Why Have Young People In Japan Stopped Having Sex?

Tyler Durden's picture

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. As The Guardian reports, 45% of Japanese women aged 16-24 are "not interested in or despise sexual contact". More than a quarter of men feel the same way. Is Japan providing a glimpse of all our futures? Many of the shifts there are occurring in other advanced nations, too. Across urban Asia, Europe and America, people are marrying later or not at all, birth rates are falling, single-occupant households are on the rise and, in countries where economic recession is worst, young people are living at home...



Via The Guardian,

Ai Aoyama is a sex and relationship counsellor who works out of her narrow three-storey home on a Tokyo back street... she did "all the usual things" like tying people up and dripping hot wax on their nipples. Her work today, she says, is far more challenging. Aoyama, 52, is trying to cure what Japan's media calls sekkusu shinai shokogun, or "celibacy syndrome".


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. Aoyama believes the country is experiencing "a flight from human intimacy" – and it's partly the government's fault.


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.


Official alarmism doesn't help. Fewer babies were born here in 2012 than any year on record. (This was also the year, as the number of elderly people shoots up, that adult incontinence pants outsold baby nappies in Japan for the first time.) Kunio Kitamura, head of the JFPA, claims the demographic crisis is so serious that Japan "might eventually perish into extinction".


"Both men and women say to me they don't see the point of love. They don't believe it can lead anywhere," says Aoyama. "Relationships have become too hard."

Marriage has become a minefield of unattractive choices. Japanese men have become less career-driven, and less solvent, as lifetime job security has waned. Japanese women have become more independent and ambitious.


Aoyama says the sexes, especially in Japan's giant cities, are "spiralling away from each other". Lacking long-term shared goals, many are turning to what she terms "Pot Noodle love" – easy or instant gratification, in the form of casual sex, short-term trysts and the usual technological suspects: online porn, virtual-reality "girlfriends", anime cartoons. Or else they're opting out altogether and replacing love and sex with other urban pastimes.


Aoyama cites one man in his early 30s, a virgin, who can't get sexually aroused unless he watches female robots on a game similar to Power Rangers.


Mendokusai translates loosely as "Too troublesome" or "I can't be bothered". It's the word I hear both sexes use most often when they talk about their relationship phobia. Romantic commitment seems to represent burden and drudgery, from the exorbitant costs of buying property in Japan to the uncertain expectations of a spouse and in-laws. And the centuries-old belief that the purpose of marriage is to produce children endures. Japan's Institute of Population and Social Security reports an astonishing 90% of young women believe that staying single is "preferable to what they imagine marriage to be like".


The sense of crushing obligation affects men just as much. Satoru Kishino, 31, belongs to a large tribe of men under 40 who are engaging in a kind of passive rebellion against traditional Japanese masculinity. Amid the recession and unsteady wages, men like Kishino feel that the pressure on them to be breadwinning economic warriors for a wife and family is unrealistic. They are rejecting the pursuit of both career and romantic success.

"It's too troublesome," says Kishino, when I ask why he's not interested in having a girlfriend. "I don't earn a huge salary to go on dates and I don't want the responsibility of a woman hoping it might lead to marriage." Japan's media, which has a name for every social kink, refers to men like Kishino as "herbivores" or soshoku danshi (literally, "grass-eating men"). Kishino says he doesn't mind the label because it's become so commonplace. He defines it as "a heterosexual man for whom relationships and sex are unimportant".


Is Japan providing a glimpse of all our futures? Many of the shifts there are occurring in other advanced nations, too. Across urban Asia, Europe and America, people are marrying later or not at all, birth rates are falling, single-occupant households are on the rise and, in countries where economic recession is worst, young people are living at home.


"Gradually but relentlessly, Japan is evolving into a type of society whose contours and workings have only been contemplated in science fiction,"


Japan's 20-somethings are the age group to watch. Most are still too young to have concrete future plans, but projections for them are already laid out. According to the government's population institute, women in their early 20s today have a one-in-four chance of never marrying. Their chances of remaining childless are even higher: almost 40%.


"Japan has developed incredibly sophisticated virtual worlds and online communication systems. Its smart phone apps are the world's most imaginative." Kelts says the need to escape into private, virtual worlds in Japan stems from the fact that it's an overcrowded nation with limited physical space. But he also believes the rest of the world is not far behind.

Getting back to basics, former dominatrix Ai Aoyama – Queen Love – is determined to educate her clients on the value of "skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart" intimacy. She accepts that technology will shape the future, but says society must ensure it doesn't take over. "It's not healthy that people are becoming so physically disconnected from each other," she says. "Sex with another person is a human need that produces feel-good hormones and helps people to function better in their daily lives."

Aoyama says she sees daily that people crave human warmth, even if they don't want the hassle of marriage or a long-term relationship. She berates the government for "making it hard for single people to live however they want" and for "whipping up fear about the falling birth rate". Whipping up fear in people, she says, doesn't help anyone. And that's from a woman who knows a bit about whipping.


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smlbizman's picture

so my ex's teachings have finally caught on.....

Groundhog Day's picture

the radiation has killed their sex drive

BLOTTO's picture

A lot of Japanese men have been feminized. You see those young group of adolscent men with those faggy pants and hair styles...

They care more about ego, self image and fashion then to care and love a woman and be in a relationship.

johnQpublic's picture

ever since i got my interactive USB powered genital mitt......

Fish Gone Bad's picture

I find it hard to believe people are not interested in sex.  On the other hand, Japan is a festering wasteland and there is little point to bring children into a shortened life that ends in a painful cancerous death.

icanhasbailout's picture

What is happening in Japan is what happens when you crush all hope in a society that the future will be better than today.

SafelyGraze's picture

the young people in japan have stopped having sex

and yet ..


35,400,000 RESULTS

Manthong's picture

They are going Galt on sex, marriage and commitment (economic and relational.

Serfdom and hopelessness will do that.

Anusocracy's picture

I was probably born without a proclivity for sex, getting married, or having offspring. A name I've previously used posting is Avenist - AVEN from Asexual Visibility and Education Network.


Obviously I have no criticism of other people's interest, but I am extremely glad for not having one. It's just Mother Nature running part of your life.

Johnbrown's picture

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."


SubjectivObject's picture

That movie could have been much more substantively risque if they had edited Bouncy out and expanded on the Fook Mi / Fook Yu theme.  The scene was, after all, Japan.

MeMadMax's picture

It's hard to be horny when you are working 2 jobs and there is no hope for the future....


^.^ >_>

Motley Fool's picture

For those that are interested. This was the first time I saw the grass eaters movement mentioned, as well as an explanation as to why it is happening : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w__PJ8ymliw

Badabing's picture

Only 32% of all adults in Japan are having children.
Out of those 99% have one eye.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

Centraly planned population control is working.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Obviously not: the plan is to increase, not decrease, the population.
Once population is unsustainably high the slaves will be forced to live off the babies later AND that's higher slavery for the elites AND then they can work on lowering life expectancy to 50 or so. That's the ultimate slave-force: can't live long, must make more babies to pay for bills. Maybe the pre-teens work for food, maybe the parents sell their babies. Doesn't matter: they will incur unimaginable debts.

Popo's picture

I promise you that if housing and asset prices were allowed to collapse by 50-80% people would be starting families and fucking like rabbits.  

Pick one you banker stooges:  Your population or your portfolio.  Because you can't have both.  And you're losing your population at record speed. 

MsCreant's picture

Interesting stuff Fool. I don't totally buy it, but there are valid points brought up that regardless of the over all frame, merit attention. Thanks for posting.

Motley Fool's picture

You are welcome Ms. If you have the time, have a look at her videos starting from the earliest. You will see a lot moe valid thoughts that are never aired.

Running On Bingo Fuel's picture

Question is: how am I going to sell my bow-chik-a-wow-wow when sexy don't sell?

We need the sexy to ferment the frenzy. MOAR Bitchez!

boogerbently's picture


What do advertisers "appeal" to, over there?

Seems like we need to trade out the feminines over there, for the feminists, over here.

Win/Win !

defender's picture

I have never understood this push to call a lack of interest in sex asexual.  There have been groups all over the world that have practiced lives without sex, and they all call themselves celibate.  Why would someone think that just because they have no interest in sex, that they loose all of their inherent sexual nature (genitals for instance)?

fockewulf190's picture

Sex...drugs..and rock and roll! Well at least the drugs and the rock and roll please!

Kobe Beef's picture

How about Starbucks and AKB 48? Will that do it for you?

Me neither.

MicroSecession's picture

Celibacy refers to action - whether or not you have sex.  There are plenty of celibate people who have plenty of attraction and desire, but choose not to act on it.  Asexual is the lack of desire.

MsCreant's picture


Not all folks who are celibate are asexual. Those who are asexual have no interest in sex. Those who are celibate may well have an interest and urges, but their whole thing is to not answer that particular call of nature for a higher good they believe they will get out of the process of forgoing sex. It might go something like "I have these feelings but I serve God better by not pursing them. That energy goes elsewhere. In exchange, the relationships I have with my parishioners contains a level of trust that otherwise may not be there."

I don't agree that repressing this urge for one's whole life is a good thing. I am commenting on the difference between being asexual vs. celibate. I usually enjoy your comments BTW.

Stockmonger's picture

Disappointed that there are absolutely no pictures on the asexuality.org site.

boogerbently's picture

I clicked on it, too. What I though was funny/sad, is that they seem to be in some sort of self-preservational denial. They are embracing their condition, rather than trying to cure it. (not unlike homosexuality)

giggler321's picture

So that's what all the power outtage issues were all about when their nukes shutdown.  Spuring baby booms, accept those are battery powered right?

Peter Pan's picture

The only way to reverse the trend in Japan is to get rid of those life size sex dolls and make them illegal.

Harbanger's picture

They have hope.  Do you?

Manthong's picture

“It matters not how high up or how low down you are, but only the direction in which you are tending.”

I heard this years ago on an Earl Nightengale tape.. he may have gotten it from Napoleon Hill or someone..

But in this regard, I submit that the banks and the “leadership” who pilot our economy and society have their joysticks pushed full forward.

CH1's picture

+5 for the mere mention of Earl Nightingale.

icanhasbailout's picture

They DO their their futures will be better than today. Today is pretty miserable for them.


In Japan, today is pretty comfortable. Peak Comfortable, one might say.

fockewulf190's picture

Never knew that Depends could be so comfortable.

Freddie's picture

+1 Bingo. Sad but true.  Hopelessness.

The only happy story is Russia was in the same place and it is improving slightly.   The US is headed in this direction for productive people not brainwashed by TV and Hollywood's shit.

Lost My Shorts's picture

I think you are projecting American defeatism on the Japanese, and the phenomenon there is different.  I lived there six months and have other means of insight.  It's enough to make me dangerous though not expert.

Japan is an example of what happens when a traditional culture is unzipped by exposure to the outside, something which has been observed hundreds of times with traditional cultures around the world that collapsed on a small scale after exposure to foreign influence.  Traditional cultures often have severe internal pressures (and Japan is the champion of that), but as long as people know nothing different, they don't perceive any alternative or step out of line.  But expose them to outside thinking, and they start to perceive choices and rebel.

In Japan, the traditional sex roles are very strict, and very unappealing to many women.  It's get married, have child, stay home, keep house, period.  There is nothing quite so dismal as an older Japanese woman who lived that life and is now so bitter she would like to kill the world with her eyes.  Plus the salaryman life is very unappealing to many men -- work long hours, go out afterward drunking and ass-kissing with your boss whom you pretend to like, then get discarded when they are tired of you.

But it's also a strong face-culture, where if you don't match the traditional pattern, you lose face.  If you are a Japanese man, and your wife has a career, and you share the shopping, cooking, house cleaning, and child raising -- you are just a pussy doormat, a walking humiliation who has no chance to rise through the ranks of your company and be a success.  You can't do your own thing, or be yourself in Japan, except in the shadows, alone, avoiding scrutiny.  This strange but ruthless vise in which people are trapped.

Ironic thing is, aside from Fukushima radiation, Japan is a delightful place to live.  Not Tokyo, which is all about long train rides, crazy prices, and crushing crowds.  But the rest of the country, the small cities and towns.  It's the nicest place I lived since 1970s America.  (I often dream of forming an expat colony of wired workers there in one of the semi-abandoned small towns.)  If thoughts of the future were the only thing weighing on Japan, they would be screwing like rabbits.

Comebackkid's picture

I haved lived and worked in Japan for three years now and I agree with the above. That being said, My sex life is quite fulfilling and I find that Japanese women are usually very enthusiastic once the Jade Gate has been opened once.

A lot of it from my perspective is young women feel they must marry a man making 80-90k plus a year. The problem is that there are very few men in their twenties earning these salaries. The women wait and end up waiting until they are thirty, then they have an extremely hard time finding a husband. They have a term for it, The Christmas Cake Syndrome. In Japan, everyone buys cakes for Christmas, up until the 24th prices are quite high. The one I bought for my girlfriend was roughly 150 dollars. The day of Christmas, the prices fall dramatically. This is an analogy for women, their marriage potential is very high until they turn twenty-five at which time their value as a potential wife plummets.

On the side, all serious, hard working fellows operate like neutered eunuchs when around women. The only guys out there seeking sex partners are the "fuck ups." The "good guys" guys have no ability to engage women conversationally, let alone flip the switches in a woman's mind that gets her thinking about sex. They want an Anime heroine to come rescue them. These guys get to thirty and give up, making excuses that it's too troublesome.

The reality is that the perception and ideal of marriage here is not congruent with the more modern Japan. The Japanese probably have the least ability to adapt and change out of any Asian country. You couple that with crippling social burdens that demand that the twenty year olds support a bunch of self-entitled baby boomers, who grew up in a highly wealth generating period and who already posses more savings than any young worker, rather then receiving the fruits of their labor to direct towards their own futures, and you create a climate where many feel marriage is outside their "capacity."

On a final note, the men here often complain to me that it's unfair that white guys get attention. I don't find that to be necessarily true. I know plenty of loser white men here with no sexual experience with Japanese women. On the other hand, you cant blame Japanese women when they prefer a confident white guy with good language skills, and whose is comfortable around women, to an awkward, mumbling, 135 pound loser who complains that women are scary.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

so basically those who teach PUA (there's another Tyler Durden of a different sort doing that), best learn Japanese and find a booming business for that age group.
Something to ponder.
Great place to erect a store front!
yes, I went there.

Comebackkid's picture

As an expat, if you aren't in Tokyo, Nagoya, or Osaka, you better have good language skills if you want to meet women. Even if you do live in one of those three cities, its best to perfect your Japanese (However difficult) anyways.  Doing so weeds out a lot of the weird clingers you will meet who speak perfect English and honed you out because you are a Westerner (these are the girls Westerners usually date but offer the worst fucking relationships, sex partners, and companions).  These girls with good English that single out Westerners are usualy operation on a complex fantasy of marrying a westerner White Knight and moving out of Japan, and that fantastical image is usually a far cry from a normal relationship. I avoid girls with good English for this reason. 


As for PUA, a lot of that stuff only works on wounded animal, bleach blonde hair, 19 year old party girls.  You cant use any of that garbage on a hot Japanese girl with no Japanese skills. PUA in general is for guys who have had such a horrible sex lives that they seek PUA out, but they are already so warped in relationships that when they go to use that stuff they come off as creepy and weird.  Then if they get success with women they turn into weird, misogynists. (my coworker here of two years is like that and he came to Japan only because he thought he might be able to get laid finally). The guys that go to Asia only for sex often are severely disappointed because they were losers in their country and now they are losers aborad with no friends, no job security and no gf. 

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

with a touch of NLP supported by strong language skills it works like a charm for anyone.

However you misunderstand me. The purpose isn't for me to go pick up it it's to get money from the men who aren't yet, and could be pushed to do so.

It's called manipulation & people get money for it.

Those Japanese men who aren't dating anymore already know the language, all I need to do is push them to date & take their money.

Obviously culture shock will apply: techniques for America or England won't work in Japan entirely but some adapting... and human nature will do the rest.

Only problem of course is that yen aren't that useful or valuable as currency but... depends how fast you get them in the short-run.

boogerbently's picture


Meelion, you, like a lot of Japanese women, are not worth the effort.

When you posted, did you think you were texting?

noless's picture

The way society is structured makes trying to find a decent woman extremely difficult, there are too many legal incentives for women to enslave or rob you, sex isn't worth life in prison over an argument or late child support because you're unemployed and she found someone wealthier.

Add to that mandatory primary aggressor laws and you've got a provable legal framework for eliminating males you have a grudge against.

I stopped trying pretty much.

mrmister's picture

This is what happens when western culture promotes the ideal woman to be like the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears etc. All the other girls start to act that way. And men decide maybe its better to just go play some golf.

El Oregonian's picture

"whipping up fear about the falling birth rate". Whipping up fear in people, she says, doesn't help anyone. And that's from a woman who knows a bit about whipping.

Really does give a new meaning to: "Honey, can you whip up something to eat, I'm hungary".

Mr Pink's picture

Maybe Japenese men have figured out that it's not worth being a slave for 40 years to finance some women's nesting instinct and desire to climb the social ladder