According to one survey, almost 1 in 4 Japanese men between 30-34 is a virgin:

“There are 11 percent of people who gave an invalid answer to the survey and I bet you the vast majority of them would be virgins. And though there is also 65 percent who said they have had sex, that also includes the guys whose only experience is a single session at the brothel and nothing since, so there are a lot of virtual virgins in amongst them, too,” Watanabe says.

The Japan Cherry Boy Association currently boasts of 517 members whose ages range from their teens to their 40s. Many join the association in the hopes that women will visit its website and try to pick them up. Some members, albeit only a few, actually succeed in “graduating” from the club by successfully experiencing sex.

Some have found comfort in works of fiction:

Conservative virgins argue that they’ve had enough of real women and would prefer two-dimensional types such as those found in manga and anime, who are also not going to lead them to the pain of rejection.

We’ve been poking around lately trying to figure out if things like NYMPHET are normal fun for the whole family or outlets for more dysfunctional aspects of Japanese society; answering such a question is far beyond the scope of one little blog. However we have heard repeated mentions of a Japanese “sex crisis” as in many young women and men not having any. We also are reminded that lots of shojo(girls) comics are actually read by young men. (And girls read shonen.) Anyway, we dont’ have any answers…just throwing that out there.

[Found via Simon at Icarus]


  1. Does this mean we can blame Japan’s declining birth-rate on the rise of otaku culture?

    There’s an otaku character in the absurd and wonderful Japanese dramedy [email protected] who develops gynophobia and is terrified by all “3D” women. I thought it was complete (if amusing) fabrication. I guess not…

  2. As a not exactly sex-starved dude, I wish I lived in a society where there was a little less screwing. On some level, it’s just a bit much here, and it ain’t slowing down. I know this makes me sound straight out of Al-Quaeda and all, but… seriously… umm…

    “can we hang out a little first?”


    It’s really, really crazy out here these days.

    P.S. That said, 30 is sort of crazy, virginically speaking.

  3. Brady…

    Was that some sort of attempt at humour or sarcasm?
    As a 37-year-old male virgin (haven’t hit the magic movie-number of 40), your comments have cast a dim pallor on my day.
    Believe it or not, some people have difficulty managing basic communication skills that others take for granted. Relationships with the opposite sex even more difficult to handle.
    And, hey, guess what? There are higher than average numbers of these people in nerd subcultures such as comics (the umbrella topic of this particular blog).

    Please have some sensitivity. Sexual relations (especially lack thereof) is a serious problem for some of us.

    I think the last quote from the linked article says it best:
    “…those weak at love need to have love made smoother for them so they can enjoy it, get married and have children. I wonder if the media knows how much it hurts virgins and makes them feel isolated when it says that anybody at all is capable of love. We need a society kinder on virgins. We need to smile more at virgins.”

  4. That’s odd, I just came across the terms “Cherry Boy” today in the latest Monster (which is great by the way). Indeed the term is used by a prostitute talking to a clean cut lad. The odd thing is that the book takes place in Germany.

  5. Brady: I agree things sexual have gotten to a weird place in society. The vague feeling of the day seems to be that it’s important to have sex, but there’s nothing important about sex; it’s simply pleasurable and ego-boosting. Yet much of society still expects sex to mean something. So there is a bit of a crisis or at least a conundrum in our culture, as well.

    At first take these Japanese guys’ obsession with imaginary girls seems bizarre and childish, but just now i thought about those medieval knights and the ladies they dedicated themselves to, but never expected to have physical relations with. Not that these guys are like knights, just that romantic obsession without the expectation of sex is not unprecedented.

  6. foobar: sorry you feel bad, but everybody gets made fun of for something and everybody feels bad sometimes, but if nobody made fun of anything there wouldn’t be any humor. Deal with it.

    Moving on,

    Chuck: yeah, what I think is weird is that you just sort of have to “do it” and soon. A buddy of mine and I always like to wait two or three months with any girl we date. This is frequently viewed as NOT OKAY by our partners. If a 2nd date goes well, you’re supposed to sleep over anymore, and I can’t tell you how many of my friends don’t even wait that long.

    What I find really bizarre as that it’s the same people who are really conscious of STDs, really educated about sex and its implications, who move the FASTEST. Crazy.

    Of course, the whole Japanese view does sound unhealthy in some way. There’s patience and then there is repression. We’ve moved way past repression in Urban America though. Whew.

  7. I think Foobar and BradyDale need to team up. Prude/Virgin powers activate! Will BradyDale get the celibacy he desires? Will Foobar finally get laid? Or will their powers cancel each other out, or be the end of existence as we know it? Now that’s a comic I’d read!

    In all seriousness:

    Foobar, have you considered therapy? I don’t mean that as an insult, I mean it as honest advise. If you are 37 years old and have crippling emotional issues about engaging in personal relationships so much so it’s kept you from having a sexual encounter your entire life, you might wanna see a doctor. At the very least, what harm could it do?

    BradyDale, waiting two to three months is unfair to everyone involved. It has the potential to emotionally bind you with a partner that you very well may be completely sexually incompatible with. How would you feel if you were a woman who waited for three months, fell for a guy only to find out then that he’s incapable of pleasuring you or into some weird kinky shit? I’d be pretty pissed off if it were me. Better to get that knowledge out of the way before any deep emotional connection sets in. 3rd to 5th date has been the average for everyone I’ve known, male or female, my entire adult life.

  8. Cheese, I hear you. I know it makes me sound prudish. Though on some level I think you just agreed with me. Can you get 5 dates in in less than two months? I can’t. I’m a busy dude.

    Rather than prudish, I like to think of myself as countercultural. But… I guess I also don’t just get that linked in that fast. In fact, my big problem is not giving people enough time. I can tell you this… in the last year I’ve ended it (arguably, too) fast with a few different girls, but definitely 4 or 5 outings in, and looking back I’m pretty glad we didn’t have sex.

    I guess I’m a little prudish. Or at least more conservative than my peers. Which is funny, because they pay me to be a crazy liberal!

  9. Hi all.
    Sorry to be a downer above… I was already having a really bad day (in a way not related to sex) when I read Brady’s first comment.

    My point is…
    Sexual relations are DIFFICULT. It’s probably been a long time since most of you have been virgins, and you may have forgotten this, but getting past that first sexual encounter is a really difficult thing. I can also tell you from bitter experience that getting over that hump (so to speak) gets even harder as time goes by. I’m now at an age where I’m twice as old as the majority of people are when they get their cherry popped. Let’s face it… I’d be fooling myself if I let myself believe that my odds of getting laid after all this time were better than slim at best.

    Incidentally, I am by no means a unique case. I have several casual friends of long-standing who are almost certainly are in the same situation. I don’t see them all that often, but I have never heard any of them mention sex (or even having a girlfriend) and I’ve known some of these guys for better than 20 years!

    It would be interesting to see if a support group of the kind mentioned in the linked article would work out in North America. In my experience, there’s no lack of potential members available. On the other hand, most such people might have difficulty working up the gumption to actually brave a meeting. I am not one of them… Hell, I’d be standing in line to become a charter member!

  10. Foobar–
    They are tremendously difficult. Infuriating. Frustrating. You are absolutely right and I’ve felt the same way as you many times.
    Just because we’re not virgins doesn’t mean it’s easy. I “lost it” late, as I’m sure a lot of folks on here did and the stress is still there.
    One important thing is to not focus on it too much. I don’t know that a support group would actually help because that would be a way of focusing in on the not-getting-it issue even more.
    Therapy is a better idea, I think.
    And, as crazy as it sounds, you might want to get rid of the mystery of sex: a good call girl is not a horrible idea at this point (they are called “escorts” these days, and your yellow pages are full of them — really). Don’t take that as an insult. Even Paul Simon sang that he “took some comfort there.” You clearly need for it to happen and you CAN make it happen, even if it’s not the way you might think of as ideal. It’s important to lift the veil off matters of the loins, especially for those of us who feel “long denied.”
    I understand both sides. It’s always been brief feasts and long famines for me, man, so I hear you.
    keep on!

  11. Gosh. I find this kinda hard to believe. I think maybe the society makes men say they haven’t had sex even if they did. I don’t know if they count gay sex as sex in their studies … that would account for a pretty high percentage of the people.

    Anyway, if they aren’t having sex from the times they are teens … then I feel sorry for them. I’m only a teen, but find that snuggling up with the right person makes me very happy and content … even if I’m not married.

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