Freud and Ford: so close they're bound to Crash

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As the Tory Government apparently heads helplessly along the electoral highway towards the inevitable poll-up, and the spectators hang around hoping to get some sensual pleasure out of the impact, our thoughts turn naturally away to the film Crash which has just been awarded a general release and is out there somewhere, going along at 90mph with no signals. Is it controversial to link cars and sex? There is nothing new about the whole field of motoring psychosexual behaviour, or limopsychology. As early as the 1920s, the novelist William Faulkner observed that many men lavished on their cars the sort of affectionate grooming that used to go on their wives, and was it not Scott Fitzgerald who observed that the two great innovators of the 20th century had almost the same name, Freud and Ford?

Yes, human behaviour is altered by the presence of cars, and a whole new branch of psychology has grown up to explore this phenomenon. Foremost among the experts in the field is Dr Dion-Bouton, who joins us today to deal with some of the emotional inquiries which have flooded into my office over the weekend, causing tailbacks and delays which have taken days to clear up. All yours, Doc!

I gather that this film `Crash' is about people who get some sort of sexual turn-on from watching car crashes. Well, this may well happen, I don't know. What I do know is that I have the opposite condition. By which I mean that whenever I am engaged in sexual activity, which I have to say I do not find very exciting per se, I find myself thinking of the far more arousing subject of cars and driving. Typically, when I am in bed with my girlfriend, I suddenly find myself in my imagination driving a Bentley or Jaguar at terrific speeds through rush-hour traffic, scattering everything in my passage, and I find this wonderfully voluptuous. Then, so my girlfriend tells me, I cry out something like "Get out of the way! I'm coming through on the inside!" or "Mind your backsides on the hard shoulder!" and of course she gets alarmed and shakes me, and I come back to my senses and I find I am not driving a car at all but just in bed with a girl. Then I get up and make a cup of tea. Is there something wrong with me?

Dr Dion-Bouton writes: No. You have your head well screwed on. Sex is a shoddy, risky business, but you know where you are with a good car.

I find I also have the opposite reaction to the people in the film called `Crash' but in a different way. They may be sexually aroused by crashes, but I am sexually aroused by traffic jams. Whenever I am in a long tailback I get these very lascivious thoughts and I want to stretch out in the back of the car with my partner and do naughty things, but as soon as the traffic picks up again I lose all desire for hanky-panky and become calm and focussed on driving again. My ultimate dream would be to see a controversial sex film called `Gridlock!', in which no cars moved at all. Is there anything wrong with this?

Dr Dion-Bouton writes: Yes. You are a very sick woman. You seem to have some sort of control fixation whereby you wish your car to give you a completely subservient attitude, and to dominate it. But a relationship with a car is based on equality, observing each other's needs. This talk of "hanky-panky" and "naughty things" betrays your infantile regression. Grow up and love your car properly!

I am very interested in what Steve Norris has been saying about his change of mind on the Newbury bypass. If you remember, he was a transport minister who was famous for two things: for having lots of mistresses and for liking cars a lot. Nowadays we don't hear about his mistresses any more - he has suddenly become famous for his recantation on roads, for saying that more roads only produces more traffic. Are you impressed by his turn against cars?

Dr Dion-Bouton writes: No. I am only impressed by your failure to put two and two together. Here is a man who seems to lose interest in sex and in cars at the same time, and you are surprised? But if you take the basic premise of limopsychology - namely that sex and cars are intimately bound together - then there can be no surprise at all.

If what you say about sex and cars were true, there would be some tell- tale phallic element in driving. If you can name just one, I will be convinced.

Dr Dion-Bouton writes: Phallic symbol in driving? Have you ever seen the winner of a Grand Prix take a bottle of champagne and shake it till it emits froth?

I am convinced.

Dr Dion-Bouton will be back again soon, if he drives carefully.