Sex Terror’ Now Available on Kindle — Sweet Dreams.

Sex Terror cover web1 Sex Terror Now Available on Kindle   Sweet Dreams.


Erotic Misadventures in Pop Culture

Mark Simpson

This book will change the way you think about sex. It may even put you off it altogether.



 In his full-frontal follow-up to his widely acclaimed It’s a Queer World, Mark Simpson dis­penses with the mon­key busi­ness of sexu­al­ity and gets to grips with the organ grinder itself: SEX.

Subjecting our saucy new god to his sac­ri­le­gious satire, Simpson sins against every con­tem­por­ary com­mand­ment about doing the nasty: It must be hot. It must be fre­quent. It must wake the neigh­bours. And it must be Who You Are.

Simpson argues that we all put far too much faith in sex these days, and that in actual fact sex is messy, con­fus­ing, frus­trat­ing, and ulti­mately disappointing.

Especially if you’re hav­ing it with him.

Along the way he gets worked up with Alexis Arquette over Stephen Baldwin’s bubble-butt, gets intim­ate with Dana International, Aiden Shaw and Bruce LaBruce, and – very gingerly – con­fronts Henry Rollins with those ‘gay’ rumours.


Praise for Sex Terror:

MARVELLOUS… open Simpson’s book at any point, as many times as you want, and you’ll find the sort of gem-like sen­tences that Zadie Smith would give her white teeth for.”

- Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday

A chain­saw cock of wit… blis­ter­ingly, endear­ingly hon­est… insight­ful and valu­able.  VERY FUNNY INDEED.”

- Dermod Moore, The Hot Press

Setting com­mon sexual sense on its ear, Simpson’s Swiftian pro­pos­als strike at an emo­tion dear to us: sexual desire. His anarchic mis­sion is to free sex from ser­mon­iz­ing, con­ven­tion, ego­ism, and cul­tural bias. But unlike Foucault, his decon­struct­ing weapon is built of rib­ald humour and pot­shots at pre­ten­sion. Simpson’s essays pro­duce ran­cour and HILARIOUS LAUGHTER, DISBELIEF AND DELIGHT. Some call him won­der­ful, and some call him out­rageous, but I call him A TRUE ORIGINAL and YOU SHOULDN’T MISS THIS BOOK.”

– Bruce Benderson, author of Pretending to Say No and User

BRILLIANT… With sur­gical pre­ci­sion Mark Simpson peels away the lay­ers of mod­ern mas­cu­line cul­ture, leav­ing few iconic fig­ures un-scarred. This book is cer­tain to pro­voke and likely to offend; we would expect noth­ing less from one of the most import­ant voyeurs of con­tem­por­ary life.”

– Bob Mould, Musician and Songwriter

When the cul­ture of sex breathes its final breath, Mark Simpson will be there to deliver the eulogy with great zeal. And what a GLORIOUSLY SARDONIC AND INSIGHTFUL farewell it will be!”

– Glenn Belverio, Dutch magazine

“One of those books that bounces up and down on your knee yelling ‘read me, read me…. Brutal hon­esty and razor wit  — a per­fect feast. QUOTABLE GENIUS.”


BLOODY GOOD…  every out­rageous insight is just that – an insight into the mod­ern  con­di­tion that often makes you laugh out loud and, if you are not entirely bey­ond hope, think. Simply some of the best writ­ing on mod­ern cul­ture around.”

- Brian Dempsey, Gay Scotland

One of England’s MOST ELOQUENT AND SARDONIC commentators.”

– Bay Windows

Mark Simpson won’t be every reader’s cup of tea, but those who enjoy a biter blend of DARK HUMOUR AND KEEN SOCIAL OBSERVATION will want to drink deeply.”

– Washington Blade

…never fails to amuse, bemuse, stun and stir… a writer at his peak, a SHAMELESS SUMPTUOUS SERVING OF SOCIAL SATIRE you’ll be digest­ing long after you put the book down”

– All Man Magazine





English author and journ­al­ist Mark Simpson is credited/blamed for coin­ing the word ‘met­ro­sexual‘. Simpson is the author of sev­eral books includ­ing: Saint MorrisseyMale Impersonators, and Metrosexy.


Sex Terror cover image taken by Michele Martinoli.

Lewis & Martin’s 50’s Love Makes Today’s Bromance Look Like Bromide

lewis martin 2 Lewis & Martins 50s Love Makes Todays Bromance Look Like Bromide

This month’s Outfeatures a column by yours truly, called ‘In Defense of Jerry Lewis’, explain­ing how my child­hood love for early Lewis made me the man I am today — and why his anarchic com­edy part­ner­ship with Dean Martin in the ‘repressed’ 1950s was a kind of queer punk rock before even rock and roll had been invented:

Their heads were so close together in those tiny ‘50s cathode-ray tubes — gaz­ing into each other’s eyes, rub­bing noses, occa­sion­ally steal­ing kisses or lick­ing each other’s neck to shrieks of scan­dal­ized pleas­ure from the audi­ence. They were a prime-time study in same-sex love. And they were adored for it — lit­er­ally chased down the street by crowds of scream­ing women and not a few men…’.      (‘In Defense of Jerry Lewis’)

Though these clips below prob­ably explain it all rather better.

They also show how com­pared to Martin and Lewis, today’s much vaunted ‘bromance’ com­ed­ies are more akin to brom­ide. Lesbian bed death without the hon­ey­moon. Instead of going out of their way to purge their stage romance of any hint of pas­sion or any­thing phys­ical in the way that annoy­ingly self-conscious, college-educated 21st Century buddy com­ed­ies do (the word ‘bromance’ itself sug­gests that any hint of erot­ics would be akin to incest), Martin and Lewis’ blue-collar, mid-century love-affair con­stantly injects it. Flags it up. And slaps your face with it. Theirs is lit­er­ally a much more tick­lish affair. And a shit­load fun­nier for it.

What’s more, it looks very con­vin­cing.

(Oh, and yes, it may be that I still feel fond of Jerry Lewis because his telethons never made it to the UK.…)

An exploi­sion of D&J kisses in this cheeky and charm­ing clip painstak­ing com­piled by a YouTube fan.

‘It’s phys­ical attraction.’

The noise made by the audi­ence when Dean falls on top of Jerry in the bath wouldn’t be heard again until Elvis shook his pel­vis.

Jerry gets some big pricks in the Navy and then sprays every­where.

Dean and Jerry join the Army as para­troop­ers. Watch Dean’s eyes dur­ing the blanket scene.

‘I was loinesome.‘

Spot a (very tiny-looking) James Dean giv­ing a boxer a rub-down while scop­ing the com­pet­i­tion.

A slightly fic­tion­lised account of how our boys met, com­plete with closet clinch cli­max.

Never been kissed… Yeah, right.

Special thanks to the Canadian play­wright Elise Moore and Hannah for re-kindling my unhealthy Lewisian love-affair, offer­ing insight­ful obser­va­tion — and send­ing me some really great YouTube Martin & Lewis love.

Little Britain Touches Up Uncle Sam

little britain usa  999487c Little Britain Touches Up Uncle Sam

By Mark Simpson (Guardian, 20 October, 2008)

What other cul­ture could have pro­duced someone like Ernest Hemingway,’ waspish bisexual American exile Gore Vidal once asked of America’s favour­ite so-butch-he’s-camp writer, ‘and not seen the joke?’. The answer, was, of course, that only a cul­ture that couldn’t see the joke could pro­duce a Hemingway.

I don’t know whether Matt Lucas and David Walliams read Vidal or Hemingway, but in Little Britain USA, the recently launched HBO spin-off of their hit UK TV com­edy sketch series (which is also air­ing on BBC1), they seem to be pos­ing that ques­tion again — though this time the answer has some bear­ing on the like­li­hood of Stateside suc­cess of their show. In Little Britain USA ‘Our Boys’ (as a cheer-leading UK media seem to have tagged the camp duo) have put their prob­ing fin­ger on one of the most tick­lish fault-lines of US cul­ture: how ‘gay’ big butch God-fearing America can seem — and how com­ic­ally in denial of this Americans can be.

There cer­tainly seems to be a bit of Hemingway, who loved his guns, in the mous­ta­chioed cop (played by Walliams) who gets a vis­ible hard-on while demon­strat­ing his impress­ive col­lec­tion of weapons to his fel­low officers. But it’s in the steroid-scary shape of the towel-snapping ‘Gym Buddies’, Tom and Mark, who like to take long showers together after pump­ing iron, and graph­ic­ally re-enacting what they did to the ‘pussy’ they pulled last night — with each other’s huge latex bubble-butts and tiny pen­ises — that the so-butch-it’s-camp not-so-hidden secret of American cul­ture is graph­ic­ally outed by Little Britain USA.

Along with patho­lo­gical denial. In last week’s epis­ode, when an alarmed bystander glances nervously at them hump­ing naked in the locker room they retort: ‘Whaddyou lookin at? Are you A FAG??’  Walliams, who is so camp he’s almost butch (a ladies’ man off-screen he has been described repeatedly by the UK press as ‘the ulti­mate met­ro­sexual’), seems espe­cially proud of the Gym Buddies sketch — describ­ing it as ‘pos­sibly the most out­rageous we’ve ever done’. Certainly it’s drawn most fire from crit­ics in the US, who have given the series very mixed reviews.

Lucas and Walliam’s glee­fully amoral queer sens­ib­il­ity — they’re basic­ally drag queens on a revenge trip, espe­cially when they dress up as men — was always going to be dif­fi­cult for America to swal­low. But touch­ing Uncle Sam up in the locker room may well make it a lot harder… er, I mean, more dif­fi­cult. America, even that part of it that watches HBO, may not want to get that joke. Especially when made by a couple of faggy Brits. And by the way, while we over here might think American butch­ness tres gay — e.g. the locker-room and volley-ball scenes in Top Gun — all Europeans look ‘faggy’ to Americans, espe­cially us Brits. The sketch fea­tur­ing Walliams as a flam­ing Brit Prime Minister try­ing to get into the straight black US President’s pants prob­ably won’t offend as much as Walliams hopes since most Americans thought Tony Blair was gay anyway.

Rather sweetly, com­pared to the UK, America is a coun­try where mas­culin­ity and mach­ismo is still sac­red — des­pite hav­ing done more than any other coun­try to make it obsol­ete by invent­ing men’s shop­ping magazines. In the US of A, it seems, any­thing mas­cu­line can’t be gay and vice versa. Hence Hummersexual Tom and Mark. Hence ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. And hence all that fuss the US made over that mediocre gay cow­boy movie Brokeback Mountain which, when it arrived in the UK, promptly bored every­one senseless.

America’s love of the mas­cu­line body, is glor­i­ously ‘gay’ — or, more accur­ately, homo­erotic.  But alas, until now Uncle Sam has been ter­ribly ashamed of his nat­ural, red-blooded and blatantly bloody obvi­ous bi-responsiveness.

Only America, God Bless, could have pro­duced UFC, a hugely pop­u­lar pay-per-view ‘full-contact-sport’ that involves two young muscled men in shorts try­ing to get each other’s legs around their ears (Tom and Mark prob­ably watch it together — in their UFC shorts). Only America could pro­duce a best-selling men’s workout magazine like Men’s Health, put men’s pumped tits and abs on the cover every month and strenu­ously main­tain the pre­tence that none of its read­ers are gay or bisexual — or even met­ro­sexual. Only America could pro­duce a film like last year’s ‘300′, essen­tially a toga-themed Chippendale flick for teen boys — but because it was made for American teen boys its denial was even more pre­pos­ter­ous than its pec­tor­als: the bad­die had to be a big black club queen in a spangly Speedo.

Mind you, ‘300′ had at least one vir­tue, albeit unin­ten­tional: it was rather fun­nier than Little Britain USA. Perhaps the biggest prob­lem Walliams and Lucas face in ram­ming their sens­ib­il­ity down Uncle Sam’s throat isn’t America’s gay denial or gag­ging reluct­ance to see the camp joke, but simply the fact that, on the basis of the first couple of shows, their American ‘out­ing’just isn’t very funny.

Either side of the pond.