A short history of sex by Trevor Plumbly

Following my insightful piece on the subtleties of the law, I’ve been asked to turn my thoughts to other matters that affect our lives. Things like sex.

Birds, bees and bollocks

I admit not many people actually indulge in sex on a daily basis, but there’s still a lot of it about in one form or another. Popular thinking suggests we should learn about bonking early; for me, it wasn’t considered important. In a school that served more as an incubator for misfits than a place of learning, sex education wasn’t considered necessary. It was probably deemed pointless to preach the significance of the marital bed to a pack of snot-nosed kids who knew more about fornication than half the teaching staff; plus, by skirting round it, they probably hoped we wouldn’t overbreed.


Prehistoric sex was a simple, albeit one-sided activity; the rituals of courtship weren’t necessary then. Blokes got their rocks off, and the ladies just got pregnant, there’s no record of demands for multiple orgasms and stuff like that. Loincloths paved the way for early deception: suddenly it wasn’t seeing what you got, more a case of thinking what you were hoping to get! Clothing acted in much the same way as a ‘loss leader’ in today’s supermarkets, a hint that nothing but goodies were on the cards. To cope with the subtlety, the groin needed imagination and that’s when sex got complicated. Poets, ever anxious to promote the intangible, invented a second heart. Theirs had no physical use, yet it could be lost, broken, stolen and, if won, could even help remove clothing.

The mother of invention

In the 19th Century, sex more or less trundled along as a private act rather than an advertised pastime. It had its drawbacks of course, the average bloke’s ‘pay day leg-over’ could well result in the missus carrying a nine month reminder of the joys of sex. Whilst the act itself was classless, the results weren’t. Everyone knew the rich did ‘it’, but their ‘extra mouth to feed’ was a ‘bundle of joy’ that didn’t shit or throw up in polite company. In the ‘naughty 90’s’, sex learned to laugh at itself through Music Hall, the Can-Can and so-on. Things might have progressed healthily at that point, but war turned out to be more popular, thus sexual awareness got shelved until after the ‘Great War’. By that time elastic had replaced cumbersome laces and buttons, so sex became a lot more spontaneous, skirts got shorter and at last a gal could advertise.

Letting it all hang out

The years surrounding the Second World War were pretty tame sexually, the blokes were busy trying to kill each other and the gals were planting potatoes or making bullets, hardly loin-stirring activities. But by the 60s it was every man (and woman) for themselves. Mini-skirts, Woodstock, free love and vending machine contraception: sex wasn’t simply available, it was bloody near compulsory. We had simulated bonking on stage and screen; heroes like James Bond, along with killing Russian spies, were expected to roger anything in a skirt with a foreign accent. Playboy and Penthouse cornered the DIY market and the ‘F’ word became a conversational norm.


With the arrival of the internet, sex as a spectator sport got boring, so we loosened the reins even further to keep ourselves interested, but even creative variations weren’t enough and we finally lost control. Now instead of hunting for sex, we’re forced to defend ourselves against it. The world’s overpopulated and there’s only one thing to blame, copulation! God invented sex as a natural procedure, but now it’s got too complicated for even academics to contain. Well sod them! It’s time for the old values I reckon, bring back the old navy blue ‘No Entry’ school knickers, take ‘Virgin’ off the olive oil label and give it back its true status. We don’t need sex idols, what was wrong with Julie Andrews and  John Wayne? Pretty basic stuff I know, but it’ll be a start. I tell you folks, if we don’t do something soon we’ll all be f***ed! T.

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