Japan Today



Lifelong sex? Men say yes; women not so sure


“Sex until death.” Sounds pretty good – but is it? Men seem to think so. Women are not so sure.

Weekly magazines have taken up the topic lately with a vengeance – male-oriented magazines in particular. Shukan Post, Shukan Gendai and Friday, to name just three, have lately run articles assuring men that aging need not be fatal to a full sex life.

To the women’s magazine Josei Seven (July 18), it all rings a little false. The steady rise of the sexless marriage, for one thing, seems to belie the myth of the deathless libido. Might the insatiable, unappeasable sex drive be no more than a self-flattering image, or a media creation?

Surveys of sexless couples produce many causes for the condition, the most frequently cited being “It’s too much trouble,” which trumps even fatigue due to work. “Too much trouble” suggests indifference pure and simple. Maybe sex isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – in which case, why prolong the agony?

Secondly, men and women seem to have differing and irreconcilable viewpoints. The magazine cites a survey that asks men and women if they want more sex than they get. Yes, say 75.2% of men – versus 35.8% of women.

Josei Seven presents three women – A-ko, B-ko and C-ko, aged 48, 48 and 46 – discussing the issue after afternoon tennis. The three have been friends since high school. A-ko and B-ko are married but have been sexless for years; C-ko, a nurse, is divorced and has a boyfriend. At A-ko’s house they happen to notice an issue of Shukan Post lying around, featuring an ongoing series on “sex until death.” The talk takes off from there.

“Men can actually read this stuff and not get tired of it!” says A-ko, shaking her head.

“Yes, it seems to mean a lot to men,” smiles C-ko. “There’s a patient at my hospital in his 70s who is always patting my ass.”

“Once upon a time,” muses A-ko wistfully, “most men of a certain age had had enough of sex. Not any more, it seems.”

She and her husband have been “almost sexless” since the birth of their second child 15 years ago. B-ko has been married 18 years, 10 of them sexless. Neither seems to feel anything of much importance is missing from her life.

They flip through the article. “Women’s magazines have features on sex too,” B-ko says, “but usually it’s in connection with anti-aging.”

“I remember,” says C-ko, “the first time I saw an article about sex in a women’s magazine. I was 22. The magazine was An-An. The gist of it was, ‘Have sex in order to be beautiful.’”

“Right,” says B-ko. “For men, sex is an end in itself. For women, it’s just one thing among many. I said as much to a guy I work with at my part-time job, a guy in his 30s. He was astonished. He said, ‘Why do women work so hard, then, at being beautiful? Isn’t it for sex?’”

The genders talk past each other to that degree.

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That last paragraph cracks me up!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This article should have run the same day as the chubby prostitution ring.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Well, it could be that women's physiology changes quite a bit after the menopause in their midlife. Do they get less sexual after that? I forget. Well, what's the point of having sex, if they are no longer fertile? The same could be said for men after a certain age, since their sperms do also deteriorate.

-19 ( +4 / -22 )

Women and men are two different animals. Women pretty much lose desire fairly early whereas men basically have it until late in life. Women have the advantage early but the pendulum swings to the men's side later. How many fifty-year-old women do you see with 30-something guys? Now check the opposite. Just a fact of life.

-3 ( +9 / -11 )

According to my many, many conversations with women of all ages: it's not that married women go off sex per se, it's that they go off their partners.

My opinion may not be a popular one, but I think there's some truth to it.

19 ( +21 / -4 )

Quite simply, this survey (if accurate) is a fairly good indicator of the quality of the sex they were having. It can't have been pleasurable at all for the woman if they don't miss it.

If you have had a good / fun time during sex, you would make a bit of effort to have some again, despite abstinence due to childbearing, being knackered etc.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Mocheake - Good summarisation. Men continue to be able to reproduce much later in life then women thus the desire - even if somewhat diminished - remains. I think Charlie Chaplin was in his early eighties last time he became a father. Although I do find something wrong with A and B Ko giving up sex around age 30. My experience has been that women were at their best sex-wise at that age. I think that as a couple ages quality should be more important then quantity. But once a woman refuses to have sex with her partner then she can expect him to be home late some nights - particularly if he is still in his 30's.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Errrr, C-ko, that's sexual harassment.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Well, it's scientifically proven that men crave sex more than women.

Study after study shows that gay male couples bang each other like desperate rabbits, while gay females rarely have sex at all.

So long as there are plenty of pink salons, what's a J-guy to worry about?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sex is overrated!

-13 ( +7 / -18 )

Sex is overrated!

Until you have sex with another woman, and then hell breaks lose! Sex is part of an healthy relationship between wife and husband...unfortunately many couples chose to marry because of factors like stability, social pressure and convenience....with those couples the first thing which goes out the door is sex.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Long-life yes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When I saw the names all I could think of was the anime "Project A-Ko" lol

However, back to the topic and as with most things on JT, there's a lot of generalisation. Not all women of a certain age go off sex, and not all men want bedroom gymnastics all the time. I know a 48 year old lady in Tokyo who loves it, while I know another who doesn't.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Exactly,Thunderbird!, You said it right!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I am sure all women want "it" but that "it" we guys think is only SEX, but in the end, women need to be loved, need to be taken cared of, to be heard, to be listened to, not just to be bare foot and pregnant. IMHO. Is this too hard to understand?? But if you can not get it up, time to let your tongue do a bit of tickling your women friend down stairs, never had to do that when I was younger but even if I am not crazy about licking the box, always nice to see my lady friends go plum loco!!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Leave it to the slea.., uh, weekly magazines to deliver the verdict on 'lifelong sex'. And A, B and C. Are they for real? Thunderbird2 knows about 48 year old women; I know about women at least 20 years older. And I know about what happens in the homes for the aged where the geriatrics of both gender frantically fumble in their incontinence protection as they still have the urge. And I remember the answer of a Japanese woman in her nineties being asked how long she thought she would be interested in sex. 'Until I turn to ashes', was her reply. A couple, or partners, who love and respect each other and know the way to fulfill each others desires, have taken the trouble to find the way, unless a serious disease will prevent them, will stay interested and engage in sexual relations, maybe not until death do them part, but pretty close to that day. People in their teens, twenties, thirties, forties may think sex between older people is unthinkable or weird, It is not. The former don't have a privilege. Those who have given up have been disappointed, because they have not committed themselves or their partners haven't. And they may be other reasons, but lifelong sex exists. Don't give up too easily!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I think many of the "sexless" type of Japanese married women are close to being lesbians.

They prefer their female friends and dress up only to impress their female friends.

In fact, their whole world seems to revolve around females and they are perfectly happy with that.

I think they should just be honest and come out with and say "I prefer females".

On the other hand, a few of them are man-liking sex maniacs and it's always nice to spend time with them.

12 ( +14 / -5 )

I don't know, but it is hard for me to imagine guys being sexless for months, let alone years. It makes me wonder if these guys are not getting their needs met somewhere else. I understand the rigors of the company world are quite hard and being tired I can understand, but not for years! Something is fishy here.

If any woman thinks her sexless husband really has no interest in sex, then I think she is a bit gullible. Not that there are not rare birds for whom this might be true, but it would seem to me that the chances of them being either gay or getting their needs met somewhere else are quite high.


2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sex is part of an healthy relationship between wife and husband...

A pretty myth with not one shred of cred. Every marriage has a different dynamic. Some don't need sex. Some have a better relationship getting it elsewhere. And there are many, many differences is marriages besides that.

As for sexless marriages, the real joke is when people start acting like its a uniquely Japanese thing, as if we can really expect any honesty from anybody on a subject like this. People sleeping around don't shout it from the rooftops (very often anyway) and some people lie about sexless marriages to either create an opportunity to badmouth their spouse or make themselves appear more virginal or available. Japanese and Westerners are open and closed on different subjects and also on aspects within the subjects. We don't know what is going on and we don't have proper stats.

If any woman thinks her sexless husband really has no interest in sex, then I think she is a bit gullible.

Sometimes silence is golden and ignorance is bliss. This is one of those times! Shhhhh!

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Zilch Thanks for the honesty. Signs of a very healthy, committed relationship.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I'm a woman and 56, to be honest the desire for sex is still there yet if I'd just do it just to pass the itch, I'd feel very low like a garbage. I would still prefer to do it with the man I love.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It also depends what people mean when they say sex. If people mean two minutes of organ-specific friction before (usually, but not always male) satisfaction, people might not be surprised that women aren't lining up for it with wild enthusiasm but men are.

However, if partners understand each other's bodies, pay regular undivided attention to each other outside of sex, know exactly what pleases the other person, and take sincere pleasure in pleasing their partner sexually--even delaying their own satisfaction in order to do so--more women would be game.

And no, love doesn't necessarily have to be involved to take that kind of pleasure; however, if it is, sex can be an infinitely more nuanced and pleasurable experience.

Lucky you, Zichi. (And lucky Mrs. Zichi.)

1 ( +5 / -3 )

She and her husband have been “almost sexless” since the birth of their second child 15 years ago.

She may have been but I bet he hasnt!

Philly you got it - men need about 2 minutes of foreplay. Women need at least 48 hours!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

That wasn't foreplay. ChibaChick. That was start to finish!

Not all women need more time than men. The flash point of individual fireworks depends entirely on the woman and (often) the connection erotic magnetism in the coupling.

The amount of support the man gives to the woman in the domestic sphere also helps ignite the libido. If a woman is thinking that she still had to vacuum, load the dishwasher and prepare the next day's breakfast and lunch before or after sex, it's not hard to see why that's a deal breaker.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yeah, sorry, I should have explained myself better!

What I mean is, we need to feel "mentally" up for it - not just physically. Piss us off in the preceding 48 hour period and you are likely to get a rejection before you even get an....well...you see where Im going :) !

And yes, unloading the dishwasher and vacuuming doesnt generally put us in a frame of mind for it!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Zilch Thanks for the honesty. Signs of a very healthy, committed relationship.

What a bunch of psychobabble. If they are happy, they are happy. They found their own path and its not for everyone.

-5 ( +1 / -7 )

“Yes, it seems to mean a lot to men,” smiles C-ko. “There’s a patient at my hospital in his 70s who is always patting my ass.”

Oji-San doing it right.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Scott Johnson "Psychobabble" ? Geesh..Zichi states that even though his wife and he value love over sex, they still maintain a healthy sex life... I compliment him on a "healthy, committed relationship' and you chastise my comment as "pyschobabble"? Ease up big fella

4 ( +6 / -2 )


According to my many, many conversations with women of all ages: it's not that married women go off sex per se, it's that they go off their partners.

The "opposite" is also true... some husbands are just not "interested" - leaving the wife "high and dry"...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

its been documented the elderly that have a good sex life are generally healthier. Im sure if men did a better job at making the art of sex more pleasurable for there partners than what they enjoy then women would be more interested in it. sad statistic is that many women dont even experience the big O during sex. if a man cant or doesnt know how to help a woman in achieving this then they should just keep it in there pants.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The "opposite" is also true... some husbands are just not "interested" - leaving the wife "high and dry"...

I believe you, and I've heard all the stories from frustrated wives, but in general I think that men are much better at compartmentalizing their feelings than woman. For example, a woman might find it very difficult to feel relaxed enough to engage in sex when she's worried about something that happened at work that day, but a man can put his worries aside for the duration. It's one of the things I admire about men.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I read an interesting book on the differences between men and women, where the authors looked to academic research to explain well known generalisations about men and women. For example, men often can't find something in the fridge or draw but then the wife comes and finds it immediately. Or how woman are generally less good at map reading & reverse parkng a car than men. The differences between men & women regarding sex and love were tested in an experiment where various images are shown depicting porn/sexy situation and loving/romantic situations. The test subjects are in an MRI machine, which shows what parts of their brains 'light up' in response to each image. Women's brains lit up in the same area no matter what image they looked at but for men, whilst the romantic images lit up the same area as the women, the sexy images lit up a completely different part of the brain, one that never lit up in the women. The authors argued that this provided some support for men who say "but it was just sex!" and supports the generalisation that women equate love & sex more closely than men. Yes, complete generalisation. The book also discusses medical evidence for why women & men can range from frilly/alpha to butch/effeminite and conclude that the amount of testosterone delivered at conception will hardwire you for this. A lot of testerone and a boy will grow into a caveman type, hardly any and they will grow into a k-pop/j-pop boy band star!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sex with older people is fun

0 ( +4 / -3 )

"It’s too much trouble"????! Then YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

To quote some one else 'The only sexual deviance is abstinence'

2 ( +2 / -0 )

amount of testosterone delivered at conception How does one deliver testosterone at conception?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Take the title to heart everyone, and never chastise a man for choosing a younger woman ever again.

Not to mention the fact that sexlessness is a model that they get taught from an early age.

Truth. And they wonder why the population is declining. I could never imagine that there could be a country where people would apologize for accidentally touching someone they know and are spending time with, but I have seen it here. How can people be sexual in such a cold atmosphere?

but when she got back into this prudish/non-expressive society, the ovaries shut down and she started accusing me of trying to force my values on her.

Its Japan that passive/aggressive forces values on people. But I think that if it was a change of country that did it, it was more like the stress factor that the culture shackles their own with so easily. The culture seems rather determined to kill all fun and joy and trade it all for sterile boredom.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I think Chiba Chick hits the nail right on the head! If you want to have good or decent sex with our WIFE, better not too piss her off or make her too tired in the previous 48 hours or in my case 48 minutes prior to pako pako!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As long as the women are all under 30, good enough for me :)

0 ( +2 / -3 )

if they are "UP" to it, why the hell not?! LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Scott Johnson "Psychobabble" ? Geesh..Zichi states that even though his wife and he value love over sex, they still maintain a healthy sex life... I compliment him on a "healthy, committed relationship' and you chastise my comment as "pyschobabble"? Ease up big fella

Sorry if my wording is strong, but I don't much like it when the obvious flip side of your comment is examined. And that flip side states that those unlike Zichi display signs of being unhealthy and not committed.

After all, you did not just compliment Zichi out of thin air. You said his statements about his sex and married life were signs of being healthy and committed. I disagree. For others it would be a burden to maintain, and they should not be thinking they ought to follow in Zichi's footsteps, which is what your statement about "signs" would lead them to believe.

I am glad Zichi and his wife have found a way that works for them. But we are all different and that deserves recognition and respect.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Lifelong sex?

Sounds like first prize in a golf competition.

When I got married in Japan, I assumed that sex would be for life! Never assume anything, they say. I should have got it in writing. :headbang:

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How does this match up with the article a few weeks ago saying Japanese women were wanting sex and frustrated at their menfolk for not providing? Quotes along the lines of: he's barely even touched me since our honeymoon.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If any woman thinks her sexless husband really has no interest in sex, then I think she is a bit gullible.

TJ, my guess is that she's convinced herself that he is no longer interested so as to avoid feeling guilty about denying him for so long.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ten years 2 kids still sexing. And recently 9 times out of ten she has initiated it. You just gotta make sure she enjoys its more than you at least half the time. Dont be lazy lovers guys and it'll keep coming :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, it's scientifically proven that men crave sex more than women.

Yes. This review paper (below) by the great social psychologist Baumeister and colleagues, puts a compelling case for what we should have known all along - men desire sex more than women.


Bearing in mind this difference, presumably the men need to bring more to the table such as pay checks, protection, flowers, kindness, humour, and all those other things called loving.

Problems arise however when 1) the men do not feel able (bummed out due to the demands of the pay check part for instance) or willing (ego?) to provide that bit (much?) extra, and 2) when women do not realise, if the above paper is to be believed, that they are with someone who has a greater sexual desire.

Some suggest that in Japan, it is (1) that is the problem. I disagree. But I don't think that (2) is the problem either.

In respect of (2) I think that Japanese women, and Japanese men too, are more likely to accept that men are more interested in sex than women. The Platonic gentleman is, or was not, a myth (?) to which the Japanese ascribed. Men are more generally accepted to be "sukebe" (sexed, interested in sex). Men's desire is fairly open and accepted in Japan. Even or especially young girls read manga (beautiful young boy love, Yaoi) about men on men 'romance' since this male side of sexual partnership is fully accepted. Bearing in mind this greater realism/cynicism with regard to the male libido it is surprising that Japanese appear to have less sex, within their partnerships at least, than in other nations.

I would like to suggest a third factor: the extent to which procreational pleasure is viewed as universal. It seems to me that in Japan, the ability to be a parent, and the fact of being a parent is regarded in very high esteem, and seen to be something which both men and women aspire to equally.

[ Is this the case? I believe that it is not the case. I hope a Japanese scholar addresses this issue and produces a paper demonstrating that women exhibit a greater desire to have children. ]

I suggest that a major reason why life-long sex is, perhaps, more fraught in Japan is due to this belief that the fun is in the parenting, and that sex is but a spice, a topping, a nice but not necessary added-extra to the basic business of being a human ancestor-to-be. As long as it is believed that humans basically want to be parents, or to be an adult is to be a parent ("ichi nin mae") then sex will be seen as a take-it-or-leave-it addendum, that people can do without.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Men and women just look at sex differently. Eventually, marriage becomes more than just sex, it's like a lifelong friendship...with benefits.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of my non Japanese lady friends also complain about their Japanese husbands, they never bother to sex them (not too sure if I just invented this "sex them") anyway, one friend say that her husbands "bolas" or balls andalso what we call them shiny things on the Christmas tree, are the same, JUST FOR DECORATION, just for show and that he would rather "spank the monkey" or pull on the carrot than actually get it on with his on lovely wife from South America! My Russian lady friend also tells me similar problems and Colombia etc...what to do??

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If any woman thinks her sexless husband really has no interest in sex, then I think she is a bit gullible

just a bit?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sexless or dysfunctional marriages aren't a surprise when you consider that some couples marry based on conditions that have nothing to do with physical attraction or even emotional compatibility. Seems like a logical consequence. Add to that the taboo on divorce and you have the perfect sexless storm brewing.

Having said that, the survey results reported here are almost certainly BS. An absolute truth about trash magazines is that writers are on crazy deadlines....which means they typically make up data and interviews based on their own personal experience, then add numbers after.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The differences come from biology. Men are always ready to "spread the genes", while women need to carry the baby and their organisms are not always ready for pregnancy (therefore sex - I'm talking from biological perspective, not that I was trying to suggest that sex should always be focused on reproduction).

In other words, women have a weaker need for sex, still they need sensual pleasure too (especially during menstruation, when even the woman's facial features change slightly to make her more attractive to men). On the other hand, men have stronger sexual drive (testosterone), and sexual fetishes, while women rarely have any fetishes. Perhaps men have stronger need for "triggers" (fetishes) which tell them when to "shoot the load".

Modern media worldwide seem to have a tendency to show a certain model of relationship. This ideal of a 'pure relationship' (relationship based on mutual pleasure), as described by Giddens is relatively new. It came from the romantic ideals of XVIIIth century, showing couples breaking the rules of hierarchy to be together (like Romeo and Juliet). The old standard of marriage was mostly focused on money and social status - connection between husband and wife was a connection of two families - and their estates. It was good if a couple could get along, and enjoy their relationship. Of course in modern times the family bonds are weaker and people focus on the closest relatives. Wider family usually meets at weddings or funerals.

I think that a 'pure relationship' is not the answer whatsoever. People are not sex toys, and need something more (like sense of security). The best relationships are based on friendship. While the passion burns out at some point, friendship doesn't. Of course, obligations also stay.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

women have a weaker need for sex

Let's not generalize too much...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My personal favorite quote from the above article:

"Once upon a time," muses A-ko wistfully, "most men of a certain age had had enough of sex. Not any more, it seems."

Heh! When upon a time is she talking about? And how did she come to believe such a fantasy in the first place?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why the thumb down ? I only said to not generalize too much ! As Elbuda Mexicano said :

Most of my non Japanese lady friends also complain about their Japanese husbands, they never bother to sex them

...just don't pay too much attention to my "pseudo" ... (I may be a lot less "masculine" then that pseudo suggests...)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of my friends are going through the "sexless marriage" thing... But that DOES NOT MEAN they are sexless at all!!!! They still go out, hunt and have sex! (of course with a new girl!) Which is pretty cool!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Affection is an important part of marriage and making your wife genuinely feel beautiful. I think men should also study ("She comes first" is a great book!) how to bring women to orgasm - if anything it should be a part of any young man's education!

If you can keep your woman happy with what you do with her, you're a long way to winning the battle. My wife has had 2 children, is in her mid 40's and we still have a healthy (monogamous) sex life.

Cheating on a woman isn't worth it if you love her as you'll have to carry the lie(s) for the rest of your lives together. If you've committed to witnessing each other's lives for the rest of your time it's best to have complete honesty always.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

“Sex until death.” Sounds pretty good – but is it?

A resounding YES to that question.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When older men talk about having sex until death, they don't mean with their withered, tsukemono sucking old bag of a wife. They're talking about popping some blue pills and heading down the soapland. The old girls have nothing to worry about.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"Marriage is a fine institution, designed to eradicate such feelings." Hyacinth Bucket, Keeping Up Appearances

1 ( +1 / -0 )

" ... the passion burns out at some point..." is just another way of saying you are not a good lover. Women who stop wanting sex have just been continually disappointed by Japanese men who learn how to "do sex from watching etchi videos." Manga and x-videos do'na a lover make!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan needs more sex. I vote for sex.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cyclemateJul. 25, 2013 - 02:10AM JST " ... the passion burns out at some point..." is just another way of saying you are not a good lover.

... or maybe, just MAYBE you're a fine lover and she's getting it somewhere else.

This thread is loaded with hypocrisy. There are constant suggestions that a husband who's not interested in sex is CLEARLY cheating on his wife... but if the wife isn't interested in sex then it must be that the husband is a bad lover.

How about admitting that women cheat too? Allow women the equality to also be cheaters.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well, women should understand a man's weakness for younger partners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You know - if Japanese women are thinking that sex is just "too much hassle" that really doesnt say much for Japanese men, does it?

Step right up, gaijin boys!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Let's just ask this. A-ko and B-ko are in sexless marriages, chatting away about it with C-ko over lunch and tsk-tsking the idea that men can't get enough sex, but why is C-ko divorced? Is the relationship with her boyfriend sexless? My guess is, no. What have been more poignant is if C-ko said, that's why I got divorced (either because the spouse cheated since the relationship was sexless, or they just got fed up over the different expectations).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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