Some parts of the tabloid press have an unhealthy prurience about their coverage of what consenting adults get up to. One has to wonder if the hacks and pundits sounding off about such things have a problem talking about sex, or just a problem doing it. Whatever their problems, the result is inevitably a feast of voyeurism, as typified by today’s Super Soaraway Currant Bun.
“As number of Brits at Magaluf carnage parties rockets, it’s ... SEX ON THE BEACH” screams today’s front page, with a helpful photo of what is alleged to be a couple engaging in sex, but in the sea. Their faces are pixellated, as if that part of their anatomies has some risqué property, or there may be a risk of their being identified (which will, no doubt, already have happened).
And, so what? Two consenting adults decide to screw in the shallows. We are not shocked, there is no horror. But not for the Sun, which provides a suitable narrative: “Shagaluf ... Couple romp on crowded beach in Magaluf ... Mum shields kids’ eyes in 40min romp”. What’s with this “romp” crap? If they mean the two were enjoying penetrative intercourse, why not say so and cut the nudge-nudgery?
The text accompanying the photo is little better: “A young British couple sink to new depths of debauchery in Magaluf by having sex on a beach in front of horrified families ... The shocking display came after vows of a crackdown on drunken behaviour in the resort”. If they were pissed, and up to their waists in seawater, the likelihood of Ugandan discussions reaching Kampala would be pretty slim.
And what’s with all this “horrified families” crap? The couple are out in the sea, and nobody else in that photo is showing the slightest sign of being horrified. The only people we know are even remotely interested are whoever took the photos, and the hacks who wrote it up. This speaks to that prurient streak in tabloid land, the end-of-the-pier view of sex as something we shouldn’t talk about directly.
It also speaks to a creepy and stalkerish element of the press: the ones who get their jollies leering at others doing what consenting adults across the world do, rather than getting on with their lives. Folks do it on trains, on board ships, on aircraft, in lifts, in their cars, in other peoples’ cars, in the woods, in the sea, and elsewhere – and the only people who have a problem with it are tabloid hacks.
That’s the same tabloid hacks who then package up anything sex related and use it to flog papers. The ones who tell their readers that sex crimes are bad, but that leering at scantily-clad women is fine, especially if they’re on telly. The ones who give every impression of being no more grown up than the teenagers pleasuring themselves over lads’ mags.
Yes, someone has sunk to a new low – the creepy hacks at the Sun.