Susie Mesure: More sex, please, we're British...

Stiff upper lips are not enough - we're flocking to lessons in love

Related Topics

It turns out there is hope yet for us as a nation. I refer not to our athletic prowess in Barcelona, where our medal tally has exceeded certainly my expectations, but to the news that we are finally mastering an altogether more intimate form of athleticism.

Yes, after decades of despair in the bedroom, where we have been stuck in collective adolescence since the Victorian era, Brits are learning to embrace not only each other but also the art of seduction between the sheets. And I do mean learning. The number of couples seeking sex therapy is rocketing as we cast off our reputation for stiff upper lips and not much else, Psychologies reports this week.

It seems that sex, the butt of jokes since long before the bawdy days of Chaucer and Hogarth, is no longer a British taboo. Relate, the relationship-counselling charity, reveals that interest in its sex workshops has rocketed in the past few years, while Coco de Mer, the sex shop owned by Sam Roddick, can't run enough of its intimate "salons" on Japanese Bondage or Self Pleasure to keep its customers, ahem, satisfied. Coco de Mer's sales are up 70 per cent so far this year, and that's on top of a decent enough 2009 thank you very much.

In case you think the clientèle is all hen parties and swingers, Psychologies assures us that it's not. It's apparently you and I who are popping in for a spot of something saucy en route home from another dull, deskbound day, or, with partners, venturing out for an evening of eroticism. "Can good sex be taught?" the article asks, and the answer, resoundingly, is yes.

(Tips, for those who can't make one of Ms Roddick's salons, include "faking an affair" with your partner: booking a hotel room or meeting in your lunch hour for a quickie; and imposing a "sex curfew" for a few weeks to build up sexual tension, although there's always the risk that the curfew will stretch on indefinitely.)

I realise that this all seems very un-British and will doubtless dismay those with a Benny Hill disposition who still have to suppress a chuckle anytime the European Union president, Herman Van Rompuy, gets a mention, but it can surely only be a good thing. Therapy of any sort often carries a stigma in Britain, unlike, say in America, where pretty much everyone has a therapist, but it shouldn't. Think of all the couples who might end up staying together rather than playing the field just because they've got a bit bored in bed.

What with everything else we've got to worry about in our lives, this might all sound somewhat frivolous. But given that last month the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development branded Britain as the European capital of broken homes – 23 per cent of British children up to the age of 14 live in single-parent families – there's a serious message here. If it means that all of us, and not only the likes of Sting, self-confessed tantric sex fiend, can have a bit more fun, who's going to argue with that?

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: When is a baroness not a baroness? Titles still cause confusion

Guy Keleny

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower