'Celibacy Syndrome' Hits Japan: Young People No Longer Interested in Sex?

First Posted: Oct 23, 2013 10:45 AM EDT

A survey conducted by the Japan Association for Sex Education shows that many young men and women are no longer involved in sexual relationships.

The survey, performed by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, showed that 40 percent of Japanese women considered themselves virgins and 60 percent of unmarried men were not in any kind of relationship. Statistics also showed that approximately 50 percent of women ages 18 to 34 were also single-five years earlier, figures that were found to be 10 percent less five years earlier.

Many believe this is due to a celibacy syndrome that has rapidly hit the country, labeled by the Japanese media as "sekkusu shinai shokogun."  Various reports note that this could be caused by less job security, women's conservative views at home and the workplace and continued economic uncertainty.

What are the many involved in the movement saying about this?

Slate Magazine's blog notes that a panicked government official warns that the country "might eventually perish into extinction." A 32-year-old career woman also sites relationships as "too troublesome" and a 31-year-old "herbivore" (slang for a straight man who isn't looking for sex or a girlfriend) explains that "emotional entanglements are too complicated."

The country's population of 126 million has also been gradually shrinking for the last 10 years, as last year marked their lowest birth rates ever seen. Yet there was a sharp increase in the number of elderly.

Psychologists believe that it may have due to feelings of isolation and fear for the future. As the country is very technology-oriented, many also believe that some do not see the point in physical relationships.

"Both men and women say to me they don't see the point of love. They don't believe it can lead anywhere," said Aoyama, a sex and relationship counsellor, via The Guardian. "Relationships have become too hard."

What do you think? 

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