Is Britain a nation of porn addicts trapped in the algorithm?

Michael lost whole days of his life to online pornography. He would skip through video after video to see “if the people were doing what I wanted them to do”, never watching one for more than a few seconds, desperate to find the best one, to get the best hit. He couldn’t stop.

The more the 49-year-old watched, the more extreme the material became. “You get desensitised because you are seeing so many images so quickly,” he said. “You need something more edgy to get the same level of arousal. So

Being a huge shark was bad enough. Now I’m a killer doll

Oh, it’s tough being me. Being a Megan, a Meghan, a Meg — maligned, defiled and slagged off. You may not have noticed, sheltered by your non-Megan name, but the world has a Megan problem. It’s exhausting.

At the moment I am a killer doll, in the horror film M3GAN. There are billboards — seemingly on every street corner and train platform — 6ft images of a wide-eyed and sallow girl doll lurking in a child’s bedroom. I can’t get off the Tube without giving myself a fright.

Before that I was an e

Constance Marten: the aristocrat missing with her lover and baby

Constance Marten’s life started in the sweeping corridors, drawing rooms and 5,000-acre parkland of Crichel House, Dorset. The daughter of a landed family with links to the royals, she had a talent for acting, a flair for languages and, it appeared, a glittering future ahead of her.

But she turned her back on champagne parties and holidays at ski resorts, and is now being sought by the police along with Mark Gordon, a man 13 years her senior.

In recent years, they had moved between terraced ho

From Luton to porn millionaire: how Andrew Tate became master of misogyny

Andrew Tate, self-proclaimed “trillionaire”, self-proclaimed “misogynist” and the most ubiquitous man on the internet, always said this would happen.

“First they attack your character and cancel you, then they put you in jail,” said Tate, 36, in an interview on YouTube in October. According to him, the “Matrix” — a group of elites that control the world — is threatened by his fearless free speech. And they are out to get him.

He continued: “I like to think that if anyone sees a media article w

I took my own stalker to court because police weren’t interested

It was only when Dr Marie Gerval took her car to the garage that she knew for certain she was being stalked. Fixed under the bonnet of the car was a tracking device.

The incident was part of what she sees as a wider campaign of stalking behaviour by Kelvin James, 58, a man she had employed as a handyman and briefly dated. “The experience has shaken all aspects of my life,” she said.

Gerval, a leading gynaecologist, has not been able to work for months due to anxiety and was diagnosed with post

Just Stop Oil bankrolled by fossil fuel heiress whose cash pays activists to protest

The Just Stop Oil activists who spent two nights last week suspended in hammocks above the Dartford Crossing in Kent were a long way from the main source of the group’s income: a coalition of wealthy individuals in the Hollywood Hills, including the heiress Aileen Getty.

Getty, 65, is the granddaughter of the oil tycoon J Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world. The family is thought to be worth £3.9 billion.

In 2020 she set up a non-profit organisation, the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF),

Harvey Weinstein, a feminist film and abuse claims: Brad Pitt’s in a #MeToo tangle

Brad Pitt — Hollywood golden boy, keen philanthropist and People magazine’s “sexiest man in the world” — has positioned himself as one of this year’s most feminist producers.

He is at the helm of She Said, a Me Too film about the epic battle fought by New York Times journalists to publish the story of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct and abuse.

“People have tried to write this story before and he [Weinstein] kills it every time,” said the trailer before its release next month.

“This is ab

Donald Burgess, 93, died after he was pepper-sprayed, hit with a baton and tasered in a care home — then it was covered up

Donald Burgess was a country lad. He lived near Battle, East Sussex, all his life and worked as a carpenter at a family-run builders’ merchant. He was a charmer, wangling a free lunch and a cup of tea wherever he worked, and a skilled tradesman, well-regarded by his peers and the apprentices he brought on. He built his own conservatory and read yesterday’s newspaper, the day after his wife, being too frugal to buy two copies.

After the death of his wife, a dementia diagnosis and a leg amputatio

Pseudo-science and fascism: the dark side of sperm donation

Publicly, Clive Jones claims to be the “world’s most prolific sperm donor”, the father of 112 children, all under the age of nine, and 14 more “on the way”. He advertises his virility on Facebook groups, liaises with a “recipient”, arranges a meeting, drives to the destination in his van and hands over a pot of his sperm to a woman who will go on to have his child.

What he does not promote to the women or in media interviews is his membership of a group that has promoted “total Aryanism”. He is

Logan Mwangi and Craig Mulligan: the two boys who never stood a chance

Craig Mulligan, 14, followed his stepfather, John Cole, everywhere. He followed him down the road from their flat in Bridgend, south Wales, over the River Ogmore, across the green and behind the row of houses where Angharad Williamson, Cole’s partner, lived with her five-year-old son, Logan Mwangi. “Every time I saw Cole I saw the boy behind him,” said a neighbour. “He was stuck to him.”

At 2.43am on July 31 last year, Craig followed Cole out of Williamson’s home and across the green. Over his

Billie Eilish: ‘I tried too hard to be desirable’

Time warps for Billie Eilish. This year she will visit 47 cities over six months on a worldwide tour, but in many ways “it feels like I’m never moving”, she says. “It feels very limbo.” For most of the trip she will either be in a pod on a bus, sleeping as they drive overnight to the next city; in windowless rooms deep in the belly of an arena, where she spends most of her waking hours; or on stage surrounded by hundreds of strobe lights and thousands of screaming fans.

It is disorientating. Re

Top Gun: Macho banter and passive women just don’t fly today

Every woman in Top Gun (1986) is there to be shagged, impregnated or widowed. They cook a nice dinner and don’t mind if you’re late. They drape themselves over you at bars, desperate for a whiff of petrol and power. They cry when you die.

I watched Top Gun for the first time this week, downloaded from Amazon Prime for £5.99. I recognised the soundtrack, the aviator sunglasses and Tom Cruise, the dinky little pilot Maverick, but not much else. So I wanted to see how, in the cold light of 2022, i

Why the suicide of my daughter, Caroline Flack, could have been prevented

There is a bench in a woodland in Norfolk that, in springtime, is surrounded by daffodils. It is where Christine Flack goes to feel like she’s alone with her daughter, Caroline Flack, who took her own life on February 15, 2020.

When the Love Island presenter died, the Metropolitan Police had been pursuing an assault charge against her in what her management would call a “show trial”. She had been chased out of her home by paparazzi and allegedly dropped by TV channels, her life the topic of soc

What I’ve learnt from living with men

For the majority of my adult life I have lived with mostly women. Our flatshares have been loud and intimate and claustrophobic — egging each other on to be unbearable show-offs, cackling too much, knowing too much about each other. But for the past year I have lived with two blokes, who also happen to be my friends. It has been fascinating. In fact, I have spent a large portion of that time sitting in a dimly lit corner of the house like a creep, making notes, just so that I can turn them both

The new middle-class gambling addicts: how day trading is ruining lives

Until he ended up jobless, bankrupt and with nowhere to live, Steven didn’t think he was a gambling addict. In fact, he didn’t even think he was a gambler — he thought he was a financial trader.

Like a growing number of mainly male professionals, Steven, an engineer, had started day trading from his laptop at home. What started as a hobby escalated quickly, and before long he had 200 internet tabs open across three different computer screens — constantly watching the financial markets, he said,

Ruth Wilson: ‘Being with one person forever? I’m not sure that’s natural’

Ruth Wilson has thought and talked a lot about marriage. She won a Golden Globe in the Showtime drama The Affair as Alison, a waitress in the town of Montauk, New York, who begins an extramarital relationship with Dominic West’s Noah. She played her own grandmother in the BBC drama Mrs Wilson, about the posthumous revelation of her grandfather’s polygamy — he married four women and fathered seven children — and, this spring, in the film True Things, she is Kate, a single thirtysomething who has

The Rolex Rippers: the female gang of thieves terrorising Middle England

The Ferrari was new. That was the problem. Normally, Gerry, 71, programmes the passenger doors of his Ferraris to lock when he is in the driver’s seat for safety reasons. But he had only owned the 458 Italia for a few days and he hadn’t set it up properly.

It was a Sunday morning in May and it was one of his first outings in it. Gerry and six of his friends had driven in “a number of high-value cars” to meet for a light breakfast. It was their weekend ritual. That day their destination was the

The army’s shameful secret: domestic abusers are still in uniform

Alice Ruggles was the sort of person who could make friends wherever she went. She loved to play pranks on her family, joke with colleagues, give birthday presents and sing karaoke. “Everyone around her found it very easy to love her,” her mother Sue said.

When Ruggles, a sales executive, was 24, she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Trimaan Dhillon, a serving soldier. He broke into her flat and slit her throat after she broke up with him.

After her death, the family learnt that Dhillon had pr

Why was clearing out my childhood bedroom so emotional?

I moved out of my parents’ house very slowly and then all at once. It was the place I grew up — I lived there from the time I was five years old — and the place I always returned to. I kept all my stuff in that bedroom, packing it into smaller suitcases to take to university or on trips away, then bringing it back again. The house was my base, the centre of my life.

Recently I visited for a few days, went into my bedroom and realised that over the years, in slow motion, I had gutted it. Bit by

Emily Ratajkowski: ‘I had succeeded by commodifying my body. So why was I so unhappy?’

Emily Ratajkowski wants control. She wants control, she says, because there have been too many times in her life when she thought she had lots and claimed she had lots, but really she had very little.

Ratajkowski, 30, found fame as a model, her body primped, preened and positioned by other people in order to sell their clothes or sex up their music videos, most famously for the 2013 hit Blurred Lines. She gained wealth and power from being the object, the muse, a “good model”. But her power was

Cannabis psychosis: how super-powered skunk blew our minds

Ad Gridley was 18 when he smoked his first spliff. It contained high-potency cannabis, also known as skunk, and it got him stoned. He loved the sensation. It made him feel he was special, the chosen one, floating above normal life. “As if I was in the most exclusive religion in the world,” he says. Smoking weed soon became the only way he socialised and relaxed. In fact, other than going to work at a hotel every day, he didn’t do much else other than get high. Gridley expected the giggles, the m

Children of 9/11: ‘I spent my childhood expecting him to walk through the door’

Dan Wright was 13 years old when he first tried on his father’s motorbike helmet. He shut the visor, did up the strap and stood still in the kitchen, overwhelmed, not knowing what to do with himself. It smelt exactly like his dad. The padding on the inside was softened from his father’s years of commuting between their family home in New Jersey and his office at the World Trade Center in New York. The casing was scuffed from the time his dad slipped on an oil spill, skidding across three lanes o

I finally joined a dating app — and it’s making me feel unhinged

I have started collecting men — I keep them in my phone. All I have to do is open a dating app and there they are, on their little shelf. I can take them everywhere. If I want more I just browse until I find one that I fancy, then I click “like”. Add to basket. If he accepts my request then we are “matched”. Another one for the collection, to look at when I’m bored on the bus.

Online dating baffles me, perhaps because I am new to it, which is unusual for someone in their mid-twenties. It is biz

How real is Industry? The show’s writers on what it’s like to work in the City

Often, at the end of a long working week, one of the bosses at the investment bank would call Konrad Kay, a 23-year-old equity salesman, into his glass-walled office. As the boss looked out over his flunkies on the trading floor below, he would take off his jacket, his tie, his shirt, his shoes and his suit trousers. Then, standing in just socks and pink boxers, he would ask Kay how his week had been.

While Kay answered, pretending there was nothing out of the ordinary going on, the boss would
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