Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

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The Independent Online

I had to laugh when I read the controversy over "Lib Dem lothario" Nick Clegg, who horrified some Conservatives when he admitted to sleeping with "no more than 30" sexual partners. We constantly moan that politicians are dishonest, so it's very refreshing that we have a guy who seems to be putting it all out there (no pun intended).

It's always the so-called "family values" politicians (John Major comes to mind; and more recently former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, aka "Mr Clean", who was busted as part of a federal prostitution ring) who are the biggest hypocrites.

Most people tend to lie about their tally; men tend to double the magic number; women slash it in half. And we have to be very suspicious of men whose number is something like 402, because after about 15 to 20 partners, everything blurs and you're left with memories of some encounters that were wonderful, some that were terrible, and some that were bizarre. Maybe that explains why "no more than 30" was as accurate as Clegg could be. Of course, they're only human – especially when it comes to love and sex. Still, I wonder if we are ready for a reality dose from our politicians.

The French get it right when it comes to embracing alternative lifestyles. Carla Bruni has had her share of rock-star boyfriends and said she was "monogamous from time to time", but claimed to prefer polygamy. Then, once she met her president, she morphed into a tigress in the bedroom who wears pillbox hats in public. He must feel like the luckiest man in the world.

I totally disagree with Ann Widdecombe's comments that Clegg's discussion of the number of women he had slept with was a "pretty horrible contribution to a society where morals have just collapsed". The fact that the man has a past does not preclude him from being a clean-cut family man today, who, by all rights, is totally in love with his wife. Who is she to judge him? Everyone has their own gauge of how much sexual experience is right for them, but personally, I think that my experiences will make me a much better partner. And in case you're wondering, my number is somewhere between 60 and 100, with a few women in the mix.

I'm 100 per cent faithful once in a committed relationship, and my future husband will reap the benefits both in and out of the bedroom. And I won't judge my partner. Would anyone expect me to marry a 35-year-old virgin? I'm going to follow Clegg's example by not caring what anyone thinks. It seems that the people bleating the loudest about everyone else's morality are either seriously repressed or hiding sexual skeletons. Clegg may not be perfect, but I'm willing to bet that we don't see him exposed in any Sunday newspapers with multiple hookers, wearing a Nazi uniform, any time soon.