Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?

Habbo - world’s largest and fastest growing vi...

Habbo – world’s largest and fastest growing virtual world and social networking service for teenagers (Photo credit: IvanWalsh.com)

The article was specifically about Japan but did cast a warning note for other developed nations which are going through similar social and economic challenges – aging populations, disenfranchised youth culture, financial struggles.  I wonder if there is some atavistic remnant in our genes which restricts libido in times of population stress – a sort of ‘lemming’ factor which is nature’s way of balancing population growth?



No sex please, we’re Japanese.
We’re shrinking, we’re thinking
the country is sinking.
Tradition is shaking,
old ways are breaking,
marriage is taking a dive
as is our sexual drive.
“Mendokusai, mendokusai” –
I can’t be bothered.

No sex please, we’re Japanese.
We don’t have the time,
we’re no longer inclined.
We practise cold shoulder.
As our sex lives get colder
our population grows older
and our birth-rate is in sharp decline.
Mendokusai, mendokusai.

No sex please, we’re Japanese.
Girls want their careers
whilst men have their fears
they can’t earn enough, they cannot provide.
So the young now decide
they’ll create a singles’ divide
and they’ll put sex aside.
Mendokusai, mendokusai.

No sex please, we’re Japanese.
We’re practising celibacy.
“Sekkusu shinai shokogun”
is the name of this syndrome.
And what you now see
is the “soshoku danshi” –
the ‘grass-eating man’ who just wants to get by.
The virtual world gives him his high.
Mendokusai, mendokusai.

Old ways unbending.
Lost youth say “mendokusai”.
The country withers.

23rd October 2013 – headline from the Guardian

Notes:  “Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?”  The number of single people has reached a record high. Recent surveys found that: 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship; 45% of women and 25% of men aged 16-24 were not interested in sexual contact; 90% of young women believe that staying single is preferable to what they imagine marriage to be like.  Fewer babies were born in 2012 than any year on record.  Marriage is a minefield of unattractive choices.  Japanese men are less career-driven and less solvent, women are more independent and ambitious and conservative attitudes persist. Japan’s punishing corporate world makes it almost impossible for women to combine a career and family, while children are unaffordable unless both parents work. Many are opting out of love and sex altogether or turning to casual sex, short-term trysts and the virtual world: online porn, virtual-reality “girlfriends”, anime cartoons. Or else they’re with other urban pastimes.  The word both sexes use most often when they talk about their relationship phobia is ‘Mendokusai’ which translates loosely as “Too troublesome” or “I can’t be bothered”.

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