Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?
Ai Aoyama is a sex and relationship counsellor who works out of her narrow three-storey home on a Tokyo back street. Her first name means "love" in Japanese, and is a keepsake from her earlier days as a professional dominatrix. Back then, about 15 years ago, she was Queen Ai, or Queen Love, and she did "all the usual things" like tying people up and dripping hot wax on their nipples. Her work today, she says, is far more challenging. Aoyama, 52, is trying to cure what Japan's media calls sekkusu shinai shokogun, or "celibacy syndrome". Japan's under-40s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships. The sign outside her building says "Clinic". Inside, she takes me upstairs to her "relaxation room" – a bedroom with no furniture except a double futon. The number of single people has reached a record high. Many people who seek her out, says Aoyama, are deeply confused. Official alarmism doesn't help. Marriage has become a minefield of unattractive choices.
Related: Social Life
• Sex Ed (health, 101, etc.)
• Read, Write, Reflect
• Shift from Occidental to Oriental Power (East vs. West)