When freaky-deaky equals hara-kiri
By William Sparrow
BANGKOK – The Japanese population is believed to have peaked at about 127.5 million in 2005. Since then the figure has declined, with some estimates suggesting the population could shrink to 105 million by 2050. The drop is feared to have negative impacts on the nation’s labor force and grave social and economic consequences. Recent reports seem to indicate that the sexual proclivities of Japanese men are contributing adversely to the situation.
More and more men, reports maintain, are turning to masturbation and sex toys rather than to their female counterparts. And further exacerbating an already declining birthrate of 1.29 children per women found in a 2004 survey by The Daily Yomiuri, is the fact that some men are increasingly turning their backs on sex.
“Sex is just way too much trouble,” a 35-year-old Japanese man told Shukan Asahi this week, adding that ever since he used masturbation as a teenager, he’s never desired a woman again. “As long as I have a sex toy available, I don’t need women. I can’t come when I have sex, and you’ve got to put a lot of emotion into dealing with women. Self-pleasure is a hell of a lot less demanding than trying to please somebody else.”
Pornography, masturbation aids, Internet porn sites and social networks that lead to “virtual relationships”, soaplands and Japan’s widespread prostitution industry all allow men outlets for sexual fulfillment while not fulfilling other needs, such as procreation. The alarming trend has led medical experts in Japan to coin a new term for a condition they call “vaginal ejaculation dysfunctional disorder”.
“There has been a definite increase in the number of men showing signs of vaginal ejaculation dysfunction disorder, which includes such afflictions as premature and delayed ejaculation. There are physical reasons believed to be behind this, including prejudice against women, past trauma and overuse of masturbatory aids so that a vagina is unable to provide sufficient stimulation,” Dr Tsuneo Akaeda, head of the Akaeda Clinic in Tokyo’s Roppongi entertainment district, told Shukan Asahi.
“Some of the masturbation aids coming out nowadays are absolutely incredible. Guys become used to using these and there is no doubt that many men are unable to obtain the necessary satisfaction from a female vagina that they need to ejaculate.”
Meanwhile, Japan is quickly becoming the world’s oldest population. By 2025, 27.3%, or 33.2 million people, will be aged over 60, a study titled “The Illusion of Immigration Control” found.
Low birth rate coupled with the aforementioned sexual dysfunctions make the problems that Japan faces immediate and daunting.
“With Japan’s labor force expected to decrease by 10% in the next 25 years, the economic outlook is far from bright. In all likelihood, the domestic market will shrink, production will fall, the government’s revenue base will contract inexorably and it will struggle to meet welfare and medical payments for an increasing number of elderly as the dependency ratio (the number of workers supporting the elderly) will shift dramatically. In 1950, one elderly person was supported by 12 members of the working population, by 1990 it was 5.5 workers, and by 2020 it is estimated to be 2.3 workers. Naturally, the government is concerned about such a scenario,” Julian Chapple wrote in a 2005 study titled “The Dilemma Posed by Japan’s Population Decline”.
The government has put forward a number of proposals to reverse the trend. These have included the “Plus 1” (indicating the increase the government hopes to see to the birthrate), softening of immigration laws, child care initiatives, subsidies to parents for medical care and child care and working with Japanese employers to allow more “flex” time for parents. While the government has given the situation the appropriate attention, so far most of the initiatives have made little change and failed to stem the decline.
Japan, like many societies, can at times struggle with open communication and education about sex. So, perhaps the answer is being overlooked: encourage more sex between partners and husbands and wives through better communication and education.
William Sparrow has been an occasional contributor to Asia Times Online and now joins Asia Times Online with a weekly column. Sparrow is editor in chief of Asian Sex Gazette and has reported on sex in Asia for over five years. To contact him send question or comments to Letters@atimes.com.