way) the relations and acts and are free to leave  or discontinue the act at any time. 

Supporting a person who is vulnerable while demanding they stay close to them   ❌ Supporting a person without expecting anything in return ✔

You will marry me or else ❌ Will you marry me ✔

Using force to touch, kiss… ❌ Checking for affirmation (words, gestures,mimics) before touching, kissing…✔

Be with me or lose your job ❌ I have fallen for you, if it makes you uncomfortable I can take a step back but no matter what my feelings are my responsibility and will not affect your job  ✔

Let me dictate your life ❌ Do you want some advice /help organising your life ✔

I have filmed you naked  if you do not do as I say I will share it on the internet May I take a photo of you?✔ Do you want to film this?✔  Can I share this picture✔ 


Before you continue reading this I must warn you about potential triggers as well as spoilers. So if you want kisses, abduction, secret photos,  and ways to control a woman to come as a surprise then proceed with caution.  

All the great love stories start with a woman being vulnerable 

Okay not all but many dramas start off with a woman in despair. A woman’s desperation can serve as both an ice breaker, forcing her to ask for help and can serve as a way to get the leads to put down their guard. The low starting point also makes way for potential character development but she may, just maybe also become easy prey. This of course has nuances but it would do good to keep in mind that a person who lacks choices is not really in a position to consent to anything, at least not in the true sense of the word. Dramaland however makes some pretty interesting use of women’s vulnerability for some pretty entertaining plots.
Some common vulnerability starting points in K-dramas include women lacking a place to stay, being in desperate need of money, terminally ill, need of a jobb, hurt by :previous lover, business associate or family member . Though we are most certainly worthy of love even at our lowest, these situations are more likely to end up as thrillers than beautiful romances in the world outside dramaland.
The heirs starts off with Cha Eun Sang (Park Shin Hye) who has traveled to Los Angeles to find her sister, but is instead left outside a cafe on the beach, she is now abandoned penniless and completely out of options, so she follows a fellow Korean rich kid (Lee Min Ho) home, something that marks the start of this very turbulent (to say the least) love story

Running in despair on the beach

Gif made from The Heirs 

One of my personal favorite dramas is Romance is a Bonus Book. This drama revolves around friendship, finding one’s way after a divorce, and is interspersed with a lot of books and poetry readings. It does however start off with showing Kang Dan Yi (Lee Na Young) in utter despair, not able to find a job, out of a place to stay she even lost her shoe! Leading her to hide out  in her friend’s storage room to avoid sleeping out in the rain. If that is not portraying vulnerability then I honestly do not know what is. 

Gif made from Romance is a Bonus Book

But do not worry Cha Eun Ho (Lee Jong Suk) Is there to rescue her! He  has the room, the money and most definitely the will to help her, as she is his secret crush (that has lasted for centuries) . All serving as  great motivation to turn this despair in to an opportunity for love. Though I do not think their love story is driven purely by vulnerability, as the drama progresses the screenwriters make good use of a second man: Ji Seo Joon (Wi Ha Joon ) to convey Dan Yi  as a woman who has overcome her obstacles,  with  a bright future full of options. The writer spared no effort in  showing  her get  back on her feet on her own accord. Portraying her as both strong , independent and back in shoes by the  time she is willing to open herself up for love.  Making viewers forget her starting point as someone who was left out shoeless in the rain. 

Screenshot; Romance is a bonus book

It is your life and I´m going to tell you how to live it, Caring or controlling? 

The line between caring and controlling can be hard to define. Is it enough to have the physical ability to make other choices? Or is a person bound by a controlling lover really ever really free?  There are several ways for a person to control another person in the name of love  without actually holding them down or even being physically there. While some attempts to affect a lover  may be helpful, others just tighten their hold on the person. 

 In Crash Landing on You the couple is forced to live apart by circumstances beyond their control. Note: Can someone please tell North and South Korea to make up, so that this couple can facetime?  (ok, it is more complicated than that, but one can dream, right?).  Before they part ways  the male lead  Ri Jung Hyuk (Hyun Bin) rearranges the female lead Yoon Se Ri’s ( Son Ye Jin)  home  by leaving  instructions and reminders for her to live by for a whole year after he is gone. Many people found this part very romantic and sweet, but I can’t help but see a red flag. Though he can not enforce these instructions it feels like he is holding on to her, making it harder for her to move on with her life without him. What do you think of his actions? 

Se ri looking at a reminder to eat an apple on her phone

Gif made from Crash Landing on You

In Playful Kiss we meet the super smart yet utterly mean Baek Seung Jo (Kim Hyun Joong) who repeatedly fails to openly admit his love for his partner (unless faced with the threat of her moving on from him)  and instead uses intimacy and marriage as a bait to get his partner to behave and study well. Care, control or deceit, or all of the above, this relationship screams all but equality and consent. No wonder it is placed second in the list over worst male leads. But to be fair the few times he does say something nice, it really hits the spot. This guy is a master at toying with this girl, but then again the drama is called playful kiss, so becoming a toy is not so far fetched I suppose. Not a word about his feelings, but she is most definitely back under his control.

Conversation between the leads in Playful kiss

Gif made from Playful Kiss 

I’v got the power, and I’m going to (ab)use it 

“Love is only possible when you are on equal footing” -Mr Heart 

This quote actually has  very little to do with abuse of power and more about the one who loves more, putting  an end to the era of being followed around in the drama Mr Heart. A drama where the person being followed actually is the one with all the power.  However, I chose to  use this quote  here because it does bring up the issue of equality in a relationship  in a very relevant way. Can two people that are not on equal footing consent to each other? Or will the one who is at a disadvantage be forced to do things they are not comfortable with? Well,that is a big risk in relationships. However, I would like to argue that relationships are more complex than that. I am pretty sure that people are capable of listening in and respecting a person no matter how uneven their starting points may be. At the same time, stating that power relations do not matter, love is love, we are all equal etc. would just be showing ignorance too, so yes  power relations matter, but can be overcome because all people should be equal.  This is of course  a common trope in dramaland and though it has made way to some of dramalands cutest couples I still think it worth mentioning that it is complicated, even more complicated than this paragraph. 

Screenshot: The World That They Live In

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim tells the story of a narcissistic CEO and his secretary. Also long lost childhood sweethearts (but she does not know that) reunited by fate, work or poverty. Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon) used his position as a CEO to keep his sweetheart  by his side. He did however wait to pursue her until after she had quit her job.  Looking strictly at power relations the fact that she had decided to quit her job puts her at a less disadvantaged position, seeing she is not dependent on him for her career evening out their footing.  He does  however make great use of his  position during the time he has left  to cling on to her and make sure she would not leave his sight. 

Young Joon clinging on to secretary Kim

Gif made from What’s  Wrong with Secretary Kim 

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon tells the story of  Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Shik) a CEO who falls madly in love with Bong Soon (Park Bo Young), a woman with super strength, after seeing her fight some gangsters. He then uses his position as a CEO to hire her as his bodyguard and keep her close to him. 

Both Min Hyuk and Young Joon do not use their positions as leverage over their love interest. While they do use it to get near them and keep them close to them. This  puts these women in situations they can not freely consent to giving  the men the opportunity to win them over. I would say  not really black or white powerwise  but some kind of shade in between, maybe purple?    

The richer than rich CEO in My Secret Romance did not choose to hire the woman he could not forget.  However,  when he suddenly finds himself as her employer he does all in his power to bully her, as well as keep her close to him. His behaviour reminded me a lot of the common (toxic) idea taught to girls in kindergarten that if a boy teases you he likes you. My advice to you is stay away from these men. And for the people reading this; please do not be like the CEO in My Secret Romance. It may seem sweet in a drama but is flat out dangerous in real life.  And to all you out there: run for your life if you meet someone who bullies you the way the CEO in My Secret Romance does. 

Once mine, always mine…

Some men seem to have trouble coming to terms with a break up and refuse to let go. Going to great lengths to hold on and try to force the object of their obsession to stay with them but as the smart  kids in Law School  once said: “Obsession is not love”

The princess will marry me

Gif made from Aladdin 

There is no princess in  One Spring Night but the sentiment is the same. The drama portrays the story of Lee Jung In’s (Han Ji Min) struggle to break loose from a loveless long term relationship after falling for another man. In this struggle she faces several obstacles. One being her ex boyfriend’s inability to let her go. Kwon Ki Seok (Kim Joon Han) does not acknowledge the break up. He uses all sorts of trickery to get her to marry him, including using her father’s promotion at work as a hostage.  As well as sending secretly taken photographs of her and her new lover to her parents. By doing this he uses society’s prejudice as well as psychological warfare to keep her as his. This is done in the name of what he called love.  I call it  possessiveness.

Gif made from One Spring Night 

This pressure and psychological hold may sound innocent  for some; maybe even romantic. However  this drama makes sure viewers also get to see what can happen  to people who stay in a relationship where obsession and psychological abuse are key. With the portrayal of Jung In’s sister’s very abusive  marriage. A marriage where the  husband is both possessive and uses both sexual and physical abuse with similar justifications  and way of thought   as Ki Seok. Making  it easy for viewers to come to the conclusion that this is what may happen  when this type of relationships are allowed to continue. Conveying the message: Relationships based on possessiveness can only lead to danger. 

“Unwanted love is not love, it is violence”- Dinner Mate

Dinner Mate tells the story of a woman who has had her share of not so happy relationships and is happy just having a meal with a stranger. Her ex-boyfriend does however have different plans, and is desperate to win her back at any cost. Though this man’s journey is a side story in this drama, it portrays beautifully the difference between love and obsession. This is done without forgetting the all so important portrayal of finding help to deal with a man’s unwanted attention. By doing this they make it his and not her problem. This is  of course done after he stakes her as well as puts her in danger, but it would not be drama if we did not have some breaking entries and scaring the object of one’s obsession now would we?! 

Something in the Rain  tells the beautiful love story between an (not so much) older woman Yoon Jin Ah ( Son Ye Jin)  and a younger man who are severely judged by the people around them. The man that the woman’s mother prefers is a sweet, sweet guy (yes I am being sarcastic) who has a great family background and a well paid job. This man actually did leave her once as well as cheated on her with another woman earlier in the drama. But hey, what’s a little infidelity when a man has a great family background, right? This man literally kidnaps his ex-girlfriend  Jin Ah  so they can die together, making me feel the romance, giving me sweet, sweet butterflies…. I mean the fear, making me feel utter fear and warning me not to ever get into a car with a man I cannot fully trust. Yes she did consent to him driving her home, she did not give her consent to go on a joyride to hell. But, what is mine is forever mine. And as long as the family background fits, who cares if they die together, right? 

Car Chase

Gif made from Something in the Rain

I’m going to turn you into a (porn) star…

Secretly recording videos as well as taking photographs is a big problem that affects women all over the world, these secretly (or for that matter not secretly) taken photos/videos are then often used to keep a woman in line and used as a threat as well as to spread revenge porn, they may also be spread for profit without the woman’s consent. 

In  Law School  the boyfriend of one of the students could probably fit into most of the categories here (and in the previous article) as an abusive partner, he sets up a spy-cam in his long time girlfriend’s dorm-room and secretly records them having sex. This is later used to black-mail her into committing perjury. Besides threatening her with the video the boyfriend is portrayed as extremely possessive while still claiming to love her. During a very violent confrontation he tells her  “I am the perpetrator but you are the one getting screwed”  a spot-on description of what happens when people spread these types of videos. This scene truly portrays the difference in being a woman vs. being a man in today’s society.

Heated conversation between the perpetrator and victim

Gif made from Law School

The threat of spreading revenge porn accompanied by domestic abuse is shown to ruin a woman’s life even after  the perpetrator is prosecuted. In Mad for Each Other  we witness a woman who  was left completely broken as well as had her life  ruined by this man who kept following her, beating her as well as saved videos of them taken against her will. Even though one of his attacks was caught on camera (rare) and the man was actually  prosecuted (also rare). The situation  forced her to quit her job, move around and  made her face a whole lot of judgment  from not only the people around her but also the online community. What was even more disturbing about this man was that he actually tried to use these pictures and videos as proof of their love. 

Men fighting in the rain

Gif made from Mad for Each Other

In Taxi Driver  we are shown how consensual relations that are non consensually recorded as well as uploaded for profit can ruin women’s lives. This,  to the extent of driving women to commit suicide after not being able to find an end to the humiliation, comparing the spread of videos online with  a virus. However, not even suicide can stop the videos from spreading once they are out there. The drama even shows how  a person’s suicide can even make the video more attractive on the market. If this doesn’t make you lose faith in humanity, I am not sure what will, but then again this is just a drama, and could not be true in real life, or could it? 

Man assaulting a woman

Gif made from Taxi Driver

While some of us may feel shock over the fact that these men even got close enough to a woman to be able to take pictures or record videos. 

Note: I chose the word women, since this is a problem that concerns women, seeing that men in this type of photos even if spread without their consent are neither remembered or subjected to the same treatment as women from society.  

I would like to remind you that  no  relationship starts off badly (except for the enemy to love trope, but that is a different story). These  relationships often start off with a lot of charm, some  passion and affection. Most women   who are photographed in this manner are at the time still in love and  probably still oblivious to  the man’s nature. Some may actually enjoy being photographed, and that is that person’s prerogative and not an invitation to distribute the photos without their consent. Perpetrators rarely advertise themselves as whatever word you see fit for these so called men.  Seeing that a person in the beginning of a relationship is more likely to look like this smiling sweetheart than this furious perpetrator we see at the (hopefully) end . 


Collage made from Law School

What I love about many of these  dramas in K-dramaland  is that they portray this issue beautifully, teaching viewers that women caught  in these situations are victims and are most certainly not responsible for these men’s actions.  The women portrayed in these dramas are neither portrayed as stupid for falling for these men or wrong for wanting to engage in consensual relations as adults. However these men make me &!#!%&, and to all you out there (no matter what gender you are), do not behave like these men!  

What’s a little white lie in the name of love?

If you are going to start a friendship or enter a consensual relationship you might want to know who you are entering it with. If you are going to kiss someone you may want to  do it because you want to kiss. If you are going to climb in bed with someone you may just want to know your options so you can make an informed choice.  All things that can affect the ability to consent.  

The plot  in Start-Up revolves around a little white lie told to encourage a teenage girl so she would not feel so lonely after being abandoned by her sister and mother as well as losing her father. In this situation her grandmother asked her new found friend, the student Han Ji Pyung (Kim Seon Ho) to write letters to her granddaughter imposing as a boy whose name  they found in the paper named Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk). The white lie grows when the granddaughter decides to find Do San  years later and the grandmother as well as Ji Pyung convince  Do San to act as if he sent the letters. Marking the start of a very complicated relationship built on lies, that of course,  gets complicated. Teaching  the viewers that honesty still is the best policy, or is it?

Confrontation between Do-San and Dal Mi

Gif made from Start-Up

As we mentioned earlier:  Min Hyuk in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon falls in love with Bong Soon at first sight. Besides (ab)using his power as a CEO, he also makes her think that he is  gay, as a way to make her lower her guard and keep her close to him. This white lie does not seem to have to bear too many consequences and is rather swept under the rug once the romance blooms.

One of dramaland’s most loved and hated male leads is Go Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho)  from Boys Over Flowers, who used a little white lie to try to get a kiss from the object of his obsession. After falling into a pool he was seemingly rescued by this object (okay human being, but from his perspective, object), only for him to  fake the need of CPR and  get close enough to get  a so-called kiss.  Perfectly normal start of a non consensual relationship in dramaland.

CPR to assault in 3 seconds

Gif made from Boys Over Flowers

I will be right here waiting for you… 

While some men wait in the shadows in a bit of a stalking way (see part one) there are those men who actually fall in love and respect the person they fall in love with. They are not pushy, not extremely persistent, their feelings may be a tad hidden but they stay in the light and support the person they love  when he/she needs him. 

As opposed to mr. possessive in One Spring Night  Yoo Ji Ho (Jung Hae In) is portrayed as a man who holds back his emotions and desires. After confessing his feelings he takes a step back and waits for the woman he has fallen for to make her choice, and even  respects it. Shocking right! So much so that she even gets frustrated and asks him if she is the only one who is missing him.  He on the other hand puts the ball back in her corner telling  her that their relationship depends on her. 


Gif made from Ones Spring Night 

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, tells the story of reunited childhood friends Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) and  Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk) who meet again at university in a little bit of an awkward situation. She has gotten a very big crush on Joon Hyung’s brother (she doesn’t know he is his brother at the time). While Joon Hyung realizes pretty quickly that he probably has always loved Bok Joo. Joon Hyung doesn’t really warn her before he kisses her  (see section about kissing) so he may need a slight lesson in gaining consent, but other than that he not only waits patiently while Bok Joo drools over another guy, he supports her and helps her out in every possible way he can even when she calls him a loser and chooses seagulls over him. 

Bok joo choosing seagals

Gif from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo 

Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Shik) in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon is as patient and understanding as a man can get, yes he did make her believe he was gay, and yes he did have a drinking macho contest with his love rival and yes he did use his power as a CEO to hire her to get close to her…. okay maybe he is not perfect  but overall this guy waits both confidently and patiently for the woman he loves to come to him. Not a single kiss or emotion is forced, making me forgive all his wrongdoings from the past. . 

I was confident

Gif made from Strong Woman Do Bong Soon 

You do not have to say yes to consent, you do not have to say no to object- mimics and body language matter

Though we should not accept any shades of consent in real life, there are probably more than 20 shades of consent just for kissing (now that I think of it). Mimics, body language and words matter for consenting to anything from holding hands, hugs, kissing, petting, sexual intercourse, photographs, emotional relations etc…

The creators of K-dramas are masters of portraying the almost touching each others hands,  the slow-mo gaze and the brush against each other that can give any one chills and also have  some pretty nice scenes of people holding hands. In Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol, Sun Woo Joon (Lee Jae Wook ) asks for consent to hold Go Ra Ra’s (Go Ah Ra) hand, maybe not with words but by putting his palm on his knee with the inside up, he then waits patiently for her to respond. 

Hand in palm with a smile

Gif made from Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol

In Youth of May Hee Tae (Lee Do Hyun) leans in to kiss Kim Myung Hee (Go Min Si) but for some reason she seems startled, he quickly realises that she is not interested in the kiss, or atleast is not sure, so he takes a step back and does not kiss her at this point. Reminding us that no matter how much a man may want to kiss,  he should be able to try to read the person’s he loves body language. The person can actually abort the mission to kiss if he has not gained that all important consent, mind blowing but true !  Once a person  backes  away from a kiss it may be hard to try it again, but this drama had a very nice solution to this problem seen here. 

Aborted kiss

Gif made from Youth of May 

Then there are less subtle ways to avoid being kissed… like pushing the person away … 

Aborted kiss, flying chair

Gif made from What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 

Or putting your hand over your mouth, however while the hand may say no, the hiccups keep saying yes… 

Gif made from Pinocchio 

I am guessing this could be what we call  a case of mixed messages, but for those of you out there: It is always better to be sure than risk  crossing a line, but sure this does make for some fun drama. 

While some people look shocked from being approached with a face, others signal yes I want you to kiss me by closing their eyes.  Closing one’s eyes in K-dramaland (also C-dramaland),  is actually seen as an invitation to be kissed, just as powerful as the words I want you to kiss me. 

Slow kiss eyes shut

Gif made from Record of Youth

I wonder if that is the reason so many people get kissed in their sleep?  or is that sleeping beauty’s fault? Anyway  when/if a person’s face is heading your way, whatever you do, do not blink!  (unless you want to be kissed by them).

Mimics do not only matter before the kiss they are just as important after the kiss (or other acts for that matter). It could of course be a plus not to have been pushed away, but it may be a good idea to check for a kiss back or a smile after the kiss, to be really sure the kiss was well received. The person  does  not have  as big a smile as the guys in  in Where Your Eyes Linger, but it is important to gain  some kind of affirmation. 

A kiss and a smile

Gif made from Where Your Eyes Linger

The master of different shades of kisses is probably  Go Jun Pyo in Boys Over Flowers who definitely got a lesson in consent, and only needed about  four tries  (first one is seen in white lies) to finally get that mutual kiss from the girl of his desires (you can see them all here). 

Here is his second attempt to kiss Jan Di. As you can probably see she is really, really, really not interested in kissing him and even yelled: stop it!  I think this is probably as clear a no as it gets. But if a guy thinks no means yes and yes means no he may have trouble understanding even the strongest no.  For those of you curious, no should mean no, and yes could mean yes right now, but may become a no later. In this scene every single part of this girl’s body is literally screaming no from words, to mimics to body language.  

Forced kiss

Gif made from Boys Over Flowers 

During the third attempt, she is not as opposed as the previous time, but she still not really interested. He has gotten one step closer to gaining consent from the person of his desire. Look he is not using any force, and even backs away when the phone rings, but then again there is no kiss either. If you look  closely at her face,  her mimics are screaming noooo, I do not want this. Although her eyes are shut, they do not exhibit the calm  a oooh please kiss me  kind of shut.  Instead  they are all tense and look rather terrified  and  seem to be saying  a get me out  of here.

Almost kiss

Gif made from Boys Over Flowers 

During his fourth attempt, she is closing her eyes in a soft please kiss me kind of way, and slightly leaning in. He approaches her slowly without using any force. YES!  We have achieved our goal! Both participants want to kiss, it is a mutual kiss! Congratulations to you both,  Jun Pyo  you have her consent, I knew you could do it.

Mutual kiss

Gif made from Boys Over Flowers 

As mentioned earlier Kim Bok Joo’s first kiss from Jung Joon Hyung, came as complete surprise, many people who do not really favour consent are bothered by the lack of spontaneity and surprise in consensual kisses. But there are ways to surprise a person while gaining consent.  I must admit that I do like this kissing scene, but consent wise I find it troubling. Some of you may have a close friend that you really enjoy spending time with, yet purely  platonically. Imagine that person suddenly kissing you out of the blue? .  

Kiss and push

Gif made from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo 

Her reaction to it is of course priceless pushing him away and calling him crazy, not really the same as the smile from Where Your Eyes Linger here.  But do not worry too much these two talked it out, and well you can see  how it went in the drama.

Note: For those of you who happen to misinterpret signals, I urge you  back away, reflect over your behaviour,  and apologize, it is your fault, but an honest apology is always a good start. 

An interesting kiss (consent wise) is found in the movie/drama to my To My Star where Kang Seo Joon (Son Woo Hyun), leaves the room after a very emotional scene where he tries to convince Han Ji Woo (Kim Kang Min) of his sincerity. When Seo Joon comes back to the room  he sees Ji Woo crying, he interprets this as remorse, though Seo Joon  does not ask for consent he gives a pretty good heads up about approaching him for a kiss (this gif is in 1.5 speed)

cry and kiss

Gif made from To My Star

 More common than may I kiss you  is the kiss initiated by the woman, often after the guy has finally owned up to his feelings, but not always. Here in Into the Ring, the guy admits to his feelings, she kisses him, they take a step back and then initiate a mutual kiss.  It looks abit like a beautiful dance, doesn’t it?

Kiss, step back, kiss

Gif made from Into the ring 

While this one in Start-Up seemed to come out of nowhere.  He does seem to kiss her back, and most certainly does not push her away.  However he  doesn’t really seem to know what to do with himself, but consent wise this is a tad questionable (sorry).  

Surprise kiss

Gif made from Start -Up 

I  started this search among K-dramas many kisses to try to find a kiss that is initiated with words similar to may I kiss you . The closest I got was probably this kiss from Record of Youth, where he asks for her permission to do something, but does not say what.  

I want to do something. kiss

Gif made from Record of youth 

Followed by  this one from A Piece of Your Mind , where Han Seo Woo (Chae Soo Bin)  takes the initiative by leaning in but falls short when Moon Ha Won (Jung Hae In) does not seem to understand her signal, or is not interested  and therefor backs down. Her words help him get the hint, so  completes her initiative  by taking her hand, and waits to see her response.

 take my hand

Gif made from A piece of your mind

After making sure the hand was well received, he slowly, slowley, leans in and…

Slow kiss

Gif made from A piece of your mind

Kisses her gently, even if the words may I are not included, I would say this is probably as close to an mutually agreed upon kiss as it gets in dramaland.

Last but not least I just have to mention Min Hyuk from Strong woman Do Bong Soon  that not only waits patiently but also uses several steps and even visual aids  to make sure he gains consent from the women he loves. Drawing half a heart in the sand  he asks her to  come to him before taking that last step to kiss her.  

“I´m going to stand here will you come to me”- Strong woman do bong soon 


Gif made from Strong woman Do Bong Soon 

So time to wrap this up… 

Whenever a man asks for permission to come close, sleepover or  kiss in a drama it is like music to my ears making me forget all his wrong doings. There is literally nothing sexier than consent 😉 It is also a pretty rare gem, more rare than the girl kissing first or the girl avoiding being kissed. The writers in dramaland are indeed very creative when it comes to writing kissing scenes, while sonsent does not have to take away the spontaneity, and as you can see there is no obligation to use the words may I kiss you for a consensual kiss. If you truly care about the person listening in to their signals can be enough.


For those of you being touched against your will I truly hope you feel empowered enough to make your feelings clear and/or report these acts. 

Even if the words are not completely necessary, I can not help but wonder if they have been used in a K-drama. Can  you think of a K-drama  where someone, just anyone, uses the phrase may I or can I kiss you before kissing another person?  I would love it if you shared it with me. 

Last but not least, the final words for this article are going to be similar to the the ones in part one, yes I am repeating myself (copy paste happens to be one of my best friends). I did ofcourse make a few alterations to fit this article, so you might just gain something from reading this last part too, even if you read part one. I do not know if enjoyed is the right word for this pair of articles, but I do hope you feel empowered from reading these articles and maybe, just maybe, learned something new.

So now that we have talked about it, what do we do now… 

  • Probably nothing, move on with enjoying the drama, the kisses,the predators and the sweet sweet revenge plots 

  • We can hope the guys who abuse their power are like The guy in Strong woman Do Bong Soon  and not the guy in My secret romance

  • We can talk about the problematic behavior seen on screen as problematic instead of letting them pass as normal or even worse romantic.

We can seek help if we witness or are subjected to any of the above mentioned behaviors! 

  • We do not blame ourselves or victims of this behavior for falling for the wrong guy and we hope that one day all our relationships will be consensual and respectful and full of fluff (heat or icicles, whatever rocks your boat)…

  • We deserve consensual honest relationships where we can have a personal life, friends of all genders, leave if we feel like it,  and if we happen to film a sexual act we can be sure the guy will not use it to control us.

    I do not own any of the images used. Credits go to the respective owners. GIFs and screenshots are either made by me, made by Lilac, taken from the drama scenes or have a direct link to their source in them. Also special thanks to Lilac who helped out with this piece.

                                       Edited byNymphadora (1st editor)

the heirs
boys over flowers
playful kiss
record of youth
taxi driver
domestic violence
power abuse
one spring night
youth of may

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