At the weekend, amidst my domestic chores (including a ‘rubbish run’ to the nearby municipal tip), I happened to catch a small segment of BBC1’s Sunday Morning Live, presented by Sian Williams, which follows The Andrew Marr Show. The springboard to the discussion at hand – on the subject of whether adultery was ever acceptable – was the recent media storm over the recent alleged ‘hacking’ of the married person’s dating website Ashley Madison and its attendant threat that the over one million people in the UK who are apparently registered on it would have their personal data exposed to the world.
First up was a lady psychologist who made the case that, in this day and age, adult sexual activity could be broken down into two types – viz. procreational and recreational – both of which had their place in modern society.
Having probed the proposition with a pair of supplementary questions, Williams then passed the conch to a Christian pastor from some evangelical wing of the church, who pushed back with the kind of argument that I hadn’t heard in a long while [my problem, not his] which, in these days of ‘let it all hang out, any old how will do’ political-correctness, seemed somehow rather quaint and old-fashioned.
He scoffed at his predecessor’s line and – I trust I’m accurately reporting his gist here – pointed out that in the Bible, God decrees that the purpose of marriage is to set human sexuality squarely within the context of marriage, babies and families. Seen from this perspective, what the lady had described as ‘recreational sex’ was therefore not only contrary to Christian teaching but (he was presumably implying) an unworthy lapse into weakness and/or sin.
I must add a personal confession in passing at this point.
Ever since my days at boarding school at least one hundred years ago, when a joke did the rounds as to why a certain housemaster’s wife always looked so glum and down in the mouth [answer: because her husband had once told a religious class he was taking that procreation was sole purpose of sex and therefore our cheeky conclusion – on the basis that they had two kids – was that she could only ever have ‘had it’ twice in her life], I’ve always tended to find the concepts of raw lust and ‘married love’ – as described above – difficult to reconcile if not borderline incompatible.
(Anyone wishing to connect with my point here should try the game I play whenever I find myself inadvertently watching BBC1’s Songs Of Praise on a Sunday evening, e.g. whilst waiting for Pointless Celebrities to begin.
As the camera pans around the congregation all singing so earnestly and piously, I try to identify the ladies – indeed any lady at all – with whom, superficially attractive or not, I could possibly imagine oneself wishing to ‘do the dirty’. It’s a damned difficult and frustrating task).
However, I wouldn’t wish my Rust readers to misunderstand me.
Very occasionally in life one is asked, usually by a lady, to contemplate the very best sex one has had, and with whom one had enjoyed it.
My honest answer to this question – but also one that generally seems to meet with understanding and approval from the interviewer of the moment – is that, for me, there’s a chasm between raw sexual desire/technical expertise and the strength/depth of your feelings for the person you are going to bed with.
Thus even crap sex with someone you’re hopelessly devoted to is always ‘better’ than amazing technically rampant rumpy-pumpy (rating 10 on on the gymnast Nadia Comaneci’s ‘perfect 10 out of 10’ scale) with someone you hardly know, or indeed will never know as closely.
All that said, sometimes when I hear or read of the social issues confronting young – and also not so young – people in modern society, I’m rather glad I’m semi-retired.
Here’s a despatch by Nosheen Iqbal from the new frontline of sexual relations as it is being confronted in the United State of America, spotted today upon the website of THE GUARDIAN