|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
115人のサラリーマンに聞いた ここまで変わった40歳の性生活 1995,08,06
Men in their 40s finding life sexually frustrating
Gendai8/12 By Michael Hoffman
Is life over at forty? It would be an exaggeration to say Shukan Gendai answers that question in the negative.
In fact, it is an exaggeration to claim that Shukan Gendai considers the question at all.
Still a glance at the weekly's survey of the sexual habits of middle-aged "salarymen" suggests an unmistakable and uncomfortable conclusion.
By the time a man enters his fifth decade, much of what makes life worth living -- "soaplands," "pink salons," a wife who thinks he's wonderful -- is behind him.
Perhaps this should not surprise us.
After all, for the greater part of human history 40 was extreme old age.
"Living past 40 is indecent, vulgar,immoral!" declared the Russian writer Feodor Dostoyevsky in 1860.
True, he was speaking tongue in cheek through the mouth of a demented fictional character.
But, as the logicians affirm, an idiot can announce that the sun is shining without necessarily being wrong.
Shukan Gendai opens its story on a bright note: "A man at 40 should be at the peak of his working powers, and in the prime of his life as a man."
But is he? If so, why do only 56 of the 115 salarymen polled enjoy marital or extramarital relations once a week? A mere handful -- 10, to be precise -- indulge more frequently, while 49 do so significantly less often.
Turning its raw data over to two specialists for appraisal, Shukan Gendai learns that the 3.7 times per month with which the average 40-year-old businessman in these troubled mid-'90s must content himself compares most unfavorably with the situation in 1983, when men were bolder and lustier and basked in that sweetest of solace no fewer than six times a month.
What happened in those intervening 12 years? Well, say the experts, back in the early '80s men worked hard but had no doubt about the value of their work.
Their fatigue at the end of the day was purely physical.
Now, things are not so simple.
The sense of purpose is less firm, and fatigue has invaded the spiritual regions where love resides.
Nowadays, concludes one expert sadly, "the sex drive lasts through a man's 30s, but peters out quite rapidly once he hits 40."
Wives, it seems, aren't much help.
A full 23 percent of Shukan Gendai's respondents claim they never (sic) have sex with their lawfully wedded partners.
"Over the past three years," shrugs one executive, "my wife has no interest whatsoever in sex." Yes, that happens, the experts allow.
For the wife of a middleaged man, sex is all too often just another item on the long list of daily chores.
That, of course, is the unpleasant evolution that love affairs were designed to compensate for.
Strangely enough, though, Shukan Gendai finds only 28 percent of the men it interviews are currently involved in one.
Don't draw too many conclusions from that, however.
The analysts affirm that family men,even when responding anonymously, tend to downplay their extracurricular sex life.
Just for the record: sexual foreplay among our test group runs to an average of 21.2 minutes.
" I go in for extended foreplay whether I'm with my wife or my lover," says one happy salaryman.
"But the reason in each case is different." With my lover, it's because I'm enjoying her young body. With my wife,it's a question of stalling for time while I get it up." (MH)