When I was ten years old, my mother sat my brother and I down and told us about sex.
“When a man and woman love each other very much and are married,” she began, “the man puts his penis into the woman’s vagina, and that makes a baby.”
I frowned. “Did you and Dad do that?”
“We don’t talk about that,” my mother replied, visibly uncomfortable.
“Do you and Dad still do that?”
“Ariane, I’ve said we don’t talk about that!” she snapped (no doubt because, when she was growing up, people really didn’t talk about sex).
But I couldn’t help it. The next day in the playground, I asked a girl in my class “Do you know what sex is?”
“No,” she replied.
“It’s when a man puts his willy in a woman’s fanny!” I announced gleefully.
She looked appalled. “Errgh, that’s disgusting! You’re lying!”
“It’s true. My mum told me.”
“You’re lying!” (Apparently she is now married, so I suspect that at some stage she realised I was telling the truth.)
Ever since age ten, I have delighted in talking about the ins and outs of sex. I have regaled friends with anecdotes about anal, rimming, bondage and watersports, almost revelling in their shock. But there’s one catch – I still expect everyone to be as prudish as my mother and the girl at school, and when they’re not, I don’t really like it.
I know it doesn’t make sense – if you give it out, you have to take it – but I am weirdly disapproving when anyone else talks explicitly to me about sex. When a female friend suggested a threesome, I felt shy and embarrassed; when an acquaintance told me she got “too wet and wide” during sex, I balked, stammered and changed the subject. The idea of hen parties, male strippers and penis straws makes me want to die of shame, and when a sex shop assistant accosted me while I was buying a vibrator and shouted “You don’t need that, you need a clit stimulator!” loud enough for the whole shop to hear, I was tempted to throw the offending sex toy at her and flee.
This is a doubly sorry state of affairs right now, because my band The Lovely Electric are about to release a comedy sex album called Beautiful Filth. I have mined all the comic events in my tragic sex life for the lyrics; there are songs about the boyfriend who would only put in the tip of his penis during sex, the partner who smelt of fish, and the lover with a terrible cum face. It is quite possibly the rudest, most explicit comedy album ever released – I would be surprised if there’s a more risqué record out there.
And yet, and yet… when listeners send in their own filthy lyrics in return, it makes me blanch; when they make dirty jokes, I refuse to respond in kind. I would really prefer to be the only person in the world who is allowed to be erotic and provocative. I know it’s a double standard – but if you don’t like it, just blame my mum.
To buy Beautiful Filth, visit www.thelovelyelectric.com