Day 6: Middle Woodford to Warminster

Salisbury plain proper this time, one vast hot frying pan with no escape from the sun beating down from a vast sky. Last time I was yomping across this plain was in the coldest winter on record, 1962/3, when I was a Sandhurst cadet trying to excavate trenches from the frozen flint and, as I recall, without much success.

Love is like a butterfly…

Cabbage White butterflies and Red Admirals dance ahead as we thump along.

As my kind readers will recall I try and include in my vaporings, to my mind anyway, the most important five subjects worth talking about: money, sex, politics, religion and death. So far I have only dealt with death and a few bits on politics.

Jane suddenly volunteers that Cabbage Whites copulate in the air – such frisky things – and no, I didn’t know that either! Remember you read this fascinating fact here first! But the carnal antics of butterflies neatly bring me onto…

Sex and All That

It is true that 50 years ago there was an atmosphere of sexual repression; women could be ruined by premarital sex and natural sexual feelings were often characterised as something shameful. But I reckon that today the pendulum has swung too far towards what is crass, crude and cheap: the divide between things that should be public and private has simply been lost.

Naked Attraction

Recently, a newly married couple on the Greek island of Rhodes decided to celebrate the occasion by posting a picture on Facebook of the bride committing a sex act on the groom (this is a family blog, so you’ll have to just imagine it!) The image was tastefully framed by a backdrop of a temple and a gorgeous sunset. Family and pals chorused how wonderful it was, but the Greek Orthodox Church took a very different view and have now banned future foreign weddings on the island.

There is a growing feeling that sex is no longer something joyous and precious but a biological function of no more significance than eating a pizza. It seems that girls now think that having sex with anyone at any time offers them some sort of “empowerment” so that casual sex with strangers can be linked with female “liberation”. Of course, promiscuity has always been with us, but there is today a vulgarity in our society that is beyond sad. It is particularly bad for children who are growing up in communities saturated by sexual exploitation.

There are songs for teens where the girls proclaim to have had so much sex, they are unable to walk straight; this is deemed to be an occasion for gaiety and celebration. In a vastly popular TV show called Love Island, participants celebrate their attraction to each other by having intercourse on camera. Vile and beyond tasteless, its stars are teenagers who are treated like hookers for the entertainment of the public who are addicted to the rash of casual sex that has marinated the world with sexually transmitted diseases and hastens the breakdown of family life. How any reasonable parents can allow their children to debase themselves in such a way is beyond me. Presumably the participants think that this sort of publicity enhances their dismal careers. Meanwhile, in another show called Naked Attraction, people choose a partner based entirely on the look of their genitals…

Or what about the so-called “game” I heard about called “pigging”? Men have sex with the ugliest girls they can find, then text them to say they are pigs. Okay, I agree that this is tedious, infantile and tasteless, but sadly it’s a sign of the times.

There are endless stories of couples who have only just met having intercourse on flights, or brief sexual encounters in bars – and an app called Tinder encourages just that (Grindr is the homosexual equivalent). You can sift through members’ profiles and check the whereabouts of your fancy, and then send a swift text to see whether they are “up for it”? If the answer is positive, off you zoom to complete the capital act. No gentle conversation or chat up lines, no flowers or hand-holding, not even an initial tentative kiss. Just “Bim Bam! Thank you Mam.” Efficiency, 10 out of 10; romance, rather less than zero.

Lost Childhood

Today, society is awash with pornography. When I was young, watching porn was a scandalous thing to do: something that old men in dirty macs went to seedy cinemas to experience. Book or magazine porn was wrapped in the disgrace of brown paper. Today, porn magazines are openly paraded alongside the popcorn and cornflakes in most stores. At the same time, young girls are netted by gangs on Snapchat and treated as commodities.

Recently, a teacher said that our sexting, porn-obsessed children – some as young as five – are “infected and no longer see the gravitas of the sexual act.” Older young, brought up to view porn sites as a commonplace, find they are more or less impotent because they “can’t do it as well as they do ‘it’ on the websites.”

I am not asking for a clampdown on sex and a return to Victorian standards or morality. I am just sad that our society is rapidly striding with open flies towards a coarsened and ugly future. Most importantly, the tender innocence of childhood is under attack. This will have a significant long-term effect on our society, for once you have charged through the door marked “anything goes”, it will be hard to get back to the land of yourself.

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