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April 04, 2005

Japan's Virgin Wives Turn To Sex Volunteers

Japan's virgin wives turn to sex volunteers

Lustless matches put country on brink of demographic disaster


Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Monday April 4, 2005
The Guardian

Like many Japanese women, Junko waited until her early 30s to get married. When she and her fiance, an employee of a well-known firm, decided to tie the knot, she set her sights on making a home, putting away some money and starting a family.

Fifteen years later, Junko and her husband are childless. It is not that they cannot have children; it is just that they have never had sex.

The sexless marriage is one of several reasons why experts fear Japan is on the verge of a demographic disaster.

In 2003 Japan's birthrate 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, according to the cabinet office. The population will peak next year at about 128 million, then decline to just over 100 million by 2050.

The 200 women a year who seek help at a clinic in the Tokyo suburbs have not had sex with their husbands in up to 20 years, and some never, according to Kim Myong-gan, who runs the clinic.

"The women who come to see me love their husbands and aren't looking for a divorce," he told the Guardian. "The problem is that their husbands lose interest in sex or don't want sex from the start. Many men think of their wives as substitute mothers, not as women with emotional and sexual needs."

Mr Kim's short-term solution is unconventional. After an initial 20,000 yen (£100) counselling session, he produces photographs of 45 men, mostly professionals in their 40s, with whom the women are invited to go on dates and then, in almost all cases, arrange regular assignations in hotel rooms.

Mr Kim dismissed charges that his service was little more than a male prostitution ring. "The men volunteer and pay half the hotel and restaurant bills, so legally there is absolutely nothing wrong with it," he said.

He had rescued hundreds of women from despair, he said, but his "sex volunteers" would do nothing to cure the malaise that afflicts the institution of marriage in Japan.

The number of married couples is in rapid decline. In 2000 almost 70% of men and 54% of women between 25 and 29 were unmarried. That bodes ill for the birthrate, as conservative Japanese society frowns upon having children outside marriage.

A survey of 600 women found that 26% had not had sex with their husbands in the past year.

"We are sort of room-mates rather than a married couple," one 31-year-old man, who had not had sex with his wife for two years, told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

The government has introduced several measures to lift the birthrate. Fathers will be encouraged to take more than the 47% of annual paid leave they currently use, and their employers will be told to provide more opportunities for them to stay at home with their children.

Local authorities, meanwhile, are devising novel ways to increase fertility. In the town of Yamatsuri women will receive 1m yen if they have a third child, and in Ishikawa prefecture families with three children will get discounts at shops and restaurants.

The absence of children in so many homes is having an impact. Fun parks are closing and there are signs that the "exam hell" teenagers go through to secure places at top schools and universities is less of an ordeal because the competition is less fierce.

The divorce rate has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, with more women blaming their sexually inactive, as opposed to sexually errant, husbands for break-ups.

"The men love their companies; they live for work," Mr Kim said. "Men don't even think it is a problem if they don't have sex with their wives. They have pornography and the sex industry to take care of their needs, but their wives have nowhere to go. They just suffer in silence."

Posted on April 4, 2005 at 08:44 AM | Permalink

Comments


that's just all kinds of sad...

Posted by: jam at Apr 4, 2005 9:19:30 AM

It's very sad, Jam. Go to my search engine on the sidebar, and run a search for "Japanese." I've written before about Japanese women not wanting to marry and have children. There should be two posts in my archives.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Apr 4, 2005 9:30:43 AM

Sorry, there should be three posts. Japanese men want their wives to peel their apples for them. The third post is about a study about manual dexterity. It's rather ironic.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Apr 4, 2005 9:31:33 AM

Is this where the sex industry is leading men? Japanese men seem perfectly happy to have their substitute mom-wives and their "dates" in the form of teenaged girl prostitutes at the same time and don't seem concerned about the well being of either so much as getting their dicks wet.

Is what's going on there, men's increasing negligence and lack of concern about women's sexual pleasure and happiness, an increasing consequence of Japan's infamously enormous sex industry we can expect to see more of as Western men increasing avoid intimacy with their wives in favor of purchased sexual access to young girls?

Posted by: Calliope at Apr 4, 2005 1:49:26 PM

I remember a few Japanese women asking me if I knew of any (foreign) men who'd go for a sugar mama/toy boy arrangement. They were serious about it. I probably could have made some good money as a madame of a brothel for women. . .heck, I think I'd do pretty well with that here.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Apr 4, 2005 8:50:42 PM

I remember a few Japanese women asking me if I knew of any (foreign) men who'd go for a sugar mama/toy boy arrangement. They were serious about it. I probably could have made some good money as a madame of a brothel for women. . .heck, I think I'd do pretty well with that here.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Apr 4, 2005 8:54:38 PM

"They have pornography and the sex industry to take care of their needs, but their wives have nowhere to go."

Why don't they also use porn?

Women love porn just as much as men do, just different kinds of porn.

Posted by: julius at Apr 4, 2005 9:03:53 PM

Japan is a deeply weird place.

Posted by: zuzu at Apr 7, 2005 6:33:48 PM

I just think this is deeply ironic. I had someone citing Japan's low rates of rape reporting as being indicative of the harmlessness of porn--butI agree with the poster who commented about Japanese men's lives.

Posted by: ginmar at Apr 27, 2005 8:17:15 AM

"I just think this is deeply ironic. I had someone citing Japan's low rates of rape reporting as being indicative of the harmlessness of porn--butI agree with the poster who commented about Japanese men's lives."

I think that we might be seeing a very old culture at work here however...

In the past men had this split in their lives between the women they married and were expected to bed and have children with and the women/men they spent their free time with were not one and the same. I guess men in Japan didn't have recreational sex with their wives in the past just procreational...that's the history behind the geisha...she was not just for men to have sex with but was like a companion and had learned many recreational skills such as playing a musical instrument, singing, putting on plays, discussing various interesting topics, etc.,

I'm just wondering if this is the problem in Japan...old culture in modern age with no transition period. I mean they are so westernized on the surface but maybe the inner lives hasn't caught up to the outer one yet...

Posted by: NYMOM at Apr 27, 2005 9:42:44 AM

I want to help the Japanese women, any information on how to become a sex volunteer in Japan?

Posted by: Jimmy at May 1, 2005 4:06:16 PM

Me too, how does one get more info on the subject of aiding sex deprived japanese house wives. (seriously)

Posted by: Hunter at May 20, 2005 1:20:16 AM