October 31, 2013
Japan’s Celibacy Syndrome
It seems hard to believe, but recent research suggests that a considerable number of people in Japan have little interest in sex or dating. Sex may be a primal urge, but circumstantial and cultural conditions can impact even our most basic drives.
If the statistics below are accurate, this creates an interesting opening for research to better understand cultural, environmental, political and practical factors that impact sexuality.
One commenter on the Guardian’s site suggests that the data is cuturally flawed due to a disconnect between true desires and one’s ability to express these honestly (even as a participant in a research study). In other words, it is possible that desire for sex remains fairly consistent across the globe, but our willingness to express this desire is mediated by culture. See the comment/note below on Honne and Tatemae.
Have you lost interest in sex and dating or could you see yourself putting these interests on hold? We’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to chime in…
“Epinoa” posted this comment on the Guardian’s website:
Several things at work here but it mostly boils down to “ignorant foreigner who thinks Japan is weird and is going out of there way to find something else to report on and have a giggle about”
Honne and tatemae are Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person’s true feelings and desires (本音 honne) and the behavior and opinions one displays in public (建前 tatemae).
Honne may be contrary to what is expected by society or what is required according to one’s position and circumstances, and they are often kept hidden, except with one’s closest friends. Tatemae is what is expected by society and required according to one’s position and circumstances, and these may or may not match one’s honne.
This is just one level of complexity but most Westerners have difficulty wrapping their head around this.