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Some South Koreans believe the government’s approach should be more nuanced. Lee Bong Han, a former police officer who teaches at Deajeon University, said it’s time for South Korea to legalize less extreme and nonviolent pornography, which he believes can be used in clinics that treat sex problems.

Ma, the professor who advocates for porn legalization, doubts that such changes will come anytime soon. He sparked a national debate in the early 1990s after authorities arrested him and banned his book “Happy Sara,” about a female university student exploring her sexual freedom.

“It’s been 20 years since I was arrested … but South Korean culture hasn’t democratized yet,” Ma said.

“Happy Sara,” he added, is still banned.