It is a peculiarity of the female sex that an act which might be a criminal offence if performed upon her by one man can provide utter ecstasy in another chap’s hands. A friend of mine – a charming, highly cultivated gentleman in his sixth decade – once illustrated this principle perfectly.
He had been opening negotiations with a scrumptious blonde and had received plenty of encouragement without quite closing the deal. One day he realised that he simply could not wait another moment.
He went to her house, shimmied up the drainpipe like a sexual cat-burglar and, as the Beatles song says, came in through the bathroom window. He then proceeded to m’lady’s boudoir. She awoke to find my chum standing over her.
Not unreasonably, she was a little startled at first. But the more she thought about the unbridled passion she had aroused, the happier she felt and the more welcoming she became. There is no need to go into details. Suffice it to say it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
That story is not just a paean to the joys of breaking and entering, it is also surely a testament to the continuing vigour of the middle-aged. Here was a grown man with grey hair behaving with all the reckless spontaneity of youth. And here, too, was a mature gentlewoman showing her younger sisters a thing or two about how to cope in a crisis.
And yet, if we are to believe the pundits, women have minimal interest in this sort of uninhibited passion, and the older they are, the truer that becomes.
An academic called Dr Catherine Hakim, from the London School of Economics, has just published a book called Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital. Her theory is essentially that men want sex with women much more than women want sex with men. So any sensible woman should exploit this fact by dressing seductively, flirting ruthlessly and, in a nutshell, prick-teasing her way to the top.
Needless to say, Dr Hakim has provoked an almighty furore among the harpies of Fleet Steet, who squabbled furiously among themselves about whether this was a dazzlingly brilliant insight or a crashingly retrograde statement of the bloomin’ obvious. Any male with half a brain stayed as far away as possible from all the catfighting columnists.
Now that the dust and oestrogen have cleared somewhat, however, I think I might venture to make an observation from this side of the sex-war. To wit: it is certainly true that most women can do without sex more easily than most men. But this is only true because most of the sex that most women have is rubbish.
The moment a woman discovers a man who can provide genuine passion, true love and regular orgasms, her lust knows few bounds. For here is another truth about sex. We men, by and large, operate within quite a narrow bandwidth. The nature of the male orgasm is limited in both location and duration. It’s never utterly hopeless, but it’s always over in a flash. And at our age, once it’s done it’s a fair while coming back again, too.
For women, the situation is the precise opposite. There is no guarantee of even the most minimal satisfaction. But there is, on the other hand, the possibility of ecstasy that thrills the entire body, repeatedly and without any real limits save the stamina of the male.
I have never in all my life seen any drug that produces the effects enjoyed by a woman in the full throes of sexual delight, and I don’t care what Dr Hakim may say: once a woman has discovered that delight, she wants it very much indeed.