Population & Celibacy Syndrome | Natural Health Blog

Date: 08/18/2018    Written by: Hiyaguha Cohen

The Celibacy Syndrome

Population & Celibacy Syndrome | Natural Health Blog

Back half a century ago, the problem of explosive population growth was at the top of the political agenda. Everyone, it seemed, worried about overpopulation and anticipated unmanageable stress on global resources if family size wasn’t limited.  Somehow, though, in the intervening years, the topic seemed to slip under the radar. Couples kept having babies without restraint and the world got increasingly cramped.

But nature has a way of correcting itself, and now there’s a phenomenon occurring that might inadvertently put the lid on uncontrolled population growth. In some parts of the world, people are losing interest in sex.  This is particularly true in Japan, where nearly half of all young people between ages 18 and 34 are still virgins.1 A recent survey indicates that 64-percent of Japanese people in that same age group have never had a relationship.2 An earlier study found that 30 percent of Japanese men under age 30 had never dated at all.3 And it’s not like they want a relationship. A survey by the Japan Family Planning Association found that 45 percent of women and 26 percent of men aged 16-24 " were not interested in or despised sexual contact."4

Men's Formula From Baseline Nutritionals

There’s even a word to describe the disinterest in sex: “Mendokusai." It means, “I can’t be bothered,” or “too troublesome.” And there’s a term to describe the larger-scale phenomenon: sekkusu shinai shokogun, which means “celibacy syndrome.” It affects not only single people but married folks as well. In the Japan Family Planning Association survey, 21.3% of married men and 17.8% of married women said they didn’t want sex because of fatigue from work, while 23% of married women said sex was "bothersome" and 17.9% of male respondents said they had little interest in (or a strong dislike of) sex. Fewer babies are being born while the population ages, to the point where adult diaper sales exceed baby diaper sales.5

The result is that Japan’s population is shrinking—a lot. In the one year between 2016 and 2017, the country lost a headcount of 300,000. Projections cited by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research show that number set to fall 900,000 a year by 2045, which will reduce the nation’s population by one-third. Between that fact and the country’s aversion to allowing in immigrants, there’s an acute labor shortage. The country is addressing it by using an abundance of robots, even in face-to-face customer service roles, while considering raising the retirement age to 75.6
Before dismissing sekkusu shinai shokogun as a uniquely Japanese trend, consider that Russia, too, is experiencing steep population declines; it’s expected to be down to 111 million citizens by 2050, a drop from 143 million today, although that might have as much to do with high mortality rates as with low birth rates.7 The birth rate in countries like Italy, Portugal, Monaco is identical to the birth rate in Japan, in other words, low. The number of babies per woman in Japan is the same as in Germany, Switzerland, and Croatia.8

In the US, the birth rate in the US has been on a steady decline since 2008, with a three percent drop in the last year alone.9 In fact, the birth rate hit a record low in 2017 for the second consecutive year. Although there are seven percent more women of childbearing age now than ten years ago in the US, half a million fewer babies were born. While expanded use of birth control may explain the trend, there’s also evidence that sexual activity in the US is on the decline. A 2016 study published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior found a dramatic drop since the 1990s in the number of young adults between age 20-24 who were having sex. A study the next year found that Americans in all demographic groups were having sex 15 percent less often in the 2010s compared to the 1990s.10 Surveys in Australia and Great Britain found similar declines.

These figures do not necessarily indicate that the celibacy syndrome has caught on in the West, though some believe that young people are turning to pornography and internet activities in lieu of real-life intimacy. As we’ve written before, “A UK study found a 40 percent increase in men who no longer want to have sex with their partners -- and the study authors point to internet porn as a major factor. In a separate study, French researcher Serge Stoleru found that young men who overindulged in viewing porn had considerably diminished sexual responsiveness.” In that same blog, we noted that internet porn is triggering an "impotence pandemic," with an incredible 50 percent of men now unable to perform with their partners.”

And then, a study just out this week shows that television viewing also undermines sex lives. The study tracked four million people in 80 countries and found those who owned TVs had at least a six-percent reduced chance of having had sex the previous week.11 Experts also blame smart phones and mobile devices, especially when people bring them to bed. A UK study found that electricity use peaks between 10 pm and 11 pm, when couples stream Netflix or cruise the internet instead of being intimate. According to David Spiegelhalter, a statistician from Cambridge University, “People are having less sex. Sexually active couples between 16 and 64 were asked, and the median was five times in the last month in 1990, then four times in 2000 and three times in 2010.”

In Japan, the celibacy epidemic seems to have a lot to do with work. Women in Japan are expected to quit their jobs when they marry, and many don’t want to be locked into a stifling gender role or to hamper their budding careers. And then, huge numbers of Japanese workers do not have steady careers but instead do contract work, which demands very long hours and offers low pay.12 Both men and women end up working so hard for so many hours that they just don’t have energy left for sex. In fact, there’s a Japanese term for death by overwork: karoshi.”

In spite of the celibacy syndrome, there’s little worry that we’ll run out of people on the planet anytime soon. Still, the trend does raise concern that less-than-optimal mental health, overwork, and media are undermining a basic human drive.

Note: In Japan, the low birth rate has finally begun to inch upwards and is now rivaling what it was in the mid-90s, hovering around 1.44. Childcare may be a big reason why. In 2017, Prime Minister Abe was re-elected on a platform which included free daycare and kindergarten for all Japanese kids from three to five, regardless of their income. Slowly but surely, as more women have joined the Japanese workforce, the birth rate in the country has steadily climbed.

  • 1. Brook, Benedict. “Japan’s population is shrinking because no one is having sex.” 10 July 2017. New York Post. 8 August 2018. https://nypost.com/2017/07/10/japans-population-is-shrinking-because-no-one-is-having-sex/
  • 2. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-40511655/japanese-young-people-not-having-sex
  • 3. Beth.”30% of Single Japanese Men Have Never Dated a Woman.” 3 April   2013. Japan Crush. 8 August 2018. https://www.japancrush.com//2013/stories/30-of-single-japanese-men-have-never-dated-a-woman.html
  • 4. “Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?” The Guardian. 8 August 2018]. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex
  • 5. Berke, Jeremy. “Japan’s demographic time bomb is getting more dire, and it’s a bad omen for the country.” 5 June 2018. Business Insider. 8 August 2018. https://www.businessinsider.com/japans-population-is-shrinking-demographic-time-bomb-2018-6
  • 6. “Robots Tested in Japan Companies.” 19 October 1016. CNN. 8 August 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2015/04/24/asia/japan-robots-work/index.html
  • 7. Rosenberg, Matt. “Population Declines in Russia.” 6 March 2018. Thoughtco. 8 August 2018. https://www.thoughtco.com/population-decline-in-russia-1435266
  • 8. Turner, Donna. “Celibacy Syndrome: What is It, And Should We Be Concerned?” Volonte. 8 August 2018. https://www.lelo.com/blog/celibacy-syndrome-what-is-it-and-should-we-be-concerned/
  • 9. Tavernise, Sabrina. “US Fertility Rate Fell to a Record Low, For the Second Straight Year.” 16 May 2018. New York Times. 8 August 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/us/fertility-rate-decline-united-states.html
  • 10. Copland, Simon. “The many reasons that people are having less sex.” 9 May 2017. BBC. 8 August 2018. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170508-the-many-reasons-that-people-are-having-less-sex
  • 11. Fottrell, Quentin. “A conservative estimate of how television damages your sex life (and it doesn’t even include Netflix). 7 August 2018. Marketwatch.com. 8 August 2017. https://secure.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-what-television-does-to-your-sex-life-its-not-pretty-2018-08-06?link=mw_latest_news
  • 12. Semuels, Alana. “The Mystery of Why Japanese People are Having So Few Babies.” 20 July 2017. The Atlantic. 8 August 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/07/japan-mystery-low-birth-rate/534291/

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    Submitted by Eugene Joseph Moreau on
    August 29, 2018 - 7:28am
    Candiac ,

    Ya. Well tell that to the Muzzies and Africans pumping out offspring, most of whom are likely to starve, like there is no tomorrow.

    Submitted by chris scott weeks on
    August 29, 2018 - 8:00am

    I believe it all mainly comes down to the use of plastics and use of soaps,deterrgents,perfumes,shampoos,colognes,etc..Even popular male products are containing hormone altering chemicals containing and/or producing estrogens thus offsetting mens and womens proper balances..We end up with men with manboobs and women with hormone troubles..United States male sperm counts decline year after year..decade after decade..Conspiracists would state this was being done to reduce population..When this imbalance occurs the need for sex declines as well..Add these substances into food and we get people getting fatter and not desiring sex as much as before..Soy is one of many that do this..BPAs in plastics have been in the news but even if the bottle says bpa free its not the only element..

    Submitted by Jennifer on
    August 29, 2018 - 8:55am

    This isn't nature correcting itself. This is hormonal imbalance caused by low fat/low cholesterol diets, decades of estrogen mimicking chemicals like pesticides and soy products and estrogen itself in our drinking water and ground water from decades of contraceptive use by people obsessed with population control (and people who don't want to think sex has consequences). Surely, a so called natural based company like yours can see through the overpopulation hysteria. Let me guess, you're natural based so you can sell your supplements but when it comes to the state of the planet, you ascribe to the insanity of Bill Gates and his use of vaccines to control population through sterilization. That's not nature. You tree huggers are such hypocrites.

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    August 30, 2018 - 7:17pm

    There appears to be some conflating of the words celibacy and sterility. Your comment relates to sterility, the inability to have children no matter how hard you try. And yes, sterility is indeed often related to exposure to hormone disruptors in the environment. Celibacy, on the other hand, is a conscious choice not to have sex, which is very different even though the end result tends to be the same: fewer children. This article was about the growing number of people consciously choosing celibacy. It was not about sterility.

    Submitted by Edwin Sheldon on
    August 29, 2018 - 9:41am
    Lakewood , Colorado

    Something else to consider. STDs. I have herpes. I'm still VERY interested in sex, but no way would I risk giving it to someone else. Even if they were willing to accept the risk, I'm not. I can't speak for others in my situation, but even in today's "ME ME ME" culture there must be others like me. If the stats are correct, that 1 in 5 people have an STD, there must be (I hope there are) a lot of STD victims who think like me. Add to that the fear of contracting an STD in thefirst place, maybe it's not so much a natural and not scientifically explainable trend toward celibacy as STDs that are causing the trend? It has to be at least a contributing factor.

    Submitted by Bruce Stewart on
    August 29, 2018 - 10:00am

    And in what countries is the birth rate still high?

    Submitted by Jill on
    August 29, 2018 - 9:45pm
    Port Saint Lucie , Florida

    Add to this the endocrine disrupters in our environment and food, as well as EMF radiation from so many wireless devices, and you have a perfect storm for a diminished sex drive.

    Submitted by Pierre on
    August 30, 2018 - 2:08am
    Pretoria ,

    Pity this decline in birth rate are in the higher IQ countries and not in the other side of the spectrum!!!

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