Now for some frigid news from Japan that has nothing to do with winter temperatures: a new government-commissioned study finds that young Japanese men are losing their interest in sex, yet another warning sign in a nation notorious for its low birth rate.
According to the AFP, a whopping 36.1 percent of teenage boys between the ages of 16-19 said they had little to no interest in sex, and in some cases even despised it, more than twice the 2008 figure of 17.5 percent. Futhermore, the survey, conducted in September 2010, reportedly found that 83.7 percent of Japanese men who turned 20 this year were not dating anyone, while 49.3 percent said they had never had a girlfriend. Girls, it seems, are suffering from a similar lack of heat: 59 percent in the same age group felt the same way, up 12 percentage points from 2008.
Kunio Kitamura, head of the clinic of the Japan Family Planning Association which took part in the survey, said the data confirms a wider social belief that younger Japanese men are becoming "herbivorous," a label attached to passive men who do not actively seek women and sex. Many younger people were opting to delay starting a family due to the perceived burden on their finances, lifestyles and careers. "The findings seem to reflect the increasing shallowness of human relations in today's busy society." Kitamura is quoted by CNN as saying.
The study, which reportedly surveyed 1,301 people aged 16 to 49, yielded a handful of other surprises: 40.8 percent of married people said they had not had sex in the past month, up from 36.5 percent in the 2008 survey and 31.9 percent in the 2004 survey, while nearly 50 percent of married people older than 40 years old said they have not had sex in the past month. Some participants claimed work fatigue and reluctance to have sex after childbirth, while others said they "can't be bothered."
"Obviously, the most important reason for Japan's declining birth rate is that people are not having sex," Kitamura told the Telegraph. "Combined with the rising number of elderly people, this population imbalance is a major problem."