Vocapedia > Love / Sexuality > Desire
by John Lustig
February 07, 2014
Aukland, New Zealand
sex drive / libido
women with low libido
by John Lustig
July 23, 2014
be obsessed with
by Ed Stein
February 23, 2014
logs on to the new revolution
In the 21st century,
technology is allowing
people to express their desires
fulfil their fantasies
in ways never before possible
– and all at the touch of a
Catherine Townsend logs on
to the new sexual revolution
Interviews by Esther Walker
Saturday, 6 December 2008
After watching Blade Runner recently on late-night television, I wondered:
whatever happened to all those scientists' predictions that humans would be
having sex with robots by now – or at least in the very near future? After all,
Ridley Scott's film is only set in 2019.
I still can't imagine having a hot replicant boyfriend any time soon – a
battery-operated vibrator is about as high-tech as it gets for me. Others,
however, are fast becoming accustomed to using technology to take things a step
further: men already go online to purchase custom-made "real dolls", which are
like silicon Stepford Wives minus the vocal cords, and cost several thousand
pounds. Fans claim they are a viable alternative for the lonely and socially
awkward. But can it really be healthy to seek out intimacy with an inanimate
At the same time that technology is causing some people to withdraw from the
dating game – preferring online porn and virtual sex to the real thing – the
sheer volume of specialised websites means that huge numbers of people are now
connecting in ways that they never have before. Though most deviant sexual
behaviours have been around for ages (the Romans were having orgies, after all)
the Noughties have ushered in the normalisation of fetishes – and made it vastly
more easy to find others with similar tastes. These days, BDSM (Bondage,
Domination and Sado-Masochism) has gone from underground fringe clubs to
housewives browsing spanking paddles online and in high-street sex shops.
Sex parties, too, have shed their image of dumpy, middle-aged couples circling a
bowl of car keys, and now upmarket swinging events such as Fever and Killing
Kittens cater to young and more conventionally attractive couples by using their
website to vet applicants. These days, more and more single women are taking the
Technology has also made casual hook-ups – and infidelity – simpler than ever: a
well-placed digital photo and a reasonably witty online profile can bring dozens
of responses within a few hours. And there are niche markets for everything
(among the more obscure I've come across: love connections for the freakishly
tall and even for devotees of the American writer Ayn Rand).
But what a friend of mine calls "the crack cocaine of online dating" does have
its risks. Ultimately, it's much easier to hide one's true intentions behind the
anonymity of a keyboard, and to lie. I've met men who happily crop out years of
their life (and children!) as easily as the woman standing next to them in their
Of course, not everyone online is a cheater. Some people are completely open
about their alter egos, and use their "avatars" to have cybersex on sites such
as Second Life. And many see it purely as a form of escapism, and have no
intention of actually meeting in person.
The internet does, of course, provide people with fetishes with an easy way of
finding each other. I personally would not want to change an adult baby's nappy,
but it seems there are people out there who want to breast-feed and role-play a
nanny scenario. And it's much easier to send an e-mail through a website than to
mention the subject casually on a first date.
In a world bombarded by hyper-sexualised images, even those who identify
themselves as asexual or celibate are able to surf over the sea of pornography
and connect with people who understand them.
Modern sex, to me, is about easy connectivity, and open-mindedness – whether
your sexual soulmate wants to be spanked over a desk or likes to dress up as a
giant squirrel. Today, there really is something for everyone.
The doll fetishist
James, 52, civil servant
I suppose you could say that I am a recluse. I've always lived on my own and
find it hard to make friends or have happy relationships – I've got a history of
unsuccessful relationships with women. I did hope that eventually I would find
happiness settling down with a partner and I have tried internet chatrooms and
online dating but nothing worked. A few years ago I watched a TV documentary
about men who live with "real dolls" (see introduction) and thought it might be
the perfect solution as I was extremely lonely at the time. I contacted an
online company that makes dolls to order and although I was very nervous about
the whole thing they put me at my ease and helped me decide what sort of doll I
Alice cost me about £6,000 and via the company's website I was able to customise
every area of her looks and physical attributes – I admit it seems childish but
I got a real kick out of creating my fantasy woman. She's aged about 25 and has
dark hair and the perfect body. I also enjoyed being able to choose all her
clothes at the click of a mouse; perhaps it's the power thing that appeals –
being in control of every aspect of her.
Whe she first arrived, it was a very surreal feeling having this gorgeous and
life-like silicone creature sitting opposite me in the lounge.
Very gradually, however, I have got used to having her around and now I have
grown to love her as I would a real woman. I know it must seem pretty sad, but
for me, she's everything. I think of her primarily as a companion, although
obviously she fulfils my sexual needs too – in my experience it's a lot easier
and more pleasurable than the real thing! I like the fact that she's always
there for me; she eats with me, sits and watches TV with me and sleeps with me.
I haven't told anyone about Alice; my work colleagues would laugh at me and if
my neighbours saw her they would probably freak out too. To me, however, it's
the perfect partnership – and what harm am I doing to anyone else?
The internet sex addict
Simon, 38, regional sales director
I got into internet sex by accident; I wasn't even looking for sex. I was at
work about four years ago and a friend was registered to one of those dating
sites, and he was having a whale of a time.
He was single at the time and went out on lots of dates with different women and
met them once or twice and then slept with them and after that he didn't really
see them again. I joined my first internet website for a laugh when I was bored,
and I couldn't believe how easy it was to meet up with women. I said I was
single on my profile but I was married, of course. I hooked up with one or two
girls in the first couple of months but they were all looking for relationships
and I wasn't. I felt a bit guilty, to be honest. I was already lying to my wife
and I didn't want to have to start lying to another woman as well.
After that I discovered some other specialist websites where married people can
contact each other for a bit of flirting and then hooking up. I usually meet the
women in a bar first and then maybe we'll go to a hotel.
I spend a fair amount of time surfing the sites, maybe an hour or two a day when
I'm at work and then maybe an hour or two at home. I don't think it's excessive,
though – people spend hours and hours on Facebook, don't they?
It's not that I don't love my wife or that we don't have sex – we do! But we've
been married for 12 years now and we've got small kids and it's not really the
same as it used to be. I suppose you might call me highly-sexed. It's just sex,
pure and simple. I don't sneak around with the same woman, and I'm not having a
big romance behind my wife's back. And I never really have to worry about her
finding out because, first, the women I sleep with are married, too – so it's
not in their interests to tell my wife – and second, I'm incredibly careful. My
wife could go through my computer with a toothcomb and she wouldn't find a
What surprised me about it all was how many women there are out there who were
really up for casual sex with someone who's not their husband. I know so many
men who say things like, "Oh my wife wouldn't cheat on me," and I laugh and
think, OK, whatever, mate – she probably already has, with someone just like me.
The modern Mrs Robinson
Marian, 54, interiors consultant
I was with my husband for 25 years and then he ran off with one of our
neighbours and we got divorced. It was quite funny really, looking back on it. I
don't miss him at all; it was the best thing that happened to me. But at the
time I was really angry and sad.
I kept the house after the divorce and my children were grown-up and I had
plenty of money and I sat down one day and thought, "What the hell am I going to
do with the rest of my life?" Eventually I hit on the idea of starting my own
interiors company, and I was contacted by this woman who was having her whole
house re-done after getting a divorce, just like me. We started chatting and she
told me about a website where she met young men online for sex. She said it was
brilliant and I should give it a go.
So I went online, and within a fortnight I was dating this amazing boy. He was
only about 30. He was amazing-looking and wanted to do all the things that men
my age just aren't interested in. We went out to the theatre and to the movies
and out for dinner and he was just so fun and alive. We saw each other for about
three months and then he sort of disappeared, and I didn't mind at all. When I
was younger I would maybe have been a bit upset but I didn't give a damn.
When men get into their forties and fifties they don't want to do anything. They
just talk about their new cars and sit on the sofa flicking through the channels
with the remote. And now I've got so much energy. Ten years ago I felt totally
dead, like a zombie, but now I jump out of bed in the mornings. Life is so
No one believes me when I say it, but going out with much younger men is not
just about the actual sex – even though the sex is great and young men these
days know much more about it than men my age. The fundamental thing for me is
that men in their twenties are a better match for women in their fifties and
sixties than men of the same age are. I went on some dates with men my own age
after Keith left and all they wanted was a replacement wife to wash their pants.
I wasn't having any of that.
I'm seeing a couple of boys at the moment, but nothing serious. And I don't care
really. This time in my life is just for me – for as long as I can remember it's
been about other people, my husband and my children. Now it's just for me and I
The party animal
Gemma, 23, shop assistant
People think that sex parties are really seedy but actually, they're not.
They're much less seedy than most nightclubs, in a way. Firstly, there are so
many sex-party swinging sites on the internet, so you can do lots of research in
the comfort of your own home. Once you decide to actually go to a sex party,
there's no pressure on anyone to do anything; it's usually just a fun atmosphere
with people standing about chatting – quite often just drinking tea or
I got into swinging, at first, with my then boyfriend Tim, when I took him to a
swingers' party in Brighton for his birthday present. He actually didn't enjoy
it that much, but I thought it was really fun. The people were nice and there
was hardly any drinking or taking drugs or anything like that.
There were living-room areas, where you couldn't get up to anything particularly
racy, and then bedrooms upstairs, some with the lights on and some with the
lights off, where you could go for more explicit action.
I broke up with Tim about a year later. We hadn't been back to any swingers'
parties but I had had sex with someone else at that first party with my
boyfriend looking on in the same room and I don't think he enjoyed it; we both
realised that we had such different levels of inhibition. I'm not at all shy!
After I broke up with Tim, I went online and signed up for what I suppose you'd
call an orgy. It's just the same as a swingers' party, really, except that not
everyone is in a couple. It was just really fun. I met so many like-minded
people; it wasn't just about sex, it was about being yourself and letting go a
bit. There's no pussyfooting around – so if you meet someone and think, "I
really like you" and if they like you back, you can just have sex without anyone
judging you or thinking you're weird.
I'd never tell my family or some of my more straight friends about this. I don't
think they'd get it and there's no point in trying to explain to someone who
isn't open-minded what you get out of it. They'd just think I was being a bit of
a slag, and I'm not at all.
I don't feel ready to have a steady relationship now. Even if a prospective
partner was really amazingly cool, I wouldn't introduce him to the idea of a
swinging party because nine times out of 10 he'd be scared off by it.
Mark, 44, scientific glassblower
I've always known that I was different from other people, especially when I hit
puberty and found that I just wasn't interested in sex in the same way that my
friends were. I also found my own gender more interesting and nicer-looking than
the opposite sex, so I thought I might be gay. Back in the Seventies, there was
still a lot of homophobia.
I started hanging out on the gay scene, which led me to being in bed with
people, sometimes men, sometimes women – and I realised that I'm not capable of
sex. I just don't get aroused. I did have relationships, but they tended to be
very short-lived. I greatly enjoy physical contact, such as hugging, as well as
companionship, but unfortunately once people realise that there's not going to
be any sex, the relationship usually comes to an end.
My longest relationship was in 1997 with a man. We were together for 10 months
and it was a sort of mutually beneficial arrangement whereby he tolerated my
affections and I was his ticket to friends and parties. When that ended I
thought: this is a pointless pursuit.
My brother, to whom I'm really close, went through a divorce a couple of years
ago and I was driving in a car with him and talking about relationships. And I
told him. I said, "I'm asexual." And he said, "You lucky bastard!" We laughed so
much! I think some people still assume that I'm gay but if they do then it's not
an issue. My brother later told me that my parents had asked him more than once
if I was gay. I suppose they thought it was strange that I never brought anyone
My life really changed when I saw a piece in the paper in 2004 about the
differences between asexuality and celibacy – in the former there is no sexual
attraction and in the latter a conscious decision is made not to have sex. I saw
it and it was a total epiphany. I was so thrilled to find there were other
people like me. There's a range of different kind of asexuals – some are born
that way (like me) and some become that way over time. At the end of the article
there was a reference to AVEN (asexuality.org), the website for the asexual
community, and I joined up straight away. When I went to the first meet-up it
was a revelation to meet other people who felt the same way as I did. There's
always a lot of stuff going on and I've got a busy social life – although I do
worry a bit about what things will be like when I get older and I'm on my own.
The adult baby
John, 45, computer programmer
My mother walked out on my family when I was four, so I think I always craved
being nurtured by a female figure. My two older sisters and I were looked after
by a very strict nanny at our house in Nottingham, who showed us no affection.
My father would come home late from work and was of the "children should be seen
and not heard" school of thought. My sisters and I spent a lot of time on our
own and would invent games where they would play at being nurses and would give
me baths, get me dressed and so on.
I have always been quite sexually dysfunctional and my sisters haven't managed
to form lasting relationships either. When I was in my early twenties I started
a string of relationships with older women and realised that I was fantasising
about a mother figure. Things started to spiral out of control when I had strong
fantasies about dressing up as a baby – it's called infantilism. At the
beginning, being honest about my desires was very hard. I felt like a pervert
and didn't know who to turn to. Then I confessed to one of my older girlfriends
and she encouraged me to seek professional counselling. My counsellor helped me
to understand the root causes for my predilections – a lack of love in childhood
– but although she encouraged me to stop dressing as a baby I wasn't able to
I then discovered an online adult-babies' club in south-east England where I
found like-minded people who wanted, as I do, to dress up in adult-sized baby
clothes and behave as a baby might do. This might include being bathed by
"nannies", wearing nappies and being "breast-fed". I realise that it sounds
weird, but it gives me some sort of comfort at the same time as addressing my
sexual needs. The fact that it's all done anonymously through the web provides
me with extra privacy, too.
Modern sex: Catherine
Townsend logs on to the new revolution,
Related > Anglonautes >
men, women, gender,
glass ceiling, feminism,
gay / LGBTQ rights,
marriage, divorce, family