Admirable or not so much?
Let’s look at some shocking statistics: in Japan, 45% of women aged 16-24 are ‘not interested in or despise sexual contact’. More than 25% of men feel the same way. Sex, so it seems, has become “icky”. If you could see my mouth, right now, it would be catching flies.
So what’s going on in the northern hemisphere? Japanese youth didn’t wake up one morning and gradually decided that sex sucked, so to speak. But the fact remains that millions have given up not only sex, but dating as well.
This new trend is being called “celibacy syndrome” , and it’s part of a larger national problem. Japan’s population, at 126 million, has been shrinking for more than a decade and also has one of the world’s lowest birth rates with a pop has one of the world’s lowest birth rates. Many believe that this is partially to blame for the staunch anti-procreation/sexual activity policy.
But an in-depth report in The Guardian has another explanation, and it’s much closer to home. Japanese youth are modernizing its ideals towards sex and marriage. The pressure to conform to Japan’s anachronistic family model of salary-earning husband and stay-at-home wife remains, but younger Japanese want out.
Marriage has become an “unattractive” choice. The report states that Japanese men have become less career-driven, while its women have become more independent and ambitious. Sex and relationship counselor Ai Aoyama says the sexes, especially in Japan’s giant cities, are “spiralling away from each other”.
There’s even a label for men who abstain from sex and relationships, and that’s soshoku danshi, “herbivores” (literally translated to “grass-eating men”).
Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that the number of singletons has reached an all-time high. A 2011 survey found that 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship, and that 1/3 of people under 30 had never even dated at all.
Many are either having casual sex or not dating at all. But if you really think about it, how are things so very different in America? Can you honestly tell me that most American college students are actively pursuing having a lifelong partner (the gals in my sorority were, but we did things a little backwards in upstate New York)? Heck no. And if a Japanese youth doesn’t have any money to date and would rather focus on himself or herself, who’s to say that’s wrong? Many guys I know under 30 in the USA would simply take a woman for drinks to get her into bed.
I do have a problem with the phrasing here though. To abstain from sex in order to focus on other things is admirable (though it is, admittedly, also a bit crazy). But to be completely disinterested in sexual relations? Sorry, but I don’t buy it.
As long as you’re honest about your reason for abstaining from one of life’s biggest joys, who am I to judge? At the end of the day, you’ve got to do what makes you happy.
Filed Under: Blogs
About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.