No Sex Please, We’re British

Sex, sex, sex… will they ever stop going on about it?! Society is obsessed with sex. Sex is overrated, over-exposed, over talked-about and overdone. Personally I’d rather have a pizza… and so would a lot of people. The theory that we should want more exciting, more adventurous sex is a very recent one, and wrong.  

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Society’s modern obsession with sex is not representative of reality. A sizeable minority of perfectly normal, well-adjusted and happy people are not particularly interested in intercourse.

The inconvenient truth is there are lots of people who don’t feel the need for sex and are rarely if ever aroused. They can go for days, weeks, months or even years without sex. When I realised I didn’t actually have to have sex, it was as if I had got rid of an irrelevant and mischievous monkey. I woke up one fine day, realised it wasn’t anywhere near as great as it was cracked up to be and I could be just as happy without it, not to mention better off, and have more time to enjoy the more important things in life.

Most parents with young children are already keenly aware that sleep is better than sex. For most people, the importance of sex diminishes with age, though it may occasionally reappear briefly if a new relationship is on the cards, or after the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol when, beer goggles on, even that woman from… well you get the idea.

But sex sells! It’s there every time you open a newspaper; it pouts at you from the pages of glossy magazines and it’s shoved in your face every time a celebrity tart thinks up a new place to be caught doing it. Having public sex is now the shortcut of choice for those wishing to embark on a career of vacuous celebrity.

The sex industry is worth billions. Just talking about things that three decades ago would have resulted in criminal prosecution (think OZ magazine and Lady Chatterley’s Lover) are now a part of normal daytime TV viewing. Sex, sex, sex… it’s all they talk about. From the Jeremy Kyle Show, through This Morning, to Loose Women – it’s three hours of how to do it, how to do it better, who’s doing it, who’s not doing it anymore, and oh for fuck’s sake… enough already!

That constant message, combined with the social stricture of monogamous marriage means that people might feel they are obliged to service the sexual needs of their partner, not to mention someone else’s partner, at which point sex becomes a duty, and there must be something wrong with you if you don’t do it as often as possible!

Up to the 1950’s, lots of people never had sex. Most of those in domestic service, the armed forces, the church and so on, never married, so sexual abstinence was regarded as normal. On the other hand, sex outside marriage, masturbation and homosexuality were all very much taboo, although prostitution was far more prevalent. In these more liberal and enlightened times, sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase, and most shockingly amongst older people as the grey liberation movement seek out once verboten occasional flings via the Internet to satisfy their hitherto dormant libidinous desires.

Put succinctly, sex was something that was either reserved for the marriage bed (whether as pleasure or duty) or not done at all except by libertines, reprobates and the French. The idea that everyone should have and enjoy sex, and continue doing so into wrinkly old age, is entirely a product of the modern age.

However, there are also some modern exceptions to the modern de rigueur. Some people may not be interested within a relationship, but still masturbate. Others are interested in kinky sex, which provides a convenient (if lazy) way of fulfilling the sexual urge and in many if not most cases also satisfies the desire for dominance. One famous hypnotist of my acquaintance has we are informed, a keen interest in having sex with a succession of prostitutes, providing an effortless way of achieving instant, uncomplicated and emotion-free gratification.

Sexual perversion and the unhealthy fascination with the pursuit of extremes are addictive. Like the addiction to drugs, the devotee of bizarre sexual entertainments will seek out ever more [not necessarily physically] risky specialities to achieve the same level of satisfaction. The above-mentioned hypnotist once confided in me that he enjoyed being urinated on by young girls and had even paid for the privilege. Shame, I would have done it for nothing.

Those who indulge in particularly perverse practices have personality traits that may put them on the autism spectrum, such as lacking emotional interest in their sexual partners, or tick the boxes for psychopathy, such as a need for dominance, targeted venom and a desire to impress their mother. In this respect, one could be forgiven for thinking Freud may have been right after all.

On the other hand, some people are simply oblivious to sexual drive (think Cliff Richard) although they still may have close and even romantic, relationships.

But how can we measure this? People are notoriously unforthcoming when questioned about their sexual habits. Some may even deliberately give misleading answers to questionnaires just to save face – I know I do.

Somehow, the question itself sets up the expectation that not feeling like having sex is a failing, particularly in males, and especially if it’s followed by other questions about things that might sound like problems, such as frequency of intercourse or trouble maintaining an erection.

People who suspect they might be confronted with questions about their sexuality and feel uncomfortable answering them might refuse to take part in such surveys. People who refuse to participate in sex surveys are quite different from those who do take part. Those who refuse are likely to be less sexually liberal in their attitudes and also younger.

99% of people over 30 say they have had intercourse. This number seems suspiciously high taking into consideration the preponderance of lifelong singles, which by default would include some disabled people, nuns and priests. Yeah, right.

There are two problems with the way we have been encouraged to think about sex: First, and most worrying, is the exposure children have to sex, something undreamt of 30 years ago and now almost compulsory because of easy access to the Internet and the sexualisation of women like grubby no-discernible-talent media-whore-trollop Kim Kardashian. Second, is the myth that failure to achieve partnered status makes you a loner and therefore a bit strange.

It’s unfair that people not interested in sex are considered abnormal just because everyone else thinks they should be.

Why can’t people just read a book?

 

Copyright Andrew Newton 2016. All rights reserved.