my sex life KAREN, 30

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SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK 'N' ROLL my sex life KAREN, 30 I lost my virginity at 19 and 10 months. I had this thing about saving myself for someone special which was pathetic because I lost it to a bastard. He had this thing about shagging virgins. It was very painful and quick. He said it was because he was very pent up. I didn't masturbate until after I'd first had sex so I didn't know what to expect about orgasms. It was a revelation. For six months I did it everywhere. Now I'm married and sex is wonderful, we have it about nine or ten times a month. I have about five vaginal orgasms a year; I wish I could have more. Sometimes I'm feeling romantic and like the good old-fashioned missionary position. If I'm feeling lustful, I like it from behind. I like a bit of bondage and porn films, women on women, that kind of thing.

JOHN, 33

I've never been very lucky with sex. I try to be quite upfront about it. I can never get laid. The longest relationship I've ever had was two weeks. And then I only saw her at weekends. I don't know what I do wrong. I'm quite shy, I don't meet many new people and the friends I do have are either already married or they're sad bastards like me. I've several close female friends and they are always trying to set me up with friends, but something to do with knowing that I'm under scrutiny makes me come across badly. I don't wank much. That seems even sadder. I just stop thinking about it. I had sex twice last year. With two different women. One was totally drunk. The other was totally drunk as well, and so was I. I find it easier to talk to women when I've had a few drinks. I couldn't go to a dating agency; that would be hell on earth. I don't know what to do. I always thought I'd be married with kids by now, but I think it will never happen.

SUZANNE, 27

I lost my virginity aged 16. I was raped by my aunt's boyfriend. I've got over it now but it put me off men for a while. I was very cynical when my friends were drooling over men. I just thought they were very naive if they didn't realise that men were only after one thing. When I went to college I started to enjoy myself again; I became a goodtime girl really. I had lots of one-night stands. It was probably very unhealthy but I just loved telling the men to shove off in the morning. I slept with about 30 men. I never went out with anyone. I had no urge whatever to settle down. Then at 23 I went the other way entirely and became entirely monogamous. Three years on, I'm still in the same relationship which is odd. I think it's because, though he's got a male body, in attitude he's a bit of a girl and he doesn't grunt or snore.

MARTIN, 31

I became a Christian when I was 20 and my sex life changed with everything else. Before, I was a real lad. I slept with about five girls - which I'm not at all proud of. Sex without love is a sin, it really is. When I became a Christian, I did gulp at the idea of giving up sex, but it was one of the tests. I wanted to go out with Christian girls and so we could resist temptation together. I had a couple of relationships before I met my wife-to-be. I'm really glad I didn't have sex with the others now. I see the body as a gift that you give one person only. Carol and I met through the church. We were very physically attracted and we waited two years before we married. It was very hard. We did a lot of heavy petting and often had to take cold showers. But it made the wedding night very special. We've been married for six years and have three kids, so something must be working.

JENNY, 28 I started going out with my first boyfriend when I was 12. We went out for six years. We lost our virginity together when I was 14. I'm a serial monogamist. I can be bored stiff with a bloke and it just keeps going until he dumps me. I get into longterm relationships and it's easy and comfortable. I've been with my current man for six years. I do like him, but we hardly ever have sex and I certainly don't fancy him anymore. I don't think I've ever had an orgasm. I fell asleep during sex once last year. I don't know what all the fuss is about actually - I prefer a good chat with the girls, I really do. I've never been unattached for longer than a week. People think that it's because I'm deeply insecure but I don't think so.

RUTH, 25

I thought I was completely heterosexual at 18, then at 21 I was in love with a woman for two years. I came out two years later and I placed an ad in the Pink Paper and started going out with a very mixed-up woman. It was a great surprise to me when I fell in love with a man last year. When a lesbian friend of mine had done the same previously I thought she was deserting the cause. My current partner likes having sex five times a day. He's from another culture where they are less obsessed with sex. Foucault, the philosopher, said that the West should "dethrone King Sex", and I agree. I have the lowest libido on the planet. There are all sorts of things I wouldn't do, like I won't have oral sex. I find it disgusting. I have a very small mouth and asthma and I'm frightened of choking. My brother thinks that his low libido is to do with our upbringing. My parents were too liberal about nakedness and were always experimenting with naturism. I remember being disgusted seeing my Dad's long, dangly penis going to the bathroom. At the same time they gave us this bullshit about no sex before marriage.

SEAN, 29 I lost my virginity at 14. I had sex because she let me. Nothing actually happened with me, I just clambered in. I hate making the first move. My technique is to become so irritatingly present that they notice and say, "kiss me you fool". I've had no homosexual experiences and, having had a Freudian psychologist for a mother, that worries me. Some of my fantasies are too revolting to share. Someone came to my house to tie me up once. I'd only met her three times and she rang up drunk and said she was coming over. I was terrified. I fell in love when I was at college aged 21, it was just so suddenly obvious that it was different. She binned me, as I always knew she would. I was celibate and miserable for six months afterwards and then I started shagging like mad because I didn't want to be alone. I've been in a threesome with two women. It was a bit disappointing.

LAURA, 22

I first had sex at 18, a late starter. Virginity was cumbersome. I was quite submissive. I just lay on my back and felt detached. Some people seem to get a lot of pleasure out of giving other people pleasure. I don't seem to be one of those people. I aspire to romantic heroines and I want to be swept off my feet by a non-communicative hero. Non-communication gives you scope to fantasise about the other person. I make rational decisions about sex. It's a healthy pursuit, so why not do it all the time? Often I sleep with people I don't find attractive. If the offer is made in a forthright manner I'll generally accept. But if it is some shallow effort to know the real me in three dates, then I get cross. I've had one long-term relationship. I haven't had sex since September, I'm too busy and I'm going through a reassessment - like maybe it would be a good thing to get involved.

GARY, 27 I slept with women until I was 19, but I suspected I was gay from about 14. I enjoyed sex, but I felt there was something else. When I was 20, I went to a party and talked all night to a guy and that was it. I knew it would be difficult at home. My father still doesn't know - he'd be wielding a carving knife. I never cruised, but I have been cruised. One time a guy followed me and we went down an alleyway and were hard at it when a policeman came across us. He let us off with a caution. Now when I'm in a relationship, I'm monogamous. I've slept with roughly 100 guys. I always practise safer sex. I've been in groups of three or four men. I was curious to see how I compared - to guys on the gay scene, size is very important.

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