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Half of Japanese people aren't having sex... and that's a problem

Half of women told a recent survey they were not having sex.

The Shinjuku district back in 1997.
The Shinjuku district back in 1997.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE JAPANESE PRESS has taken to calling it sekkusu shinai shokogun: celibacy syndrome.

Basically, the country just isn’t that interested in sex — and it could have huge effects beyond its borders.

The most recent evidence comes in a survey by the Japan Family Planning Association, reported on in the Japan Times.

A full 49.3% of aged 16 to 49 respondents in the 1,134 person survey said they hadn’t had sex in the past month.

There was a minor gender variation:

• 48.3% of men reported not having sex

• 50.1% of women reported not having sex

According to Japan Times, both figures showed a 5% increase since two years ago.

Not tonight, dear

Respondents gave a range of reasons as to why: 21.3% of married men and 17.8% married women cited fatigue from work, and 23% of married women said that sex was “bothersome.”

And 17.9% of male respondents said they had little interest (or a strong dislike) of sex.

Experts say that “the flight from human intimacy” in Japan comes from having a highly developed economy and high gender inequality.

A squeeze is also put on relational prospects for Japanese women. The Washington Post reports that women in their early 20s have a 25% chance of never marrying and a 40% chance of never having kids.

Japan’s birth rate hit a record low in 2014 at just 1,001,000 infants. When combined with 1.3 million deaths in the same year, that’s a deepening population crisis. According to Japan’s population institute, the overall population could dip to 107 million by 2040 — or 20 million lower than today.

Graying population

At the same time, Japan’s population is shrinking and graying, setting up a “demographic time bomb” that could radiate out globally through the country’s Greece-level national debt and deep economic ties with China and the US.

The Japanese government has stepped in to help with the national trend against relationships: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government wants 80% of fathers to take paternity leave, same as mothers taking maternity leave — while also increasing support for childcare.  And one economist recommended a “tax on the handsome” to make geeky guys more attractive to women.

Different “demographic time bombs” are set to go off around the world: In China and India, the birthrates of boys have been outpacing those of girls for such a long time that a “marriage squeeze” is starting to hit both countries.

Read: 40-year-old Japanese men are going to ‘Virgin College’>

Read: ‘It’s like a forbidden pleasure’: ‘Silver porn’ is becoming a million dollar industry>

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Business Insider
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