TELEVISION / No sex please

EVERYMAN (BBC 1) took a hard look at celibacy and pondered the question: is it catching? The thrust of the argument was this: we're led to believe that everyone is preoccupied with having more sex and making it last longer, whereas, actually, increasing numbers are concentrating very hard on having no sex at all and making it last for ever. Thus Marj Thoburn from the counselling agency Relate could refer to the existence of 'a vast raft of people who choose not to be involved in sexual activity'.

A small band of these stepped on to dry land to attest to the 'potent kind of freedom' which lies in the realm beyond sex. Sally Cline, the author of The Genital Myth, questioned the idea that physical relations make you happy. Clearly for some, this is not the case - in fact, all the abstinents questioned here seemed bright-eyed and cheery, though it should be said, a worryingly large percentage of them displayed a tendancy to join fringe spiritual organisations.

In support of the cause, the programme wheeled out the old sociological nonsense that pleasurable sex is a relatively recent invention, for which it credited, as usual, Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix and the invention of the oral contraceptive. 'Sex could now be recreational,' we learned - as opposed, presumably, to our ancestors' time, when it was a dire chore like washing the dishes or bringing in the coal.

Speaking up for calming down were Carol Vieira, an actress who was resting (in the sexual sense), and Angus Mackinnon, a journalist working for the men's style magazine GQ. Both were in that state which one might in the past have called 'between partners'. But these days, no fashionable person wants to be thought to be merely drifting, and both presented their situations as a purposeful choice from the rich and varied menu of lifestyle options.

Vieira said she was 'taking a break from the demands of sex' - a phrase which spoke eloquently about our age's ability to regard absolutely anything as stressful. ('How was it for you?' 'Really demanding.') Mackinnon, meanwhile, said he had realised that privacy was important to him - always a tricky claim to make on television.

Some argue that there's a streak of masochism in the abstinent. Still, neither of these arguments will be bothering Mackinnon now, nor indeed Carol Vieira, both of whom, it was revealed at the end of the programme, are back with partners again.

On Teenage Diaries (BBC 2, Saturday), 13-year-old Polly recorded her hatred for her school, her refusal to go there and her parents' patient compliance in finding her alternative arrangements. During some great scenes of dumb-play at a cider-and- Woodbines party, it was brought home again how, though filmed and overseen by teenagers, these programmes unerringly target nostalgic adults. They are a bright insight into the teenage psyche in those innocent years before the decision not to have sex.

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tv 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there