WHAT’S SEX GOT TO DO WITH IT?

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.   

FILTHY SHADES OF GREY

It may not surprise you to know that pornography is the Number One growth industry on the Internet, by far. According to Google, there are approximately eighteen porn websites for every single man, woman and child on Planet Earth, so let’s face it, you’re spoiled for choice.  I have checked briefly, for research purposes only of course, and there are porn sites to suit every taste, from the most debased right through to innocent titillation.

For those of you who subscribe to the ‘Creation’ theory of human life, the current preoccupation with porn stems back to Jehovah’s decision to kick start the Jewish race, and Genesis Chapter Five sets it all out in graphic detail.  Check it out – there are some pretty amazing statistics.  Did you know, for example, that Methuselah was one hundred and eighty seven years old when he sired (or begot) Lamech? That’s got to be some sort of a record!

But back to the plot! It follows, as night the day, that for God’s plan to succeed, the act of intercourse had to be pleasurable, not so much for the long suffering women, but certainly for the menfolk.  And God in His wisdom decided that if the Jewish race was to thrive and multiply, the act of intercourse had to be so pleasurable that the menfolk would want to repeat it, again and again and again.  And they did!

Fast forward to the twenty first century and the growth of pornography.  It is not confined to the Internet, although this is the first port of call for the prurient and downright deviant who presumably can’t get enough of it in the privacy of the bed chamber and choose to watch others ‘getting it on’ or ‘off’ as the case may be.

Nobody I know will admit to browsing Internet porn sites, they’re disgusting and shouldn’t be allowed.  But strangely, in the very recent past, written porn now seems to be socially acceptable, so long as it’s ‘erotica’, which in my lexicon is a distinction without a difference.  The accepted term ‘erotica’ used to be confined to pulp fiction churned out by Mills & Boon, where the heroine was called Camilla, and the hero called Rod, I can’t think why, although Mavis and Eric doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

But thanks to the publishing sensation of the ‘Filthy’ books, four in all, men and women of all ages can enjoy porn without having to wrap the cover in brown paper, and when asked, they will immediately deny any sexual prurience and simply put their newly found interest in literature down to a good read.

Yeah!  Believe that and you’ll believe anything!

PS. On the topic of a good read, if you enjoy a good book and a good laugh at the same time, I strongly recommend May It Please Your Lordship by Toby Potts.  It’s very funny, and likely to become the next publishing sensation.  It’s available online with Amazon, and soon to be made available on Kindle.

 

BOTTOMS UP!

The High Court decision in favour of Max Mosley, and the award of £60,000 damages, comes as no surprise, but leaves me cold. Like many others, I followed the court proceedings, as no doubt did Mr. Mosley, sitting gingerly throughout on a soft cushion before emerging, smug and triumphant, on the court steps. On any view, a sickening sight.

At the heart of the case was the Human Rights Act 1998, a misconceived piece of legislation if ever there was, unleashing the European Convention on Human Rights into the due legal process. Suddenly, overnight, everybody had a drum to beat, and the noise was deafening. Adopting Clint Eastwood’s memorable quip in Dirty Harry: “Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one!”

It comes down to the conflict, real or imagined, between Articles 8 and 10, the right to respect for private life against freedom of expression.

Let’s examine the facts. Max Mosley, the Dirty Old Man of Formula One and a public figure of some prominence in the motor racing world, had been indulging in sadomasochistic ‘games’ for as long as he could remember with a variety of femmes fatales in the privacy of his own basement, and you can’t get much lower than that. But according to the News of the World, what made these sessions particularly offensive, and therefore newsworthy, were the Nazi overtones, barked commands in German and the frequent use of the word “Aryan.”

Mr.Justice Eady, in his wisdom, decided that the combination of these factors did not mock the victims of the Holocaust, which is an extraordinarily narrow and blinkered approach, and certainly doesn’t persuade me. I have consulted two dictionaries, Webster’s New World and the Oxford Concise, to research the meaning of “Aryan,” and both contain this definition: “(in Nazi ideology) a Caucasian not of Jewish descent.”

But whilst the News of the World justified its publication of Max’s sad sexual peccadilloes on the Nazi connection, I would go further and ask, rhetorically, why the private lives of the great and good should not be in the public domain? By their very prominence and positions of authority and public standing, aren’t we entitled to peep behind the curtain? If I were an F1 investor, surely I am entitled to know about the man running the show, warts and all. And surely the public and private persona are inextricably entwined? It tells us something about the man who seeks election to high office. It may not disqualify him, but at least we have the choice to vote for him or not. And the same applies to candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party, or an incumbent Prime Minister having sexual intercourse with one of his ministers [female] in a lift, or a bulimic politician cavorting with his secretary.

Public figures in all walks of life place themselves above the common herd. They are better than us, better qualified to hold the high office to which they aspire. And whether they like it or not, we the public assume they are fit to serve, and above all, that they are honourable. And if they are found wanting by even the most modest standards of our morally lax society, it is in the public interest for us to know. For my part, Max and his fellow camp followers are fair game, and to trouser £60,000 simply sticks in the craw.

I hope the News of the World has the courage to appeal this questionable judgment and to continue the fight for freedom of expression. That freedom is under threat as never before, and needs to be defended without fear or favour.