Features

The joy of less sex

I used to think nothing would ever be more important. I was wrong

22 March 2014

9:00 AM

22 March 2014

9:00 AM

From the age of 13, when the hormones kicked in, till I left my parents home at the age of 17 to become a writer (nearly forty years later, I’m still waiting) I must have been the most sex-mad virgin in Christendom. Nights were spent dressed as a West Country approximation of a transvestite Port Said prostitute, blind with eyeliner and dumb with lipgloss, alternately dancing like the lead in a Tijuana pony-show and hiding in the toilets during the slow numbers, crying repeatedly ‘Why won’t all those men just LEAVE ME ALONE!’ Days were spent in an attempt to evade the attentions of the regiment of leering males while voluntarily rolling up my regulation school skirt so high that it resembled a cummerbund.

Though I thought about sex ceaselessly, I clung on to my virginity as though it was an autographed pair of Marc Bolan’s undercrackers. I read Lolita in the park the summer I turned 13, wearing heart-shaped sunnies and hotpants and sucking on popsicles in a rather sordid example of life imitating art. I shivered at the fate of poor Dolly Schiller dying in childbirth in the town of Grey Star, still a teenager and all played out.

I avoided sex like the plague because I knew I would really, really like it; I suspected that it would exert a massive, non-specific power over me, and that it would conspire with those forces already bent on doing so — i.e. my parents — to keep me exactly where I was. To a kid who slept with a London tube map over her bed, joining the massed ranks of ex-teenage rebels turned harassed young mothers seemed a voyage of the damned indeed. Pushing a pram through a purgatory of pregnancy, lactation and finger-painting was to me as horrific an image as any Hieronymus Bosch vision of Hell.


I escaped when I was 17 — but true to type, I married the first man I slept with. I had a lot of sex during my first marriage, a mad amount during my second marriage and (after six months’ lesbian leave for good behaviour) a really quite insane amount during my third, current and hopefully last marriage. It’s fair to say that between the ages of 25 and 45, I was a monogamous sex fiend and when I wasn’t doing it, I was anticipating it, recovering from it or imagining downright rotten variations on it. I was once walking along the esplanade with my husband when a tall, dark and handsome Alsatian passed by. My husband looked hard at me and said ‘Please tell me you didn’t just say “Phwooar!’’’

This being the case, I’d have thought that the gradual decreasing of my sex drive — at 54, I’ve decided that no one needs to have it more than once a day: anything more is just showing off — would have left something of a gap in my life. I’d have predicted that I’d go down gamely gagging for it, as have my contemporaries Cosmo Landesman, 59 — who recently bristled in this very publication: ‘I’m still interested in sex. Is that a problem?’ — or Monica Porter, 61, who publishes her eye-watering memoir My Year Of Dating Dangerously this month. Instead, I react with genuine surprise when my (admittedly much younger) husband suggests a second go in a 24-hour time slot. I mean, yes, I’m up for it — but would I go looking for it? Probably not.

I don’t believe that I will be joining the ranks of so-called ABC sexers anytime soon — those couples who have sex only on anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas. But according to a recent Lancet report, we are as a nation having quite a lot less sex than we did 20 years ago — 40 per cent have sex once a week, 13 per cent once every six months and 17 per cent haven’t done the deed for over six months. It’s a bitter irony that the British finally found themselves promoted to Nympho of the Nations after decades of being considered the Frigid Man of Europe only to drop the baton on the last lap.

Perhaps familiarity has bred contempt? Society is so sex-drenched now that saying, in the manner of Bartleby, ‘I would prefer not to’ can look sort of cool. On the radio the other day, I heard a re-run of The Clitheroe Kid. I originally heard it as a child in the 1960s, and was amazed at how the word ‘elastic’ reduced the audience to screams of pleasurably outraged disbelief. In my lifetime we’ve gone from the public broadcast of the E-word to the C-word; it’s bound to induce collective ennui.

The genuinely fulfilled aged amorists must be few and far between. Recently a friend of my age, also in her mid-fifties, who I hadn’t seen in a while, confided to me ‘I’ve got two on the go.’ She was referring to lovers — one male, one female, both younger than her. But neither seemed to be doing the trick. She communicated the information with all the joie de vivre of a verruca sufferer bringing their chiropodist up to speed.

Let the dirty old men and cougars have their fun, but if I ever had to — perish the thought — choose between a sexless future with my husband or a sex-filled future without him, I’d choose the first. My end-of-life regret won’t be having had too little sex, pace John Betjeman, it’ll be that my third husband wasn’t my only husband, and that I had too little time with him, even if we live to be a hundred. This, I feel, means I have finally, in some way, grown up. And to think, all that time I believed that only sex made us into adults.

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Show comments
  • Adrian Morgan

    I did not hold back from promiscuity in my youth. London in the late 1970s offered so many opportunities for unfettered libertinism and fun. But for more than a decade now, I have gone the way of Cynthia Payne. I would rather have a cup of tea. It could be a male menopause, but I feel I am not only not missing anything, but also feeling liberated by choosing a path of curmudgeonly hermitry.

    I had my sexual fun in my youth and now, any moaning I make tends to be about the selfishness of other people – particularly young people. I have morphed into the sort of old bastard I once despised. I don’t want to attract anyone so I don’t have to pretend to be “nice”. I snarl, I grump, I swear, I fart loudly, and I don’t care. Not wanting “love” any more is a freedom to love being the bastard that I secretly always wanted to be, but never realised.

    • Gwangi

      OMG – are you me in disguise? I hear a lot about this sort of sock-puppetry and Trojan trolling and interwebby shenanigans and skulduggery…

      I am prob’ly about 10 years younger than you and feel just the same.

      I think self-declared relationship-hating ever-singleton Kathy Burke is our very own queen…
      Ever so ‘umble, inniy, me lady…

    • GUBU

      I take it that the above isn’t taken from your entry on eHarmony?

    • Llamamum

      Um… *twist fingers and stands on one leg, coyley*… I think I may be in love with you. In a narcissistic way, that is – you remind me of me. I’m quite happy to roll in the hay, or not. But I’d much, much rather stay away from idiots and idiotic occasions and the fuss of forming relationships. Friends with benefits, but without obligations and expectations: that’s the ticket. People one can relax alongside from time to time (with or without farts), without pretence. Laugh at your jokes? Only if they’re funny. Watch your sport? Not unless I actually like it. So no attempt to gain your affection – you like me, or not. Ditto in reverse – please don’t try to woo me, it’s boring and you look silly.
      Do we have a deal?

      • Trans Fan and Proud

        Crikey – get a room, you two! 😉

    • I *did* hold back from promiscuity in my youth. It’s called morality and not hurting other people.

      • Adrian Morgan

        Bully for you. But I don’t think I hurt people. I didn’t lie or sting people along. You are projecting your own rather warped notions of “morality” onto a canvas you have never seen. But if you think that promiscuity is a lack of morality and having consensual casual sex is “hurting” people, then you must have been real Hellish in a relationship…

        • Yes, for me it would be hurting — the husband I was with.

    • LarrySc

      Wow. You sound a lot like me, sir. I like to grump, too. Lol!

  • Kitty MLB

    For a female I was always somewhat of a wild-haired dark- eyed tomboy for years,
    spent many a hour underneath trees swinging cats by their tails and contemplating
    the meaning of life. Then just before entering the all consuming world of academia
    and reading of relationships and poetic love, unrequited love and all consuming passions, homosexual love, and heterosexual love in our great works of literature, I fell desperately in love ( before this catholic girl met her lovely husband)
    That person was the utterly adorable Oscar Wilde, witty ( most important for a female)
    intelligent, handsome, sensitive and gay, a lot for a straight man to live up to
    let alone win the devotions of a fair maiden- they gave up and I met my
    dear husband and he deals very well with the transcendental love for Oscar Wilde,
    and truthfully ladies want gallantry and romance, even in todays modern world.

    • Gwangi

      Oh come on, Oscar Wilde was an arrogant self-regarding self-obsessed pompous snobbish wiseacre who got hoist by his own petard; he regarded most people are being of a lower species.
      I feel he gets worshipped a la Mohammed by the Muslims as some sort of perfectly wonderful chap – and he gets lots of gay points in our diversity-worshipping dystopia too – when in fact, tales of his actual life suggest he was a deeply unpleasant self-obsessed and vain show-off.
      I like his plays though.

      • Kitty MLB

        Good God, Its Rod Liddle’s little acolyte, ( best not to mention all that) Hope
        your not going to antagonise every person on this thread also.
        You have made a very bad start with me if you speak in such a
        a way about Mr Wilde ( maybe somewhat seen through rose tinted
        glasses, I have no idea) I just fell in love with his beautiful writing
        and I was young.
        Also all men were ‘show offs’ at that time, members of the Corinthian
        Set, Brown’s club in the afternoon, splendidly dressed, The Grand
        Tour, and riding their house and carriages around the park in the afternoon- He was a man of his time.
        ‘He thought most people were beneath him’. maybe there were a lot
        of poor unwell souls about with all manner of issues at that time-
        influenza etc..one had to be careful.

        • Kitty MLB

          That is Horse and Carriage- apologies.

      • Rocksy

        I always wondered what a ‘petard’ was.

        • Gwangi

          It’s a bomb, and ‘hoist by one’s own petard’ means being blown up by one’s own bomb. The modern French for to fart is the verb peter. Shame root.
          My reference was to the fact that Wilde could have just ignored the insult from the Marquis of Queensbury calling him a ‘sondomite’ (sic). Being arrogantly upper-class with a sense of entitlement even bigger than his vanity or indeed his foppish floppy hair-do, Wilde took him to court for libel (or similar). He lost. Then charges were brought against him. You’d think he would have had the sense to get good legal advice, what with all them Olde Englishe No Win No Fee places in old London town…

          • Rocksy

            Actually I was clumsily using irony. But thanks for the info.

    • Llamamum

      Speak for yourself please. Romance and gallantry make me gag and groan, in that order. Both inwardly, of course – I should never be ill-mannered enough to do so blatantly.

  • Trans Fan and Proud

    I’d like to write an article called ‘The Joy of Less Julie Burchill’.

    • Gwangi

      Shouldn’t that be ‘fewer’? I’m sure there’s more than one Julie Burchill sulking in that hulk of adiposity.

      • Adrian Morgan

        That’s nasty.

        • Julie Burchill Raven

          Whereas *Gwangi*, Adrian, is probably a body double for the Diet Coke bloke. Bless!

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            I imagine her as a body double for Paris Lees.

    • Aunt Nell

      There’s an easy way to achieve that: just don’t read her stuff, or comment on it. I’m sure the arrangement would be mutually satisfying for both of you.

      • Trans Fan and Proud

        That doesn’t mean her views aren’t still be published nationally though. And I shouldn’t think my reading her articles or commenting on them is of any interest to her.

        • Adrian Morgan

          So she should be censored because a manky bitter whiner like yourself doesn’t like her? What should we replace her with? More haranguing of real women by the people you claim to a “proud fan” of – those Valkyries with enlarged Adam’s apples and a massive chip on their manly shoulders?

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Manky Bitter Whiner and Proud!

          • Adrian Morgan

            So much pride, so little humility….

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Trans Fan and Proud!

          • Adrian Morgan

            Oh dear – you’ve got stuck in your “sloganising” gear again…

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Let me tell you then why I am Trans Fan and Proud, Adrian. If, indeed, you want conversation not slogans? If you don’t, then don’t read on. Transgender people face decisions, prejudice and abuse that I can only imagine. So you can abuse me all you like on here – as can Julie Burchill who has upvoted your comment. It is nothing compared with what they experience. As a gay, cis woman I have experienced some oppression, sure, but it is a drop in the ocean. So while transphobia still exists in the media and online, I am, indeed, proud to say I oppose it.

          • Adrian Morgan

            Well fine…. oppose it. That is good. But you seem also to oppose feisty women writers who refuse to be bullied by the more aggressive and macho trans activists. And before you start complaining that such folk do not exist – “Debbie Vincent” exemplifies the exact type of macho “woman” whose activitism seems to mask a sort of catharsis of a deeply ingrained self-loathing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26636281

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Have you heard of Cathy Brennan, Adrian?

          • Adrian Morgan

            Had to read up on her, but, what is your point? That Julie, Julie Bindel or Suzanne Moore are in league with her, or compounding her misdeeds?

            And as an aside – a (woman, and I refuse to use the insulting term “cis-woman”) friend said that it was so evident that what sets Julie Burchill, Julie Bindel apart from other women writers (who do not get calls for them to be banned and censored) is that they are working class women.

            I think her point has some validity. The bien-pensant left – the dribbling “let’s hug Hamas” specimens who swarm to the Guardian CiF comments – tend to all be middle class, university-educated and full of more dogma and platitudes than plain-speaking and common sense.

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            My point is that there are macho, bullying women on both sides. I do not support this kind of behaviour full stop. But the reason so many MTF trans women get angry is that Cathy Brennan is out there ‘doing her stuff’. Now, I don’t know how much you’ve read or how much you want to read?

            I do not use ‘cis’ as an insult but I also use it to describe myself when discussing transgender issues, as a way of identifying as ‘non trans’. I don’t ask you or others to use it if you don’t want to.

            And let me make myself clear, I have never said on any of these comments sites that I want either Julie Burchill or Julie Bindel to be ‘banned’. I am happy if people don’t wish to give a platform to their anti-transgender views. And I will do what I can to expose and oppose what I see as transphobia. Plain-speaking and common sense does not equate with transphobia.

          • Aunt Nell

            There’s no so-called “transphobia” in this article. Transwomen don’t even get a mention and yet here you are, banging your broken drum and manning the battlements against…what? Step back from the pooter, take a deep breath, go out and smell the roses, it’ll help, it really will.

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Julie Burchill got her column here after a transphobic column scored lots of ‘hits’. So, I think I’m entitled to keep ‘banging my drum’.

          • Aunt Nell

            So if she contributes a recipe for scones, you’ll still be haunting the comments going on about “transphobia”?

            Get a life, duckie

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Got one thanks! And, yes to your question, I think I will!

          • Julie Burchill Raven

            I actually don’t have A column, but I WILL be in the Spectator often now. And THAT’S because I’m a GOOD WRITER. No mystery, no conspiracy – just that.

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            If you were a good writer, you wouldn’t have to keep using block capitals to get your point across when you reply to me on these comments section. You’re a ‘shouty’ writer, and good at it. Let me amend what I said then: “Julie Burchill is being asked to write often by The Spectator now after a transphobic column scored lots of ‘hits’…….”

          • Julie Burchill Raven

            Whether one uses capital letters or not does not affect how good the quality of writing is. AS I PROVE!

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            When you use capital letters in these comments it means that you are shouting, Julie. If you can’t make a point without shouting or using offensive language, I do think that raises questions about the quality of your writing.

          • Julie Burchill Raven

            No, it DOESN’T.

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            It does, and not just to me. There are plenty of articles online that support what I’m saying. I won’t post them now – but if you really want to debate the point by replying to me again, then let’s do it.

          • Adrian Morgan

            I am partly to blame here, for dredging up previous arguments about Julie with TFAP.

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Thank you, Adrian! I just put a one liner and would have left it, more or less, at that!!

          • Adrian Morgan

            OK – I cannot disagree with the main thrust of your points (though you know I am biased in favour of Julie). Sadly I must rush off to deal with some real-life issues that have to be dealt with, but I can respond in more depth here in a day or so. Later. (And I was quite appalled at the things I read about Cathy Brennan on RationalWiki and Trans Advocate: http://www.transadvocate.com/cathy-brennan-attempts-to-censor-lgbt-magazine_n_11139.htm )

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Yes, I know you are biased in favour of Julie, Adrian. What makes this all the more aggravating for me is that I’ve read Julie Burchill for years, since her NME days. I was taught by her cousin. I felt a certain affinity. But I can’t support transphobia, do you see that? Thanks for taking the time and trouble to read about Cathy Brennan, I do appreciate it. She is honestly a big part of why any discussions about MTF transwomen get so heated now. Catch you later and hope you have a good day.

          • Adrian Morgan

            Cheers! – and above (“nanti pots” etc), look up ‘Polari’.

          • James Pugilist

            Cathy Brennan is completely different, even JB( Bindel ) refuses to share a platform with her.

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Well it’s good that she does, James. But, even if the tactics are different, the message seems the same (at least it does to many trans women). If Julie Burchill wants to ‘judge’ MTF trans women by a few vocal ‘bullies’ then the trouble is that it seems to work both ways.

          • Aunt Nell

            No the message is not the same, nor is it the same between the women who get targetted by these bullies. It’s this total lack of nuance in the accusations of “transphobia” that is perhaps the most irksome; that people like Julie Bindel get told they’re just a wee step down the ladder from full-on mass murder. It’s ridiculous hyperbole and intended solely to silence any disagreement.

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Tell me how the ‘message’ (and I’ve already said that the ‘tactics’ are different) is different between these people in terms of transgender people.

          • Aunt Nell

            Have you actually read any articles by any of the authors you’re banging on about?

            I’m guessing the answer is no. Anyway, I’m leaving it here because you’re just annoying and boring. Have a lovely weekend, if you can get away from stalking Julie Burchill that is.

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Your guess is as wrong as your answer is patronising. I’m happy to hear from you as to how YOU think their basic message about transgender people differs. So I have no interest in whether or not you find me annoying and boring. Believe me when I say that gaining your approval is not why I’m here. So, either you want to explain your perception of differences or not. Your call. I shall have a lovely weekend – you too. I may pop in here from time to time, it is the subject I’m following not Julie Burchill.

          • Liz

            Plain speaking, aka rude banality.

          • Adrian Morgan

            Bollocks..

        • Aunt Nell

          But her very existence and the fact she gets paid to write seem to upset you so much, dear, why put yourself through the pain?

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Think I’ve covered this already, Aunt Nell, don’t want to repeat myself any more than necessary!

      • James Pugilist

        Remould with nanti pots in the oven and on the national handbag may

        • Trans Fan and Proud

          eh?!

          • James Pugilist

            Nanti , HP 🙂 x

        • Aunt Nell

          Heartface, I think she’s yer actual dona who’s set herself up as Lily Law of the internets, charpering palone, ready to leap to her lallie tappers, put on her sensible batts and run to the rescue any minute of the day or night

          • James Pugilist

            Meese and Meshigener

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Fact!

          • Bill Thomas

            Could we have this in English?

          • Aunt Nell

            No

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Don’t worry, Bill, I got the gist of it: Aunt Nell is having a go at me….

      • MC73

        It would be pretty satisfying for me too.

        • Trans Fan and Proud

          Don’t read my stuff then! Good advice, Aunt Nell.

    • Colin

      Write it, then.

      Me? I’ve rediscovered her. She, Breath of fresh air. You, not so much…

      • Trans Fan and Proud

        Maybe I will write it, Colin. Eleven people have already upvoted my comment so there’s an audience for me even on here. I know there’s an audience out in the real world. On here, just skip my comments if they’re not your thing, not a problem.

        • Trans Fan and Proud

          I’ll talk to myself now: FIFTEEN UPVOTES!

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Talking to myself again, first sign of something: NINETEEN UPVOTES!

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            TWENTY TWO!

  • AlexanderGalt

    It’s curious that the media mostly ignored or spun the less sex data from the Lancet Report.

    How could our liberation from so many sexual taboos have resulted in less of the good stuff? Who would have predicted that 30 years ago?

    Perhaps it’s also connected to our demographic woes. There’s a great post on that called ‘43%’ (the percentage of educated women who remain childless in the UK) at:

    http://john-moloney.blogspot.com/2013/08/43_1589.html

    • Rocksy

      Forbidden fruit etc. etc. When you can have all you want it loses much of it’s appeal.

      • Yeah, I possibly agree although it’s hard to tell twenty years out. By the way, ‘it’s’ in this case has no apostrophe.

        • Rocksy

          Right about the apostrophe.
          Not so sure about the ‘Yeah’ or the ‘possibly agree’ or missing punctuation after ‘agree’

          • In a free-flowing comments section, I feel that the lack of comma is perfectly fine. In fact, as a writer I’ve consciously worked to winnow the commas and breaks in my writing.

          • Rocksy

            I see a marked improvement. Good effort for a beginner.

          • Ha! You should see my drawings!

          • Rocksy

            Surprised you missed the pun in my original post.

          • Kitty MLB

            Sorry for butting in- the pun in your original post.
            ‘ Forbidden Fruit’, the pun ! would that be apple/ appeal ?

          • Rocksy

            Hi Kitty,Clever you!
            Not my smoothest effort but I thought it was pretty good.

          • Kitty MLB

            I Have actually sent you a response
            but accidently sent it to myself.
            Oh never mind, your pun was good,

          • Kitty MLB

            It was good actually. The mention of
            forbidden fruit, and your pun, and this topic
            led me to thinking of apples.
            From Eve in the Garden of Eden,
            to the foolish boy Paris in the Garden of Hesperides, with those golden apples,
            and eros used to throw apples at women
            to make them lust after men.
            It seems apples have a lot to answer too 🙂

          • There was a pun? Where? The person that picked the picture for this article should be given pop tarts for breakfast for a month…..

          • Rocksy

            KittyMLB got it. she wrote’

            ‘ Forbidden Fruit’, the pun ! would that be apple/ appeal ?
            Half the posts seem to disappear without warning.

          • Swanky

            I don’t see any semantic connection between the two: different sounds, different emphasis, different meaning. Still, never mind. I write poems and songs so I won’t feel too badly about missing it.

    • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

      There’s better stuff on telly now.

  • Trans Fan and Proud

    TEN!

    • Julie Burchill Raven

      TOP 5 READ, TOP 3 COMMENTED!

      • Trans Fan and Proud

        It proves nothing, Julie. When I comment, and many of these comments have been mine, it is unlikely to be commending your writing.

        • Julie Burchill Raven

          Frankly, I don’t GIVE A DAMN!

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            And I don’t give a damn about your not giving a damn. I’ve tried many times to explain to you that your lack of respect for me means nothing to me. In fact, amongst my friends it’s seen as a badge of honour.

          • Julie Burchill Raven

            Same back, with balls on! Sorry, BELLS!

          • Trans Fan and Proud

            Doesn’t matter if you’ve still got your balls on Julie, I’m accepting you as a woman.

          • buddy66

            I like your writing, dear, but you are a bit SHOUTY today.

  • Aunt Nell

    all the joie de vivre of a verruca sufferer bringing their chiropodist up to speed

    Actual LOL, as the young folk say

  • James Pugilist

    Bonaroo

  • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

    Having sex is boring, whereas both f***ing and making love are spectacular in their own way.

  • This seems like bragging to me. Christ. The author must surely know it is. And I’m half a generation younger than she is, in case anyone wants to lob a bomb in that direction.

  • Liberalism Is Nonsense

    Reject the tyrant’s designs for absolute despotism: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

    • Trans Fan and Proud

      Before I click on the link, is this a shameless plug or does it relate to the article/comments section?!

    • Trans Fan and Proud

      Reject the tyrant’s designs for othering.

      “Othering
      is the process of casting a group, an individual or an object into the role of
      the ‘other’ and establishing one’s own identity through opposition to and,
      frequently, vilification of this Other. The Greeks’ use of the word ‘barbarian’
      to describe non-Greeks is a typical example of othering and an instance of
      nationalism avant la lèttre.
      The ease with which the adjective ‘other’ generated the verb ‘to other’ in the
      last twenty years or so is indicative of the usefulness, power and currency of
      a term that now occupies an important position in feminist, postcolonial, civil
      rights and sexual minority discourses.

      Othering
      is a process that goes beyond ‘mere’ scapegoating and denigration – it denies
      the Other those defining characteristics of the ‘Same’, reason, dignity, love,
      pride, heroism, nobility, and ultimately any entitlement to human rights.
      Whether the Other is a racial or a religious group, a gender group, a sexual
      minority or a nation, it is made rife for exploitation, oppression and indeed
      genocide by denying its essential humanity, because, as the philosopher Richard
      Rorty put it, “everything turns on who counts as a fellow human being, as a
      rational agent in the only relevant sense – the sense in which rational agency
      is synonymous with membership of our moral community” (Rorty, 1993, p. 124).”

      http://www.yiannisgabriel.com/

  • I sure hope the Spectator doesn’t show us yet another bleedin’ photo of unsexy feet jumbled together and poking out from bedsheets. Whoever the image editor is needs to find another unsexy way of representing the subject — or just show a black square, or nothing. My favourite erotic-but-safe image is this.

  • NickG

    Way too much information.

  • Morality is nothing to do with sex. I blame the previously promiscuous St Augustine, and the strange heresy of Manicheanism for muddling the two up. Sex is a neutral thing, like glass or sugar. It is what you do with sex that makes it moral or not. You can get hurt and hurt people using literally anything. It is not however the same as tennis, which is what the sex educators seems to think giving the young the wrong idea about how they will feel. Sex launched 1000 ships after all. Sex is just another potential weapon or gift or whatever. What complicates matters is the outcome. Children. The regularisation of sex (at least heterosexual) was economic initially – how will the outcome be provided for during its long maturing period? Sugar has an outcome of being grossly overweight – or not. Glass? Well you can see through it or stab people with it. Same with sex. It is just a momentary spasm of the insides overlaid with a vast and aching desire to perpetuate our own genes. Mostly unrealised and unacknowledged. I am all for it personally, but as a celibate, can’t remember what all the fuss was about. I certainly would not bother to change my ways unless it was in the context of a really good and extraordinary relationship such as Julie describes. What would be the point?

  • Trans Fan and Proud

    For you, Julie Burchill. I present the wonderful nation of Israel: http://www.bilerico.com/2014/03/israeli_lawmakers_ban_discrimination_against_lgbt_.php

    • Retired Nurse

      Hey, and its only 2014!

      • Trans Fan and Proud

        I know! Despite Julie Buchill’s protestations in her article, I think she’s stuck in the 1970s.

    • Trans Fan and Proud

      “Israel can teach us about tolerance and happiness

      I was interested to see that Britain now ranks as the 13th happiest
      country in the world. It seems pretty respectable, but many people seem
      to think we should be up there with the Scandinavians. As they’re so
      rich and good-looking, this is unlikely. But there are certain things we
      could do to pull level with, say, Israel, which was named the eighth
      happiest country in the world – coming in above Britain and the US – in a
      poll conducted by Gallup between the years 2005 and 2009 and published
      in Forbes magazine earlier this year. In Tel Aviv last week, I noticed
      that both smoking and dogs were allowed in restaurants, and I’ve rarely
      seen a perkier lot of people. By the way, I don’t have a smoking habit
      or a dog – just a very tolerant nature. Try it – it might make you
      happier.”

      http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/columnists/julie-burchill/julie-burchill-poor-lauren-booth-ndash-she-would-do-anything-to-get-in-with-the-tough-kids-2117219.html

  • William Clark

    A very sweet and one suspects sincere article from yet another ‘in recovery’ from the anti-human brainless garbage ‘valyoos’ of the 1970s and 1980s.

  • Trans Fan and Proud

    When I posted the article about Israel protecting students in schools against discrimination on the basis of gender identity, Retired Nurse made a comment about it being only 2014! I said I thought Julie Burchill’s views on transgender people were stuck in the 1970s. Some of you will know that Gloria Steinem celebrated her 80th birthday the other day. She has now performed a complete about-turn on her views about transgender people. In the 1907s, she was very anti. Now, she says this:

    “Steinem penned in an October 2 Advocate op-ed

    So now I want to be unequivocal in my words: I believe that
    transgender people, including those who have transitioned, are living
    out real, authentic lives. Those lives should be celebrated, not
    questioned. Their health care decisions should be theirs and theirs
    alone to make. And what I wrote decades ago does not reflect what we
    know today as we move away from only the binary boxes of “masculine” or
    “feminine” and begin to live along the full human continuum of
    identity and expression.

    I’m grateful for this opportunity to say that I’m sorry and sad if
    any words floating out there from the past seem to suggest anything
    other than support, past and present. As feminists know, power over our
    own minds and bodies comes first.”

    So, it is possible for people to change their minds. I hope that Julie Burchill does – and says sorry for the hurt and offence caused by her words. Come on Julie, show us that you are as great a feminist as Gloria Steinem!

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