Measure for Measure is more than what critics have dubbed a "problem play" – it's completely baffling, and a brave choice for any director to try and tackle. Joe Hill-Gibbins' production is very Young Vic – alternative, edgy, and starring an extended cast of about a hundred blow-up sex dolls. Vienna lies in moral tatters, and the Duke is horrified. He privately elects to go about disguised, telling Angelo, his deputy, to pull the city's socks up in his absence. Meanwhile Claudio, a young man accused of lechery, is thrown into the stocks to await the death sentence. His sister, the convent-girl Isabella, begs Angelo for mercy – and is denied it, unless she commits the very act for which her brother is condemned. She refuses.
It’s a bit like having sex with Batman’s body armour (don’t ask me how I know what this feels like). It looks like a robotic trilobite that could find its own docking station if you asked it nicely. My partner compared it to the thing that clamped itself over John Hurt’s face in Alien, which I thought was unfair. It has two independent motors and costs around ninety quid. It’s waterproof, so you can use it in the shower (recommended). It’s reassuringly heavy. It’s the slickly-designed rechargeable Hot Octopuss PULSE 2 Duo Vibrating Male Masturbator, boasting new PulsePlate technology and it can be used with lube or dry. It’s a lot of fun with a partner (if something has to come between you, it might as well be this), but possibly more of a warm-up toy than a 0-60 orgasm aid.
Stratford is a strange, dead place after dark. The roads are straight and empty, lined with fancy new tower blocks in all directions, with only the occasional window lit. It’s hard to imagine anything living, let alone creating art in this cold and impersonal landscape. Which in some ways makes it the perfect setting for Mark Storor’s new play, The Barometer of My Heart, a disturbing and raw exploration of masculinity, potency and its constant companion, impotency. Erectile dysfunction is a common condition that is often kept hidden and undiscussed, behind closed doors and hardened exteriors; Storor’s play aims to bring this male experience from the shadows into the light.
Let’s face it boys, to be a white male in 2015 is, frankly, unfashionable. Yet here’s a film that makes Clarkson’s Top Gear look like a vicar’s tea party with extra doilies. La Grande Bouffe is about male physiology and psychology in all its full glory and horror.
Former president Clinton, a masturbating nun and the Boston strangler walk into a rehabilitation centre. While this may sound like the start of a vaguely offensive joke, these individuals are among the case studies featured in the ever-growing sex addiction literature.
I went with a guy so red-blooded he made Daniel Craig look quite girly. His only entertainment came not so much from Mr Tatum’s expert dance moves as the expression of glee plastered over my face throughout. Unfortunately this movie had the opposite effect of what I was hoping for. Instead of getting the message that I, as a woman, needed a man to exalt and pleasure me, this chap’s reaction was merely to ask whether he should spend more time pumping his pecs down at Virgin Active. No, you idiot - ask me what my fantasy is, listen and then throw me down onto a bed, tell me you love the taste of me and fuck me like I’m the sweetest peach you’ve ever had. That’s what Magic Mike would do.
A woman who made huge strides in a world dominated by men, became a leading light in the early days of psychoanalysis, and who fought her own psychiatric problems whilst diagnosing and helping others, Sabina Spielrein is a figure of great importance who has gone relatively unnoticed over the years.
50 Shades of Grey the movie? We’ve seen it all before. If you wanted to see lots of sex in a controlling relationship in the cinema you could have got your fill in 1990 when Almudena Grandes’s novel, The Ages of Lulu was released as a film directed by Bigas Luna; the film, like the book (published only the year before), was a huge commercial success. But The Ages of Lulu is not a better film in terms of eroticism or even coherence. Unlike Sam Taylor-Johnson, Luna failed to leave his audience wanting more.
We are all curious about how our sex lives compare with those around us. So curious, in fact, that what we’re getting up to in the bedroom is an enduring area of interest for scientists and statisticians, who put a lot of time and energy into quantifying our nocturnal behaviours. But while statistics can give us an idea, interpreting the results can be challenging. Not only is it unclear whether the answers given by study participants are reliable, but the results may not always be straightforward.
Thirty-five years ago on June 7 1980, Henry Miller died at his home in Pacific Palisades, California. His had been an extraordinary life, and he left behind a body of work of unique character and quality. Sadly, in the popular mind (if that term can be applied to the mainstream media commentariat) Miller is referenced too often as a notorious author of smutty ramblings. In reality he was in the first rank of radical 20th century writers, and many of his books would qualify as ‘the great American novel’, were they merely novels rather than semi-autobiographical works of polemic and social critique. Lawrence Durrell and Norman Mailer were both unreserved in their admiration of the meaning and power of his work.