Commissioned by the Daily Mail January 11th 1999
Well the least said about teenage the better. I was like a toddler
scaling the Himalayas. When I unexpectedly caught the attention of a
girl in the Upper Sixth, we spent ALL our time on training exercises and
checking our equipment. What I learned from her was how to do foreplay
forever and walk home with a massive groin-ache.
Life was better in my 20s, when men reach their biological prime.
Unfortunately, that’s the catch. It’s very difficult to get anything
done when your hormones are poisoning you. Work suffers. One
girlfriend made sex so totally irresistible we began living together
though we hadn’t a blessed thing in common. She possessed the most
lovable body in the world – if you brushed a breast she’d climax. But I
recall post-coital silences which filled me with dread, and I utterly
failed to love her mind. We didn’t like the same food, wallpaper or tv
shows and I learned from her the depressing lesson that meaningless sex
But not before I’d explored it to death. Men in their 20s are
mechanically reckless. I remember one crazy afternoon when too many
women of my acquaintance became wildly accommodating. The shopping
equivalent would be permission to loot Harrods. I won’t embarrass you
with the details but I do recall getting out of one bed only to climb
into another, and there may have been a third. I blame it all on
Michael Caine in “Alfie”.
The 30s, by contrast, were warm and wonderful. The difference was
settling down and starting a family. My partner and I made love every
day for the first year, frequently twice. The pattern was only broken
by the dreaded nest-building exercise. If you go home to hack plaster
off walls from six thirty till midnight after a full day in the office
you do not feel like exploring love’s young dream. After six weeks up
to my neck in plaster dust all I felt like was passing out.
If I’m completely honest about the best decade of all, there’s no time
like the present. Of course there are unwanted physical changes after
40. One needs more fantasy and friction to make the planet spin.
Writer Frank Harris complained that his “repeater rifle had become a a
single-shot muzzle-loader”. And my middle-aged radio callers are
always perturbed that sex takes longer, goes soft in the middle and ends
quietly: “And can you still run 100 yards in 20 seconds?” I reply.
But most men in their 40s have this huge bonus of sexual confidence.
They know what to say and how to conserve energy. Young boys are up and down like
yo-yos (and sound like yo-yos when you talk to them). Older
men don’t suffer these hair-trigger problems. It makes them ideal bedmates for those
40-something women who HAVE reached their sexual peak and don’t want coitus
A 44-year-old male friend of mine put it thus: “The secret of the older man
is slow sex. Sometimes when we’re in bed she begs me not to move – just
stay in place. And as I gently press forward she dissolves in ecstasy.
Then she swears at me and digs her nails in my back for knowing how to
give her so much pleasure. What I enjoy with my lover is unlike
anything I’ve ever known. The best part is we’ve ruined our love lives
with anyone else…”
So my vote is for 40-something chaps. On the other hand, I did see one
70-year-old couple last year who wanted to know if multiple climax could
become medically dangerous.