Leading Article: Beware of Greeks baring all

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The Independent Online
It has not been a good decade for men. The Sixties were a hoot - free love and low unemployment; the Seventies liberated bisexuality and homosexuality; the Eighties were full of testosterone and Michael Douglas movies. But the Nineties have been awful. We have learned that girls will inherit the earth - they are cleverer, more socially skilled and less prone to fantasies about their abilities than boys. Sperm count has dropped (thanks to pollution), road pricing may soon be introduced, and it is now definite that penis enlargement does not work.

Courage, mon ami - there may now be some good news. As reported today, a Harvard boffin, Dr Christos Mantzoros, recently took a research team to a Greek army camp and quizzed the young Hellenes about their orgasms. How many had they had? Blood samples were taken and results cross-referenced. And bingo - a previously ignored chemical, dihydrotestosterone, is found to have a big effect on male orgasmability. Perhaps, just perhaps, this discovery can now be deployed to help men towards more and better orgasms.

But here we had better pause and consider. In the first place, do men actually need more orgasms? Are they not already having all the orgasms that are necessary or tolerable? A project designed to increase the frequency of the male climax seems reminiscent of the colour catalogues that fall out of the Sunday papers, or those hotels they build in Las Vegas - how much do you need keys that bleep, spectacles with built-in radios, or a life-size replica of the Sphinx in Nevada?

Many men will also be perplexed by the concept of better orgasms. Surely (they will say), there is only one kind. Or is there something we have not been told? Is there (some might ask hopefully) a male equivalent of the fabled female multiple orgasm? Sorry chaps, there is not.

Surely part of the male problem of the late 20th century is that men are still under too much pressure to perform - pressure to which Dr Mantzoros may unwittingly add. We've all got to have better sex, healthier sex, deeper sex, more spiritual sex. Even an Anglican bishop has been moved to pronounce that promiscuity is humankind's natural state. Has he any idea how inadequate this makes the naturally monogamous feel? We are already assailed by the jolly hockeysticks approach of the "sex is a wonderful and natural thing" brigade. HMV and Virgin stores are piled high with videos called things like The True Lover's Atlas of Better Orgasms, full of lubricous couples indulging in various educational activities and introduced by eminent and incongruously earnest clinicians. They are bought for birthdays.

No - it may be time to call a halt. It may be time for men to stand up and shout: "I am too tired to have any more orgasms. Leave me alone."

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