Nicholas Lezard: Lessons from lechers and libertines

A sex addiction clinic is the last place a sex addict should head to

Share
Related Topics

The allegation by the biographer of his estranged wife that Silvio Berlusconi has been urged to attend a sex addiction clinic by some of his closest advisers is but the latest chapter in the ongoing farce that is "Silvio Berlusconi: Prime Minister of Italy".

Ah, the fabled "sex addiction clinic". I've always thought that if there was one establishment that would be on the top of one's list should one want to have more sex than previously, it would be a sex addiction treatment centre. Just think of it! All those people gagging for it. All those secret, night-time trysts. And just think of all the phone numbers you can swap.

I make light of this matter because it is one which it is right to make light of. The only problem I have with Berlusconi's presumed priapism is that it deflects attention from his cynical and dishonest politics. But I have to say that when he appoints former topless models to his cabinet and then openly flirts with them, or when he nips off to an 18-year-old woman's birthday party, I smile broadly and rejoice in the knowledge that the stupid old goat has done it again. Hard, of course, on his increasingly exasperated wife and the hapless objects of his affections, but the first can always divorce him and the others can always slap him in the face... only, funnily enough, these things do not seem to have happened yet.

The thing is that the lecher and the libertine have always provided powerful lessons for the rest of the male population – and a great deal of entertainment for the entire human race. Not only lessons in What Not To and How Not To when it comes to seduction or the satisfaction of desire – but also How To. Casanova's memoirs, among the greatest of any age, show a bold, generous spirit, successful with women because he really did like them. How duller would the world be – not only his own world, but that of subsequent generations – had he been forced to curb his instincts in the drab, airless language of the 12-step programme? (I assume that "sex addiction" is treated in the same way as alcoholism. If it isn't, don't bother writing to tell me how it is.)

Don Juan, who in Spain alone seduced, or ravished, a thousand and three women, would never have been allowed to strut on the stage; Byron, in real life, would be a footnote to the history of literature instead of one of its most colourful figures. And Berlusconi certainly is colourful. He is like a figure from a Renaissance play – a figure of fun who doesn't realise that the joke's on him, compelled to follow his dick wherever it leads him.

"I can't stop him making himself look ridiculous in the eyes of the world," says his wife, Veronica Lario, and the world loves a clown. In Berlusconi's case, we (by which I mean men) use the example of his own lustiness to keep it in our trousers and act with a certain dignity, lest we end up looking like him.

Meanwhile I am off to the bookies to see if one will give me some decent odds on a hunch I've long entertained; that Berlusconi is protesting too much. I wouldn't be that surprised if he was actually gay.

n.lezard@independent.co.uk

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Engineer - C++

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software En...

Software Team Leader - C++

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software Tea...

Sales Executive - Central London /Home working - £20K-£40K

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Executive - Ce...

Graduate Java / C++ Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Graduate Java / C++ ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The daily catch-up: what if Hillary sticks, drowning sorrows and open sesame

John Rentoul
 

i Deputy Editor's Letter:

Independent Voices, Indy Voices Rhodri Jones
Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor