Leave Britain behind and kick back on an island with a higher population density than London! This week: Portsmouth

What’s it about?

If you crave the island lifestyle, look no further: the beaches and bars of Portsea Island and its city, Portsmouth, lure exchange students from London, sailors on shore leave and people who took the wrong turning to Brighton and are in for a shock. But relax! You’re on island time!

Any good points?

Laid-back vibes cover Portsmouth like a film of diesel over a cross-channel ferry port, so uptight mainlanders – get used to it. The language along Commercial Road is as colourful as the disposable lighters at its market, so relax and enjoy a slowed-down, carefree existence where you’re never more than five minutes from a crazy golf course.

And leave your dress code in the office. Even in the city centre you’ll come across people not wearing any shoes. Now that’s what we call island style!

A word of warning. Just like North Shore Hawaii, locals can be protective. And so would you be if the world wanted a piece of your backyard! Remember to show respect whether sharing the waves, waiting for a refund in Primark or discussing the conservatorship of a parking space.

Wonderful landscapes?

The best view in Portsmouth is from your hammock, cocktail in hand, looking back towards the mainland and all those suckers stuck in the nine-to-five. Don’t they know the beach is calling?

Alternatively, when you get tired of sand and sewage between your toes, there’s the historic dockyard, a number of incongrously high towers and shitloads of fucking ships.

Hang out at…

This is your island in the sun! But, with a rainy season running from July one year to June the next, please dress accordingly.

Catch the breeze along Southsea seafront, have a splash if the mood takes you, and – just like in Fiji, the Maldives or Bali – watch out in the shallows. If you feel the prick of an ocean hazard go straight to A&E and ask for a hepatitis shot. It’s not a sea urchin.

The Burj al-Arab is Dubai’s take on Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower. But while the Emirati pretender might enjoy glossier column inches it doesn’t have a discount Mambo shop nearby, only lesser brands like Chanel, Dior and Burberry. And savvy shoppers know that factory seconds beats tax-free any day.

If you’re tired of the beach and shopping (as if!) head to Hillsea Lido. It’s an outdoor swimming pool offering all the same things as the beach but you have to pay and the swimming area is bloody tiny.

It’s your little slice of paradise. But ssssh! Don’t tell everyone!

Where to buy?

Old Portsmouth has apartments by the water. You can be out of your front door and feeling the stones between your toes in the time it takes to set your out-of-office.

Southsea’s enviable situation commands top prices, and you’ll see why. You’re seconds from the beach and there’s a Co-op – a convenience store, similar to the ‘Tesco’ you may know from mainland Britain – on every corner.

Looking to buy cheap? Fuck off back to mainland Britain. You can’t afford to live in the UK’s maritime Manhattan.

From the streets: 

Jack Browne, aged 29: “Growing up island-style meant summers spent fishing, exploring and camping under the stars. Red Dead Redemption 2 really is a hell of a game.”

Lauren Hewitt, aged 18: “Me and my friends killed a holidaymaker by dropping a rock on his head. We’ve sworn we’ll never tell.”

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Sex questions you should never ask your regular shag, with the Mash sex columnist

GOOD sex is about asking questions of partners who you’re never going to see again, whose answers you can trust. Not your actual husband, girlfriend or fuckbuddy. 

Yes, you need to know if – for example – women like having their nipples yanked. No, you can’t ever say ‘well I did at first, when I was into you, but I’ve hated it since 2014’ to the man you’ve got a mortgage with.

Which is why you’re better off not asking your actual regular shag a single damn thing, and especially not these:

How many people have you slept with?

Like making a cake with a toddler, like pissing at a bus stop, like a surprise finger up the butt on the final strokes, this will be messy. But at the same time it’s only natural to be nosy and wonder if you’ve entered this long-term relationship as the winner. Problem is they’ll want to know yours too.

Only one of you gets to feel like a fucking hero – ‘Boom, 24 shags for me! Low self-esteem through my 20s and compensating with sex has paid off! Take that, wanker!’ – and the losing partner will be haunted by the imbalance until his dying day. Or he tries to make up the difference with affairs, whichever’s worst.

Do you still fancy me?

They’ll say yes. Come on, they’re not a fucking idiot and it would be sexual suicide not to. The days when rutting came as easily as getting up for a piss at 4am, but maintaining the illusion that one day you’ll shag again is key to staying together. It’ll happen, right?

And so your partner will obviously answer yes, they’re into you, albeit slightly dismissively and a little too quickly, to keep the possibility of a comeback tour alive in both your hearts. Which still isn’t a proper answer. But ask yourself honestly: would you fancy you?

What kind of porn do you watch? 

You don’t want to know. And once you’ve opened the Pandora’s box of sexual honesty, nothing can be put back in. A mistimed joke about arseholes and vacuum cleaner attachments and you’ll never be able to meet Henry’s, or Hetty’s, cartoon eyes again.

If he says some vanilla shit like ‘loving blowjobs’ you’ll never believe him, even though it’s exactly what he’s not getting at home. If she blurts out a confession about group sex you’ll never mention it again but it’ll hang in the air like a ghost.

Best never to ask, then you won’t have to shoulder the weight of the knowledge. Anyway, isn’t the answer always the same: younger, more attractive people than us?

Do you like it when I do this?

No answer works. Say yes and every time you’re reaching toward orgasm she’ll begin tickling your balls. Say no and the sex you’re currently having will end in recrimination and personal abuse before anyone reaches the six-year box.

Perfect relationships between perfect people, like in the Lover’s Guide videos that lied to a generation, would use this question as a springboard to broaching the subject of what you actually would like your partner to do. Never risk being this emotionally open. Keep your mouths shut and guess away.

Shall we spice things up a bit?

You’ll feel like a fucking minx just asking the question. But think of the consequences. The evenings Googling ‘cheap bondage gear’ and waiting in trepidation for the postman. Trying to get the Bluetooth on a remote vibrator to connect to your phone.

If they say ‘fuck no’? That’s a whole other death knell. What hope is there for your Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition fantasy now? Keep your mouth shut and let actions speak instead of words. Turn over and go to sleep.