The tyranny of sex

Why is Cristina Odone (18 December) so obsessed with sex? She informs us that "yes, I admit it - I've been quoted as saying that, far from being a good Catholic girl who never thought about sex, I thought about it 9,000 times a day". Then we go on to discover that she now claims to view sex merely as a "grunting, panting, sweaty spectacle" - albeit an "excitingly unfathomable" one.

But the real contradiction in her argument can be seen when you recall the precise words to which she refers, and which have appeared in various newspapers: "My God, I'd love to have sex 9,000 times a day with 6,000 people." Thinking about sex, Ms Odone, is very different from having it; her "admission", therefore, is totally spurious.

David Brodie
Wishaw, Lanarkshire

Cristina Odone's well-founded observations on the contemporary tyranny of sex prompts recourse to Shakespeare for the counter-measure. His Hamlet spoke true when he adjured his too-hastily remarried mother:

Good night; but go not to my uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all severe doth eat
Of habits evil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either master the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency . . .

Sir Ian McGeoch
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

This article first appeared in the 01 January 1999 issue of the New Statesman, An earthquake strikes new Labour