Sex is Not a Four-Letter Word – Women Talking (Part II)

Shirley Conran – Novelist

Women go to bed with men for much the same reason as men go to bed with women, including boredom – I mean, if you’re stuck in Chicago, my goodness.

Joan Ruddock – Labour MP, Lewisham Deptford

In the gay community, from what we know and from what I have observed, most men will have a very large number of partners, whereas most women in the gay community will have much longer-term, more fulfilling, more secure relationships, where the sexual act in itself is only part of a much greater emotional involvement. And that must say something about sex and emotions.

Lady Annabel Goldsmith – Wife of Sir James Goldsmith

I can never understand the wives who really mind, the wives who set such store by fidelity. How extraordinary, and how mad they are. Because, surely, if the man goes out and he comes back, it’s not actually doing any harm. It’s a very oriental way of thinking, but it is one I really do believe and have felt strongly since I was very young. I can’t see any harm in the man going out, going to bed with a few women, coming back. It’s not going to make a difference. It might make it better. There’s a risk he may fall in love, but if he’s going to fall in love with someone else, he’s going to do that anyway. I think, if more women could understand that, there would be fewer divorces. I am married to somebody who does this, but this isn’t why I’m saying it.

Mary Crowther – Consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician

In initial sexual exploration, for men it’s very much a physical thing. They simply want to lose their virginity, and society allows that and that’s okay. For women it’s different. Part of it is the Christian – or not necessarily just the Christian – ethic that sex is something sacred and tied in with procreation and a gift from God. There’s the other thing that virginity is a commodity: the girl who has her virginity is a nice girl and the girl who doesn’t is a bad girl and one’s worth more than the other, in pure commodity terms. I think probably in our society initial sex for women is usually pretty unexciting. It’s something they’re led into and something they want to do because the mean wants them to do it. But it’s not something they actually want to discover, and probably it’s only after months or perhaps years that women begin to understand the real joy and the real gifts of a sexual life.

Lady Falkender – Political columnist

I was always being told when I was in No 10, you know, darling, this is the aphrodisiac of power. Well, I could never see it like that because I knew the people. I didn’t see it with politicians, because it’s difficult if you work with them for a long time to find any aphrodisiac there at all. I’d be dishonest if I didn’t say that there isn’t a great attraction about men who have the power and the authority in any walk of life. But then, I have to confess, it’s not only to do with top people, I also sometimes get that when I’m watching a very skilled plumber or bricklayer doing his job.

Rosemary Anne Sisson – Writer

I think the sexual revolution came, and now it’s going to end almost immediately, because people are going to be so frightened of what it means going to bed with someone they don’t know.

Koo Stark – Photographer

I’ve come across men who, in every other way, they’re together, very mature, very sophisticated. They’ve been able to deal with the most appalling crises and yet, somewhere along the line, some woman has damaged them or their own sexual image of themselves, and they can’t recover. A man’s sexuality is an incredibly fragile thing.

Gloria Steinem, Journalist and feminist

I don’t think there’s really a big difference in men’s and women’s sexual needs. After all, the sex organs essentially come from the same cells.

Jenny Seagrove – Actress

To be aroused is a mental procedure, and it generally comes from feeling wanted.

Mary Quant – Fashion designer

The worrying thing about sex is that the design of it is disturbing. It does tend to encourage the male to overwhelm the female, and the female reaction tends to be to want that to happen. The actual design has a flaw in it that brings on, at its worst, violence – which is, of course, now one of the most difficult things about sex to deal with.

Joan Bakewell – Broadcaster

I had a brief kind of passion for Galbraith, the economist, who is all elbows and long limbs, and I do remember sitting watching him doing a programme. He was holding forth and I remember saying, just look at that beautiful man.

Carmen Callil – Publisher

I go for a sense of humour I think, and in my youth, power. I’m much less interested in power now because I’ve got my own. I’ve always liked weak men.

Amy Gross – Journalist

Given a choice between Henry Kissinger and a poor, young but brilliant talented artist, I would go with the artist any time.

Angela Janklow – Writer

I am seduuced by the unknown. There has to be something, some look in the eye. There is this guy I see once in a while who has got a chipped front tooth, but that chipped tooth makes him. Because it makes him imperfect; that’s really compelling.

Margaux Hemingway – Actress

Gentleness is very seductive; it’s the killer. Money is also very attractive. I know of some very rich men who are not very good looking, but they become very good looking all of a sudden.

Maria Aitken – Actress

I rather like men who are sensitive and who are funny, who have nice eyes and not to big a bottom.

Anita Roddick – Founder, The Body Shop

The only time I am ever still, absolutely still mentally, with my heart beating, is when I listen to somebody like Laurens van der Post. I think there is essential goodness there, and that’s such an attraction.

Mary McFadden – Textile designer

The stupider they are, the more illogical they become, and therefore the more fascinatinmg, because they’re then unpredictable.

Leslie Ash – Actress

I’ve never gone for looks. I know people used to laugh at me when I went out with Rowan Atkinson – they used to call us Beauty and the Beast, which was totally unfair. Inside, he was the most beautiful man you could ever wish to meet.

Clare Short – Labour MP, Birmingham Ladywood

I like people who are very irreverent. It’s because my life is so political. I couldn’t fancy someone who had views and values totally different from mine. And then I like to be fancied.

Fiona Thyssen – Former wife of Baron Heini Thyssen

I have had some of the most unattractive boyfriends anyone could imagine. The only thing they have all had in common is that they all hunted me, hunted me.

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