Originally posted on whenthenailsticksout.wordpress.com : Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines

The Philippines is experiencing a population problem.

The Philippines has a population growth rate of 2.04%, one of the highest in Asia .

Demographics of the Philippines. Wikipedia. < https:// en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Demographics _of_ the_Philippines >

This is largely attributed to restricted access to artificial contraception and family planning advice.  It may also be due to very conservative views on sex.

Japan faces its own population problem, from the other side.

Concern as Japan’s 2014 birth rate falls to record low – BBC

Battling the low birthrate – The Japan Times

Japan’s birth rate problem is way worse than anyone imagined – The Washington Post

There are debates whether it’s the terrible work conditions or the economic instability that discourage Japanese youth from starting families. “Celibacy syndrome” , a national problem as it was labeled. All look at Prime Minister Abe, the champion of women, as the savior of the Japanese population, as if he can single-handedly boost the Japanese population.

Japan’s under-40s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships. Millions aren’t even dating, and increasing numbers can’t be bothered with sex. For their government, “celibacy syndrome” is part of a looming national catastrophe. Japan already has one of the world’s lowest birth rates. Its population of 126 million, which has been shrinking for the past decade, is projected to plunge a further one-third by 2060. Aoyama believes the country is experiencing “a flight from human intimacy” – and it’s partly the government’s fault.

[REPOST]WHY HAVE YOUNG PEOPLE IN JAPAN STOPPED HAVING SEX?

Last year, deaths surpassed the number of births. People lament the ”grass-eating” men and the jaded ladies who are not interested in relationships and sex. And people jump to conclusions – there are no births, therefore, there is no sex.

It’s as if Filipinos are having lots of sex and the Japanese aren’t!! As if you can judge the amount of sex by the number of babies produced . That’s only in the Philippines, imho, where contraception is controversial.

As an adult female with a healthy sex drive, I think people are having sex everywhere anyway. It’s not a matter of geographical borders, race or income. That’s nature. It’s just a matter of not wanting or wanting kids and being able to act accordingly.

So, the questions are: Is Japan really sexless? Are folks back home having more sex than people here?

To answer these questions, I downloaded Tinder, Blendr, Badoo and registered on Ashley Madison. In short, I joined a lot of hook-up sites.

What does hook-up mean?

From Urban dictionary :
hook up
1. recieve a good or service as a favor
2. to make out with someone
3. to have sex with someone

To make it more interesting, I made two profiles for each : a female user as myself and a male user as a 49 year old white male. Yes, I did go out to meet some matches (although admittedly, I couldn’t meet my female matches because they expected a middle-aged white male, so communication had to be restricted online)

Contrary to what many people like to believe, I did meet real people. By that, I mean people not in any way affiliated with the site or app. They are not scammers or professional webcam models either. Tinder, Badoo and Ashley Madison are legit hook-up sites. (There are, of course, the occasional professionals, but it’s easy to spot them)

Ashley Madison is particularly interesting. It’s blatant and unapologetic, preferring not to mince words : the phrase ”Married Dating” is splashed on the front page. Their tag line?

Life is short. Have an affair.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines. Japanese site.

Ashley Madison: Online Married Ladies Seek Immediate Offline Boinking* – GQ

Equal-opportunity infidelity comes to Japan – The Japan Times

In the Philippines, Ashley Madison encountered resistance. No surprises there.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines

The Philippines, with its predominantly Roman Catholic society, and also predominantly Muslim country Turkey, are the newest markets for Ashley Madison. But the conservative nature of these countries doesn’t seem to bother the company, as it remains optimistic about great reception in these markets.

We’ve seen that in other markets that are conservative such as Switzerland, we do extremely well. In Catholic countries, we do extremely well, like in Brazil, Spain and Italy. And the Philippines unites all of those factors,” Christoph Kraemer, the company’s European communications director and spokesperson told ABS-CBN. “Plus, the additional factor is that divorce is illegal here in the country, which will be a new experience for us.

Despite their business model, Kraemer said that the company doesn’t want people to divorce and that they and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines actually share that “common goal.” In fact, said Kraemer, Ashley Madison could even help save marriages via different situations – for example, if someone tries an affair then realizes that it’s not for them, leading to a rekindled relationship.
Will cheating website Ashley Madison thrive in conservative PH? Rappler. November 28, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// www. rappler. com/ life -and -style/ relationships/ 76385 -cheating -dating -website -ashley -madison -philippines >

It’s an uphill battle for AM Philippines. It’s not only because of the culture and the religion , but the costs! If the rates are the same as the rates here in Japan, then I seriously doubt it will take off. Filipinos are suckers for complimentary free gifts (Complimentary na, free na, gift pa!) - they should consider changing their business model if they want to attract Filipino users.

If you are wondering how much an Ashley Madison membership costs here in Japan, here’s the good news if you are a woman : female members get to use the site completely free! Men have to use credits to send messages and communicate. And credits cost money. These are the packages I can choose from as a male user.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines

A package of a thousand credits amounts to 30,000 Yen (or 247 USD, at the current exchange rate) or 11,152 pesos . Basically, without credits, you cannot do anything unless a woman initiates contacts. And as far as my male profile goes, I only get “winks” and messages from  US-based web cam models. Which leads people to believe AM is a scam!

It isn’t though – as I already said.

So, how does Ashley Madison fare in Japan?

Ashley Madison is raking tons of money. To date, more than 25 million members across 38 countries have crafted profiles on Ashley Madison, complete with their age, physical traits, location, and a description of what they’re seeking. Men pay for credits to write emails, initiate chats, and send virtual gifts to women, while women join and navigate the site for free. The model is working; last year the company raked in a profit of $40 million, while reaping a revenue of $125 million, up from $100 million the previous year.

How Ashley Madison Pulled Back the Curtain on Japan’s ‘Infidelity Economy’. Motherboard. June 16, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// motherboard. vice. com/ read/ how -ashley- madison- pulled- back- the- curtain- on- japans- infidelity- economy >

And the bomb :

The website clearly taps into a juicy Japanese market — those legions of couples in sexless marriages, who have been ignored up to now. In the first 10 days, more than 120,000 people joined — with women outnumbering men by 2 to 1.

Adelstein, Jake. Equal-ooportunity infidelity comes to Japan. The Japan Times. July 6, 2013. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// www. japantimes. co. jp/ news/ 2013/ 07/ 06/ national/ media -national/ equal- opportunity -infidelity -comes -to- japan >

The popularity of the controversial matchmaking site is especially explosive in Japan, Ashley Madison’s fastest growing market worldwide. Japan broke one million members on the affair site faster than any other country: in just eight months.

How Ashley Madison Pulled Back the Curtain on Japan’s ‘Infidelity Economy’. Motherboard. June 16, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// motherboard. vice. com/ read/ how -ashley- madison- pulled- back- the- curtain- on- japans- infidelity- economy >

Being a member of AM, I can tell you that there is no shortage of real people looking for sex in Japan -men or women. Whether people actually have sex or not is another question altogether, but given the stats, I’d bet my money that many members are getting their membership fees’ worth.

Why does AM work here and not back home ? It’s not just that people have more cash to spare here than regular Juans and Juanas in the Philippines (Let’s face it. Filipinos are not willing to shell out 11000 Pesos for a chance to boink someone! ). It’s a combination of the culture,religion, tradition, and attitudes towards family, marriage, infidelity and sex. Come on, this is a country that churns out twice the number of porn movies than the US!

“JAPAN ACTUALLY HAS A HEALTHY APPETITE FOR SEX. THEY JUST GO ABOUT IT IN A REALLY DICHOTOMOUS KIND OF WAY AND MAKE IT HARD FOR THEMSELVES.” 

How Ashley Madison Pulled Back the Curtain on Japan’s ‘Infidelity Economy’. Motherboard. June 16, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// motherboard. vice. com/ read/ how -ashley- madison- pulled- back- the- curtain- on- japans- infidelity- economy >

As a female user, I did get a lot of people contacting me on AM more than I did as a man. That is a no-brainer. On my first week on Ashley Madison, tons of guys initiated contact. Here’s a partial list.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines.  Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines. Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines.  Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines. Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines.  Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines. Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines.  Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines. Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines.  Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines. Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines.  Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Sex and cheating in Japan and the Philippines. Ashley Madison : Married Dating.

Admittedly, they aren’t all Japanese…. But…. hey, these guys can still help with the population problem?

Eventually, I was getting just too many messages and winks, I had to disable my account.

Surprisingly, guys on Tinder Japan seem to be less pro-active than the guys on AM Japan : of all my 60+ matches, less than half initiated contact. This is ironic considering that contacting women on Tinder is totally free, whereas it’s paid on AM. It’s either people really want to get their money’s worth on AM, or it’s that AM users are more determined to hook-up than people on Tinder.

As a 49 year old white male on Tinder, matches were pretty hard to come by. It’s also because I filtered my search and looked only for women around my age (I can’t possibly hook up with younger girls!!!! Come on!!) . But what lacked in quantity made up for quality: older women didn’t hesitate to initiate contact and talk about their private lives. And they are fairly literate too!

In Malaysia, I found guys a lot more aggressive: initiating contact and even writing full length messages. On Badoo/Blendr (Badoo is powered by Blendr!!), my profile became the most viewed profile in one day. (Tinder was practically non-existent in Malaysia.) Again, like AM, I had to disable my account because of the influx of messages and invitations to dates.

So yes. Going back to Japan and sex. The success of hook-up sites and apps like Tinder and Ashley Madison proves that…

a) Like Filipinos and everybody else with a pulse,  people in Japan (both Japanese and non-Japanese) are still interested in sex

b) people are proactively trying to find sex partners

c) and they are even willing to shell out money for it, if necessary

After having met tons of men and talking to women online on Tinder, Badoo/Blendr (a favorite of many middle-aged Filipinas, it seems) and Ashley Madison, I can tell you that..

People in Japan* still have sex. Just not with their spouses.

*People in Japan – both foreign and Japanese.

One reason that numerous surveys suggest affairs may be trending upward is the well-documented fact that sexless marriages are on the rise and now account for more than half the total, according to a condom-maker’s annual survey.

Adelstein, Jake. Equal-ooportunity infidelity comes to Japan. The Japan Times. July 6, 2013. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// www. japantimes. co. jp/ news/ 2013/ 07/ 06/ national/ media -national/ equal- opportunity -infidelity -comes -to- japan >

So.. are extramarital affairs on the rise because married partners stopped having sex? Or did married partners stop having sex because of extramarital affairs? Hmm.. I wonder.

Here are some thoughts/observations on why it’s easier to cheat in Japan than in the Philippines. Unfortunately, I can’t find reliable data/stats about sex and (in)fidelity in the Philippines for comparison, so please bear with me!

1) Historically, Japan allowed  men to cheat and they carried this tradition over to modern world; whereas in the Philippines, the tradition of polygamy was discarded in favor of a heterosexual monogamous Catholic marriage that viewed sex only in terms of reproduction

Traditionally, in the Philippines :

Before the arrival of the first group of Spaniards in the Philippine islands on the shores of Cebu, under the leadership of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, the ancient native Filipinos already had their own sexual and relationship practices. One of them is the carrying out of polygamy. Early Filipino tribal men had five or more wives, a marital ethnic norm of the archipelago at the time.

Ancient unmarried Filipino women were encouraged by their cultural orientation at the time to participate freely in sexual activities.

Sexuality in the Philippines. < https:// en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Sexuality_in_the_Philippines >

Then, the Catholics came and the rest is history.

Traditionally, in Japan :

The historical roots of Japan’s approach to marriage can be clearly traced. According to Jennifer Robertson, Professor of Anthropology and the History of Art at the University of Michigan, “monogamy was introduced in the first modern Constitution/Civil Code of 1890 after the fall of the feudal shogunate in 1868 and the formation of a constitutional monarchy thereafter.”

Until the penning of the nation’s postwar Constitution of 1946, adultery was solely defined as a crime committed by married women. “In addition to giving free reign to men’s sexual desires, this one-sided, punitive definition of adultery was rationalized as a way to prevent confusion about the paternity of a married woman’s child,” Robertson said.

How Ashley Madison Pulled Back the Curtain on Japan’s ‘Infidelity Economy’. Motherboard. June 16, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// motherboard. vice. com/ read/ how -ashley- madison- pulled- back- the- curtain- on- japans- infidelity- economy >

2) Romance is not the basis of marriage in Japan. Filipinos are hopeless romantic.

Filipinos (at least, of my generation) like to believe in love and in happily ever after.  For many Filipinos, sex and love go hand-in-hand.

MANILA, Philippines – Despite hard times, Filipinos remain a romantic lot, with more than half believing that first love never dies and four of five believing in love that is meant to be.

This is based on a new survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 last year, results of which were released Wednesday. The survey was conducted among 1,500 respondents.

“Over half (55 percent) of adult Filipinos believe that ‘first love never dies,’” SWS said in its website.

It added that 78 percent of respondents believe in the statement, “If you love someone then set him free, if he/she comes back again it was meant to be.”

SWS said the survey also showed that 59 percent in the Visayas, 57 percent in Mindanao, and 52 percent each in Balance Luzon and Metro Manila believe that “first love never dies.” It noted that three out of five (60 percent) in class E believe in it, 54 percent in class D, and 47 percent in class ABC.

Belief that first love never dies is similar among men (56 percent) and women (54 percent), SWS said.

Filipinos still a romantic lot, SWS survey shows. GMA News. February 11, 2009. Web. July 9, 2015. <  http:// www. gmanetwork.com/ news/s tory/ 148258/ news/ nation/ filipinos- still-a- romantic- lot- sws- survey- shows >

On the other hand, Japanese have a more practical view on marriage. And I am not just talking about forming alliances by marrying a daughter off to some shogun. Although yes, that was probably the case back then.

But in Japan, Robertson says, romance “is not at all the main motive for the legal institution of marriage, which brings two extended families into alliance, enables the marriage partners to achieve ‘social adulthood’ and is the only sanctioned context for reproduction, which in turn ensures the continuity of the household lineage.”

Japan has a chance to be the breakthrough society,” he said. “They have a chance more than any other society to find a successful platform for marriage where marriage is about economics, raising kids. It’s not about sexual entertainment. That’s secondary.

How Ashley Madison Pulled Back the Curtain on Japan’s ‘Infidelity Economy’. Motherboard. June 16, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// motherboard. vice. com/ read/ how -ashley- madison- pulled- back- the- curtain- on- japans- infidelity- economy >

In spite of this (or because of this?), divorce rate in Japan remains low while  annulment rate has increased in the Philippines.

Japan’s divorce rate is increasing , for sure. But it still lags behind the US.

The divorce rate in Japan hums around 27 percent, about half the rate in the US.

How Ashley Madison Pulled Back the Curtain on Japan’s ‘Infidelity Economy’. Motherboard. June 16, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// motherboard. vice. com/ read/ how -ashley- madison- pulled- back- the- curtain- on- japans- infidelity- economy >

It is hard to compare the Philippines with Japan, because of the complications of legal procedures and costs involved. People will probably divorce more if only it were more accessible! Nevertheless, it seems like couples splitting up is on the rise.

The number of marriage annulment and nullity cases filed in the country has been steadily rising for the past eight years, with an average of 28 couples seeking to have their marriages declared null and void per day in 2012, records from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) showed.

A total of 10,528 annulment cases were brought before the OSG last year, or over 1,000 cases more than the 9,133 filed in 2011, government records obtained by GMA News Online revealed.

Last year’s figure was almost double the number of marriage dispute cases filed a decade ago. In 2002, a total of 5,250 couples sought to have their marriages annulled or nullified.

Calonzo, Andreo and Caybyab, Marc Jayson . More Pinoy couples seeking annulment despite high cost. GMA News. April 4, 2013. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:/ /www. gmanetwork. com/ news/ story/ 302435/ news /nation/ more- pinoy- couples -seeking -annulment -despite -high -cost >

 3) Japanese feel less guilty about cheating than other parts of the world

Filipinos have a very conservative view on sex – we can’t even have a proper sex education in school without turning it into religion or biology class. There is guilt involved in treating sex as sex. It can never be “sex for sex’s sake” – at least not on the surface. On the other hand, because Japanese are non-Islam/non-Judeo-Christian, their views on sex are very different from ours.

What’s more, couples in Japan tend to feel less guilty about infidelity than other parts of the world. The Ashley Madison’s survey found that of the 3,500 respondents from Japan, only 2 percent of women and 8 percent of men felt pangs of guilt for their flings, compared with 8 percent of women and 19 percent of men worldwide.

How Ashley Madison Pulled Back the Curtain on Japan’s ‘Infidelity Economy’. Motherboard. June 16, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// motherboard. vice. com/ read/ how -ashley- madison- pulled- back- the- curtain- on- japans- infidelity- economy >

Some may even think having extramarital affairs are actually good for them. My hubby once noted about how a female co-worker said she was relieved her husband goes to whorehouses,  so she didn’t have to do all those “stuff” to her husband.

Ashley Madison’s survey found a whopping 84 percent of Japanese women and 61 percent of Japanese men considered their extramarital liaisons beneficial to their marriages.

How Ashley Madison Pulled Back the Curtain on Japan’s ‘Infidelity Economy’. Motherboard. June 16, 2014. Web. July 9, 2015. < http:// motherboard. vice. com/ read/ how -ashley- madison- pulled- back- the- curtain- on- japans- infidelity- economy >

4) Japanese have separate private and public lives. Filipinos don’t.

It’s like the art of honne and tatemae (true feelings and facade). Japanese lead a completely separate public life and private life. As an example : Japanese salarymen don’t take their wives and kids to company parties . You could be working with the same person for years without knowing what the person’s spouse looks like. In the Philippines, I know my (ex)co-workers families. The spouses and partners eventually get introduced to the team and they join us in official and non-official company parties.  Companies also encourage employees with kids to let them go  trick-or-treating on Halloween. I can say for certain that I have a more personal connection with my co-workers’ families than my husband with his co-workers.  Some are even friends with me on Facebook. My husband has absolutely no idea what his co-workers’ partners look like – or if they really exist. What does this imply? It means I have more connection with my co-worker and his or partner than my husband with his.  It means that if I see my co-workers’ spouse or partner with someone else, I won’t only recognize him/her, I may even feel offended on behalf of my co-worker. For my husband, his co-workers’ partners are total strangers.

5) Filipinos love mixing friends. Japanese *just* don’t.

As a Filipino, it’s normal to make some third or fourth degree acquaintance. Your classmate’s boyfriend’s co-worker. Then that co-worker’s brother. Or your ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. I guess this is why FB is so popular – it’s easy to manage and stay in touch with all the people you have met. Plus, it’s always interesting to see who’s friends with whom. Mutual friends, as they are called. In short, you have an extensive network of people you know and who know you. That makes it more likely to bump into someone you know and be found out.

In Japan, people don’t like that mess. For the record, FB penetration rate is always much lower here than in the Philippines. People are just not into connecting or showing who they are connected to. They like to keep one life separate from another. They are anal about keeping separate boxes of their lives neatly labeled : “university friends”, “exes”, “Company A co-workers”, “Company B co-workers”, “high school friends” etc. This makes it easier to cheat, because you have a less extensive network – you don’t know a lot of people and not a lot of people know you. Despite the population density, you can be more anonymous here than back home.

6) Tokyo is huge. Metro Manila is also huge but..

I just don’t bump into people the same way I do in Manila. And it’s not because I have a small network here and a large network back home (I think I have a fairly large network here, compared to locals!). Maybe because in Manila, there are limited places you can visit when you go on dates. In Tokyo, you can actually go to parks and museums. Or anywhere trains can take you. Manileños are disadvantaged to that sense – you need a car to go almost anywhere. Or be stuck in malls where millions of people are milling around. You end up exposing yourself to prying eyes.

7)   Japanese mind their own business. Filipinos don’t.

My partner at work once asked me why women get seriously angry when they see their girlfriend’s boyfriend with someone else, whereas men don’t seem to care if they see their buddy’s girlfriend with someone else.  That made me  think and reflect for a moment. But to be honest, I have never witnessed any girlfriend’s philandering boyfriend to answer the question. But if I did, would I get upset and confront the cheating party?

Nah.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve lived abroad for a long time to have a greater respect for personal boundaries or if I’m just too self-absorbed to care. A friend complained about Filipinos: ”Pakialamero kasi mga tao dito e.” (People mind other people’s business here!)

Bakit ba kasi kailangan mag-moralize all the time?

Take health insurance coverage for example. There was once an open forum at my company where the insurance sent reps to answer our questions. My golden question was: Are STDs included in the coverage ? The answer was no. Because STDs are considered to have come from “immoral” actions.  I sighed. STDs don’t necessarily come from gangbang and bukake. But never mind that, even insurance companies feel they must do their part in imposing a certain moral code and inhibit a client’s sexual freedom. In Japan, diseases are diseases are diseases. Doctors will not moralize and lecture you about being in a monogamous relationship when you consult with them about STDs. (Some Filipino doctors tend to do just that!) It’s exactly why Ashley Madison is successfully doing business here in Japan and not in the Philippines – persons of authority (clergy, politicians, doctors or even insurance reps) feel is it their duty to be the moral police and that they have every right to dictate people’s sexual behavior. As if Filipinos are kids without minds of their own. Kailangan i-baby. Talk about overstepping their boundaries.

So there. I have sum up all the observations and thoughts that resulted from months of dating,meeting and talking to people. I will be honest here: it has taken a toll on me. But it’s worth it. I met a lot of wonderful people and learned things about others and myself that otherwise I would never have learned if I never left my comfort zone. To some sense, it affected me more than I’d like to admit.

So to answer the question : Is Japan really sexless? Are folks back home having more sex than folks here?

No, I don’t think so.