Herbivore Men: Japanese Men Who Are Useless at Sex




January 14, 2022



When you hear the word "Herbivore Men", what pops up in your heard? One of those stoic vegetarian guys who survives off salads? Or possibly one of those smaller guys who gets picked on by the big dogs at school? To be honest, when I first came across this word in Japan I was clueless. I couldn't even remember the last time I even used the word ‘herbivore'. Which was probably some time long ago in a junior high science class. ‘Herbivore Men’ is really not a term that you would commonly hear in an everyday conversation back home. However, in Japan, the literal translation of ‘Soushoku Danshi’ has become a widespread buzzword within the younger generation. Especially in conversations about men, relationships, and sex. So, what does it actually mean?

The Definition of 'Herbivore Men'

The term Herbivore Men or ‘Soushoku Danshi’ is used in Japan to describe young Japanese men who have lost interest in dating, relationships, and marriage. Or had no interest from the beginning for that matter. They are generally considered passive and effeminate. Money, sex, and status, seen as important goals by many Japanese, are simply not motivating to the Herbivore Men. They prefer to focus on simpler aspects of life, such as hobbies like fashion and traveling. Now what kind of guy wouldn't be full guns blazing for sex?! Apparently, these Japanese Herbivore Men aren't. And this increasing number of Herbivore Men is quite possibly a wave that has started to change the concept of masculinity in Japan. But where did this word even come from?

The Origin of the Term ‘Herbivore Men’

The term 'Herbivore Men' was first coined by Maki Fukasawa, an author, and pop culture columnist from Japan. In her research in 2006, she noted that there was a change in the ideals and values of masculinity in Japan. She identified a trend in which Japanese men were becoming more passive in all aspects of life, in particular in sex. Therefore she named them 'Herbivore Men'. She explained: "In Japan, sex is translated as 'relationship in flesh'" "So, I named those boys 'herbivorous boys' since they are not interested in flesh." The baby-boom generation in Japanese was seen as 'carnivorous' and typically aggressive, proactive and go-getters in life. Compared to them, these Herbivore Men are quite the opposite and taking a whole different approach. So where did this change come from?

The Herbivore Men Phenomenon

There are many different claims to the cause of the Herbivore Men phenomenon. One cause is said to be due to the staggering Japanese economy. New recruits are finding it hard to find employment after school. Even if they do, their financial security is not guaranteed as in the past. Without a stable job, the fears and cultural pressures of supporting a wife and family as the bread-getter are said to be too much to burden for some. Resulting in a less-aggressive attitude towards having relationships. Additionally, Herbivore Men rebuke the older generation. They see their choices as a break from cultural norms and the establishment of a new version of masculinity. Freed from traditional constraints. Junichiro Hori, a Herbivore quoted by CNN, stated that “Being vulnerable or being sensitive is not a weakness." They are purposely defying the expectations of their parents and peers seeking to find new ways to express themselves.

The Effect on Japanese Society

This new wave of men has caused repercussions in many aspects of Japanese society and life. Changes and shifts in the attitudes to gender and social roles are clearly evident. But many have claimed that the Herbivore Men phenomenon is one of the reasons for the worsening of Japan’s chronic population issues. Japan’s fertility rate has been low for a long period of time but has decreased further in recent years. In 2015, the BBC reported that the country saw just over 1 million births in the previous year—a record low. That number resulted in a birth rate of 1.42, a steep decline from 1.75 in 1980. Fewer men are proactively looking for a partner so it is natural for young couples to get married later (if at all). Therefore there just isn't enough babies being popped out. For more in-depth insights, I would recommend reading this blog. Japan's Population is Declining with the Rise of Herbivore Japanese Men. Now, how has this affected the dating scene?

Adding Complication to the Dating Scene in Japan

For many, in general, dating in Japan isn't a walk in the park. With the cultural aspects of Tatemae and Honne, focus on public image, and lack of conventional dating concepts, it is complicated enough as it is. Some females may not see this new trend as an issue. Some have even taken the opportunity to become more aggressive in both work and romance. Creating an all-new genre of 'Carnivore Women'. However, you will find that many Japanese women see these Herbivore Men as effete and ineffectual. Some complain that they are finding it hard to get a partner they can trust to lead them physiologically and financially. Some even say that they are too fragile and sensitive. Now the most interesting complaint, however, was the discontent and dissatisfaction that girls had to these Herbivore Men's performance in bed. I talked to 5 girls and asked them what they hated most about having sex with a Herbivore man. Here are what girls are fed up with!

5 Things Japanese Women Hate About Sex with Herbivore Men

Herbivore Men No Foreplay

There’s little foreplay and they just want to 'put it in'.

Herbivore men tend to not know how to create a romantic mood during sex. At times they would completely skip the foreplay and just try to jab it in. First of all, it makes the whole situation feel so robotic and systematic. Secondly, it just hurts when a girl isn't wet at all. There are many herbivore men who only know and can only do one thing and never think about their partner's satisfaction. (Yuki 26 Years Old) Herbivore Men Rubbering Up

They get all flustered and make a mess of rubbering up.

When it’s time to actually have sex, there are some Herbivore Men that fiddle around with the condom and take way too long. Waiting isn’t a problem, but the more time that goes by the more girls lose motivation to have sex. They need to learn how to be smoother and discrete with these kinds of things. Sometimes I just want to yell "Practice at home JEEZ!". (Chihomi 24 Years Old) Herbivore Men Touch a Girl

They don't know how to touch a girl.

Whether it be during foreplay (if there is any) or during sex, many Herbivore Men are completely misinformed about how to touch a girl. They may not have a lot of experience with sex, but whatever images they have of it comes from AV porn videos. Many think that 'faster and harder' is the right way to do it. However, in reality, it can be very uncomfortable for many women. (Asuka 28 Years Old) Herbivore Men Back Seat

They take the 'back seat' stance

During sex, some Herbivore Men choose to, or even ask their partners to take the lead. They expect the females to put in all the effort and never reciprocate. In Japanese, there are two words 'Semeha' (攻め派)and 'Ukeha'(受け派). 'Semeha' means to be proactive, or taking initiative. Whereas 'Ukeha' is the opposite. Herbivore men are usually the worst type of Ukeha. All take and no give. (Fumi 31 Years Old) Herbivore Men Climax

There is no variation and the climax is always the same

It's like Herbivore Men only know how to finish off one way. In the missionary position. There is never any variety for the climax, and things get boring and mundane very fast. We aren't asking for anything crazy. Just a little spice to finish an act that is meant to be done passionately. Not methodically. (Chisato 24 Years Old)

Learning from Others Mistakes

After hearing these complaints, my perception of Herbivore Men became clear. Personally, as a Bro I think they are completely clumsy, self-centered and honestly useless. There's no wonder there aren't enough babies being produced. But this is just my opinion. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this new trend of Men. In reality, we don't have to do anything about it. It's not our problem. And in regards to foreign Bros in Japan, honestly, I can't see any foreigners dating a Japanese girl to be a Herbivore in any way. So why did I bring this up in the first place? It's simple. As a foreigner sometimes we can't win when compared to Japanese men in terms of communicative ability, financial security and what not. So why not be a whizz in bed and pass one part of the 'boyfriend-material' checklist with flying colours. If you can't speak Japanese, don't have a stable job and hard to be pictured having a future with, dating can be hard in Japan. It's hard to compare with a regular Japanese guy. So this is just another way of finding and utilizing a weakness to get the upper-hand over Japanese Bros. We can learn from what Japanese men are doing wrong, such as the above. Let's learn from these Herbivore Men's downfalls and show Japanese girls what a real Carnivore Man is!

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