For the past few years, Japan has been in a fuss about soushoku danshi, literally translated as “herbivore boys.” These are young men who represent the antithesis of the rowdy, skirt-chasing, big-spending corporate man associated with the 1980s bubble economy: they’re passive, conservative with money, prefer to stay in instead of going out drinking with coworkers and are generally uninterested in sex.

Such personal lifestyle choices wouldn’t be considered problematic if Japanese society wasn’t struggling with a declining birthrate and low consumer spending. But when an ever-increasing portion of your male population is enjoying their evening with a cup of tea at the local manga cafe when you need them to be out buying cars and procreating, you’ve got a situation on your hands.

To make matters worse, a survey conducted by The Japanese Association for Sex Education (JASE) reveals that the number of young Japanese women who have had sex has decreased dramatically over the past 6 years.

Perhaps the ladies of Japan have finally given up on trying to get their male counterparts into bed and joined convent themselves.

JASE conducts the survey once every six years to gain insight into the sexual awareness of Japan’s young generation. The latest survey was taken from October 2011 to February 2012 and polled approximately 7770 students in junior high schools, high schools and universities from across the country.

While the percentage of sexually active female university and high school students had followed an upward trend since the survey began in 1974, it peaked in 2005 at about 60% for university students and 30% for high school students and then dropped to 47% for university students and 24% for high school students in 2011.

Kazuo Katase, a professor at Tohoku University and member of the JASE research committee, believes these results show that many young Japanese females are succumbing to the “herbivore” lifestyle as well.

The survey suggests that the herbivore boys continue to increase in number as well: the percentage of sexually active male university students dropped from 60% in 2005 to 54% in 2011 and the number of male high school students dropped from 27% to 15%.

And it doesn’t stop there:according to the same survey, the percentage of students who have ever kissed dropped from 72% to 66% for university boys, 72% to 73% for university girls, 48% to 37% for high school boys and 52% to 44% for high school girls.

Of course, just because less young people are having sex, it doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in sex. Perhaps young people in Japan are just being more chaste than their parents were. Or maybe they’ve just got other outlets.

Source: Asahi Shinbun