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

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

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links