As someone who spent much of my twenties “messing around on the London fetish scene”, says Rebecca Reid in the I newspaper, I used to find it easy to shock my friends. If I wanted to spice up a dinner party, I’d just mention that I’d been to a sex party or explain “how a threesome worked”. Easy. But today? Kinks have become the norm. Loads of people “casually put dominant or submissive in their dating profiles”; the use of safe words in the bedroom is commonplace. One friend recently told me, “in a weary tone”, that she and her partner were “going to have to try pegging” for no other reason than “everyone’s doing it now”.
It feels lazy to blame everything on the internet, but in this case it’s “unquestionably true”. If you wanted to learn about a fetish back in the day, you had to buy a niche magazine, or travel to Soho and place a personal ad. “You had to really want to do something filthy.” Now that “we can all see 4K films of any sex act imaginable within seconds”, it’s anyone’s game. I have no desire to go back to a world where sex is stigmatised. But I’m sad that vanilla sex – missionary position, flattering lighting, and so on – is now being disregarded. It’s the “white linen shirt of shagging”: a “true classic” that, when executed properly, “can be the best item in your wardrobe”.