Some believe our demise will come by way of a big asteroid colliding with the Earth’s surface. Some theorize that a deadly contagion will be likely the cause while others are certain are end will come by more biblical means. I’m actually starting to believe that it will be the lack of getting laid.
And according to this article in the Guardian UK, entitled, Why Have Young People in Japan Stopped Having Sex?, I might actually be on to something:
“Marriage has become a minefield of unattractive choices. Japanese men have become less career-driven, and less solvent, as lifetime job security has waned. Japanese women have become more independent and ambitious. Yet conservative attitudes in the home and workplace persist. Japan’s punishing corporate world makes it almost impossible for women to combine a career and family, while children are unaffordable unless both parents work. Cohabiting or unmarried parenthood is still unusual, dogged by bureaucratic disapproval. [sex counsellor Ai] Aoyama says the sexes, especially in Japan’s giant cities, are “spiralling away from each other.” Lacking long-term shared goals, many are turning to what she terms “Pot Noodle love” – easy or instant gratification, in the form of casual sex, short-term trysts and the usual technological suspects: online Adult Videos, virtual-reality “girlfriends,” anime cartoons. Or else they’re opting out altogether and replacing love and sex with other urban pastimes.”
According to the article, various research into the sex and romantic lives of Japanese young adults found that 61 percent of unmarried men and 49 percent of women, aged 18-34, were not in any kind of romantic relationship, and a third of adults under 30 have never dated at all. The article also cites a survey from the Japan Family Planning Association, which found that 45 percent of women and more than a quarter of men between the ages of 16 to 24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” The problem is so worrisome that the government has termed it “celibacy syndrome” and believes that this declining interest in coupling and sex is the source of the country’s plummeting birth rates, which are already the lowest in the world.
Based on what’s presented in the article, it certainly seems like the Japanese might be self-loving themselves into extinction. But as a family and marriage continue to evolve and expand, is Japan’s current sexless state a glimpse into what might ultimately befall the rest of the Western world?
When you consider the research and articles as of late, there is a strong possibility Americans, at least, might be heading down that road – albeit individually. According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (by way of NBC News) between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of men between the ages of 15 to 24, who had never engaged in sexual contact with another person rose to 27 percent from 22 percent in 2002. The number of women of the same age also reporting to be virgins also rose to 29 percent, which is seven percentage points higher than in 2002. The CDC’s study also coincides with findings from another survey, which says an estimated 1.1 million American men and 800,000 women aged 25 to 45, have never had sex.
But you don’t have to be the 40 year old virgin, to notice that the “relationship” too is on the decline. Another study conducted by the Pew Research Institute, finds that less than half of Americans over the age of 18 are married and the overall number of married couples have dropped by 20 percentage points since 1960s. And in another study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, researchers have found that nearly four in 10 Americans think marriage is becoming obsolete. That statistic includes 44 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. And in this article, which appeared in the New York Times, called The End of Courtship, a growing number of young adults have never even been on a traditional date, instead settling for commitment-free flings and sexting through technology. What this probably means is that marriage is no long compulsory but rather seen as just an option. Like cohabiting, having children or even sort of family or relationship structure at all.
In fact, a report conducted by the Census Bureau found that the percentage of one-person households has jumped from 17 percent of total households in 1970 to 27 percent in 2012 while during the same period, the number of traditional family households has actually decreased from 81 percent to just 66 percent. And despite the public cries over the rise of single motherhood, in actuality, the U.S. birthrate has been steadily decreasing over the last five years and currently are at its lowest rates since the government started keeping track, which was back in the early 1900s.
Of course, these studies could be all inconsequential, however through my own personal experience out in the dating world, it does appear to be less inclination for folks to compromise any part of themselves in favor of relationships. Ironically it is American men, who are have statistically shown more interest in traditional roles around love, marriage and children than their female counterparts. In fact, research has shown that through better economic conditions, more American women are finding self- fulfillment through independence instead of through marriage and family. And as such, 77 percent of women say having their personal space is “very important,” compared to only 58 percent of men. It’s clear that whatever direction love, romance, dating and ultimately marriage are heading, these changes seem to be trying, ever so slightly, to be more considerate, responsive and balancing to the needs and desires of women (unlike traditional relationships, particularly marriage). And that’s not a bad thing.