We’re all having less sex, apparently. But is this new ‘Celibacy Syndrome’ really just women doing what they want? asks Emma Sayle
‘Why aren’t the Japanese fucking?’
Vice magazine quite concisely asked when it was revealed that Japan’s youth have given up on sex.
The article stated that more than forty percent of 18 to 34-year-olds in the Land of the Rising Sun are still virgins. It’s not that they can’t get it either: another study by the Japan Family Planning Association found that 45 percent of Japanese women don’t want it.
And it seems this ‘celibacy syndrome’ (to quote Japan’s media) is a global issue.
A recent US study of 27,000 individuals found that millennials are now having – drum roll – around two shags, or less, a week, or 80 times per year for those in their twenties.
Overall, the study found that couples who live together are having sex 16 fewer times per year in 2010-2014 compared to 2000-2004.
Is it a bad thing?
I’m a mother of two and I personally think two shags a week pre-kids is pretty good going, especially if you and your partner both have jobs, hobbies, and mates to see.
Rather than celibacy syndrome being a global crisis perhaps it’s a sign that girls, in particular, are deciding when they want to have sex.
Women are very much the ones calling the shots most of the time now – I’ve built an empire on this fact, after all – and are now very comfortable saying ‘no’. Plus there is no longer this whole ‘got to find a husband and have babies in my twenties’ expectation anymore.
When I was in my twenties, I was very much on a work and life mission. I loved my weekends away with the girls, my crazy sports races and I loved working hard on building my business. Sex and boys were way down my list of priorities and as a result, I actually had two separate years of no sex. They weren’t planned, they just happened and they were two great years.
Modern life and libidos
Of course, modern life and all its woes can take its toll on our libidos.
Who isn’t tired, working late or worrying about money? Stress affects our sex drive and even if we do fancy it, by the time 10 pm hits, most of us just want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. Our To Do lists are much longer and are now cluttered with distracting digital stuff, making us feel like we’re a hamster in a wheel that’s just getting faster and faster. I know I feel like that, so I tighten the reins and, as a result, I get more wound up. Pleasure then naturally takes a backseat. Never mind shagging, I used to read two books a week – now I’m lucky to read one a month.
Modern life also means porn is far more accessible and some reports have blamed it for these lower rates of sex. Yes, perhaps they’re right. Perhaps we’re all just watching sex instead of having it – to be honest, I’m less bothered about that and more concerned that porn creates false expectations and unrealistic goals -screaming like a demon possessed and really loving anal sex is not how it goes in the real world.
One of the authors of the US study believes the reason millennials are having less sex is that like me in my twenties, they may actually have other things to do and are more empowered by their sex lives. He went on to say that the dynamics between men and women in relationships have changed, affecting how often they have sex.
So maybe women are saying no when they don’t want it and yes when they do, which is how it should be. Maybe that’s why rates have dropped. Perhaps, as well, instead of focusing on the quantity we should take up studies that focus on quality. Because as long as it’s good when you do have it, that’s what really counts.
Emma is one of the UK’s leading ‘sex-entrepreneurs’. She made her name launching the elite global adult-party brand Killing Kittens in 2005, which now has over 80,000 members having launched events across the US, Australia and Europe.