Why are so many young people ‘asexual’?

Who could have foreseen that half a century after the sexual revolution we’d be facing its exact opposite: an asexual revolution? There’s a crisis of fertility across the West, with birth-rates and sperm counts in free fall. But this isn’t only about microplastics, oestrogen in the water or tight underpants. It’s also that the children of the West are choosing to have less sex – even no sex. A growing proportion actually identify as asexual, and rather than wait to see if the absence of lust is just a reasonable, youthful response to all the porn around in schools, they announce their asexuality solemnly to their friends and family. It

Do we still need Pride Month?

With Pride Month beginning tomorrow, how proud are you of your sexuality? As a white cis-gendered male, I am frankly a little embarrassed about mine. I mean, it’s not exactly cool to fancy the opposite sex these days, and many of us hetero-normies have become increasingly wary of appearing ‘inappropriate’ when making a move on someone we like the look of. So don’t expect me to be parading my vanilla-flavoured proclivities through central London any time soon. What would I even wear to signal hetero-pride – baggy cords and a neatly tucked-in shirt? That said, you might well spot me at some of this year’s shenanigans; after all, the organisers certainly know

Love in the shadow of the Nazi threat

The 1930s saw Walter Benjamin write The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Marlene Dietrich rise to fame in The Blue Angel and Pablo Picasso paint ‘Guernica’. If history books mention these events, it’s usually as footnotes to the main European narrative of the pre-war decade. To shift the rise of Nazism, the Spanish Civil War, the Great Terror and other landmarks to the background, one could turn to the cultural history, or the micro-history. In his new book, the German art historian Florian Illies combines both genres to reconstruct the 1930s. Snippets from period documents, including private letters and diaries of notable figures of European and

The truth about life as a gay Tory MP

Male Tory MPs molesting young men? Buttock-squeezing and groin-fumbling at a private members’ club? A middle-aged politician slipping into a dressing-gown ‘like a pound shop Harvey Weinstein, with his chest and belly hanging out’ to massage the neck of an Olympic rower? Such are the allegations. ‘What,’ you may think, ‘is the world coming to? It was never like this in my day!’ How wrong you’d be. It was very much like this in the 20th century. There is in fact something tragically old-fashioned about the whole story. This is how it used to be for many when I was an MP, and there were dozens of other gay Tories

Tina: the drug devastating the gay community

Something is ravaging through the gay community, leaving death and misery in its wake, yet few are willing to talk about it. If I’d written that sentence a generation ago, I’d have been referring to the Aids crisis. But this time the enemy isn’t a virus, but a substance called ‘tina’ or ‘ice’. It is a methamphetamine – a stimulant drug that is either smoked or injected into the veins. Tina is also called crystal meth, made famous by the Netflix series Breaking Bad. It causes a rapid increase in dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline, which leads to euphoria, alertness, energy and self-confidence. It also triggers an almost insatiable increase in

Rod Liddle

What schools should be teaching

The state of Florida recently passed a piece of legislation making it illegal for teachers to hold discussions with pupils under the age of eight about gender orientation. It seemed a very reasonable idea to me and I would guess that a largeish proportion of parents in this country, perhaps even a majority, would concur. I would not wish to indulge in an unrealistically idyllic view of childhood, but my own life was certainly less complicated in the years before I suddenly realised, much in the manner of Henry Miller’s famous epiphany, that (to bowdlerise a little) girls were all in possession of cervixes and might thus be receptive to

My snogging spat with Boris

I have not given up on my Build Back Boris campaign, which is the most pressing concern facing the UK. Once a beloved national monument like Nelson’s Column, this formerly majestic edifice has been chipped away by wokery in all its destructive forms, led by the country’s leading demolition expert, Carrie Symonds. It will cost millions and take years to rebuild him, but donors such as my friends William Shawcross and the historian Andrew Roberts have pledged their assistance and expertise. In the past few weeks, however, there has been serious subsidence, and a potentially catastrophic leaning to the south, like the Tower of Pisa. By the south I mean

What French women want

Considering the subject of compatibility, experienced British expats in France maintain that a French man and an English woman might work, but rarely the other way around. Anecdotal evidence bears this out. The English chap, for example, who came to look at the septic tank has a long-term French partner who once broke his arm during a domestic dispute. This mildest, most liberal-minded of men lives alone in a mountain refuge whenever feasible. He also has a part-time job as a tour guide in the Far East. I am currently transitioning to a woman for urgent medical reasons. Force of habit, however, leads me to consider the French women I

Sex acts

Poor Eddie Redmayne. Just because he looks quite like a girl, he finds himself a spokesperson for the burgeoning trans movement. Recently, he was forced to explain to those of us watching BBC News that ‘the notion of gender being binary’ is now considered ‘antiquated’. People are very excited about being trans at the moment. Countless TV shows and films depict it, Mark Zuckerberg has just called his daughter Max, and a man called Hilary has just talked us into another war. Being trans is clearly catching: hermaphrodite whelks on the undersides of fishing boats are growing penises, and vast swaths of young people, unable to buy a home or

The fact no one likes to admit: many gay men could just have easily been straight

Long-suffering Spectator readers deserve a seasonal break from yet another Remoaner diatribe from me. My last on this page, making the outrageous suggestion that the populace may sometimes be wrong, is now being brandished by online Leaver-readers of my Times column as proof that I am in fact a fascist; so there isn’t anywhere much to go from there. Instead, I turn to sex. There is little time left for me to write about sex as the thoughts of a septuagenarian on this subject (I turn 70 this year) may soon meet only a shudder. But I have a theory which I have the audacity to think important. What follows

Take a letter

Enrolling at Parsons College in New York the other day, a friend was asked to state her name, subject and PGPs. Her what? Her preferred gender pronouns. In other words, did she want to be referred to as ‘she’ and ‘her’, or ‘he’ and ‘him’, or ‘it’, or ‘they’, or none of the above, and was she a Mr, Miss, or Mx? If she wasn’t sure, a support group was on hand to help, called the LGBTQIAGNC. There was no need — she said her name was Clare and ‘she’ would do fine. And the rest of the class? ‘No one stated a PGP other than the obvious,’ she reports,

One night in the backwoods

When I was 38, I let a drunk pick me up in a bar. You know, just to see if I still had it. It was raining. It was a November evening, and I was somewhere in the backwoods of the Adirondacks. I was driving from Rhode Island to Toronto, staying in motels. Taking my time. Getting lost. His name was Billy Ray and he was from the south. The land of Spanish moss and blurred boundaries and antique sentences delivered in a languid drawl. Beautifully dressed, an elegantly ruined bachelor of 48, he looked 65. He said he was related to the man who had invented Coca-Cola and had

Why have all my boyfriends turned gay?

Until August last year, I’d pretty much been in back to back relationships for the previous seven years. The guys I dated varied in height, race, age, style and personality. But one thing linked them together. What? Almost all turned out to be gay. And the few that weren’t would rather sleep in their jeans than sleep with me. There was the boyfriend that broke down crying in the car after we’d been to see a drag queen cabaret. During a song about the struggle of coming out to parents on a London council estate, my ex had given my hand a meaningful squeeze. Little did I know how much

Who isn’t genderfluid?

Even yew trees are at it. It seems the ancient Fortingall Yew in Perthshire, which everyone had assumed to be male, is bearing berries and is therefore, at least in part, female. Dr Max Coleman of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, observed: ‘The rest of the tree was clearly male. One small branch in the outer part of the crown has switched and now behaves as female.’ Which makes this not just the oldest but the most socially progressive tree in Britain, the Caitlyn Jenner of topiary. Or perhaps it was just one transgressive branch making a bid for attention, having been trapped in the wrong trunk all this time.

The weird truth about the word ‘normal’

‘Is Nicky Morgan too “normal” to be the next prime minister?’ asked someone in the Daily Telegraph. That would make her abnormally normal, I suppose, at least for a PM. ‘Who and what dictates what is normal?’ asked Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, earlier this year, but, like jesting Pilate, did not stay for an answer. She posed the question because she does not like communities where ‘women normally stay at home, they normally get married very early, they normally wouldn’t vote, they normally don’t run a business’. They have been warned. Yet most people would prefer not to have an abnormal heartbeat, no matter how far out of

Bisexuality is now everywhere (and nowhere)

I’m not aware of knowing many bisexual people. Or indeed, off the top of my head, any bisexual people. Which is odd, really, because back in my student days you couldn’t move for them. Being bisexual was quite the thing. Or, at least, claiming to be was. The girls really dug it. This was back in the mid-1990s, not long after the lead singer of a band called Suede, who is a man called Brett Anderson (married to a lady now; two kids) had declared himself ‘a bisexual man who has never had a homosexual experience’. That, at the time, was very much the sort of sexual identity that a

Barometer | 20 August 2015

No sex, please Several friends of the late Sir Edward Heath asserted that he could not be guilty of sexually assaulting children because he was asexual. How many adults do not experience sexual attraction? — A 2004 study by Anthony F. Bogaert, of Brock University, Ontario, Canada, analysed responses to a British questionnaire ten years earlier. Of 18,000 respondents, 195, or just over 1%, had agreed with the statement ‘I have never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all’. — A 1983 study by a student at the University of Michigan classified 5% of males and 10% of females as asexual. Unaccountable spending The EU declined to offer a breakdown

Diary – 25 June 2015

My husband says I only write books in order to have a launch party. Not so. I also write books in order to give the author speech at the party. To this end, I hired a wild warehouse under the Westway flyover. Faced with a stream of emails from PAs asking things like whether vegan canapés would be served, and a direct call from financier Peter Soros asking whether 7 p.m. to midnight meant dinner or ‘cocktail prolongé’, I replied that it was BYOB — buy your own burgers. The great, the good, the bad, the ugly and the US ambassador streamed in to drink my wine out of plastic beakers.

The end of childhood – what we lost when we dropped the age of consent

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Melanie Philips and Sarah Green discuss the end of childhood” startat=37] Listen [/audioplayer]In all the sound and fury about historic sex crimes against children, one crucial factor has been generally ignored. Last week, a review of the agencies dealing with the phenomenon of ‘grooming gangs’ in England said that more than 370 young girls in Oxfordshire had fallen victim to them over the past 15 years, and called for an urgent national debate into these ‘indescribably awful’ sex crimes. But the most shocking and overlooked aspect of the review was that, in Oxford, police and care workers dismissed evidence that girls as young as 11, 12 or 13

Sorry, but I don’t think feminists can fight the male gaze by baring their breasts

Imagine that you have stepped back in time to the 1970s. Feminists are out on the streets of London protesting against the Miss World competitions. There you meet a sleazy men’s magazine publisher who tells you he has a new idea for getting women to show men their breasts. He’s not going to offer them money or fame like Playboy or Penthouse. No, he’s going to get them to take off their tops in the name of women’s liberation. ‘I have seen the future of feminism,’ he tells you, ‘and it has great tits!’ Naturally you think: this man is insane! Surely no woman would fall for that? Wrong. Not