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But as I looked into publicly available statistical data, I noticed that some of their inaccurate assumptions were potentially fatal. It was entitled ‘Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?
’ and began with a story of a Japanese woman who used to be a professional dominatrix and now is a sex and relationship counsellor.
In the aforementioned Guardian article, Haworth writes: ‘increasing numbers (of Japanese people) can’t be bothered with sex.
For their government, “celibacy syndrome” is part of a looming national catastrophe.
Birth rates are falling almost everywhere in the world except for sub-Saharan Africa.’ However, many people continue to imply that Japan’s low birth rate is something exceptional.
Justin Mc Curry from the Guardian, in his article about Japanese women seeking instant sexual partners though an agency, opens the article by writing that ‘in 2003 Japan’s birth rate hit a record low of 1.29 – the average number of times a woman gives birth during her lifetime – one of the lowest rates in the world.’ He seems to be oblivious to the fact that a low fertility rate is a strong trend amongst highly educated nations.
With the help of catchy content, the article took off immediately and got more than 70,000 shares and likes on Facebook (which is a lot). Then I realised something: while individual stories and interviews were interesting, some of their comments on Japan’s social situation were rather dubious.
(It also talks about immigrants, without showing the connection to the article’s main issue.) I came up with one hypothesis: many married people I know have had less education than the ones who are still unmarried.
One question led to another and, before I knew it, I had 20 sets of statistical data ranging from literacy rates to frequency of sex.
Here are some of the things I found out: This association repeatedly comes up.
Many articles I’ve read confused these two and, as a consequence, drew inaccurate assumptions about Japanese social issues.
This is a very important fact because, if the link between sexlessness and the low fertility rate is non-existent, many ‘arguments’ based on Japan’s lack of interest in sex are invalid as the premise is false. Saying that the low libido is the cause may be be catchy and gets attention, but it’s overly simplistic and untruthful.