I don’t want to go all Class War on your collective arses, but it has to be said; we’re living in an extremely middle-class decade, in the UK at least. We're tottering on the brink of recession, mainly because we're all being constantly being encouraged into adopting traditional middle-class values (buy your house, be suspicious/scared of the outside world, keep up with the Jones' - even though you don't really talk to them anymore - and pull the ladder up as quickly as possible) whether we can afford it or not. And a huge chunk of the population are firmly in the 'Not' side of the equation.
Turn on the telly, and you're treated a non-stop barrage of sneery gets 'helping' the Proles to sort their lives out in shows such as Your Dog Is Almost As Feral As You, Peasant, I'm A Big Shouty Aryan Who Swears A Lot At The Lower Orders To Disguise The Fact That I Do A Girls Job, and Look At Your Shit, You Disgusting Indoor Whale! Go On! Look At It! LOOK AT IT!. The music of the era is infested with mewling whelps like James Blunt (a former Army captain, for Christ's sake) and Keane (the Sound of Impotence). Want to go to the football? That’ll be £40, please, now that it’s been discovered by middle-management types. Looking for working-class people in the media? They'll be the people ramming glasses into each other's faces on TV documentaries and think-pieces about 'Binge Britain'. And you could always fucking watch fucking Channel fucking Four to see a load of fucking actors fucking encapsulating fucking authentic working-fucking-class life (by saying 'fucking' all the fucking time) on fucking Shameless.
(This is not intended to be a rip on middle-class people, by the way; I work in a traditional middle-class profession, I know a lot of middle-class people, and I like 'em. But I was brought up to believe that we were supposed to be living in a meritocracy, and your background wasn't supposed to matter anymore, that's all)
So what's this got to with shagging, then? Well, last time I checked, we were all issued with a set of genitals regardless of social status. But if you opened most women’s magazines, watched any chick-flick, or checked out pretty much every advert aimed at women with a sexual undertone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that both Rumpy and Pumpy has been completely annexed as a luxury item.
Personally, I blame Sex and the City for this horrible state of affairs; almost single-handedly, it re-perpetuated the idea that it was incredibly liberating and self-empowering to kick out the sexual jams, just as long as you had the right career and wore larcenously expensive shoes while you were doing it. Presumably, if Carrie Whatshername and her mates worked in a factory making Rabbits instead of endorsing them, and spent their leisure time knocking back WKD on a Friday night at Re-Flex, we’d have never heard of them until one of ‘em rolled up on Trisha.
Sadly, we did, and it shows. Go to any sex trade show, and within five minutes you’ll be surrounded by twittering Trustafarians who think they’ve invented sex because they’ve discovered a new colour to make a dildo with. There's a swingers club in my hometown that advertises itself as - and I’m typing this with a straight face – ‘Nottingham's sexual elite’, which brings to mind images of a Nazi eugenics programme, involving Margo Leadbetter being serviced by the Cheese Manager from the local Asda.
Worst of all; the reams and reams and reams of erotic fiction that read like Barbara Cartland novellas, but with more big spunking cocks. When you read these things, you wonder how the characters ever find the time to have it away, what with their rammed-out social diaries, massively important power-lunches, and high-flying careers. Josh, Tim and Hugo get to have their wicked way with Camilla, Emma and Chloe in five-star hotels. Presumably Tracey, Sharon and Caz get to pick up the pants and spent johnnies off the floor and give the sheets a boil-wash before going back to being knocked about by Tez, Kev and Daz.
It all sounds extraordinarily ground-breaking (and yes, at the end of the day it's all about fantasy, and being minted is probably a bigger fantasy for most people than a quality sex life) but the message in a lot of the stories veers alarmingly close to the one that Women’s Realm and Mills and Boon were pushing 50 years ago: the main goal a woman can aspire to is to use her wiles to shack up with a toff and ponce off him for the rest of their life. If you’re rich enough, and come from the right family, you’re entitled to be as sexually promiscuous as you like. If you’re not, fuck off to Jeremy Kyle and stop breeding, pram-face.
I know that female media isn’t the only culprit here - look at lad mags, which at their less inspiring moments are little more than office boys prick-teasing other office boys - but as far as I know, a decent, fulfilling sex life is something you earn, not inherit, and anyone who thinks otherwise will be put up against the wall and have dildos thrown at them when the revolution comes. Women who stack shelves at Kwik-Save who have children called Storm have sex too, y’know. And they don’t have to wrap £400 worth of shoe around their feet to do it, either.