My life at the moment can be summed up alliteratively by two words - fasting and fucking. Honestly, the health kick trend of not eating seems to ignite the root chakra or something. All that energy normally spent on digesting food has to go somewhere. The result is a paradoxical union of the transcendent and the profane.
More often than not, the story of Héloïse and Abélard is hurled onto the same stockpile of ‘star-crossed lovers’ to which Juliet, Troilus, Mélisande and Pyramus belong. Admittedly it has all the conventional elements of a tragic romance: a philosopher and his student fall in love; the girl’s uncle opposes; they marry in secret; the girl bears a child; the philosopher is brutally castrated; faced with no other option they both enter religious orders, while exchanging passionate letters to the end of their lives. A heady mix of piety and illicit desire, guilt and fury, it appears good enough, if not too good, for stage and screen.
Flicking through a copy of Cosmopolitan at my local railway station - I would never buy it, it's only for tutting at disapprovingly as I wait for trains - I saw they had interviewed some ‘real men’ about something to do with sex. I involuntarily rolled my eyes (and tutted disapprovingly) because I've noted that 'real men', according to Cosmo, are to be found not down mines or on construction sites but exclusively in professions that would never require them to break a sweat or develop calluses. They're always in poncey occupations such as wine importing or commodities trading, exactly the kinds of places, in fact, where I am likely to find that species of smug, preening, self-congratulating male I would never dream of having sex with. Men with a manicure probably, Lord save us. A buffed fingernail near my clitoris? I think not.
In the wake of the historic Irish Referendum, Laura Ward looks back through past societies at the almost unbelievable obstacles facing women in the UK who sought terminations and the bizarre underground culture that rose around them.
Abortion was the only medical procedure to be banned by law
Far more brutal surgeries, such as lobotomy or clitorectomy, were performed at whim. After the country's separation from the UK (concluded in 1921), Ireland’s eighth amendment had made abortion illegal since 1983, even in the cases of rape, incest and severe danger to the mother. Abortion law still remains unchanged in Northern Ireland.
Julie Cook. A weekend exhibition at the Doomed Gallery 65 Ridley Rd, London E8 2NP
If I told you this would be the last drink of my life, what would you make me? I ask as I sit at the bar stool, beside a towering, bespectacled young bartender. A Negroni, because it is bittersweet, like life itself, he responds without hesitation, as if he gets such strange custom regularly. I have already shed my duvet of a coat, a silly hat with ear flaps, gloves and a scarf that is large enough to cover my entire body. It is a school night, which might explain why I am one of only three punters at Apoteka; the two others sit by the window that overlooks the Vilnius night, slightly muddled by confused snowflakes.
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DESIRE: FROSTRUP & EROTIC REVIEW
100 of literature’s sexiest stories, chosen by Mariella Frostrup and the Erotic Review.
Strict mistresses, naughty maids, handsome gardeners and disarming strangers; literature is awash with love, sex and desire. This collection brings together 100 of the best examples, hand-picked by Mariella Frostrup and the Erotic Review.
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