Mimi Davies | Contributing Writer | Monday, 19 September 2016

Why Are 40% Of Japan\'s Adults Still Virgins?

Why Are 40% Of Japan's Adults Still Virgins?

The Debrief: Japan's population is shrinking, and this might be why...

Studies show that sexlessness is is now almost the new normal in 2016 Japan.  A study of unmarried 18-34 year olds by The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, published in the Japan Times, revealed that 42% of men and 44.2% of women admitted they were still virgins. Of those questioned, 60% of men and 70% of women were not in a relationship. 

The results will likely worry government incentives in place, which include better childcare support and tax breaks, to boost birth rates by 2025. Since 2010 when 36.2% of men and 38.7% of women admitted their virginity, the number of young people who are unmarried, and still virgins, is escalating at an alarming rate.

'They want to tie the knot eventually. But they tend to put it off as they have gaps between their ideals and the reality…' Head researcher Futoshi Ishii told the Japan Times, 'That’s why people marry later or stay single for life, contributing to the nation’s low birthrate.'

The study also found that 90% of single people say they want to be married in the future, but only 30% of men and 26% of women say they were not currently looking for a relationship. This reportedly stems from a growing apart of the sexes in younger Japanese society, and career-driven men and women having different perceptions of the word: 'commitment.' Media outlets, like Vice, have gone viral exposing Japan’s booming industry of loneliness - where companies offer “relationship-like” services such as: cuddling on a bed, massages and even more intimate grooming like ear-cleaning. Virgin Academia, set up by a non-profit organization, is an organization offering lectures on establishing healthy relationships and activities like nude life drawing classes.  

The dramatic decline in birthrates, marriage and heterosexual coupling has been attributed to a shift in Japanese family structures. Whereas traditionally there was more pressure to marry, and a woman’s role was to quit her job and stay home with the children, this is no longer as pressing as it once was. Marriage doesn't automatically mean there must be children either, as the birthrate for couples married up to 15-19 years is at a record low of 1.94.

Although Japan’s levels of sexlessness seem extreme, the Guardian recently reported that Generation Y are having less sex than young people were 30 years ago. Thus perhaps chastity is becoming a choice globally too, whether it’s because we are getting pickier, or our increasing dependence on tech is making young people’s lives more atomized and isolated: we aren’t as keen on going out, meeting new people at the pub, and then ipso facto hooking up, as we apparently once were.

The Japanese government’s goals for a baby boom spell more of a baby doom and gloom... but it’s not all bad. A positive to emerge from the survey was that over 50 percent of women returned to work after their first child - a marked increase for a once cripplingly patriarchal society.  

Over 8,700 single people and nearly 6,600 couples took part in the survey taken last June. 

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Tags: Sex, Japan