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2011 Sex Survey from Tokyo, Japan

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Timeout Tokyo (TT) published the results of a recent sex survey to Japanese and non-Japanese people alike, some of which were quite interesting and surprising. Questions pertained to opinions of approaches, foreign relations, public sex, etc. This article will serve to show some of the opinions of the respondents, as well as demonstrate many of the limitations or flaws involved with surveys.


The survey appears to have been 3 weeks long, with over 800 respondents. 61% were male, and 39% female; and 60% gave answers in English, with 40% in Japanese. You can tell the study is not scientific because, among other things, we have no idea who is giving their answers in English or Japanese, or for that matter, we have no idea how the answers differ between Japanese and foreign people, because that was never a question asked on the survey (and it should have been).

One strength of the study is that the number of respondents is high, but unfortunately the population may be skewed towards more sexual activity. By that I mean, Timeout is a trendy publishing company that advertises current events all over the city, whatever city that may be (it has branches in virtually every major city) as well as local parties and get-togethers. Therefore, the respondents may be more outgoing than the average person living in Tokyo, and we can presume that being outgoing correlates with sexual activity (if not a correlation with personality, then at least a correlation with opportunity), making this less representative to the average resident.


Many of the questions are really “just for good measure,” such as the one about viewing Japanese pornography. Only 27% of respondents reported that they liked it, which was the same number as those who didn’t like it much, while 30% said it was sometimes okay, and a fairly high 16% said they hated it. These meager statistics are surprising considering the size of the porn industry in Japan. Regardless, the rest of the survey can be split into two sections: Meeting, and sexual activity.


When asked “Which day of the week is best for picking someone up?” 56% of respondents said Friday, while 30% said Saturday. The rest of the days combined for a total of 14%. It seems pretty consistent with the stereotype that Japanese work all day. Indeed, they need their sleep, so going out at night is not easy to do. In fact, a big part of the Japanese work culture is simply “being there.” Your presence at work may not necessarily be productive (this is obviously a generalization which depends on many factors) but it is certainly noticed. As far as “who should initiate the pickup” goes on those days out on the town, 81% of respondents said the man. Split up by gender, that’s 89% of females and 76% of males.

On the question of how long it takes to get to know someone before sleeping with them, 33% of respondents said that a few hours suffice (39% male, 24% female). TT also mentions that 23% of respondents – 31% female and 23% male – reported a few days would be enough, but… is it just me, or are they having some math issues there?

Surprisingly (maybe only to me), 12% of males would be all right with sex after just a few minutes (what’s the rush?), while only 2% of females said so, for a total of 8%. Waiting several months was prevalent in 13% of respondents -20% females and 8% males. “Lastly,” as TT reports, “one percent felt they needed several years to work up to the challenge, but we can only assume they were joking.”

If you’re in or coming to Tokyo – perhaps I’m making a leap of faith in assuming that you may be interested because you clicked on this article – TT also provides a top-ten list of places voted as good pick-up spots. Didn’t I tell you they were a trendy company?[WU4]

Sexual Activity

When it came to interracial sex, 36% said they had such experience. 40% said they wanted to but hadn’t yet, and 20% “crossed borders” a few times, whatever the hell that means. TT says that’s the way their grandmother would put it… but maybe someone will have to explain this one to me in the comments because I don’t know what the hell granny was talking about. 5% said they would never do so, even if they had a choice.

A quick note: Splitting up the interracial sexual activity by gender is fine, but these results are kind of useless. Yes, 41% of males and 29% of females have had interracial sex many times… but this doesn’t really tell us anything except that “more male than female respondents to Timeout Tokyo’s survey had interracial sex many times.” You cannot infer anything about Tokyoites or foreigners’ attitudes. There is a stereotype (largely true, I would say) that Japanese females tend to be more open to interracial sexual activity than Japanese males, and we can assume that the 60% of answers given in English were from foreigners… but without knowing the nationality of the respondents, we’re only able to make speculations. It would have been better if we could measure and compare results from gender and nationality, but unfortunately TT neglected to solicit information about nationality.

The survey’s last question was “What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done in public?” The most common response was kissing, at 29% (26% male, 36% female) which isn’t surprising, considering that the culture of Japan frowns upon public displays of affection beyond holding hands compared to other countries. Go to Germany and no one will bat an eye, but start making out in Japan and you’re bound to stand out. So the naughtiest thing for a quarter of people in Japan being “kissing” makes sense.

Astonishingly, 28% of respondents said they had intercourse in public. That’s 31% of males and 22% of females. Let me explain this, having said what I wrote in my last paragraph (that most people only go as far as kissing in public). People don’t engage in sexual acts in public when others are around (because, obviously, that can get you arrested), but I’m sure respondents (most, if not all) are referring to sexual activity when no one’s around. So while people in Japan (notice I didn’t say “Japanese people”) tend not to do much more than kissing in public, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a more “adventurous” side (notice I didn’t say “perverted”).

According to TT, 20% (18% male, 22% female) apparently went as far as “hand action,” though that’s not particularly specific. The “no fun crowd,” totaling 6% of respondents (6% of women and 5% of men) said they would never have sex in public. The lowest response was by 3% (4% men, 2% women) who said they went as far as engaging in an orgy outside.


You can take the results of this survey with a grain of salt, but some of the information is not affected by the flaws I pointed out. For example, only 27% of respondents actually genuinely liked Japanese pornography, and I don’t think gender and sex really matter. The day of the week is also unaffected, and it is a good statistic to use if a similar question were asked to people of other countries.

Ultimately, you would only see these types of questions in a scientific survey if they were accompanied by questions of nationality, because we can’t make many useful inferences based on the data. Asking the age (or an age group) would also have been more illuminating, but Timeout Tokyo was obviously not attempting to administer a scientific inquiry. This therefore serves mostly as a reminder of the pitfalls that come with the territory of making questionnaires, rather than something from which to draw major conclusions regarding the sex life of Japanese people or foreigners in Japan.

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