who are you calling a pervert?

SEX , DRUGS, AND ROCK 'N' ROLL Society has always drawn a line when it comes to sex: a divide between the filthy and nasty on one side, and the healthy and natural on the other. This line, however, is infinitely moveable, and the boundaries of the acceptable are slowly being pushed outwards. Many felt Aids would mean a return to sexual inhibition and prudery. In fact, the opposite has happened: we have been forced to be open and honest about sex in ways that would have been shocking in the 'permissive' Sixties. So what are today's ...
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my sex life

LUCY IS 24 AND LIVES WITH HER BOYFRIEND

Anal sex wasn't something that I thought about until my then boyfriend suggested it to me when I was in my teens. It wasn't something I had really thought about before, but I wasn't averse to the idea. When I first tried it, my boyfriend was very careful and I was very relaxed so it didn't really hurt. I think I have a pretty cool attitude to sex. I found it really exciting. The orgasm was much more intense than the normal sensations during vaginal sex. Damian said he liked anal sex because it felt tighter. I certainly don't think he had any homosexual urges. There's nothing dirty about the anus. I see it as an orifice and so you should make the most of it. I always expect boyfriends to be into it. If they're not it's really a sackable offence. I've had five relationships since the first time and all but one were happy to do it up the arse. They were kind of surprised when I first asked; my current boyfriend couldn't believe his luck though.

There's something far more adventurous about anal sex, maybe because you know your mother never did it. It would never replace the conventional way, but it doesn't feel like you're doing something different. I think that at least half of my friends my age have done it. Some seem to have an instinctive repulsion, but I think they are just anal retentives. Sex should be as varied as possible.

FIONA IS 26 AND IN A STEADY RELATIONSHIP

I have always loved doing it outside. I find the fact that the ground is very firm really improves my orgasms. It's even better than the floor at home. That and the thrill of having sex somewhere that you know you might be caught is very exciting. When I lived at home I loved doing it in my parents' bedroom just before I knew they would arrive home. I often wouldn't tell the bloke until I heard the screech of brakes. When I left home and went to college, outdoor sex seemed quite normal. I went to Swansea University which is by the sea and you can imagine what went on. Now I'm back in Bristol and I'm doing a regular nine-to-five job, a really boring job, and I find that sex is a great way to break the routine and be spontaneous. There is something a little bit sordid about it. Sometimes my boyfriend and I will be in a pub with our mates and we'll excuse ourselves and run outside for a quickie. It's amazing what you can get away with right under people's noses. We don't strip naked or anything, we just get the necessary bits out. We have done it in quiet streets and you can hear people walking by and have to stifle your natural noises. I love the feeling afterwards when we're walking back into the pub or back into the office and I know I've got that 'just done it' glow on my face.

STEVE IS 26 AND SINGLE

I would never go with a prostitute in Britain. I can get a girlfriend here whenever I want one. But I travel a lot for my job - I'm a tour guide, and I also teach English as a foreign language, so I spend several months a year abroad. It's impossible to start a relationship, so I'm not ashamed to admit that I go with prostitutes. Well, I kept it quiet for a while but then one of my friends guessed and I thought: 'I've nothing to be ashamed of.' I wouldn't put it on my CV, but I'm honest enough to admit that I have needs. I'm not really seedy. I'm not impotent or really ugly. Sleeping with a prostitute is not like having sex with someone who wants to sleep with you, but you get what you pay for. I'm not really into any kinky stuff, but if I wanted a woman to whip me senseless I could pay for it. I just pay for some oral relief and sometimes straight sex, but that can make me nervous. I always practise safe sex, but what if it splits? I'm not stupid, I know a lot of these girls are carrying very nasty diseases. I think a lot of my mates would think that I'm not the type, but I think any man in my position would do the same thing. I'm not going to spend my twenties celibate. It's just sex after all.

EMMA IS 14 AND HAS A REGULAR BOYFRIEND

Loads of kids in my class said that they'd lost their virginity and so I thought I was the only one who hadn't. I was going out with this boy called Ashley from the year above and he took me to this party. I was drinking vodka and Ashley asked me if I was a virgin. I said that I wasn't and so we had sex. It wasn't painful at all - I didn't feel anything much - but I was really pleased that I had lost it. When I told Joanne, my best friend, she was really gutted. She hadn't really done it at all. She wanted to know what it felt like. I described it as hot and wet and big. Ashley and I went out for two months. We didn't have sex that often - because we had nowhere to do it, just parties. I chucked him because I really fancied this other boy and he asked me out. He's 17 and at college. I slept with him on the first date. I don't have a problem with it. Old people always say that you shouldn't have sex until you are 16, but I think it depends on when you're ready. Some people don't want to do it until they are 18. Other people, like me, are ready at 13. I like having sex now, Gary is much more experienced than Ashley was. There are still a lot of girls in my class who are virgins and you can really tell because they seem really immature to me now. I don't regret having sex at all. You've got to do it sometime and it's better to be the first than the last.

ALAN IS 40 AND SINGLE

I always wanted to be a girl baby and wear nappies and dresses. It's a compulsion. I don't do any harm. I'd rather not do it, but I have to. The harder things get at work, the more I want to go and lie in my cot and just be a baby for a weekend. The lady I pay to be my mummy changes my nappy for me and leaves me to sleep. She might give me a bottle. Sometimes I get very naughty and she has to smack my bottom. I've never had sex, I don't really fancy girls, but I'm not gay. I'm not anything really. I just want to be left alone. When I dress up as a baby girl, that's when I'm happiest, that's the only time when I feel really safe and secure. I haven't got to worry about anything at all. I have a wank sometimes but I don't like the idea of sex much at all. People do think that men like me are perverts, so I keep it quiet. A few of my closest friends know, but I won't tell people until I am absolutely sure that they won't use it against me. I work in the legal system. I have a very stressful job and this is my way to relax. I am aware that if people at work found out I wouldn't keep my job very long. It's a shame, but people assume that if you are into something a little bit different you are one stop away from child molester. I would be the last person to molest a child. I have no interest in children - I want to be a child myself. I am always looking for a mother figure to look after me. I am hardly aware of having a sex drive, I think of myself as asexual if anything.

RACHEL IS 35 AND LIVES WITH HER BOYFRIEND

I had always been out with men the same age or a bit older. When I met Sean I thought he was in his late 20s and I quite fancied him; then I found out he was 18. I just thought: 'This is too ridiculous. He's bound to be immature.' Then I began to think: 'I'm just being prejudiced.' Because I was older, I felt more confident than him, so I casually asked him out for a drink. It was magical - there was this huge downpour and he carried me over a puddle. I'd made all the rules about not inviting him back to my own home because that would freak him out, but I did anyway. We stayed up talking until 2am, and then I grabbed him.

For the first six months his youth showed. He wasn't very reliable or wouldn't phone. But I wouldn't stand for it. I told him to commit or go, and he settled down. It has been odd going out with his friends - lots of them are immature, he's the exception. But they've always treated me as if I'm a bit of a catch. My friends were disgusted at first, especially the men, who said I was doing something stupid that I'd regret. But now they've got to know him and most of them think he's adorable.

In a way he acts older than me now. He's homely, I'm not. I don't want children at all, he wants children one day. He realises that by the time he's ready to have children I'll be too old. I don't worry about the future, I don't tend to think in terms of 'forever' anyway; if we are still together when I'm 60 I won't worry about being too old for him. I'll probably be climbing mountains anyway.

BISEXUALITY

Camille Paglia believes it's our best hope for the future, Ken Livingstone reckons, as Freud once did, that we're all born this way, and Madonna thinks it's a great game. EastEnders' Pam St Clement, outed as a lesbian several years ago, now describes herself as "bisexual". For many, bisexuality is just homosexuality by any other name. But bisexuals themselves proudly assert a distinct identity. One to watch.

Numbers game: For Women magazine, in a survey of its readers, found 59 per cent described themselves as bisexual, and nearly a quarter said they had had sex with another woman. Only 1 per cent of our respondents (full survey results on pages 6 and 7) defined themselves as bisexual; but then 13 per cent didn't define themselves as anything.

Legal status: No legal prohibitions as such, but see Homosexuality below.

Media interest: Confused. Married comedian Michael Barrymore is called a "homosexual"; fellow comic Joe Longthorne, who has a 21-year-old son, is routinely described as "bisexual".

Sexual outlaw rating: 6/10 (and falling?)

BUGGERY

Once a synonym for heresy. Now, the legal term for anal sex. In fact, the practice of buggery is widespread, but few would admit to it. The excrement taboo is a powerful silencer. And for men, the associations with homosexuality make it particularly difficult to talk about. Anal sex is risky - condoms are a must - but can be extremely pleasurable, particularly for men due to stimulation of the prostate gland, the male G-spot.

Numbers game: 13.9 per cent of heterosexual men and 12.9 per cent of heterosexual women reported at least one experience of anal sex, according to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Sexual Behaviour in Britain, Penguin 1994). Almost 50 per cent of gay men aged 25 to 34 years old had never had anal sex.

Legal status: Legal for the over-18s since 1994. Once punishable by death. Indeed, in one year in the early 19th century, more men were executed for buggery than for murder.

Media interest: Laughable. "We're right behind you, Mike (But not too close)" was the Sun's mixed-up message of support to Michael Barrymore after he came out as gay.

Sexual outlaw rating: 8/10.

CROSS-GENERATIONAL SEX

What's wrong with having a much older (or much younger) lover? Let's all grow up about this one, shall we? Generally speaking, older men who have much younger wives or girlfriends are accorded a sneaking admiration - and few straight men over 40 could resist the charms of a nubile teenager. Older women who take toy boys are less respected.

Numbers game: The National Survey suggests that men are slightly more likely to have younger partners than woman: 28.3 per cent of men and 9 per cent of women had partners who were six or more years older.

Legal status: Legal.

Media interest: Fitful. When 40-something Bill Wyman was "dating" 13- year-old Mandy Smith, the "yuk factor" was undeniable ("she's young enough to be his daughter", etc). When Liz Taylor married Larry Fortensky, who is 20 years her junior, a resounding "Aaah!" was heard in Fleet Street.

Sexual outlaw rating: 1/10.

FETISHISM

Fetishism is often confused with S/M, but it is a mistake to assume that all those who enjoy dressing up in leather and rubber, or who worship footwear, are necessarily sado-masochists. Body piercing - a staple of the fetishist's diet - has become hugely popular.

Numbers game: London's annual Rubber Ball attracts 2,000 revellers. Anne Summers is a national institution. Ninenteen per cent of our respondents use sex aids.

Legal status: Perfectly legal.

Media interest: Considerable. The alleged toe-sucking exploits of David Mellor MP and those famous photos of Fergie on a sun-lounger introduced foot fetishism to those who had never heard of it before. Fetish magazines include Fetish Times and Skin Two.

Sexual outlaw rating: 3/10.

GROUP SEX

Sounds more fun than it often is. There's nothing worse than being in a threesome and finding you're the odd one out. Or leaping enthusiastically into an orgy only to end up with the one person in the room that you find utterly repulsive. And group sex with your lover can be a disaster, unless you've dealt with all the jealousy implications beforehand.

Numbers game: Only 7 per cent of our respondents had had group sex - lower, probably, than the figure for Tory MPs.

Legal status: Legal for everyone except gay men (though gay men are not often prosecuted for this particular peccadillo).

Media interest: Excitable, provided a celebrity is involved. "Tom Jones in Three Way Sex Orgy" screamed the People recently. And who can forget "Three-in-a-bed session MP was victim of 'set-up' " (the Independent on Sunday)?

Sexual outlaw rating: 2/10 (if Tom Jones does it, how outrageous can it be?)

HOMOSEXUALITY

For gay men, Thatcherism and the Aids epidemic have proved to be a devastating combination. Queerbashing and an unequal age of consent for gay men are still with us; Christian "ex-gay" ministries which claim to be able to "heal" homosexuality are being funded by elements in the Church of England and the Tory Party, according to Gay Times; and more gay men have been outed in death than in life in the past 15 years. Lesbianism,though, is still chic, two years after a swimsuit-clad Cindy Crawford gave kd lang a shave on the cover of Vanity Fair. Britain has its first national lesbian magazine, Diva, and its first lesbian heroine, the late Beth Jordache of Brookside Close.

Numbers game: Depends on whether you're talking about people who define themselves as gay, or people who have ever had gay sex. Kinsey's figure of one in 10 is most often quoted but recent surveys produce lower figures. The National Survey found that 6.1 per cent of men and 3.4 per cent of women admitted to any homosexual experience. In London, the figures were higher (men: 11.9 per cent; women: 6 per cent).

Legal status: Lesbianism is legal. Sex between men, defined in law as gross indecency (thank you kindly), is legal only when no more than two men "take part or are present", both are aged 18 or over and the act takes place in private.

Media interest: Inexhaustible. Expect more outing of celebrities. "Calling people gay is not libel, QC tells jury" reported the Times. Tell that to former Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton, who has been issuing denials that she is a lesbian. Val told the Birmingham Post: "If the press want to know the truth, why don't they sit outside my flat and watch people coming out?" Oops.

Sexual outlaw rating: 8/10 and falling.

PORNOGRAPHY

Sex videos are the success story of the 1990s. You see shelves of them everywhere from Virgin (naturally) to staid old WH Smith. But though standards have relaxed, Britain still has the most restrictive censorship regulations anywhere in the western world. Hard-core porn is illegal still but is increasingly on open sale in central London, despite frequent police raids. Thus far, the Government has successfully stopped filthy foreign satellite stations from beaming hard-core porn into the country. Despite this, porn stars are becoming respectable. British gay porn sensation, Aiden Shaw, is publishing his first novel. In Italy, La Cicciolina has been an MP for years. Amateur porn - one man, his wife and a camcorder - is also hugely popular.

Numbers game: Almost a quarter of our respondents use porn.

Legal status: Legal to appear in, make, own and watch (except for child porn which is illegal on all counts). Illegal to sell, distribute or import.

Media interest: Incestuous. Is page 3 of the Sun porn? Is the Sunday Sport a porn mag rather than a newspaper?

Sexual outlaw rating: 3/10.

PROSTITUTION

The oldest profession is alive and well, and soliciting on a street near you. Traditionally, most punters have been men, but a lot more is available for women these days - gigolos, lesbian escorts and even, in Berlin, a lesbian brothel. Potentially a lucrative career, though a very risky one.

Numbers game: 6.8 per cent of men admit to having paid a woman for sex at least once (Sexual Behaviour in Britain, Penguin 1994).

Legal status: Soliciting, procuring, pimping and running a brothel are illegal, and so is kerb-crawling. Paying for sex and receiving payment for sex are not in themselves crimes.

Media interest: Costly. Elton John won an astonishing pounds 1m from the Sun when it wrongly alleged that he used underage rent boys. Sensible tarts are media tarts. Cynthia Payne's new video, Madame Cyn's House of Sin, is out now, and rather smashing it is, too.

Sexual outlaw rating: 4/10.

PUBLIC SEX

Sex al fresco is many people's idea of the naughtiest thing they can do, an irresistible thrill. Why else did Hugh Grant commit his "lewd act" with Divine Brown in a parked car rather than in a hotel room? For others, it's a necessity. Teenagers, for want of a home to call their own, traditionally start to explore their sexuality in public places. Men who want to explore their homosexuality often do so in public, too, in public toilets (cottages) or parks. In truth, most public sex is invisible to the public - in the back seat of a car, in the bushes, in a toilet cubicle. You hardly ever see a couple fornicating in Tesco on a Saturday afternoon.

Numbers game: 17 per cent of our respondents have had sex in public.

Legal status: Illegal. Generally an outrage to public decency.

Media interest: Ask Gillian Taylforth.

Sexual outlaw rating: 7/10.

SADOMASOCHISM (S/M)

S/M is a kind of game, ritualised role-play with very clear rules. It's not about people beating each other senseless or nailing someone to the floor. Rather it involves one person willingly giving another person total sexual control over them. Trust is essential - it is the height of folly to allow a complete stranger to tie you up. S/M is undoubtedly more popular and more visible than ever before. There are all sorts of groups to join and events to go to. At the same time, there is little doubt that light bondage, spanking and such are enjoyed by people who would never think of themselves as sado-masochists.

Numbers game: Only 2 per cent of our respondents have had sadomasochistic sex. Europe's biggest S/M event, the Dungeon in the Sky, held each year in London, attracts several thousand people of all sexualities.

Legal status: Dubious. In 1989, following a police operation codenamed Spanner, 16 men were convicted of assault for taking part in S/M sex sessions. The Spanner case appears to outlaw anything more boisterous than love bites, but there have been no similar prosecutions since.

Media interest: Damaging. Coverage of the Spanner case has been highly misleading, portraying the defendants as blood-crazed lunatics.

Sexual outlaw rating: 9/10.

UNDER-AGE SEX

The age of consent for women is 16, as it is for heterosexual men. For gay men, the age of consent is 18. Just over 100 years ago, the age of consent for women was 13.

Numbers game: People are starting to have sex at a younger age than they used to. The National Survey found that 18.7 per cent of straight women and 27.6 per cent of straight men aged between 16 and 19 said they first had sex before they were 16. However, for 55- to 59-year-olds, the figures were respectively 0.8 per cent and 5.8 per cent.

Legal status: Illegal. A jail term is likely for the older partner. If two under-age people have sex with each other, prosecutions are unlikely, though social services may intervene.

Media interest: Stern. Sex with an under-age person is generally seen as being akin to child abuse. "Perverts preyed on youngsters such as this 16-year-old", tutted Bournemouth's Evening Echo recently.

Sexual outlaw rating: 10/10.

UNSAFE SEX

A very modern dilemma. Is it only the responsibility of people who are HIV-positive to insist upon safer sex, or is it the responsibility of us all? Can long-term partners dispense with condoms? Does a failure to take precautions with a new partner indicate a death-wish? Or are we only human and therefore fallible?

Numbers game: A British Safety Council survey in August 1994 found that only 11 per cent of single women carry condoms. Survey evidence also suggests that around a third of UK gay men have sex without condoms (Gay Times, July 1995).

Legal status: Uncertain. In the US, a number of attempted murder cases have been brought against men who, knowing themselves to be HIV-positive, had unprotected sex with their female partners. And in this country, a man who raped a child was recently given a life sentence because he knew he was HIV-positive but didn't use a condom.

Media interest: Sensational. "Aids victim spent stolen fortune on crazed sex orgies" screeched a News of the World headline.

Sexual outlaw rating: Up to 10/10 (depending upon circumstance).

WATERSPORTS

To urinate on someone for sexual pleasure. Also known as golden rain or golden showers. Not as risky as you might imagine, provided you don't have any cuts or broken skin. Every bit as messy as you'd expect.

Numbers game: No figures available. Even Ofwat couldn't help.

Legal status: No legal prohibition as such.

Media interest: Damp. In her Sex book, Madonna simulated watersports with Naomi Campbell. Didn't cause much of a splash.

Sexual outlaw rating: 3/10.

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