Japanese couple hit  wedding ring with hammer:end marriage after Tsunami
Tomoharu (L) and Miki Saito sit during their divorce ceremony in Tokyo July 3, 2011, a day before they file for divorce. REUTERS

Nearly half of all married couples in Japan aren't having sex, according to a new survey of the country's sexual behaviors. A biennial nationwide survey of 3,000 Japanese people between the ages of 16 to 49 found that 47.2 percent of married respondents said they hadn't had sex for more than a month, the Japan Times reported.

Married men and women said they weren't having sex at nearly exactly the same rate, with 47.3 of married men and 47.1 of married women responding that they hadn't had sex in the past month. The survey only included heterosexual married couples, as Japan does not formally recognize same-sex marriage.

The survey by the Japan Family Planning Association shows the number of sexless marriages -- defined as a marriage in which the couple hasn't had sex in more than a month and doesn't plan on having sex anytime soon -- is continuing to grow in Japan. In 2014, the number of couples that hadn't had sex in the last month was 44.6 percent.

It's not just Japanese married couples who aren't having sex. The survey found that 52.9 percent of unmarried women and 47.0 percent of unmarried men in Japan had never had sex.

While there are numerous reasons married couples have sex, a lack of intercourse is a troubling sign for a country that is growing older as fertility rates fall. In 2015, the country had more deaths than births. Over a quarter of Japan's 127 million people are over 65, and the number is expected to rise to 40 percent by 2055.

To tackle the shrinking population, the government spent $30 million in 2014 on increasing the birthrate, which included spending money on matchmaking programs, Bloomberg reported. The lack of sex in Japanese is so prevalent that the Japanese press has coined the term "celibacy syndrome" to describe the national trend toward sexlessness, Business Insider said.

There is no data set that provides a direct U.S. comparison to the Japanese survey, but the 2014 Relationships in America study found that 12 percent of all married couples ages 18 to 60 said they hadn't had sex in at least three months.