Why Are the Japanese No Longer Interested in Sex?

(Photo: Joshua Rappeneker)

(Photo: Joshua Rappeneker)

From the Guardian:

Japan’s under-40s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships. Millions aren’t even dating, and increasing numbers can’t be bothered with sex. For their government, “celibacy syndrome” is part of a looming national catastrophe. Japan already has one of the world’s lowest birth rates. Its population of 126 million, which has been shrinking for the past decade, is projected to plunge a further one-third by 2060.


The number of single people has reached a record high. A survey in 2011 found that 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship, a rise of almost 10% from five years earlier. Another study found that a third of people under 30 had never dated at all. (There are no figures for same-sex relationships.) Although there has long been a pragmatic separation of love and sex in Japan – a country mostly free of religious morals – sex fares no better. A survey earlier this year by the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) found that 45% of women aged 16-24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” More than a quarter of men felt the same way.

 The article contains a number of speculations as to cause, well worth reading. At least the Malthusians will be happy.

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  1. Otaku says:

    Google “hentai”.

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    • So do you says:

      Considering the Japanese obsession with rape and I understand why 45% of women aren’t interested in sex. Porn featuring rape is everywhere. They have cartoons where beasts and demons rape school girls…and where school girls get raped on subway trains. They’re also really into seeing women cry during sex. Granted, Japan is a pretty weird place in general, but the domination of women as a fantasy is everywhere. No wonder the women aren’t really into dating.

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  2. May Hem says:

    In a country that size with 126 million people isn’t it a good thing to help depopulate? India, Pakistan and Africa where there is so much misery and poverty, not to mention wars and undereducated masses could do with less people and concentrate on the quality of life and not the quantity. As it is we are destroying the planet and the only place we have to live in within our lifetimes. This article lacks valid information, and any depth of thought.

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    • Voice of Reason says:

      Ironically, a declining population is actually a problem for Japan. They have the technology and medical care to keep people alive into their 80’s and 90’s, but now, no generation to fund them.

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  3. momosgarage says:

    I thought this was figured out already. Japan has a lost generation of people whom have no career path or financial earning growth potential. These people are highly undesirable as partners, both sexual or marital, male and female. So if you have a large population of undesirable men, who have learned to not want or pursue the opposite sex, due to perceived career failure, then you will certainly have a large population of women in the same age range who also cannot find a partner, both sexual or marital.

    Also as others have said, just because they answered in the survey that that were not interested in sex doesn’t EXACTLY mean they are not interested in the act or pleasure of sex. It could mean that they are not interested in the “courting process” of “getting sex” or the “relationship compromises” needed to “get sex”. We also don’t know what the survey EXACTLY said and anyone who know linguistics will confirm that some Japanese phrases can have multiple meanings and many times don’t translate well or clearly to Latin based languages.

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  4. Voice of Reason says:

    I think that no matter how much accepting, progressive, and cool a young male’s parents are, bringing a women home to a house owned by your parents is always a buzzkill. There are too many single, independent guys out there to compete with. Sorry this is a little OT, I just wanted to bring it up.

    But, I think that the main reason that Japan is sexless is the same reason that so many Asian women are opting to date men outside their race. Their norms and system benefit the man, but there are other races who will treat them better. It seems like a no brainer.

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  5. Eleanore says:

    This sentence was revealing:

    “Although there has long been a pragmatic separation of love and sex in Japan – a country mostly free of religious morals – sex fares no better.”

    I think that “separation of love and sex” is the issue. If sex has nothing to do with love, lifelong commitment, or procreation, then it is just another pleasurable human activity. Except it’s one that often comes with complicated emotional entanglements. Since there are many other pastimes available that provide the pleasure WITHOUT the entanglements, sex can seem like a bad investment of time and energy. Such would not be the case if sex were viewed as the ultimate expression of love within the lifetime commitment of marriage – because an emotional bond is expected and welcomed.

    In the end, separating love and sex is not “pragmatic” at all – human beings aren’t wired that way. The two must go together for us to truly flourish.

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  6. OPUS says:

    I think the Japanese young people are over tuning the “Old Normal” with this “New Normal”. Sex is not looked down upon in Japan and maybe the newer Generation 16 to 24 year olds want to make sex special and only for marriage. Also, with the internet age and this age group growing up in the most over sexual culture on the planet have said enough is enough. Come on they have sexualized little school girls. I just think the new age group is fed up and they are making a statement!

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  7. Vallin SFAS says:

    And I am a hardcore Scrooge/Ayn Rand-ite Malthusian! “Better to decrease the surplus population!” By 2060 we’ll have colonies on a superplanet, and everyone who elects to stay on Earth will have a 400-acre estate. Everyone will be having masturbatory cyber-sex on legal MDMA-Ecstasy (re: Italy adding prostitution and drugs to the GDP. I bet that was Ilona Staller’s idea! Now, SHE’S a SU*PAH*PHREEAK!)

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  8. George of Bradford, MA USA says:

    The birth rate in Japan is decreasing very rapidly, because the cost of living in Japan is extremely expensive. Therefore, people can no longer have children.

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