Stop the press! Delegates at the 2011 Conservative Party conference in Manchester are alleged to have taken part in a gay orgy! (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

What happens at conference stays at conference

7 April 2014 12:17

Readers of yesterday’s Mail on Sunday were treated to what appeared to be the perfect ‘Tory Sleaze!’ story. But appearances can deceive. Here’s what the Mail reported: ‘A Tory Minister… Continue reading

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Ladies of the Guardian: please stop writing about sex

6 April 2014 13:38

I’m generally a fan of the Guardian’s website, and sometimes write for it, but I’m sick of how much space it gives to ladettes banging on about sex. It’s a… Continue reading

John Snow has some interesting ideas about sex.

Jon Snow: sex expert

27 January 2014 14:25

Jon Snow’s interview in the Standard today makes for perfect post-lunch reading: ‘Sex comes into every evaluation of a woman, there’s no doubt about it. It’s there. Once you’ve established… Continue reading

The claims surrounding the alleged dalliance between President Hollande and the actress Julie Gayet become more fantastic by the day. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The President, his mistress and the Mob

13 January 2014 15:03

There was a moment when it looked like French Closer had done President Hollande a favour. His poll ratings have been abysmal and the economy has tanked. What better distraction… Continue reading

The state is regulating how sex is consumed online. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

State sanctioned sex

22 December 2013 18:39

After bullying from the government, our major internet providers are now ‘filtering’ pornographic websites, so that children don’t get to see them. However, a BBC Newsnight study revealed, with great… Continue reading

Have permissiveness, pornography, sensationalism and elements of the music industry created a society in which sexual abuse, especially between teenagers, is increasingly common? (DANIEL GUIMARAES/AFP/Getty Images)

Is the permissive society causing pain and harm?

26 November 2013 12:12

It was a curious coincidence, don’t you think, that the sexual conduct findings that the Lancet published today coincided with the publication of a report from the Deputy Children’s Commissioner,… Continue reading

Ecstasy Seisure In Los Angeles

Is addiction a disease?

21 November 2013 16:15

Tonight, the Spectator will host a debate on the motion: ‘Addiction is not a disease’.  Damian Thompson, Theodore Dalrymple and Dr Aric Sigman will lock horns with Trinny Woodall, Dominic… Continue reading

The age of consent is not actually designed to reflect teenagers' sexual habits, but to protect children from exploitation. (PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

Yes, let’s have a debate about teenage sex and the age of consent

17 November 2013 15:01

Whenever a public figure says ‘we need a debate here’, as Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, has done, it doesn’t need much in the way of… Continue reading

Strolling Soul Singer

Natalie Rowe’s strange duet with Marvin Gaye

21 October 2013 16:55

Among the more bizarre parts of Natalie Rowe’s Chief Whip, of which Mr S wrote earlier, is her alleged encounter with Marvin Gaye. The scribbling dominatrix even claims that she… Continue reading


Who is Natalie Rowe’s ‘Joe’?

21 October 2013 11:44

The only question on lips this morning: Who is Joe? This mysterious character lurks on the pages of a new book by Natalie Rowe, a former prostitute and dominatrix who… Continue reading

Jane Birkin with Serge Gainsbourg. Image: Getty

Liberté, égalité, pornographie

10 October 2013 14:10

Bravo Melanie McDonagh. Your stand against the coarsening of society’s sexual sensibilities is very welcome. But it is not just in Britain that porn has gone mainstream. We French now… Continue reading

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke mid-'twerk' at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York last month.

Ban the word ‘twerk’

16 September 2013 11:29

Jesse Norman MP, who used to lead the Prime Minister’s policy forum, is using his spare time to write for ConservativeHome. About twerking. For those of you who have missed… Continue reading

The trailer from Danny Boyle's recent National Theatre adaptation of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller.

What if Byron and the Shelleys had live tweeted from the Villa Diodati?

2 September 2013 13:38

It’s one of the most famous – indeed infamous – episodes in English literary history. In the summer of 1816 Lord Byron took a villa on the banks of Lake… Continue reading

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Marie Duplessis, shortly before her death

The week in books – a 19th century career woman, the courtesan of the camellias, Vasily Grossman and why France is turning into the USA

16 August 2013 13:40

The forecast is bad. Football is back. Gloom strikes. Cure the malaise by reading the book reviews in this week’s Spectator. Here’s a selection: Richard Davenport-Hines introduces the celebrated American novelist… Continue reading

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn stands accused of being a 'pimp party king'. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

I’d vote for DSK the pimp over Weiner the ‘sexter’

8 August 2013 18:32

You can’t keep a good pervert down. Every time the Dominique Strauss-Kahn saga – l’affaire DSK, to give it its nom propre – threatens to fade from view, it rears… Continue reading

Had we but world enough and time... (PAL PILLAI/AFP/Getty Images)

To their coy mistresses: two poems about the arts of seduction

17 June 2013 11:18

Andrew Marvell, from ‘To His Coy Mistress’ But at my back I always hear Times winged chariot hurrying near: And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity. Thy… Continue reading

It should be obvious to a man as intelligent as Prof Steve James that not all believers kill unbelievers. But apparently it isn't.

Discovering poetry: John Donne, from deviant to Dean of St. Paul’s

3 June 2013 12:43

Holy Sonnet 7, John Donne At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise From death, you numberless infinities Of souls, and to your scattered bodies… Continue reading


Sheila Heti: ‘I did worry putting sex in the book would eclipse everything else’

31 May 2013 9:27

There is a question which writers (and readers) of literary fiction get tired of hearing: which bits really happened? The traditional and respectable answer is that this doesn’t matter. Everything… Continue reading


Dangerous romance – Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley

21 May 2013 9:10

‘The bus company’s yellow tin sign on its concrete post seemed for a long while a forlorn flag announcing nothing,’ notes Stella, the narrator of Tessa Hadley’s new novel Clever… Continue reading

Weathering the Wall Street Crash; a party at the Piccadilly Hotel in 1931. (Photo by Sasha/Getty Images)

Heat Lightning by Helen Hull – review

16 April 2013 9:56

‘I had decided that I wished to write a novel about the immediate present – this was the summer of 1930 – and I had been speculating about the way… Continue reading

Dancers of the Badora Dance Company perform on the stage of the National Dance Theatre in Budapest on December 20, 2011 during their rehearsal of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", choreographed by Hungarian Dora Barta. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK (Photo credit should read ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Falling out of love, William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 97 – discovering poetry

15 April 2013 9:07

How like a winter hath my absence been From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen, What old December’s bareness everywhere!… Continue reading

Madame Tussauds launch the new George Clooney waxwork ahead of Valentine's Day. Image: Getty

The true romantic

14 February 2013 9:30

Schmaltz just doesn’t sit well with traditional English sensibilities. We spend hundreds of millions of pounds on Valentine’s Day each year whilst acknowledging that it’s a load of commercial tosh.… Continue reading

When will these police raids end? Image: Getty

When will all this stop?

7 December 2012 15:52

In a dawn raid today police swooped on children’s legend This Old Man for alleged sexual assault against countless toddlers and took him to a police station. “We have several… Continue reading

A picture taken from the recent show drawing inspiration from Titian's Diana and Actaeon

Bad Sex Award

29 November 2012 9:53

Loins are girded and members tumescent, for next Tuesday sees the presentation of this year’s Bad Sex Award. The Literary Review’s annual prize for the worst description of sex in… Continue reading

Actors rehearsing a scene from Dante's 'Inferno'. Sharon Olds' fear of hell as a child continues inform so much of her poetry. Image: Getty.

Sharon Olds’ fear and self-loathing

9 November 2012 12:36

Since the publication of her debut collection, Satan Says in 1980, which was awarded the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award, Sharon Olds has become a prominent – and controversial… Continue reading

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