Japan Data

Growing Indifference to Relationships and Sex in Japan

Society Gender and Sex

A National Institute of Population and Social Security Research survey found that more and more Japanese have never been in a relationship and are not interested in getting involved with someone.

The Japanese government has taken some measures to counter the declining number of births in the country by supporting the raising of children and improving the working environment for women. However, many young people seem to be losing interest in even having a girlfriend or boyfriend, let alone getting married.

The National Fertility Survey conducted by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in June 2021 asked single people about their romantic relations with members of the opposite sex. The results show that around half of men and women aged 18 and 19 have never been in a relationship, while the percentage is around 30% for women aged 20 to 34 and nearly 40% for men of the same age bracket.

The percentage of women with no sexual experience decreased from the 1990s to the early 2000s before rising again from 2005. According to the 2021 survey, 52.6% of those aged 20 to 24, 35.0% of those aged 25 to 29, and 39.7% of those aged 30 to 34 had no experience. The percentage of men with no sexual experience has also been on the rise since 2005.

The percentage of survey respondents who are not in a relationship with anyone of the opposite sex, whether as a friend or a lover, has also risen compared to the 2010 and 2015 surveys. In 2021, 64.2% of women and 72.2% of men had no such relationship. Furthermore, one in three respondents for both men and women indicated that they are not particularly interested in having a relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

The National Fertility Survey is conducted every five years to gauge attitudes toward marriage and having children. (This year’s survey was delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, so that six years separate it from the previous survey.) The 2021 survey covered 14,011 single people and 9,401 couples in their first marriage. The content of this article is based on the survey targeting single people.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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