Film: Not in front of the adults

Is it just me asks Pete Stanton or is sex a cringe-making no-go subject for everyone as soon as the parents are around?

Let me start this piece by saying that I'm no prude. I can discuss sex without laughing and can argue for and against buggery without a smirk. More often than not, I'm "for". I also know London's Soho area like the back of my hand and have been to Bangkok twice. I need say no more about my maturity towards the subject. Surprising, then, that this fresh, unabridged, freedom on all things sexual seems to end when I'm at my parents' house. It's not that they're prudes either, it's just that we don't talk about it. We tread like rhinos over small children just to avoid the subject. They know I do it and I know they do it, so why discuss it? Religion, politics, the new bypass, work, Marks & Spencer's, crisps and football are all more popular subjects than sex in our house. That's the score.

Unfortunately, however, this leaves a huge barn door open for sex to enter our lives through many wild and varied directions. The grunting noises coming from the neighbours, magazines (particularly Loaded), drunk relatives saying stuff they shouldn't. And then, of course, there's telly. The bastard. The last time I was home was a good example. The folks wanted a video to watch that night. I knew I had to pick something safe, something that could mildly entertain but in no way shock. I got them Toy Story last time. Tom Hanks, toys, computer graphics. Winner.

This time, I went for The English Patient. Oscar winner, love story, action, good clothes, safe as a large marshmallow, I thought. An hour into it and we're still alright. A few Nazis, an unrecognisable third- degree burns victim, well spoken soldiers and that bloke off Auf Wiedersehen Pet. All clear.

Then... bang... hot sex rumpo-agogo... Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott-Thomas are at it like enraged oyster-gibbons. "Ooh... yeaahh... uhhh... uhhhh." Silence swept through our sitting room. "Uhh... yera... grrrr!!!" My mum has begun to look over the telly at the picture of me and my sister when we were at school. "Ummmm... uh... uh... uh... uh... uh!" My dad cleans his glasses. "Grrrrrr... ooh!" I attempt a dry cough which comes out more like the gurgle of a strangled rodent. The bottoms and breasts writhe about for what seems like hours. I reach for a newspaper and begin reading an article on the rise of car theft in Salford. Eventually, after maybe seven excruciating minutes, the rumpo is at an end. In our sitting room, there is an ungodly silence, as if a naked man had just run through the room.

None of us have said anything for the last five minutes. My dad eventually breaks the silence by claiming that Kristin Scott-Thomas looked a bit like my girlfriend. Amazing, since all he had to go on was Ms Thomas's arse bouncing up and down on the telly. I make a mental note to not bring my girlfriend here for a while.

This is in no way the only time that has happened. Off the top of my head, I can remember the dire thriller No Way Out with Kevin Costner and Sean Young. Costner had been a favourite of my mum's for a while. Then... oof! His arse was like a steam train pumping into the love depot of Sean Young's thighs. There's another film, I forget the name of, with Julie Andrews. A Blake Edwards' one. Could be like The Pink Panther, we thought. Not on your nelly. Andrews whips out her breasts halfway through, and my dad spills his coffee. Discerning Andrews' fans were probably not ready for this, and nor were my parents. The hills were most definitely alive, from what I saw.

A rule of thumb in these situations is to be wary of every actor in every film. British actors specifically. All of them are quite capable of smart haircuts and appearing in a fine film or TV drama involving Venice and big dresses.

Easy fodder for the parent, usually. But be warned. These same actors are not afraid of flopping the tackle out. Jeremy Irons is one. English Gent he may be, but if there's an arse and penis required for a specific scene he can't drop his keks quick enough. Helen Mirren needn't bother wearing pants, either. Jenny Agutter was another one. You're usually safe with Americans, though. They're more glaringly obvious than your Brits. More inclined to whip out the old Joanna and tinkle on someone's ivories.

You'd think the 9pm watershed would be a good guide, but it's not. Nature programmes cannot be overlooked. Monkeys, elephants, rodents, snakes, weevils, orangutans, mice, worms, geese and more rodents are all at it every five minutes under the dulcet tones of Attenborough. Sex is sex in our house. The silence is as strong if it's a rabbit as if it's Kevin Costner.

Mind you, maybe it's just me and my family that find this situation difficult. It could be that your family and everyone else's families are all "getting it on" in front of each other all the time. A huge bohemian one-for-all sex extravaganza going on in the sitting room after dinner. But, somehow, I doubt it. So what's the answer? Well, never go home to your parents is one. And if you do, beware the telly. Tread carefully in the video shop. Do not trust Jeremy Irons. And especially not Costner. As for me, I've already lined up the film for the next time I'm home. Last Tango In Paris. Me mum and dad love Brando. Cheers.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

    £25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie