The Rule of Ten / Die Regel der Zehn / A regra dos Dez / La regla de los Diez

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There is sex that I regret. There is sex that I am ashamed of. There is sex that was beyond all my wildest dreams. But most of all there is sex that I do not remember.

Scattered fragments of nights that I can just about vaguely rememeber – the aftermath of a drunken rave party, coming home from my favorite house music club, an exotic hotel room in a distant holiday destination.

Bargains in the back of the car, mouth on mouth, hands in pants, the driver watching in his rear-view mirror – these random shady memories come back, but no details. Sexual adventures that I have forgotten entirely.

Who was she? What was her name? It is not just names that I have forgotten. There are names that I never actually knew. No doubt the girls forgot me too. The next day or even sooner than that, almost immediately. They were never sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

I was born into an era of sexual freedom that had its peak when the World was post-Pill and pre-AIDS. The golden years of sexual promiscuity, years when sex was limitless and free. Sex for recreation not procreation, sex without pregnancy, sex without consequence.

We all love more than once. And for all of us there is the love of a lifetime, the other half of the sky, your soul mate. Some go to their graves without ever meeting her but she is out there. The girl in all the songs. The dream lover.

The ‘Rule of Ten’ states you will just about make it into double figures before you find the love of a lifetime. That is nothing to be proud of – just the sad and wistful truth, a cruel fact of our busy lives. We think we are doing what comes naturally. We believe that we are guilty of nothing worse than boys being boys.

The ‘Rule of Ten’ assumes that you will have a few teenage fumblings, then find a serious girlfriend who you eventually break up with, followed by some one night stands as you heal your broken heart, then a few more relationships with ultimately unsuitable partners before you settle down and live happily ever after. You have had your fun.

Yet … while we understand the need to raise steak above hamburger, and lift monogamy above promiscuity, we can not help feeling a flicker of admiration and envy for the men who have treated cold sex like hot dinners.

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