Have we run out of sex?

Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times Column. Hope you enjoy from whichever position floats your boat.

PS: Send any new positions you happen across, we need them.


A woman at a friend’s wednesday night ceramics class is making a robotic hand, and in China they’re making hologram boyfriends. The world is advancing like a bullet train. You’d think the same would go for sex. That we’d constantly be adding new positions to the Karma Sutra, like they do with the Oxford English Dictionary. February saw the addition of the words, ‘death stare’, ‘shvitz’, and ‘food coma’.

But the sad truth is that just about every imaginable sexual trick or position has already been documented and for the rest of time we’ll just be reworking slight variations.

The people I feel most sorry for are women’s magazines. I once heard a fantastic talk by Vanessa Raphaely, editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine for years. She said she remembers one of the cover lines on the first issue of SA Cosmo was ‘The last word on Orgasms’. If only. Women’s magazines have been deconstructing sex and putting it back together again for decades.

Every few weeks they have to serve us up new g-spot revelations and ways to enhance our orgasms or drive our partners wild. I picked up a pile of mags to see what’s new in the bedroom, but since we’ve already been there, done that and bought the Brazillian, they’re having to dig deeper and deeper into the Karma Sutra and their imaginations to find us new tricks. So all that’s left are super-complicated or sublimely ridiculous ones.

I’m trying to keep up, really I am, but some of these instructions make sex feel like you’re putting together one of those flat-pack bookshelves, it looks easy enough on the box, but when you take it home and pull out the instructions, you may as well be building a nuclear reactor. Next insert part B into socket 7a and at the same time rub your hand along flange number 6.

I’d have to pause mid-foreplay to go get the mag, hold on I’ll be back in a sec, what page was that again? Hopefully I would have had the presence of mind to put a sticky on the corner, so I could find it again easily. Then I’d have to reach for my glasses, then memorise the next six steps in a twenty-four step manoeuvre. Surely if you have to stop to read a manual, you’re either going to miss your sex window, or get sidetracked by ‘Who Wore It Best’. I briefly considered scribbling cheat notes on the underside of my duvet.

One magazine suggested ‘Make him start with nine quick, shallow thrusts, then do one slow, deep thrust, followed by eight shallow thrusts, then two deep ones followed by seven shallow ones and so on, until he reaches nine deep thrusts. Repeat. Mixing deep and shallow thrusts in numbers divisble by five, carry the four, times by pie then work your way to four then two then five then…’ I’m not sure there’s room in bed for him, me, all these numbers and a calculator.

And then there were the downright ridiculous ones. If I’m going to try something new in the bedroom, all my efforts have to be worth the outlay. One magazine suggested I ‘suck on an orange for a sweet, citrus-flavoured smooch that will leave him hungry for more.’ So I’ve got to find an orange, peel it, and get orange all over my my fingers… that seems like a lot of work just for a citrusy kiss. And do I wash my hands before or after the kiss, I don’t want to get orange in his hair or on my sheets.

Another suggestion I uncovered was ‘The Happy Hummer’. ‘… Letting loose a sensual moan while putting your mouth to work on his sensitive inner thigh – it not only sounds sexy, it can also create a new, addictive sensation. Lower pitches create slower vibrations; higher pitches, faster ones.’ Wait, isn’t that a zerbert? I had no idea those were sexy. If you can make fart noises on your lover’s inner-upper thigh before sex with a straight face, then you’re more mature than I am.

Look, I know, what if we do the missionary position in Paris, how about that? That’s my idea of new, adventurous sex. And when we get bored of that, how about we move on to Italy and do it there?



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