Because a woman’s fertility and the frequency of when she has sex are inextricably linked (not), the Hong Kong Family Planning Association has released a study that implies women’s low sex drives are what’s driving birth rates into the ground. Hong Kong’s birth rate has been declining slowly—from 1,933 births for every 1000 women in 1981 to 1,285 in 2012—with no signs of an upswing.
The association polled 2,100 ethnic Chinese women aged between 21 and 40, and found that six out of ten had at least one “sexual problem.” Out of that number, 400 women had arousal issues or no sexual desire, while 500 did not experience orgasms and 430 experienced uncomfortable pain during sex.
Dr. Lo Seen-tsing, a senior director with the Family Planning Association, believes many of these issues that discourage women from having sex stem from a lack of communication. As the topic of female sexual desire is taboo, many women feel uncomfortable speaking with their partners. She says, “Women rarely talk about sex. They don’t describe having no desire as a problem because they are not supposed to have any desire.”
It seems like the association’s opinion of Hong Kong’s low birth rate is more likely a result of the societal gender expectations that at best make the study biased and at worst may subconsciously affect these women’s physical desires. But hey, let’s just leave it all on “lady problems” and call it a day. The results of this poll strongly resemble a recent study in Japan likewise implying that sexless women (and men, for that matter) were to blame for low birth rates, but those theories have largely been debunked.
Luckily, Dr. Lo feels confident that women are more open than they were ten years ago, even if they still have a long way to go. But whether the issue is caused by women’s low sex drive, as the study indicates, or the impracticality of raising a child in a polluted and expensive area, or another reason entirely—until Hong Kong’s husbands and wives start doing it, and doing it often, the birth rate will continue to plummet.
Cue the creepy commentator assuring the women of Hong Kong that their sexual appetite would be reinvigorated by his giant genitalia (actually, please don’t).
By Briel Waxman
[Image via Credit: Silvia Sala]