TELEVISION / No sex please
Monday 09 August 1993
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.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview is finally released after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Christmas TV guide 2014: The best shows to watch from Doctor Who to Downton Abbey
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food