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Will Jordan be the new Palestine?

Douglas Davis says that George W. Bush’s drive for global democracy may hand the Hashemite kingdom over to Hamas If unintended consequences are the progeny of political activism, then the fate of King Abdullah of Jordan is a lesson to us all. The West’s best friend in the Arab world is now the region’s most

Sex and Society: Design fault

‘Designer babies’ is headline shorthand for a weird new world of genetic enhancement. Thanks to several generations of science-fiction imagery, it evokes an unnatural and evil world of blond, staring, probably homicidal children, which scares ordinary people. Headlines create a cartoon world that subverts understanding and wisdom, but there is some truth in them. Human

Sex and Society: A short visit to hell

Several years ago, in another lifetime it seems, I played a porn star. In fact I played the Pornstar, in a fairly successful little two-hand play called The Dyke and the Pornstar. The piece gained a deserved reputation for being daring, risqué, even provocative. It was described by one critic as being ‘artfully performed, and

Sex and Society: Get a life, girls

Why do middle-class mums go to the gym for pole-dancing classes? Because, says Ariel Levy, they have been conned by kitschy, slutty ‘raunch culture’ Some version of a sexy, scantily clad temptress has been around through the ages, and there has always been a demand for smut. But whereas this was once a guilty pleasure

Sex and Society: A sad scene

Miles Douglas on the jealousy, ageism and sexual intrigue of gay men’s lives A few months ago I persuaded one of my oldest and best gay friends to invite his lively, articulate heterosexual neighbours to dinner. The meal was, as I had expected, a great success. Conversation was amusing, flowed naturally along with the wine,

Sex and Society: Ruth and consequences

One of America’s most celebrated ‘sexologists’ tells Harry Mount that there are some problems she will not advise on New York ‘I tell them about pressure, foreplay …I introduce them to a vibrator but I tell them never to get too used to it. The penis can never duplicate the vibrations of a vibrator.’ At

Down with the new morality

It was John Major who came a cropper while trying to restore the nation’s moral values: his ‘back to basics’ campaign was mocked to death before it had really got started. Yet Mr Major’s attempt to influence the nation’s morals was nothing compared with that of Tony Blair, who has overseen a Sexual Offences Act,