40 million horny bachelors

Will sexually frustrated men be the cause of China's next war?


Sarah Goldstein
March 1, 2006 5:02AM (UTC)

The Washington Post draws our attention to an article in Foreign Policy magazine, "The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration," with the frightening subtitle "Asia has too many boys. They can't find wives, but they might just find extreme nationalism instead." According to the Post, the article examines how the disproportionate number of men to women in China will eventually result in what writer Martin Walker terms "testosterone overload." Summed up by what may be the best line in this news cycle, rather than joining a gym or taking up golf, "the hordes of horny bachelors may cause a war."

As absurd as it sounds, a war caused by mass sexual frustration would actually be history repeating itself. The Post explains that "back in the 19th century, famine caused a rash of female infanticide in northern China ... The result was unmarried guys forming 'bandit gangs' and running amok in what came to be known as the Nien Rebellion." The current male crisis is the result of something that started 20 years ago "when ultrasound technology gave Asian women a cheap way to determine the sex of their unborn babies ... In China and other Asian nations, millions of women chose to abort female fetuses so they could instead give birth to boys. Consequently, those countries will soon have millions more men than women." As a result of this "refined" female infanticide, Walker writes, this time "a Beijing power struggle between cautious old technocrats and aggressive young nationalists may be decided by mobs of rootless young men, demanding uniforms, rifles, and a chance to liberate Taiwan."

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Although the idea of men so horny they start taking up arms may seem like a fake news segment, or a warped installment of "The Bachelor," unfortunately, there is nothing fake about female infanticide, which continues to claim at least 1 million lives each year.


Sarah Goldstein

Sarah Goldstein is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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