Liz Hoggard: The earth isn't moving any more

As you get older, taking your clothes off is an act of faith

Share
Related Topics

Do you still have sex? I only ask because, according to a new report, just published in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online, it may be a dying art. The report predicts a future where, within a decade, using IVF will have become better than sex as a form of reproduction. Modern fertility techniques mean it will be possible to produce embryos with a success rate of virtually 100 per cent and cultivate them in computer-controlled storage facilities.

It sounds like the dark dystopian vision of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (where handmaids are assigned to bear children for elite couples that have trouble conceiving) or films such as Gattaca and Code 46, where a genetically engineered population means everyone is physically perfect. But no, scientists insist. This is progress. "Natural human reproduction is at best a fairly inefficient process," says John Yovich, a co-author of the report.

So is physical congress with another live human simply quaint – especially in these days of sexting and Second Life and live web-cams? Because it's not just couples desperate to have kids who are banishing sex. Talk to any single woman over 35 and she'll tell you how bloody hard it is to get a potential date to actually leave the house.

What's the problem? Laziness, high standards, the prevalence of internet porn? Maybe dating has just lost its allure. As one 50-year-old man frankly explained to me – faced with the prospect of a strong woman, eating late and conversation into the night, many men may prefer themselves for company (sex on tap) rather than another 3D person. Especially if there's work the next day. Even after passionate love-making has taken place there is often an ominous silence. I've lost count of the female friends who have phoned me, bewildered. "Don't they want to do it again?"

People accuse women of being picky. But it seems men are the impossible romantics. They want poetry and the meeting of true minds. But actually they'd rather be lonely in their bedsits. The funny thing is when we're growing up, our mothers warned us that men "just wanted one thing". We were put on red alert about men trying to take us to bed. Any place. Anywhere. Any time. It sounded fantastic. Like one long Martini advert. Can I tell you just how untrue that proved to be? It's hard work luring platonic dates round for candle-lit suppers on a school night. It does rather hurt your feelings when they "aren't ready" for a weekend break.

It's very easy to find reasons not to have sex, of course. Poor body image. Incompatible careers. Unhelpful public transport. As you get older, taking your clothes off is an act of faith (maybe we can come to an agreement about that one?). Even in 1973, Woody Allen was flirting with the idea of the Orgasmatron in Sleeper.

But you know physicality – another person in the room – is the price we pay. What makes another human being sexy is enthusiasm. The desire to take a risk. To lose sleep. To wake up somewhere different – and take on board a different point of view. Otherwise sex just becomes an irritating booty call, an itch that needs to be scratched. Two people pretending they're not actually having a relationship. Which is why Liz Hurley turns out to be my unlikely heroine this week. In a magazine interview, she dubs her husband Arun – "my current affairs friend". What a fantastic phrase. I want one of those – for kissing and (consecutive) conversation. Someone who knows the minutiae of your life. Who'd rather see you than not.

Hurley is fairly pragmatic. There are, she insists, many kinds of friendship that sustain a life. It's not all hanging from the ceiling and champagne after 40. We have platonic friends and devoted siblings and, yes, an enduring relationship with the ex (step forward Hugh Grant). But we do need that precious commodity – chat – to sustain life between the sheets.

Has sex reached its sell-by date? It's time-consuming, messy and frankly very 20th-century. But until they invent something better, I vote we choose flawed intimacy over the lab – or laptop.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Digital Content Officer - Central London - £33,000

£28000 - £33000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive (Digital Marketi...

SSIS/ORACLE DBA

£400 - £401 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SSIS Administrat...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Hillary Clinton said the role of president had become even more difficult in the 21st century  

This was meant to be Hillary Clinton's moment, but everyone’s still talking about Bill

Alice Jones
People hold the iconic rainbow flags at Pride  

Let's stop LGBT people 'coming out of the closet'

Chris Godfrey
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform