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Tokyo and the Death of Sexy: From LOVE.TV


To the outside world, Japan is known for being sexy and even a little kinky. The women of Japan are considered some of the world’s most beautiful, and it’s the home of crazy Harajuku street fashion, host bars, and Hentai anime pornography. However, 25% of Japanese men are still virgins at 30, so many that a new word has emerged for them- yaramiso, which means “30 years old and haven’t done it”, because if there’s anything the Japanese believe in, it’s being on the nose with slang. Even men with prior sexual experience aren’t having much sex- 50% of Japanese men who’ve had sex before haven’t had it in a year or more. Women’s numbers aren’t far behind.

This has deep repercussions throughout society, with the population dropping by 1 million people since 2008 and raising concerns about society’s ability to support their aging population.

What seems stranger to us might be that for the most part, polls report that many Japanese people don’t want to have more sex- 1 in 5 men cite extreme dislike for sex, and 46% of Japanese women 16-24 want no sexual contact at all.

It’s worth pointing out that Japan also has the third-highest suicide rate in the world, with 100 people taking their lives each day.

So- what’s killing the Japanese sex drive?

1. Money.

Reports are that in the money-flush 80’s and early 90’s, there was plenty of dating and premarital sex, but the economy took a sharp downturn in 1995 and that changed. How does that affect getting it on? When young people can’t afford to live on their own, sharing a small apartment with your parents can really put a damper on your dating life. In Tokyo, most teens don’t even have cars to make out in! Chew on that, America! This means that courting couples must visit love hotels, hourly hotels of varying levels of cleanliness and quality, just to have somewhere to be alone.

2. Social Shame.

Men whose careers don’t produce enough money to raise a family are shamed and emasculated, even as being single is normalized in Tokyo, with single-serving meals and single tables at restaurants everywhere. The Japanese also have a cultural fear of failure, and would sometimes prefer not to try to pursue relationships for fear that they won’t work out or they’ll be rejected.

3. Work.

Driven by financial fears, the Japanese are working harder than ever, with 22% of people putting in more than 50 hours a week, and 200 people per year dying of karōshi, or overwork: dying of strokes or heart attacks on the train to work, or on the job.
Married people get home too tired to have sex with their partners, and with personal time at a premium, many single people prefer not to, in their perception, “waste” time on relationships with others when they could be working on their hobbies or pursuing other interests.

4. Replacement.

Some of the quirky inventions of Japan designed as substitutes for human contact could be contributing to the problem: virtual girlfriend games, pillows with women printed on them, sex dolls, and pornography- all options where one’s sexual and emotional needs are met on your own schedule, and leaving you free to work or study or pursue other interests, and without having to open yourself up to rejection or pain. Some men have married their pillows and dolls, saying goodbye to human relationships forever.

What can we in the West learn from our brothers and sisters of Nippon, and how can we do better?

Americans are getting married later (27 for women, up from 21 in 1964) but losing our virginity around 17, on average, and we aren’t worried about having sex before marriage. We’re having lots of sex, even if we’re not always having lots of relationships, with over 50% of New York single year after year. Japan’s overworked, solitary citizens make our phone-spawned hookups seem warm, old-fashioned and romantic by comparison.

My advice on not turning Japanese, I really think so:

Stay connected. Stay empathetic. Keep up with friendships, with family, with current and ex-lovers.  Use technology to get and stay connected- but not to replace connections with people.  What is life for, but for connecting and communicating and sharing with other human beings? We may be embroiled in a divisive election year, we may have social problems, but please- let’s not start marrying pillows.

– See more at: http://www.lovetv.co/tokyo-death-sexy/2/#sthash.T4pKR6Z6.dpuf