By the numbers

Japan reports high number of middle-aged virgins

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

According to a Japanese government survey released earlier this week, nearly 40 percent of Japanese twenty- and thirty-somethings are single, and don’t think they need a romantic partner. Older Japanese citizens are calling this information “bothersome,” especially when paired with a 2010 survey that revealed 25 percent of unmarried Japanese men in their thirties are virgins. The study found there are nearly as many women who are virgins too. The trends are especially concerning due to the fact that Japan has the most rapidly aging population in the world. Some worry there will be too few children to sustain a healthy economy. At current rates, the population will shrink more than 30 percent by 2060. CNN reports that several male virgins say they’ve never been kissed and are unfamiliar with real-life women’s bodies, having only seen fantasized illustrations. According to Shingo Sakatsume, a “sex helper” with White Hands, a non-profit that offers bi-monthly classes in Tokyo where men sketch naked women in an attempt to get more comfortable being around women, “The illusion of a perfect relationship, combined with the Japanese fear of failure, has created a serious social problem.” Many blame Japan’s 20-year economic stagnation for “emasculating” men who can’t afford to have children. Sakatsume says, “Economic status and income is closely tied to self-esteem.” One White Hands attendee, a 41-year-old virgin named Sakai, reportedly said “I feel much better now because I can talk about it. I haven’t given up yet.”

Read the full story at CNN.

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