Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

Sex was never talked about in our house. If a naked toe appeared on screen, my mum would run across the room and change the channel. When watching athletics highlights, if Linford Christie was slightly out of breath after the 100m, my dad would take the heavy breathing to be a suspicion that we were watching porn and storm downstairs shouting, “Haven’t you got homework to do?”

Their attitude to sex is like bungee jumping – they say, “You only need to do it once.” This only made me more curious. Especially since my parents have five children – I was never good at maths, but I deduced even they had “done it” five times.

Everything appeared sexual to my parents. If I wore make-up, to them it meant I had 10 boyfriends. If I was on the phone a lot, it meant I was running a brothel. If I wore a Lycra minidress, it meant I was a hooker.

Twenty years later, nothing has changed. The last time I was home, Iwas flicking through the channels when Hollyoaks appeared. Two people were kissing. Mum covered her face and said, “There’s no need for this. It’s only Tuesday.”

They use euphemisms and strange noises when talking about the neighbours’ sexual activity. If there are loud noises coming from next door, my parents will say things like, “They’re mmmm ooooh, eeeh… enjoying themselves at number 45.”

I just wish they’d say sex!