Just before lockdown, I went for dinner with a friend. Before the first course had arrived, she asked me, ‘What’s the best sex you’ve ever had?’
I was shocked. Even though I write a column about my life, I rarely get into the sex bit. I remember, when I was hired, the editor told me the golden rule I must adhere to: ‘Never write about washing hung to dry on radiators. Socks.’
At least I think he said socks. He might have said sex. I’m deaf, so I erred on the side of caution. Even though what I mainly do is air my dirty laundry in public. But these days, I think we’ve zoomed (or Zoomed) past niceties, don’t you?
And so I thought for a bit about her question. About Mad Richard, who took my virginity. The only thing I remember about him was that he used to dry his laundry on radiators (!). About the one who always wore high-waisted trousers that he ironed. It was ages before he would have sex with me. When we finally did it, he said, ‘A thank you would be nice.’ About the Osama bin Laden lookalike: I think we only had sex on two occasions. He composed a song, and sang it to me sitting on the floor, and I was so embarrassed, given I’m from Essex, I just couldn’t see a future together. Plus, when I’d asked him to guess my age, he’d said, ‘Late 30s, early 40s.’ Which was spot on, but I knew his honesty would make him hard to live with. About the man who became my husband; the most vivid thing I remember about sex with him was that:
1) We didn’t do it much, which I put down to his extreme laziness, but I later learned, from a piece he wrote, was because he was having sex with so many other women he… ran out of petrol. I remember being on a panel of journalists and turning to the male editor of a magazine for advice, saying, ‘We’ve not had sex for nine months, is that usual?’ And he replied sagely, ‘He’s been having sex. Just not with you.’
2) He complained if I ever made any noise in bed, even if the noise was vaguely encouraging. I think this was because he was trying to listen to Gazzetta Football Italiaon Channel 4.
About a couple of rock stars. The first, Michael Hutchence, said ‘Thank you for your support’ as I gathered my things and my underwear and left his suite at The Dorchester. The second once kept his overcoat on for the act as he didn’t ‘have long’.
And so, given this motley crew, I had to admit to my friend that the best sex I’ve had was with… David! I think there are several reasons for this anomaly.*
- I’m more body confident than when I was younger. These days I do huge amounts of exercise, given I have dogs and horses.
- I can go on a date and, given I’ve had an interesting life, I can regale a man with stories, so he thinks, hmm, she’s interesting.
- I am no longer grateful that a man wants sex with me. I tell him exactly what I want him to do in bed. There are diagrams. A pie chart. Graphs.
- I started drinking.
I’ve realised, too, it’s David’s dangerous qualities that first attracted me to him. In the summer of 1983, it was his little ponytail.
This was, I’ve since learnt, a ‘party ponytail’, which meant he looked normal at work, but could let his hair down at weekends. The fact he smoked. I knew then I couldn’t push him around. I know that now. The problem is that when women like me get the man we want, we then ask if he uses an old toothbrush to clean his bathroom taps. And when he says ‘no’, we throw his engagement ring in his face. The man retreats, wounded.
Anyway, all this is moot. At least until the government allows extreme Hollywood waxers back to work. But now, the new me is thinking, why should I be as bald as a billiard ball? Am I confident enough to not be beach body ready at all times, even in snow?
*I’m sorry it’s a list