Ah, the life of a British super spy. Intrigue, adventure, martinis, and the ability to make beautiful women fall into bed at will.
So it is for secret agent James Bond, who can always find time to make love to women with improbably suggestive names like Holly Goodhead and Pussy Galore. Nor does it take any real effort on 007’s part; a smirk, a raised eyebrow, and a double entendre are all he needs. And the sex is always perfect. Bond never suffers from erectile dysfunctionor passes gas during sex, and both partners are thoroughly satisfied when it’s over.
Bond’s non-fictional countrymen don’t have quite the same experience. British men self-reported an average of 9.3 partners over their lifetimes, according to the 2011 Health Survey for England.
It is difficult to pin down the exact number of Bond’s partners; the movies are suggestive, not explicit. A 2009 academic study of the series determined that Bond has had probable sex with 46 women. The two newest films, “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace,” add two more to that total.
When Ian Fleming created James Bond in the 1950s, Bond’s lifestyle exemplified post-war prosperity. His active womanizing, like his fast cars and designer clothing, was another example of consumerism.
Bond’s attitude towards sex was developed long before the sexual revolution of the late 1960s, but changes in traditional morals showed in Bond’s rampant sexuality and the responses of his companions. What woman would ever tell 007 that she planned to wait until marriage?
The movies, especially the earlier ones, convey 1950s society’s attitude towards women. The Bond Girls are always submissive to Bond’s needs. They are accessories, as much as Bond’s Walther PPK and Q’s latest gadget are. He is active and they are passive.
Bond’s unrealistic attitudes don’t seem to have affected the popularity of the series. Professor Christoph Lindner of the University of Amsterdam explains, “It’s the same appeal as a series like ‘Mad Men.’ It’s a guilty pleasure. You can immerse yourself in something you know is wrong.”
Immune to STIs?
Portrayals of Bond’s sexual encounters rarely mention the use of contraception or protection. Granted, few mainstream movies show contraceptive details. Bond’s fans point out that this is standard movie protocol.
General practitioner Dr. Sarah Jarvis says anyone who slept around like Bond in real life would very probably have chlamydia or worse. “I would definitely advise him to have an STI test.”
Bond lacks emotional attachment to his partners; he doesn’t seem to think of them once the affair is over. Psychologist Oliver James thinks Bond displays psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. “People with that collection of traits do tend to be sexually promiscuous,” James said, adding that they also tend to be charismatic and charming.
Of course, the storyline demands that Bond remain unattached. He married in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” but his bride was killed on their wedding day. When he fell in love in “Casino Royale,” his beloved drowned after betraying him.
“He can have something closer to an emotional relationship, but the Bond format can’t allow that to endure,” Lindner explains.