Sex is important for all kinds of reasons.
It stops people from going mad from frustration. It reduces stress. It makes you sleep better.
And, of course, it’s pretty crucial in keeping the human race going.
Countries need a fertility rate of just over two kids per woman to hit what demographers call ‘replacement fertility’ – the rate at which births fill the gaps left by deaths.
There are loads of nations which don’t hit that rate – and their methods to encourage their people to have more productive sex can range from the practical if not a bizarre to the downright offensive.
Here are 10 countries begging people to get down and dirty for the good of their nations:
The Danes have such a low fertility rate (around 1.73 children per woman) that a national travel company has come up with a series of bribes to get women to have more kids.
First, Spies Rejser offered to provide three years’ worth of baby supplies to couples who conceived on a holiday booked through the company. And now it’s come up with a campaign called ‘Do it for Mom‘ – a video which guilt trips couples into having kids so that their mums don’t miss out on having grandkids.
According to Tech Insider, Russia is experiencing a shitstorm of anti-baby factors. HIV and alcoholism are rife, women aren’t having kids and men are dying young.
It all got so bad that in 2007, the government declared 12 September the official Day of Conception – where people get the day off for making babies.
Women who give birth exactly nine months later – on 12 June, win a fridge (?!?!?).
We know that Japan is experiencing something of a dry spell. A 2011 survey found that 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 weren’t in any kind of romantic relationship.
To try and get their young people creating families, scientists came up with Yotaro – a robot baby designed to give people a preview of parenthood. Students at the University of Tsukuba theorised that if young people could see themselves as potential mothers and fathers, they’d be more emotionally ready to settle down.
During communist times, if you weren’t providing future state labourers by having kids, you had to pay instead. There was a 20% income tax for childless couples, and in the 1980s, women were forced to take gynaecological exams to ensure that all pregnancies went to term.
Today, the fertility rate is still rock bottom.
Singapore has the lowest fertility rate in the world, with just 0.81 children per woman.
To deal with the crisis, the government came up with National Night – an event sponsored by the mint company Mentos to encourage couples to ‘let their patriotism explode’.
They’ve also placed a limit on the number of small one beds available to rent to encourage cohabitation, and the government reportedly spends around $1.6 billion on various programmes to get people to have more sex.
In fact, the government offers cash to people who have more than one child. Parents receive a ‘baby bonus’ of around $4,400 (£2,545) for their first two kids and $5,900 (£3,413) for their third and fourth.
Offices turn off their lights at 7 pm on the third Wednesday of every month – AKA Family Day. Workers are encouraged to get themselves home so that they can enjoy some lights-out action.
While the general population of India is thriving, their Parsis community is slowly dwindling. And that’s lead to a number of questionable ads encouraging people to ‘Be responsible – don’t use a condom tonight’.
Other campaigns have shamed men living at home with lines like ‘Isn’t it time you broke up with your mum?’
Brutal but effective – there were just 61,000Parsis living in the country in 2001, and at the last census, there were 69,000.
You wouldn’t think somewhere as passionate as Italy would have a sex drought, but their fertility rate is below the European average.
So, the Italy has started running campaigns to remind Italians that time stands still for no (wo)man.
Lines include: ‘Beauty knows no age, fertility does,’ and ‘Get going! Don’t wait for the stork’.
Inspired by Singapour, Hong Kong started giving out cash to couples to try and encourage them to have kids.
Alas, the plan never quite took off.
As employment rates are rising, fertility rates are dropping. Half of young people are out of work. And to combat the trend, the Spanish government have hired a special commissioner to try and reverse them.