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The impact of religion on my life


Passionate affection and wild hatred
Brian Sewell Writer
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I got fucked on my 16th birthday by a boy called Michael Jessett [?], with whom I was deeply in love. And it hurt mightily, and I didn’t really enjoy it at all, but when it was over, he withdrew and sat on the side of my bed. I was now stark naked, face down, and he just sat on the side of the bed and lit a cigarette and he put his hand on my bottom and said, 'God, that was good. If you were a girl, I’d do it again'.

I mean... screaming rage, because this was nothing about being a substitute for a girl, this was about boys being in love. This was nothing to do with doing it with each other because there wasn’t a girl around. And so my passionate affection for Michael Jessett turned into wild, malicious hatred. So… but that’s getting your odd corners knocked off.

And then about… when I got into the sixth form, it seemed… oh, you know, I thought I ought to grow up. People kept on telling me that boys had sex together because they were so young, but they all grew up and became perfectly normal in the end. And so I tried to grow up and become perfectly normal. What a false hope, however.

[Q] Did you try to become perfectly normal, so to speak?


[Q] I mean, you had… you had something to do with girls, then? I mean, if I said to you, well, what about girls, then what would you tell me about that?

I never had sex with them, didn’t want it. But I… you know, I would have a companionable relationship with a girl, if you could find one. But no, it really meant abstaining from sex with other boys, more than anything.

Born in England, Brian Sewell (1931-2015) was considered to be one of Britain’s most prominent and outspoken art critics. He was educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art and subsequently became an art critic for the London Evening Standard; he received numerous awards for his work in journalism. Sewell also presented several television documentaries, including an arts travelogue called The Naked Pilgrim in 2003. He talked candidly about the prejudice he endured because of his sexuality.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: sex, love, school, sixth form, homosexuality

Duration: 2 minutes, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: 2008

Date story went live: 28 June 2012