Love is but fleeting on Love island

It seems TV’s sexiest show has a big problem with sex itself and the men who are trying to perform it.

By Joshua Greedy – 10.07.17

We are all watching it apparently. Eyes glued to the screen, kids asleep, shades pulled down and only this year, readily admitting to watching the latest Love Island. Most recently the Queen herself confided in Prince Charles that she enjoyed the banter as much as the next commoner (I may have made that up). While Piers Morgan says, he doesn’t like it, which in our books, is as good enough a reason to watch it as anyone.The daily goings on of a bunch of well buffed, over oiled singles marooned on a lovely island with a quest to find partners is probably one of the oddest examples of popular television ever embraced by the British public. Or could this be a new social experiment to see just how far our tastes have dropped?

What have we learnt from this and other seasons of this strangely popular show?

We have learnt to be cautious of another’s thoughts is to be ‘spectacle’, not ‘sceptical’ as a contestant explained.We have learnt that it’s easy to ‘dry hump’ in front of others and all you need is apparently a sheet to hide your activities from your room mates.

What we haven’t actually seen is any great feats of actual lovemaking. We haven’t seen any real length of time spent ‘really’ consummating their relationships. There has been very little foreplay. So, what is taking place on our screens in this apparently sexual community?

Why does the sexual congress last all of 3 minutes if it does? Why is there no positional changes, no sounds, no physical intimacy? Why is this sex so sexless? And what signals is this sending or reinforcing in the general viewership?

Firstly, we must acknowledge that this is an unusual situation. Couples, only newly introduced are not going to sync sexually right away although these couples do seem to be primed for intimacy. Whether it’s the animalistic attraction of youth and a mixture of little clothing vs youth versus the commercial cash. These people are still human and share our own insecurities and fears of how we are perceived on camera, to a degree.While the cameras make it tough to become intimate, these guests have been selected for their exhibitionism and their lack of inhibitions. Secondly, while this is, as we are told, a sexy show and British TV has never been shy to push the boundaries of sex, the popularity of this show, screened close to the watershed at 9pm with major sponsor to please and Ofcom to fight still mean’s that careful editing has to take place. We do not know if the sex inferred is simulated, if its chopped and shaped to represent some form of sexual interpretation or if it actually is scripted. For instance, you never see a contestant stop and place a condom on before engaging nor does anyone on the close wired sound system seem to reach a climax. It is the Barbie doll version of sex, all simulated angles and no organs or fluids. Then there is the very real life issues that can come into play. It’s not easy to have sex on camera or in front of people no matter what these scripted individuals say. Last year saw the undignified spectacle of a John and Hannah crying over his apparent Erectile Dysfunction. In his defence, one could flip this on its head and ask, how can you feel comfortable with everyone watching?

Porn stars select their career path as they possess (to quote Liam Neeson) a very special set of skills, everyday people they are not. Love Island contestants are selected for their looks, not for other skills. Thus, these men and women are experiencing some of the very real sexual issues as in society – Erectile Dysfunction, premature ejaculation, body morphism and size issues. These are real issues on display currently affecting millions of men and women in the UK and they are playing out in front of us every night.

The evidence is fairly clear:  

  • Last season’s spectre of underperformance issues.
  • The times periods these sexual activities complete in – usually under 4 mins from beginning to end.
  • The obsession with muscles, grooming and size as discussed by both the women and men.
  • In a recent episode, two of the women were discussing how a particular contestant was too good to be true. Her friend replied back ‘maybe he has a small dick’ as they collapsed in laughter. It would be amazing to see 2 male contestants discussing their female partner’s vagina shape with the same mirth and candour.


Let’s first address the ED issue. This is a problem affecting up to 50% of men at some point in their life and while curable is still an extremely taboo topic. Premature ejaculation concerns a vast majority of men and their partner, causing relationship issues, a lack of confidence and unsatisfied love lives. And 42% of men have recorded a desire to have a larger penis. No one talks about these issues. These numbers indicate that men are underserved medically and educationally in terms of their sexual organs and will not seek treatment. A recent statistic indicated that 72% of men suffering from some form of Erectile Dysfunction in London, do not seek any treatment at all. In a way, Love Island has an unenviable position to bring these issues to light rather than sending dangerous signals about men’s and women’s roles in these manufactured sexual relationships.

The time length of these sexual activities, rarely more than 4 mins, is much shorter than widely accepted satisfying norms for couples. The other element that strikes a viewer as odd is that there seems to be no foreplay other than kissing in action. While graphic displays are not to be expected, the speed to which apparent penetration takes place is alarming for anyone which a more experienced view of sexual activity. Foreplay has been shown to be one of the main activities leading to pleasure and orgasm for women. Orgasm through penetration is a much rarer situation. Secondly, the definition of sex seems to be defined by the male time in action. There is no reference to the female partner reaching a climax. There is no discussion post-coital of technique or desires. There is little evidence of male climaxing either but how the show defines ‘sex’ seems to be determined by the male activity only. The way the act is referred to in the abstract as ‘the deed’ clearly provides a strange whitewashing of sexual activity reducing it to the male penetration action, with little satisfaction for the female participant.If we are to take Love Island as a microcosm of society’s popular vision of who we are (I would not advise this but logic would indicate as we usually watch what we relate to), indicate that all these factors play a role in defining us. To recap, it shows we are all grammatically vapid, physically obsessed with body shape and happy to bare skin for cash. We talk about sex endlessly and have no problem making fun of men’s body shapes yet our sex lives are premature, dysfunctional, defined by male participation only and apparently very, very quiet.It is a strange position to be in when our sex lives are represented as so sexless.

About the author

Joshua Greedy is Head of Marketing for International Andrology globally.

The medical issues raised in this article, while treated in a somewhat humorous manner affect men daily around the world and part of the mission for International Andrology is to raise these issues without prejudice, shame or disrespect to allow men to seek the treatment they need. Keep an eye out for a fantastic new awareness campaign later this year which will bring these male sexual health issues to light to provide men, women and their partners with clear solutions and help.International Andrology (IA) is a world leading organisation of highly qualified physicians and surgeons who have played major roles in the development and improvement of modern surgical techniques in the field of men’s sexual and reproductive health.

From its UK base in Queen Anne Street, International Andrology London offers the most advanced treatments for male sexual dysfunction, sub-fertility, aesthetic and functional urogenital surgery successfully treating problems like erectile dysfunction, Peyronie’s disease (extreme curvature of the penis) and premature ejaculation.In addition to utilising the latest evidence-based medicine and technologies to deliver the best medical and surgical treatments, the clinic also provides counselling, nutritional advice and lifestyle support.

International Andrology has clinics in London, Greece, Dubai and Italy is a member of International Andrology (IA) worldwide, an international collaboration network of leading practitioners. IA doctors are experienced Urologist-Andrologist surgeons and have played major roles in the development, co-development or improvement of many modern surgical techniques currently standardised throughout the world as well as pioneering holistic treatments covering a broad range of men’s health issues.