Jonathan Stone for Art-Sheep

One in four Japanese men in their thirties have never had sex in their lives. This is a common situation in Japan, making middle-age virginity an issue that causes a problem to their personal lives of thousands of men.

A Japanese non-profit has come up with the perfect way to help these people get to know the female body in a clever but unconventional way, and that is free nude art lessons. Shingo Sakatsume is the founder of White Hands, an organization that provides “sexual assistance” to the disabled and according to his statement on Ignition, “We organize the drawing sessions to allow participants to overcome their mental block by observing and sketching the naked female form in a safe, healthy environment. Naturally, almost none of the men who seek our help have ever seen a naked woman in the flesh; in fact, some say that the only woman they’ve ever seen naked was their mother.”

Taking place every other month in Tokyo, the classes are being attended by men who are usually office workers and government employees, men with good jobs and looks and personalities. Sakatsume believes that the issue of not having been intimate with a woman is caused by the Japanese society’s inability to discuss and educate its teenagers on sex.

One of the programm’s students, 41-year-old Takashi Sakai, told the AFP that he is not comfortable with women but participates in a course called “Virgin Breaker”, that has helped him build his confidence. “When you are young, you are afraid of rejection. I think it’s true that many people now just pretend they have no feelings about sex instead of risking outright rejection. The first time I [came to drawing class], in autumn last year, oh … I was so amazed. Their bodies are incredibly beautiful.”

We’re having a hard time believing that these classes are not creepy even in the slightest, but Sakatsume thinks such unorthodox methods are worth it. “Virginity shouldn’t be a punch line. We have to start treating it as a social problem and something that can only be overcome with proper education and support from society.”

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