In Japan, 1 In 10 Adults In Their Thirties Haven’t Lost Virginity, National Survey Reveals

TOKYO — Here’s a bit of news that many people will likely file under the ‘too much information’ category: public health researchers have determined that one in 10 straight Japanese adults in their 30s have had absolutely no experience with sexual intercourse.

The study was conducted to better understand the overarching trends in sexual trends in Japan over the past 30 years.

The researchers used data collected by the National Fertility Survey of Japan, which sends out a new survey every five years. Seven surveys completed between 1987 and 2015 were used for the analysis, encompassing between 11,553 and 17,859 adults aged 18 to 39.

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The results showed almost universal declines in heterosexual experiences across both genders. Heterosexual inexperience among women aged 18-39 increased from 21.7% to 24.6% between 1992 and 2015. Among straight men, the percentage of sexual inexperience increased from 20% to 25.8% over the same time period.

Even when those statistics are analyzed among more specific age ranges, the rate of virginity is still increasing dramatically. For example, 6.2% of women and 8.8% of men aged 30-34 in 1987 reported no heterosexual experiences, and by 2015 those percentages increased to 11.9% of women and 12.7% of men. The statistical trends are very similar among the 35-39 age group across both genders as well.

In comparison to other high-income countries, Japanese adults are having their first sexual experiences much later in life. Comparable surveys among U.K., U.S., and Australian adults show that only one to five percent of adults are sexually inexperienced. However, surveys are also indicating that sexual inexperience is on the rise on a global scale, so it seems Japan is leading the pack when it comes to sexual inactivity.

“Sexual inactivity or inexperience, whether voluntary or not, should not be exoticized, ridiculed, or necessarily considered a concern for everyone. More research is needed on reasons for sexual inactivity and how mating market dynamics might be evolving due to online dating, shifting expectations in romantic and sexual relationships, and changing values, lifestyles, and labor market trends,” explains lead researcher Dr. Peter Ueda, an expert in epidemiology and public health at the University of Tokyo, in a statement.

Japan does not recognize same-sex marriages, and the surveys used in the analysis did not ask any questions about homosexual experiences.

The study is published in the journal BMC Public Health.

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