Wednesday 7 December 2011


The other day, I read that research has uncovered an interesting phenomenon. I can see them now, po-faced, without irony, a slightly puzzled frown, bending over the statistics, coming to this startling conclusion. (Unsurprisingly, my picture is of a pile of papers on a desk: yours is of a bunch of computers, blind pulled down to shield the screens from the sun). The phenomenon?: Ah yes, that sex tails off after the birth of a/some children. The astute - and diligent - among you will have noticed that sex has been rather a pre-occupation in recent posts. First, I have to tell you, at my -any? - age, sex IS somewhat of a pre-occupation, and not only in recent posts. (This is where the Guru decides he has no obligation to read on.) Anyway, some people have noted and published findings that, once women become Mothers, sexual activity declines seriously in a high proportion of cases. Exhaustion, and, even extreme exhaustion, were put forward as reasons. An awareness of the loss of, or, at least, a change in the woman's looks, leaving her feeling unattractive, was another. However, I noticed that the article constantly referred to the woman as 'the Mum' and therein hides the clue. Men are not necessarily set up to find 'Mums' attractive. What's more, women do not readily respond, sexually, to the Mumness in them. You will note, I have spoken didactically although I did not take part in this research. But, more than three score and ten years of life as a female, many of them spent entangled in the complexities of relations between the genders, does give me a bit of a license to didact. At any rate, I have assumed it. Here goes: incest, one of the last taboos, you will agree, does not exactly rear its ugly head so much as give us a sharp prod from the inside. A man lying with a woman who has now joined the mysterious community of 'Mother' may find his inner world confused as to whose Mother. He may even lie in the land of Motherdom under a covering mist which obscures his sight, and be disinclined to make a mistake as to exactly whose Mother he is with: his own? The woman, in the meantime, is immersed in her primaeval role. What with one thing and another, which of us should be astonished at this failure of events to turn? "Oedipus, Schmoedipus," as the Jewish joke goes, "What does it matter, so long as he loves his Mother". And let us not forget Electra.

Despite an attempt to be anodyne and, even, careful, I suspect I have been somewhat contentious. Liz is never comfortable with that position, preferring to be cosily lovable, so I await your brickbats with some tension and some apprehension. As to pre-occupation, it may amuse you to know that, not long ago, I went with a friend to a One Man Show in a theatre in the heart of London. We had seats in the very front row with a raised stage immediately before us. This brought our eye levels just about to the top of the actor's legs. Need I say more? That was an occasion when the forty-year old was rather more in evidence than she of greater age. Mesmerised, I doubt I took in much of what else went on on stage. I was too cowardly to ask my friend her view - no pun intended - but, when, as an acquaintance of his, she suggested we went round to see him, I did feel my imagination might boggle over. What would I say, "I did enjoy my view of....?" As it happened, the queue for this pleasure was long and she decided we'd be better off going home. A contemporary asked my thoughts about sexuality and the likelihood of sex in older age, believing she was the only one plagued with a platonic partner. I asked the one candidate of the right age to whom such a question might be acceptable. He laughed. 'Res ipsa loquitur', as the lawyers say: that speaks for itself. Hope springs eternal.... Prynhawn da

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