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Japanese Baby Boomers bonkers about boom-boom

By Ryann Connell
November 11, 2004

"I've got a sex friend. Every time I meet her, I make a mark in my diary. I counted the marks up the other day - I met her seven times in a month, staying over with her on three nights. Even I was surprised. I told my wife that I was busy at work and had stayed at a hotel near my office. It's true that I'm busy. My wife works and is busy enough on her own. She doesn't really care what I get up to," 55-year-old trading company employee Masaru Ota tells Shukan Gendai.

Within striking distance of the retirement age of 60, Ota is like many other of Japan's 5 million or so Baby Boomers who keep on boom-booming, with a poll conducted among 500 men aged 55 to 57 by the men's weekly showing that one in three maintained a healthy sex life, saddling up at least once and as many as four times a month.

Some, like Ota, looked outside the marriage. Others, such as Katsuhiko Sato, within.

"My wife and I have sex three to four times a month. I've showed no signs of impotence and am not even worried about," the 56-year-old trader says. "I must admit that sex is not so much about being so deeply in love with my wife as it is about just force of habit."

Still more Baby Boomers, though, have already retired from the bedroom.

"My missus and I gave up on sex about 10 years ago," says 57-year-old Yuji Matsushita, a brokerage employee. "I was busy at work, went out drinking every night and never failed to come home late. I snored too loudly, so my wife suggested we have separate bedrooms. After that, our sex life just dissolved away naturally. We don't even talk about sex anymore. It's not like I'm incapable of doing it, though. I had an affair for about three years. We reaffirmed our physical relationship about once every couple of weeks."

Another standout feature of Japan's Baby Boomers has been their comparatively low divorce rate, especially when other generations are untying the knot at a record pace.

"Baby Boomers were born into a competitive society and have been bred on competition. They're entire lives have been built on a foundation of competition. Their biggest fear is being unable to compete. The fact that there are so many Baby Boomers out there is a sign of competition. They grew up wanting to go to good schools, yearned to buy their own homes, longed to have a picture-perfect family and competed with people of their own generation to find trophy lovers. That's why they shun divorce, because to them it looks like losing. But, it also creates a large number of couples who are couples in name only," Tokyo marriage counselor Hiromi Ikeuchi tells Shukan Gendai.

Ikeuchi predicts retirement will start leading to a flood of Baby Boomer divorces.

"Divorce has three main causes -- infidelity, violence and debt. Up until a couple enters their 60s, men are nearly always to blame when it comes to these three factors. But, with the Baby Boomers, women are just as likely to play around on their husbands, hit them or go out and borrow money from loan sharks who they can't pay back," Ikeuchi tells Shukan Gendai. "Equality runs strong among Baby Boomers. Women look at their husbands doing wrong and feel this entitles them to act in the same way. Baby Boomer women who joined the frontlines of the Women's Lib movement have turned into particularly strong-willed wives. One major feature of the Baby Boomers is that couples compete against each other and both sexes are forceful in expressing their opinions. That's why so many women of this age group play around on their men. Women are often content to keep quiet while their husbands are out working, but once they retire, the women let loose, too, a free spirited thought that often leads to the possibility of divorce."

Copyright 1999-2004, Mainchi Daily.  All rights reserved.  Ryann Connell is a Staff Writer and Senoir Desk Editor for the Mainchi Daily News. No content may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission.  Please contact us via the link below for re-print and syndication policies.

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