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Author Topic: Sexless in Japan
jasonr
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Sexless Celibacy Syndrome and Japan

A friend of mine sent me this link about the growing demographic problem in Japan and its link to certain bizarre cultural idiosyncrasies.

The part of the article that floored me was:

quote:
According to a 2011 survey conducted by the Japanese National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 61 percent of unmarried men and 49 percent of unmarried women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship at all. A related survey by the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) found that 45 percent of women aged 16-24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact [with others]”.
The article does go on to explain this in the context of certain well known sexual subcultures such as hentai porn.

I had of course been aware of some of this, as many in the west have heard stories for years about tentacle porn, and grown men buying schoolgirl panties from vending machines. And certainly it's no secret that Japan faces a demographic problem (like many first world nations) due to declining birth rates, exacerbated perhaps by the insular and closed nature of Japanese society.

But mostly I just figured I was getting a skewed perspective and that this was an exaggeration of some fringe cultural practices hammed up for the benefit of foreigners.

But I just find it incredibly hard to fathom the existence of a society where nearly half of the female population aged 16-24 is actively hostile to sex. The article also suggests that Hentai is some kind of mainstream passtime, rather than the fringe subculture I always rather assumed it was. So seriously, do regular Japanese people watch tentacle porn like we the latest romantic comedy?

I had hypothesized that perhaps the sampling of the survey was flawed or biased, or alternatively, respondents in the survey (for whatever cultural reason) were not being entirely honest.

However, I thought I'd put it out there for my own curiosity to those like Kid Tokyo who might be in a better position to comment.

What the F is up with Japan?

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hobsen
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This is a more recent report of world trends:


http://www.businessinsider.com/3-maps-of-sex-trends-around-the-world-2013-10

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D.W.
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I expect (hope) that the "tentacle porn" is the fringe. I think the term is more generic to sexualized animation or comics in all it's forms.

If I'm not right and rape by monsters is mainstream... well then the percentage of women actively hostile towards sex makes more sense given the... interests of their male counterparts. [Razz]

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Seriati
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I'm not following any links on this. But it seems to me that you have a chicken or egg problem here. If literally half the women in a country are hostile to sexual relationships with men, it would seem entirely likely that male fantasies would tend towards taking away the choice to say no. It's still fantasy though.

It's kind of interesting to consider the female position here, where on the one hand it's a tenant of faith that women are as interested in sex as men (notwithstanding virtually all anecdotal evidence to the contrary), yet on the other the response is retreat and abandonment of sex. Could just as easily have provoked confrontation or efforts to take control or redirect the mainstream fantasy content.

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KidTokyo
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quote:
So seriously, do regular Japanese people watch tentacle porn like we the latest romantic comedy?
No.

This is a classic example of a journalist manufacturing a story out of nothing. For journalists, the "Japan sure is weird" genre is an easy go-to since western readers are unlikely to realize that what they are seeing is, essentially, a complete fabrication.

Addressing Japan's "demographic problem" -- let's first begin to ask why Japan is always singled out for this when, it's fertility rate of 1.4 is actually equal or higher than that of:

189 Japan 1.4
190 Austria 1.4
191 Germany 1.4
192 Monaco 1.4
193 Malta 1.4
194 Serbia 1.4
195 Italy 1.4
196 Slovakia 1.3
197 Greece 1.3
198 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.3
199 Romania 1.3
200 Hungary 1.3
201 Spain 1.3
202 Portugal 1.2
203 Singapore 1.2
204 Poland 1.2
205 Macau (China) 1.2
206 Korea, South 1.2
207 Moldova 1.2
208 Hong Kong (China) 1.1
209 Andorra 1.1

And yet none of these countries are accused in the public media of having some bizarre sexual fetish or an abnormal aversion to sex.

As for the other assertions of the article, the author seems to have confused the subcultures certain Tokyo hangouts with the entire country. If you think maid cafes and the like are widely accessible throughout Japan, I've got a bridge to the moon to sell you. Using Akihabara or Roppongi as a lens into Japanese culture is like using Las Vegas as a lens into American culture. It's not completely wrong, but the image you get is vastly cartoonish and distorted.

The idea that the Japanese aren't dating is easily debunked by the sheer onslaught of young couple you see in restaurants on any given night in any Japanese city. Maybe there are more who prefer to be single than average, but I doubt this is related to the "demographic problem." The latter has more to do with sheer lack of physical space to raise more than one kid. Japan has very little real estate -- 90% of the country is uninhabited mountain slope. Urban areas are tightly packed. Cramming two kids into small living quarters is a recipe for madness. However, if you venture out to the countryside, you see bigger families, because there is more space to raise them.

The report about women in the workforce seems way off as well. In any urban area, the crowded subways are filled with women of all ages on their way to work -- there are even "women only" subway cars. I am impressed, as well, at how many mid-sized or even large law firms in Japan have female associates and partners. It's not 50-50 but its often 70-30 or 60-40. In rural areas you would see more housewives, but then again you also see school teachers and farmers and bus drivers.

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KidTokyo
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Oh, here is another part where the article is completely wrongo:

quote:
According to CNN, host and hostess clubs are a “booming industry”—one that serves as yet another alternative outlet to monogamous sexual relationships or marriage.
Hostess clubs are used almost entirely by companies for late-night outings with co-workers. After-hours socializing is an integral part of company life in Japan, where joining a company is like entering a syndicate or an extended family. Most of the men found at hostess clubs are there on the company dime, and are more likely than not married.

Not all companies go to such clubs, to be sure -- in fact probably only a minority -- but its enough to support the hostess club industry which would fold overnight if it was only individuals seeking the service on their own time.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
Addressing Japan's "demographic problem" -- let's first begin to ask why Japan is always singled out for this when, it's fertility rate of 1.4 is actually equal or higher than that of:

I always think its weird when people take the position that not having an exponentially increasing population to further tax limited resources is a problem.
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
there are even "women only" subway cars
Doesn't this alone suggest a significant difference in male-female relationships compared to the U.S.?

I've heard that Japan has a significant problem with frotteurism (although they are not alone -- India, for instance is another place that has a growing reputation in this area). I'm not saying it's widely accepted or anything like that. But enough of a problem that it's led to things like women only subway cars. Am I correct or is that not really a main reason for these subway cars?

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LoverOfJoy
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I got curious and googled it to see if I was remembering right. Here is what Wikipedia had to say on it. Of course, wikipedia is not a guarantee of accuracy. [Wink]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
quote:
So seriously, do regular Japanese people watch tentacle porn like we the latest romantic comedy?
No.

This is a classic example of a journalist manufacturing a story out of nothing. For journalists, the "Japan sure is weird" genre is an easy go-to since western readers are unlikely to realize that what they are seeing is, essentially, a complete fabrication.

Addressing Japan's "demographic problem" -- let's first begin to ask why Japan is always singled out for this when, it's fertility rate of 1.4 is actually equal or higher than that of:

189 Japan 1.4
190 Austria 1.4
191 Germany 1.4
192 Monaco 1.4
193 Malta 1.4
194 Serbia 1.4
195 Italy 1.4
196 Slovakia 1.3
197 Greece 1.3
198 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.3
199 Romania 1.3
200 Hungary 1.3
201 Spain 1.3
202 Portugal 1.2
203 Singapore 1.2
204 Poland 1.2
205 Macau (China) 1.2
206 Korea, South 1.2
207 Moldova 1.2
208 Hong Kong (China) 1.1
209 Andorra 1.1

And yet none of these countries are accused in the public media of having some bizarre sexual fetish or an abnormal aversion to sex.

TThat's plainly untrue, tokyo.

Edicate yoursrlf by googling the phrases

Sex and germany
Sex and moldova
Sex and romania
Sex and Macau

As for your question of why Japan gets more press than Andorra, are you frigging kidding me?

I agree that the attention to Japanese depravities is disproportionate, but you exaggerate in the other ddirection. It's fair to ask why Germany =(similar in econimic importance, birth rate and national sexual depravity to Japan) gets less bad press than Japan.

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Pete at Home
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"So seriously, do regular Japanese people watch tentacle porn like we the latest romantic comedy?"

Romantic comedies ... Tentacle porn. Hard to say which is worse. If we accept Pyr, Adam and Kate's definition of "rape culture," tentacle porn is probably the safer way to go.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I agree that the attention to Japanese depravities is disproportionate, but you exaggerate in the other ddirection. It's fair to ask why Germany =(similar in econimic importance, birth rate and national sexual depravity to Japan) gets less bad press than Japan.

Not much has changed, you could look at how German's were portrayed during WWII vs. the Japanese. Hell just look at how we treated people of Japanese decent vs. people of German decent during the war.
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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
"So seriously, do regular Japanese people watch tentacle porn like we the latest romantic comedy?"

Romantic comedies ... Tentacle porn. Hard to say which is worse. If we accept Pyr, Adam and Kate's definition of "rape culture," tentacle porn is probably the safer way to go.

I don't completely buy their definition of rape culture but it always does make me a bit uneasy seeing a character forcibly kiss someone they are fighting with and then everything is suddenly better.

[ July 04, 2015, 11:34 PM: Message edited by: yossarian22c ]

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kmbboots
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Is whatever has the tentacles consenting?
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NobleHunter
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Usually it's the object of the tentacles' affection that is worrying about consent.

Or so I've heard.

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KidTokyo
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Subway groping is an issue, as it is in every city that has subways, but the main reason for Japan's women-only subway cars is that, during rush hour, the passengers are physically compressed to a point of intimacy that would alarm even a seasoned New Yorker. Many women just don't want the risk of even unintended man groping.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by yossarian22c:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
"So seriously, do regular Japanese people watch tentacle porn like we the latest romantic comedy?"

Romantic comedies ... Tentacle porn. Hard to say which is worse. If we accept Pyr, Adam and Kate's definition of "rape culture," tentacle porn is probably the safer way to go.

I don't completely buy their definition of rape culture but it always does make me a bit uneasy seeing a character forcibly kiss someone they are fighting with and then everything is suddenly better.
Well said. Tentacle porn cant be worse for society than the magic forced kiss that solves everything.

Agreed that rape cilture in films is an issue, and seriously agree that it's more significant than tentacle porn. I just think that y hose who spend the most bandwidth talking about it have poorly defined the problem scope.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Is whatever has the tentacles consenting?

Actually under US law, antibestiality laws only protect vertebrate creatures from abuse by humans. Tentacled creatures and other creatures that dont have bones, can be boned with impunity
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kmbboots
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Doesn't actually answer my question.
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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Doesn't actually answer my question.

Is your first concern actually that the tentacle creatures are consenting vs. the women being penetrated? I am much more concerned about the latter.
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kmbboots
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I am clearly almost entirely ignorant on the topic of tentacle porn but I assumed that your average cephalopod was not initiating intimate contact with humans.

[ July 06, 2015, 12:43 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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D.W.
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You would be mistaken. And be thankful you are ignorant of the topic. I wish I was more so.

I may have missed out on the softer friendlier side of tentacle porn in my dismay but if what I did see was typical of the genre, it's about monsters (this is animation or in comic book form) with tentacles, violating women with their appendages. It is not, the romantic relationship between a human and a squid.

Again, maybe I missed out on a loving and explicit drama between said human and cephalopod due to my negative experience. However I expect that the stereotype I mention above is a stereotype for a reason...

P.S. how the hell did we get on this subject?
P.P.S. why the hell did I reply here?

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I am clearly almost entirely ignorant on the topic of tentacle porn but I assumed that your average cephalopod was not initiating intimate contact with humans.

I am sorry to report that various tentacled creatures in hentai appear to be the parties having an inordinate interest in initiating sexual contact with young human females. While I can guess with some confidence that your life will be better not delving further into the details, I will at least specify that this genre of porn seems to entail an exaggerated or overly specific rape fantasy. The question I would ask is whose fantasy it is: The girl's, or the men watching it? Or put another way, does the viewer imagine the girl wanting this, which would be exciting, or does the viewer thrive on the sense that the girl doesn't want it?

If the latter is even partially true then this would be exponentially more rape-oriented than the "magic forced kiss that solves everything."

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scifibum
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It's animation, not acting. So no tentacled creatures were harmed in the production, and presumably no women either.

Directly harmed, that is. It's certainly worth considering what messages it sends about consent, and how it influences real life for people who are into it, make it, or their associates.

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kmbboots
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Hmm...that is kind of tricky when it comes to consent, but we are probably not inspiring real young octopi to acts of degradation. The magic forced kiss meme probably does lead men (and women) to believe that "no" doesn't always mean "no".
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Hmm...that is kind of tricky when it comes to consent, but we are probably not inspiring real young octopi to acts of degradation. The magic forced kiss meme probably does lead men (and women) to believe that "no" doesn't always mean "no".

For my part I would say that the main issue isn't so much which overt acts the material encourages, since the material is so ludicrous that any takeaway will be more emotional or symbolic than literal. "No" not meaning "no" might be a nasty cultural meme to encourage, and yet there is still overlap between wooing even after hearing "no" (in the past it was considered correct to say "no" initially no matter whether there was desire or not) and between ignoring the "no" altogether and ignoring the agency of the other person. In the case of the tentacle fantasy, though, one is necessarily idealizing helplessness and invasion by a monster. It's pretty much a different kettle of fish as far as I'm concerned when compared with what might be called the lighter side of rape culture. It's blatantly just rape. The fact that it's animated may well be for reasons other than 'nice' ones; this may include legal ones and also, I suppose, budgetary constraints. Maybe the fact that it's animated allows the viewer to pretend what he's seeing isn't really what he's seeing, whereas if it was live action it would be too real to mask the brutality.
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JoshCrow
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Fenring - on that last point, I would note that there is plenty of live action depictions of the material in question (with rather sophisticated production values). So it's not that.

Tentacle porn emerged due to the ban on depictions of male genitalia. The tentacles were merely a "work-around" in the hentai industry, and a convenient way to remove the male from the picture. Note that (straight) men are generally threatened by the presence of other men in sexual situations due to feelings of competition (or outright homophobia). The tentacle porn allows a so-inclined male to indulge in power and domination fantasies without the discomfort of viewing another male.

(I hate to sound like a scholar on this topic!)

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
Fenring - on that last point, I would note that there is plenty of live action depictions of the material in question (with rather sophisticated production values). So it's not that.

Even if the live version exists that doesn't contradict the fact that it's cheaper for most producers to use animated versions, and probably easier to watch compared to the live versions. I said there were probably many advantages to having such scenes be animated; I only listed a few possibilities.

quote:
Tentacle porn emerged due to the ban on depictions of male genitalia. The tentacles were merely a "work-around" in the hentai industry, and a convenient way to remove the male from the picture.
Yes, although this kind of workaround would be useless if the market wasn't going to accept the replacement of human males with tentacled creatures. "Oh well, I guess I don't like blurry genitals so tentacle porn is the next best thing!" isn't something I would expect the average person to say, no matter what the film industry mandates.

quote:
Note that (straight) men are generally threatened by the presence of other men in sexual situations due to feelings of competition (or outright homophobia). The tentacle porn allows a so-inclined male to indulge in power and domination fantasies without the discomfort of viewing another male.
I've heard enough data about the porn industry to say I believe this is not correct, even though if asked directly many men would say it is.

quote:
(I hate to sound like a scholar on this topic!)
I think it's a very under-discussed topic, especially insofar as sexuality permeates all aspects of life even though people like to pretend it's in its own little compartment and gets shut off when not in use.
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kmbboots
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I think that there are two different problems that these kinds of films are nourishing. There is the icky, out-right, rape fantasy which indulges creepy fantasies that are clearly fantasies. Then there are the films that are supposed to be portrayals of "real life" that lead to both men and women having unrealistic expectations and idealizing a culture that encourages men and women to ignore issues of consent.
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:

quote:
Tentacle porn emerged due to the ban on depictions of male genitalia. The tentacles were merely a "work-around" in the hentai industry, and a convenient way to remove the male from the picture.
Yes, although this kind of workaround would be useless if the market wasn't going to accept the replacement of human males with tentacled creatures. "Oh well, I guess I don't like blurry genitals so tentacle porn is the next best thing!" isn't something I would expect the average person to say, no matter what the film industry mandates.

I suspect tentacle porn was "discovered" for this reason, but remains popular for others (including the absent male).

quote:
quote:
Note that (straight) men are generally threatened by the presence of other men in sexual situations due to feelings of competition (or outright homophobia). The tentacle porn allows a so-inclined male to indulge in power and domination fantasies without the discomfort of viewing another male.
I've heard enough data about the porn industry to say I believe this is not correct, even though if asked directly many men would say it is.

I'm genuinely curious what this "data" is. I would argue that the entire appeal of lesbian pornography to heterosexual males (which is generally acknowledged in popular culture, rather than being some obscure fetishism) is predicated on the "absent male" making male viewers particularly comfortable. I doubt you can provide a stronger explanation for why men would want to watch women going at it.
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that there are two different problems that these kinds of films are nourishing. There is the icky, out-right, rape fantasy which indulges creepy fantasies that are clearly fantasies. Then there are the films that are supposed to be portrayals of "real life" that lead to both men and women having unrealistic expectations and idealizing a culture that encourages men and women to ignore issues of consent.

Well, the former is not necessarily a social problem (fantasies being limited to one's mind and all that), and the latter is true of basically all pornography, not just hentai.
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kmbboots
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The latter is also true of mainstream romantic comedies or dramas as well.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
I'm genuinely curious what this "data" is. I would argue that the entire appeal of lesbian pornography to heterosexual males (which is generally acknowledged in popular culture, rather than being some obscure fetishism) is predicated on the "absent male" making male viewers particularly comfortable. I doubt you can provide a stronger explanation for why men would want to watch women going at it.

Heh, I don't really want to get into the minutiae of it, but in short the structure of most 'straight porn' is such because that's the way men want it.

As I see it F-F material doesn't so much omit the man as it focuses on the woman differently. There could be any number of reasons why F-F is popular, but I've never heard any evidence that it's popular mostly due to people who don't like M-F. There is likely some group of guys who do specifically dislike the male presence in porn, but based on the numbers it doesn't seem to be anything approaching the majority.

Regarding the tentacle subject, let's not forget that OP was asking wtf is up with Japan, which to me sounds like asking why Japan is weird. We could get into a calculus about how problematic tentacle porn may or may not be (some people contend that all porn is problematic) compared to a Rom-com, but either way I think it's fairly evident that accepting a tentacled creature as a proxy for a man is pretty weird. Obviously there's an explanation for why Japanese men may like that more so than non-Japanese men, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss a possible connection between Japanese porn culture and the sexual habits/tastes of the young population there.

KidToyko was likely right to point out that the media will overhype 'weird' things in another culture, and yet this doesn't altogether address the very real presence of certain weird cultural things in Japan that can't just be explained away with "it's not really weird, culture shock just makes it sound that way." I kind of think some of what goes on there is legitimately pretty weird. I think the main fault of the article posted in OP is hyperbole and generalization, but that doesn't mean that its subject matter is entirely void of validity. The birth rate numbers, for instance, seem to me to be a red herring, as birthrate tends to be tied to economic factors. It would be bizarre to suggest that national birth rates can be tied to...well, the horniness of the population, rather than to socio-economic and maybe religious factors. It's not too hard to produce 1.4 children no matter how low one's sex drive is.

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JoshCrow
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I'll just leave this here because it seemed timely and on-theme:

Japanese girls wild for handsome Gorilla

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Is whatever has the tentacles consenting?

Actually under US law, antibestiality laws only protect vertebrate creatures from abuse by humans. Tentacled creatures and other creatures that dont have bones, can be boned with impunity
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Doesn't actually answer my question.

Obviously not. Are rhetorical questions supposed to be answered in your neck of the woods?
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Pete at Home
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As for lesbian porn, bonobo primate females engage in faux lesbian acts to excite alpha bonobos and to push away weaker bonobo makes.

And tentacle porn in my view seems the least culturally exotic aspect of Japanese sexuality. Like Kid says, subway groping happens wherever there are crowded subways, but only in Japan are there books romanticizing it as an art.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Is whatever has the tentacles consenting?

Actually under US law, antibestiality laws only protect vertebrate creatures from abuse by humans. Tentacled creatures and other creatures that dont have bones, can be boned with impunity
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Doesn't actually answer my question.

Obviously not. Are rhetorical questions supposed to be answered in your neck of the woods?

It wasn't actually rhetorical. As should be clear, I was a blank slate when it comes to tentacle porn. However, had it been rhetorical, an appropriate answer might have been, "I see your point."
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Pete at Home
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In America there are many females willing to star in ff porn that wont do mf porn. Usually because they have a male SO who feels less threatened by girlplay. In other,parts of the sex industry there are whores who service nonblacks only, not because they dislike african amrricans but because their boyfriend/pimp is black and sees black men as more threatening.

But some fetish types go intentionally for MORE threatening, eg google cuckoldry. This is the theme of some violent "interracial" memes. White Guy who go on Craigslist seeking a big black guy for his wife. Tentacle porn (which i haven't experienced other than reading OSC's Wyrms) strikes me as the uberthreatening kind, not the lesbic less threatening kind.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Is whatever has the tentacles consenting?

Actually under US law, antibestiality laws only protect vertebrate creatures from abuse by humans. Tentacled creatures and other creatures that dont have bones, can be boned with impunity
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Doesn't actually answer my question.

Obviously not. Are rhetorical questions supposed to be answered in your neck of the woods?

It wasn't actually rhetorical. As should be clear, I was a blank slate when it comes to tentacle porn. However, had it been rhetorical, an appropriate answer might have been, "I see your point."
My answer was, i see your point, and here's an amusing tangent related to us culture.

I enjoy discussing Japanese weirdness because it helps shed light on our own cultural weirdness which we take for granted.

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KidTokyo
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Josh C

quote:
Tentacle porn emerged due to the ban on depictions of male genitalia. The tentacles were merely a "work-around" in the hentai industry, and a convenient way to remove the male from the picture. Note that (straight) men are generally threatened by the presence of other men in sexual situations due to feelings of competition (or outright homophobia). The tentacle porn allows a so-inclined male to indulge in power and domination fantasies without the discomfort of viewing another male.
The "ban on depictions" of genetalia applies to both genders and always has, though enforcement is increasingly lax.

The majority of consumers of Japanese erotica are non-Japanese. As for tentacle hentai in particular, more of it is produced by overseas artists than in Japan, where it remains a sub-niche that is, I really must emphasize, not mainstream even by standards of erotica.

There are plenty of depictions of standard hetero sex in Japanese erotica and film and literature in general. Male insecurity/homophobia plays no bigger role in Japan. In fact, Japan has traditionally been more tolerant of male homosexuality and transgender persons, as is shown by such pop culture figures being "out" as far back as the 60's with no public condemnation. There have been gay-themed soap operas on Japanese daytime tv for some time as well.

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