It’s that time of the year again, when I renew my practising certificate, and the Bar Council in its wisdom requires me to provide the usual updates on my practice, and what I’ve been up to over the past twelve months. There is also a question about my sexual orientation, and I got to wondering, how is this relevant to my practice as a barrister? I am sure there is somebody in the Bar Council’s office who can answer this question, but I am mystified.
Over the recent past, hardly a day goes by without some new sexual revelation, almost ad nauseam, not specifically about the profession, although judges are notorious cross dressers, by necessity not by choice I add. Let’s face it, if you dress up in a long flowing gown, with matching stockings and buckled shoes, and topped off with a full length wig, what do you expect?
Sex has come a long way since I was first exploring my manhood. I travelled a familiar route in those days, down to the pub on a Saturday night, check out the local Totty, and if a suitable candidate presented herself, I’d sashay over with my cool dude expression: “Hey Babe, what are we doing tonight?” I thought this more sophisticated than: “Hey Babe, fancy a quickie?” Most times I’d be seen off by Mr. Beefcake, Totty’s man of the moment who’d emerge from the Gents and in no mood to share her affections, but every now and again Totty would be impressed by my balls, metaphorically speaking of course, and I was off and running.
My courtship routine followed a familiar pattern. On the first date I’d see her home, an affectionate peck on the cheek to put down a marker, I’d get her phone number, and withdraw, again metaphorically speaking. On the second date, during a romantic dinner for two at some dimly lit tavern, it was an opportunity to get intimate, not necessarily the full nine yards, but an awkward grope on the sofa was the very least I could expect. I have to say that during our torrid tumble, it never occurred to me to get something in writing, to protect myself in the years to come, when I was rich and famous, against a claim that I had breached Totty’s human rights, or worse still, that I had sexually abused her.
The other thing that concerns me, and I have written about this before, is the prevalence of sexual complaints decades after they were supposed to have been committed, with a variety of unconvincing reasons for the delay. There should be a limitation period, I suggest ten years, beyond which no complaint will be considered, let alone prosecuted, as is the case in the civil law, where limitation periods are strictly applied.
Back to sex, and speaking for myself, I don’t like one night stands, I’ve never been that sort of guy. It’s demeaning, so I, along with many others, start a relationship in the hope that it will be fulfilling in every sense of the word, and possibly lead to marriage and a life together.
As the Church of England Marriage Service tells us, marriage is not to be entered into lightly or wantonly, and in my professional experience, I am sometimes asked to advise clients on the merits of a prenuptial agreement. I say ‘sometimes’, because many couples in advance of marriage feel embarrassed and fearful that their blossoming relationship may be irreparably damaged by even mentioning such an agreement, let alone signing on the dotted line, as somehow it smacks of impending failure before they have taken a single step on the road of life. That is not something on which any professional can advise, as it needs a crystal ball.
When it comes to sexual relationships, there is a real need for re-education on both sides of the debate, coupled with more tolerance, so that society can embrace such discussions openly, in a compassionate and informed manner, giving both sides of the story equal weight.