Japan's Young People Don't Want Love ... or Sex

Nation with shrinking birthrate hit by 'celibacy syndrome'

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 21, 2013 7:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Japan's young people are not very interested in dating ... but they're not very interested in casual sex, either. According to a 2011 study, 61% of unmarried Japanese men and 49% of women aged 18 to 34 are not in any kind of romantic relationship—a figure that's up 10% from five years prior. And a third of Japanese people under 30 have never dated at all. Meanwhile, another survey found 45% of women and more than a quarter of men aged 16 to 24 "were not interested in or despised sexual contact." In Japan, they're calling this new phenomenon "sekkusu shinai shokogun," or "celibacy syndrome," reports the Guardian, and it's a big worry in a country with a rapidly shrinking population.

So what's causing it? Some young professionals tell the paper that trying to balance a career and a relationship is "mendokusai"—too troublesome. "I don't earn a huge salary to go on dates and I don't want the responsibility of a woman hoping it might lead to marriage," says a 31-year-old man who says he has simply " learned to live without sex." One woman says that she stopped dating men because they expected marriage—but that can be the death of a Japanese woman's career. " The bosses assume you will get pregnant," she says. "You have to resign. You end up being a housewife with no independent income. It's not an option for women like me."

Students from a high school in Osaka, Japan, pose for private photos in front of the Berlin Wall.
Students from a high school in Osaka, Japan, pose for private photos in front of the Berlin Wall.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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