The reports won’t go away. If you Google ‘Japan celibacy syndrome’, you’ll find pages of old and new articles questioning if the country’s declining population can be blamed on a declining interest in sex. In 2013, ‘The Guardian’ published an article on the subject, which was shared more than 200,000 times. It quoted love and sex counsellor Ai Aoyama as saying the country is experiencing a ‘flight from intimacy’. It also cited a 2013 survey by the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA), which found that 45% of women aged 16-24 ‘were not interested in or despised sexual contact’.
This year, it’s the men’s turn to be in the spotlight as JFPA’s latest survey was released in February and reported that young Japanese men are moving from ‘herbivore’ (lacking sex drive) status to full-on ‘abrosia’ (abstinence). Reportedly, 18.3% of males expressed lack of interest, or disgust, towards having sex, which is the highest percentage ever. And 44.6% of married couples aged up to 49 are ‘sexless’.
The big question, of course, is why. The reasons given by survey participants include a negative working and social environment and non-regular employment, with 21.3% of men saying they are ‘tired because of work’ (by comparison, 17.8% of females gave this reason). Dr Kunio Kitamura, chairman of JFPA, said it was an obvious trend that people who worked over 49 hours a week tended to be sexless. Kitamura also offered another possible reason, saying that males may no longer be finding benefits in marriage, especially since these days women could potentially earn more than men, which may leave the man feeling emasculated.
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