It seems incredible. Maybe it is. Is a Weekly Playboy poll scientific? With that caveat, here is the conclusion the magazine draws (April 7) from an online survey of 600 men aged 25-39: 159 of them, 26.5%, are virgins.
There’s more: 303, 50.5%, have had no sex within the past year; 91, 15.2%, have had none within five years. If this is at all representative of the sex life of the nation as a whole, the national demographic crisis, usually described in terms of a declining birth rate, is perhaps more dire than is generally appreciated.
Or maybe not. Weekly Playboy does its level best to be upbeat. “Don’t give up!” is its underlying message. It introduces five men who didn’t, and whose patience was ultimately rewarded. Space permits a description of two.
It’s not income or employment instability that barred “Mr. O” from a social life for so long. He’s a radiation engineer, earning 7.5 million yen a year. What was the problem, then?
Young love gone wrong, as he tells it. High school love can scar you for life. He fell in love with a classmate, then learned she had a boyfriend. He retreated into his shell. Studying came easily to him and he did well in college, but his social life was all beer and fast food with the guys. By the time he graduated, he weighed 120 kilograms.
Social networking was another snare. It’s so easy, so anxiety-free – why bother with the face-to-face stuff? The odd time Mr. O did meet someone offline, he gave her, if she didn’t give him, short shrift. However nice she may have been, she couldn’t measure up to his image, idealized and etherealized no doubt, of his high school love.
He was brought up short one day by a cousin who asked him point-blank: “Why don’t you have a girlfriend?” Mr. O told him of the sort of girl he was looking for. The cousin laughed. “Such high standards! And what kind of a bargain are you?”
Well, true, Mr. O had to concede. Who did he think he was? He went on a diet, lost 40 kg, arranged to meet one of his SNS “friends,” found he liked her – and soon all the pieces fell into place. When he married her a year later, he was 32. He’s 33 now, still wondering how he allowed himself to lose so much time when happiness was within reach all along, if only he’d known it.
“Mr. K” is also 33 and also, contrary to the “languishing single” stereotype, doing very well career-wise – a researcher earning 6 million yen a year. His problem, says Weekly Playboy, was a classic “mother complex.” Mom was his companion, his best friend. They enjoyed hobbies together, took trips together. Life was complete. Who needed a love life?
When he finally acquired one, it was mom who pushed him into it. She was worried, as mothers tend to be about their unmarried children. She urged him to attend organized "gokon" parties where singles can meet. “I went, but had no idea what to talk about.”
Some "gokon" parties are specifically tailored for men and women with scientific interests. That made conversation easier but presented another problem: “Girls in science are coldly rational, emotionally dry,” he complains.
Other "gokon" are designed for people who enjoy traveling. On a sightseeing trip to Kamakura he made friends with a woman five years older. She was worried about the age difference; she wanted a child, she said. “Me too,” he said, not sure whether he meant it or not.
Six months later the two of them and his mother went on a trip together. Now the couple is engaged, looking forward to marriage and parenthood. Which just goes to show: nothing, not even virginity, is forever.© Japan Today