Japan Today



Few married women interested in having an affair: survey


Frustration within the married state is as old as the institution itself. Sexless marriage? You’ve heard this story before. Condom maker Sagami Gomu, following an in-house survey, has concluded that nearly half of all marriages in Japan are sexless.

Simultaneous developments in other spheres promise, you’d think, riotous extra-marital goings-on. More and more wives work. At work they meet people. In the warm glow of fresh encounters, home and family are another world. No need to spell it out. A stale marriage need no longer be the bondage it once was.

Then there’s the Internet. Encounter sites, social networking sites. The possibilities are endless. Even the non-working housewife has the whole erotic world at her fingertips, if she wants it.

Here’s the shock: few do want it. Josei Seven (Aug 22-29) polls 500 married women in their 40s. Question 1: “Have you ever had an extra-marital affair?” Yes, say… 10.8%. No, say 89.2%.

Question 2: “Have you ever wanted to have an affair?” Another landslide victory for the no’s – 87.9% versus 12.1%.

What’s going on? Why not? Naturally, Josei Seven poses this question too, and the replies are: “My children and home are important to me” (cited by 44.4% of respondents); “It’s unthinkable from a moral point of view” (41.9%); “I love my husband” (34.3%); “I haven’t met anyone” (22.9%) – and so on. Far down the list is a reason you might expect to find much higher up: “I’m afraid my husband would find out” (10.1%).

“Shocking” seems hardly too strong a word for what this seems to reveal about the stability of marriage in the face of restlessness, dissatisfaction and easily-available remedies.

To those who have taken a plunge into infidelity, Josei Seven asks, “Where did you meet your partner?” The workplace, as expected, is the leading nest of romantic entanglement, with 31.5% of first encounters occurring there. The Internet ranks next (24.1%) while 18.5% hook up with former boyfriends.

How long was marriage enjoyed or endured before the first affair? Here too, the replies impress upon us the surprising stability of Japanese marriage, sexless or not. Eleven years, say 63%.

“Do you feel guilty?” the magazine asks. Yes, say 68.5%; no, say 18.5%; not sure, say 13%.

“Don’t call it having an affair,” says a 50-year-old housewife and mother of a daughter in senior high school. “Call it… love.”

They met on Facebook. More accurately, they met again on Facebook. They had known each other in high school, where they’d been members of the same after-class club. Well, this was a pleasant surprise! Her marriage had long been happy, as marriage goes. Her husband knew music and history and talked well. He was interesting. But after 20 years who doesn’t become predictable? It happens – and when it does, you face a choice. Should you put up with it in the name of responsibility and morality? Or seize an opportunity, if it happens to come along? She made her choice, and doesn’t seem to be among the 68.5% who feel guilty about it.

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

nearly half of all marriages in Japan are sexless

... Women like sex just as much as men, so this is the only line necessary. If women aren't getting it at home then they're getting it somewhere else and then lying about it to the interviewer, because you never know when a confession might come back to bite you in Japan.

5 ( +17 / -12 )

I believe the number must be greater than this, people, especially women. Actually, any survey asking women is worthless anyway.

-4 ( +15 / -20 )

As a generalization, I think a woman's reason for an affair is love and affection....to feel special and appreciated. And they feel they have more to lose than men because, in Japan, they are probably stay at home mothers.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

As a generalization, I think a woman's reason for an affair is love and affection....to feel special and appreciated.

I absolutely agree with this ... but I think to a large extent, it applies to men as well. I no longer judge people who have affairs, on the contrary I tend to sympathise with them.

Only one statistic truly surprised me: nearly 70% feel guilty about their affair/s. Come on, how stupid is that? If something makes you feel bad, then stop doing it!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I think the figures are wrong either through the wives giving incorrect information because they didnt understand the questions or they are simply lieing.

I have been here for 20 years and i have had 5 wives , only 1 of them was mine though.

-13 ( +14 / -26 )

Sexless marriage is not a taboo in this modern era. It's the stress of marriage caused by the hormonal activity that leads to the gradual decline from sexual activity in both sexes. As a result you have to be very careful if the sex desire partially or completely disappears. It's a red flag meaning that it can bring great emotional as well as psychological torture to some couples. It can lead to separation if unchecked and cause resentment leading to marital loneliness, depression, and desperation or violence. This can definitely shatter a couples sex life and result in a loveless marriage or nasty divorce. Basically the cure is to find out the major cause in depth since that's the symptom and not the problem. The key is the application of powerful, effective communication so each other know what they are going through. However I know it's not that simple and can be much more complex.

7 ( +7 / -1 )

I have been here for 20 years and i have had 5 wives , only 1 of them was mine though

You are actually proud of that?

23 ( +30 / -9 )

Most any foreign man in Japan can say that married Japanese women are quite interested in having an affair ... just not with a Japanese man.

6 ( +21 / -15 )

If your married keep your tits in your shirt. If you want to spread yourself to other men...get a divorce.

-6 ( +15 / -22 )

Most any foreign man in Japan can say that married Japanese women are quite interested in having an affair ... just not with a Japanese man.

I agree wholeheartedly.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Tessa: If something makes you feel bad, then stop doing it!

Perhaps the guilt came after the pleasure.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It may be off topic but when you choose a partner what's important is not whether she (he) is right for you but whether you are right for her (him). Also according to Sagami Gomu's survey taken in January 2013, 40.6% of men in their twenties answered "Yes" to the question whether they were still inexperienced in sex.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I think the less sex you have the less you want it and the more you have it the more you want it.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

As a married man, I approve of this article.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Dang it, why would any sane person have an affair? I think folks that are caught having an affair should be punished by the law, it's like stealing, it's wrong.

-17 ( +7 / -23 )

I think the less sex you have the less you want it and the more you have it the more you want it.

This is true for women, men work differently.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Hardmentoughblokes: I think folks that are caught having an affair should be punished by the law, it's like stealing, it's wrong.

Stealing? You don't own your spouse so how can someone steal them from you? People are not possessions.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

The usual fluff. I don't think too many people pre-plan an affair; it just happens when people's needs aren't met, be they men or women. As for the 80% + per cent that said they have not had an affair, I say it's at least the same per cent that said 'no' who are lying.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Punish people who commit adultery? I don't think soaplands and massage parlours will be too impressed. I have visions of pervy J-cops drilling holes in the walls of love hotels.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It is morally unacceptable to me and honestly; both men and women, what would you say if your children caught you at it? Just imagine how your image would crumble in front of them, especially young kids.

As far as "when people's needs aren't met"...first discuss it with your partner before going headlong into an affair? How about it. Always first and foremost- never run away from a problem with spouse- talk about it and confront each other.

BRAKES, people need to use them.

I've met too many pupils who are heartbroken from their parents' cheating and most kids are so confused and have lost sight of who is the true "papa" and "mama".

1 ( +5 / -4 )

affairs are instances of unfaithfulness. it would hurt the partner. that's why responses to any questionnaire, even anonymous, on this theme can't be trusted. people might lie, and here are two xamples:

"me, an affair, never" "me, i've had sex with 5 married japanese women in one year"
0 ( +4 / -4 )

Actually, this shows the virtue of most Japanese women. After reading the posts, I am actually appalled at the men posting about how many Japanese women they have had.

0 ( +11 / -12 )

I agree with you Kent, these guys are no good and usually you will find most of their exploits are make belive, heh he.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

This is all a fairly careless use of statistics with no indication of sample sizes or error notices. Meanwhile if you took the same survey of men and the stats don't match those mentioned here, then you just completed another study about who lies better.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I don't blame them. If you eat rice everyday... that WILL get old. It's nice to eat bread sometimes too. That's how I see it!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

seems we really pissed off one of the braggers that has a married woman a day (according to himself)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I married out of need. When I met another Jman whom I felt I was and still am in love with, I weighed things up. I was raised up in a broken family and don't want to undergo it again. Never had that affair. Just almost and regret not doing it nor knowing him more. And like some commenters say, it's not true that women aren't interested in sex. I do and all women do, I think. The only pulling down is the sense of guilt which would linger longer than the spasms of the muscles below do. Now , being single again, I just wish he'd come back into my life. And regards the lying, it is known that most Japanese say one thing and do another thing.

10 ( +12 / -3 )

@ Cortes Elijah Not being misogynistic here right? You would say 'keep the snake in the pants' to men in the same situation, right? Just checking......

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Kent: "Actually, this shows the virtue of most Japanese women."

First of all, Kent, 500 women out of... what... 65 million or so? were polled. Secondly, people do not respond truthfully, even in anonymous surveys or polls. That isn't to say that all of the 89% of women who said no are lying, but I'm willing to bet more than half are. I'm not proud to admit it, but I had an affair with a married woman not long after coming here. She didn't tell me she was married until we were dating for some time, at which point I cut it off, but the weirdest part was that all of her friends that we met up with all cheered me on for being her 'boyfriend'. We never got to the point where we talked about reasons because I was pretty miffed that I was 'lied' to, but the point is that if she were asked, she would probably say "no".

There is a reason there are so many love hotels in Japan, and it's not just because pervy businessmen are going out and about behind their wife's back. Women cheat just as much as men, and I unfortunately know that the other way around as well. Don't take these silly poles as faith. They are merely meant to sell magazines.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

This topic is a topic that I spent years contemplating before I got married. When I moved here I had two long time friends who were married to Japanese women and had families. Through them and just living here, I formed numerous friendships with western men who had Japanese wives and the dominant recurring theme, was childless couples seemed to have healthy, if not over sexed, relationships and those with kids had virtually none.

I met a beautiful Japanese woman and was smitten to the point of asking for her hand, but I was terrified of repeating this pattern. I even attended several meetings of a sexless marriage support group that about 15-20 men had formed. Their stories of blissful relationship pre-kids to father as (borderline)outcast were almost comical in their similarity. It was almost as if a hormone were released in their wives during childbirth that had disconnected their sex drive and awakened the mother/nurture gene.

Of course, many of the people who were recounting these stories, may have been the primary reason for the decline in sex drive. All relationships have issues, but sexless ones are without the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. So I talked with my girlfriend about my concerns...often. I made it clear what my expectations were. That a healthy sex life (4-6 times a month) and that the parents are always the center of the family unit, were not really negotiable. I wanted my children to grow up in a house watching and knowing that mom and dad love each other more than any one else in the world and they brought me into this world to show me how that happens every day.

She agreed with my expectations and accepted them. And I reconfirmed them regularly during our engagement. We have been married now 8 years, have children and our sex life is better now than when we met. Now I didn't write this because I want a pat on the back, but rather highlight that there are some serious cultural/societal issues that are the likely impetus here. Lack of communication is #1 and that happens in every country, but here it seems magnified.

I would be interested in hearing from any other married people who have similar or contradictory experiences. I'm especially interested in hearing if you discussed your expectations on sex, etc before you got married.

10 ( +14 / -3 )

In the end love is a very personal thing. Of course it's okay not to have sex. While sex is one of the special things about marriage, couples can have a lot of closeness and affection and not be sexual. All that really matters is that you are both happy. Whether you are passionately hot, gently war, or cuddly ,and sexless. It is simply about the two of you finding different ways to love each other. Finding simple, but heartfelt ways to love each other is a source of encouragement for the giver, and the receiver.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Novenchama- While I agree with your sentiment, as a trained therapist, I can tell you red flag #1 in failing marriages is sex. All couples should find various ways to show affection and love, but it is very rare that both mates should feel fully satisfied without physical intimacy.

What you describe sounds to me a couple well into old age who have aged beyond the physical limitations of a physically intimate relationship, not a healthy couple in their 30's with a school aged child.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Oh-oh! Ive been married 10 1/2 years....! :-/ !

I dont know if this poll is true or not but I was constantly amazed by the asexuality of many married women I encountered through life in Japan. It IS a lot like the switch gets turned off after children come along, and I dont know if the reasons behind that are sociological, psychological, physiological or what. But there seemed to be a great many people not getting any around me. It was an extreme though - either getting nothing at all or full blown affairs.

As for badmans straw poll - well, I think a lot of people DO communicate their expectations, etc before marriage. We all knew coming into it that it wasnt going to be easy at times. Common sense in an international marriage situation. But the question should be: how many of you communicated your expectations before the marriage and were blatantly lied to, just to get the ring on the finger. THAT would yield some results.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

actually sounds spot on if yo ask me, to have an affair is a big step, and unlike a male the female does take the responsibility of the family to heart.

and then there is the fact that there is love- if they love their husband then no, to hurt them even more? because affairs usually come out into the open.

the idea of easy match's of the bored housewife is like many ideas of it's kind - just the fantasy of us men...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

ChibaChick: But the question should be: how many of you communicated your expectations before the marriage and were blatantly lied to, just to get the ring on the finger.

You may have a point, but on the other hand, based on all of the male friends I've had over the many years I've lived here, the sad reality, as I see it, is that most of those men think that either their girlfriend is "different" based on her good English or the year she spent abroad as an exchange student or they're going to be the one to change her. It's easy to point the blame at the woman and to say she lied but I've yet to meet a guy who's said anything close to what badman just wrote and I've had to listen to far too many of them complain about how things ended up. When I ask if they talked about it before hand, the inevitable answer is "Why would I have?". It's nice that you want to give them the benefit of the doubt but it's far different from what I've experienced / listened to. At the end of the day though, it's up to both people to communicate honestly what their expectations are and when they don't, little good comes of it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

badman - The number one predictor of a marriage beginning to fail is the differing values around children, finances, and or sex.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ambrosia - you have a point too!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Just one clarification : "sexless" is defined as having intercourse less than once a month. It doesn't mean that you never have sex. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, she was super nervous about everything. She thought it was "dangerous" to have sex, so we refrained for the first and last couple of months. Therefore, I would have been categorized as "sexless" had I been interviewed at that time.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Oh !!! Now I realized why I am getting favour, not every but most of the Friday night !!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

According to the other news headline today, they're much more interested in beating their cheating husbands with coffee cups...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There's something so sordid and mechanical-sounding about ”affair/浮気."

What about if someone listened to them, made them feel special, and made them feel young again?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ChibaChick: Oh, dear. Not sure why you got a thumbs down for that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

“My children and home are important to me” (Don't want to get caught and lose them); “It’s unthinkable from a moral point of view” (I've trapped myself with my twisted beliefs); “I love my husband” (Don't want to lose his paycheck); “I haven’t met anyone” (but would like to) “I’m afraid my husband would find out” (Don't want to get caught).

Essentially we can say that 100% of them would love to have an affair if there was no moral rule in place preventing them, no threat of the man leaving, they have no chance of ever being discovered, and if they had time to meet a new guy.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japanese culture is all about work, work, and work. Spending long hours at work, long hours travelling, long hours of drinking sessions with colleague after a whole day at work or pachinko, attention to kids and parents are all the show-cause for less desire to spend intimate time with your spouse/partner not to mention about having sex.

I am a foreigner in Japan and I see everyday most of my colleague work long hours at work almost everyday, I truly feel sorry for them. As for me, I am an expat male and I do travel between Japan and abroad occassionally to oversee my company's projects, however, when my work hours is up, just too bad for my employer, by 6pm I call it a day to return to my hotel room even though I don't have a partner waiting. That's my personal time and I need space for personal things.

Once in a weekend outing with colleague and family members, I remember I overheard a wife of my Japanese colleague complaining to us that her husband hardly have time with the kids and family members because he worked whole day and whole night. By the time he returns home, the kids and her have gone to bed and by the time the kids wake up in the morning, the father has gone to work. The father does not even have time for himself and sex is probably the last thing they could even think about.

Well, some1 just said >I think the less sex you have the less you want it and the more you have it the more you want it.

I disagree totally with this notion. It is a 2-way thing and the desire is hidden within only to be explored to the ultimate.

Sex in Japan is so open and yet I am still surprise many couples have sexless life. I sincerely hope Japanese should consider putting their partners and family first before works!

Well, I believe sex is necessary for a decent couple whether married or not, it is part of our life and I always believe in clean and healthy sex, even though I am now divorced and still waiting for the new partner to come along. My ex never complained about my advances for sexual appetite but we broke up because of personality clash. Well, I am still waiting...........any decent ladies? (ahahaha).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan lifestyle is very hectic and busy. More of work oriented though sociable. Unfortunately, family time especially with partners are very much limited due to these hectic schedule in commuting and working environment. It is not surprising that married people find or have affairs outside because of those long hours of interaction with office colleague.

I am also a working expat, 40+ male, a manager who travels often for work both overseas and Japan for my Japanese employer. Quite a few ladies in my office showed interests in me (probably because I am an Asian expat who enjoy social outing, friendly and divorced, hence available). I don't gamble nor drink much..... I have no problems going out with friends or colleague but when it comes to partners or sexual activities, I am careful. Well, Japan is pretty open to issues on sex among the middle-age group though the elderly are less to open-discussion.

Anyway, it's a pit that many couples couldn't find enough time for each other but spend more time with colleague or outside partners. As a desire man, I do enjoy lovely lifestyle and social function including healthy sexual activities too. I hope my Japanese friends and colleague should try to spend more time with their partners whenever possible instead of time at office or pachinko.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I know a few who are in the 10.8% I wonder if that is survey isn't mistaken?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese women have more to fear from relationships with married men, cos society and the legal system will hold them responsible for the mans infidelity. In Japan, you are considered responsible for the evil you cause or inspire. In short, the spurned wife can (threaten to) sue the mistress and disgrace her publicly...

Also, in Japanland, married women in their 40s are way over the hill. At least they (are made to) feel that way. This results in the other phenomenon mentioned: these women make easy marks for foreign guys (or vice-versa), for whom the inexperience & hollowness of younger Japanese girls makes them feel especially juevenile; meanwhile, the 40 year old well-kept Japanese woman feels much younger/fresher than her Western counterparts... And she already feels 'discarded' by the world, making her decision to sully herself less difficult.

Or so I've heard...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

They should have done this survey in TOYAMA Prefecture.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

These figures are at odds with others I've seen, including those from the Japan Family Planning Association. The results of such surveys vary wildly and depend on how questions are phrased and how they are asked. Responses to questions as private as these, when asked face to face or over the phone, are worthless. Even in anonymous, written surveys, Japanese people, according to economist Takashi Kadokura, grossly underreport sexual activity of any kind, in contrast to Latinos/Latinas, who grossly overreport their sexual activity. He claims that widely publicized surveys suggesting that Japanese have sex less frequently than people in just about any other country are misleading and should not be taken at face value.(http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/ASIN/4344981928/pelican-22/) And Marital Consultant Hiromi Ikeuchi says, "In my consultations regarding divorce, my sense is that 80% of married women desire an extramarital affair, and 30% actually have had or are having an affair." (By the way, she says the number one reason women have affairs is sexlessness in their marriages.) (http://diamond.jp/articles/-/3340) Granted, the people she's talking to are people who have marital problems, but her 30% figure sounds much closer to what I've seen in my own experience living most of my adult life in Japan. In short, 10.8% is laughably low. They are fibbing, and they are probably fibbing to themselves. "That wasn't an affair. That was special." Or "That was just an accident and doesn't count." These are the fibs they tell themselves to avoid labeling themselves as adulterers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Few married women interested in having an affair: survey

They are cheating their husbands!! No? If they want more better take divorce and enjoy or else keep their husband in loop or take permission. Purpose of Marriage doesn't mean SEX only, and if SEX only then better not to marry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


a man doesn't lay out his sexual expectations for being married because 1. sex shouldn't be a contractual obligation but rather is based on properly adapting to the mutable conditions of life and 2. they are generally (over) confident in their ability to turn a woman on

Everything in a marriage is a negotiation. Every relationship has negotiation in it, but marriage the most. You are constantly expressing your needs and expressing what you are prepared to give to satisfy their needs. The longer you remain together, the less you have to actively negotiate, but to say sexual expectations shouldn't be discussed in naive. Had we not discussed our expectations I would not have known she wanted to be a stay at home mother. That was fine with me, as my mother was the same, but had I found that out when she was pregnant, it would have been too late and could have had disastrous effects on our relationship if I had expected her to work.

Also, setting expectations is not necessarily, like a contract, although it could be. No interest in physical intimacy would be a deal breaker for me and still is. Just like she would have to seriously consider leaving me if I came home and said I wanted to be a house husband. If I told her that she would have every reason to be upset with me. Sex is no different than any other expectation in a relationship, though it often magnifies all the other problems that exist.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

tell my ex wives this, both wanted outside affairs and had them, one was American (the worst) and one Japanese. I guess I worked too hard at keeping my marriages, even my in laws were on my side.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm very sure that 10.8% is not the right number

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, there are some decency here…. But what about men? The men are surely getting it somewhere else…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most any foreign man in Japan can say that married Japanese women are quite interested in having an affair ... just not with a Japanese man.

Shame becomes a key factor among Japanese and sexual affairs outside their society sandbox doesn't constitute feeling shameful about it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm a little confused - so the main reason J-wives cheat is because they are not getting enough sex at home. But at the same time, I hear most people who marry J girls complain they don't give them any sex? What's going on here, are these 2 completely different type of marriages?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites