Listened to this video today, which describes a seemingly massive withdrawal from romantic or sexual relationships by 20-something in Japan. Technology, gender norms and their rejection, too much work, Fukushima, are all mentioned as possible causes.
The question they end up with, and which I'd like to raise here, is: Can this happen elsewhere? Will it? Or is this just a local and time-bound thing?
From what I see, it certainly CAN, it sometimes DOES, and to a degree it SHOULD happen elsewhere. The traditional married couple is outdated as a 'model' in the West as well, not only in Japan. Many men and women are not as interested in the other gender as they used to be, preferring to go for same-sex relationships that are now de-stigmatized. Gender roles are either imposed (and thus strained and insincere), or nonexistent (and thus confusing: it's safer to not play a game that you don't understand). And we now have access to a wealth of virtual worlds than are easier to maintain and less demanding in terms of sacrifices or commitment than our 'real world' relationships.
So the evolution 'out of the monogamous couple' is natural and understandable. We know more or less what we're after, e.g. more freedom, independence, sincerity, rapid gratification, less constraints. But we have still a rather unclear idea of what we might be losing... E.g. sex is an acquired taste. If an entire generation decides to de-prioritize sex and procreation altogether, we could end up in big demographic trouble, as is Japan apparently... Also I think people actually need a sense of sacrifice to feel 'whole'. We are social animals. Virtual social relations could end up filling that void in us with just more pretense rather than less of it.