Last week the British Daily Mirror printed a story
about a particularly clueless German couple. As the article put it:
"Fertility doctors were baffled when a perfectly-healthy couple claimed they couldn't have children - until they confessed they had never made love. The husband, 36, and his 32-year-old wife thought that all they had to do to make a baby was to lie next to each other and let nature take its course."
This story got picked up by wire services, and soon was being linked to all over the internet. But was there actually any truth to the story?
The snopes website
, skeptical of the story, pointed out that 'tales of sexually naive adults who don't understand what sex is' are a common subject for urban legends. But other internet sleuths dug a little deeper and discovered that the Daily Mirror's
story actually derived from a real case. Comments left at Der Schockwellenreiter website
(in German) pointed to this April 2003 medical article
describing a couple who sought fertility treatment at the Lubeck clinic, only to later confess that after eight years of marriage they had never actually had sex. The reason: the husband suffered from erectile dysfunction.
Another article from the Medical Tribune
describes this same case in more detail (the article is in German, so I used BabelFish to produce a rough translation of it
). So the Daily Mirror's
story improves on the actual case quite a bit. A whole lot, in fact. But it's not complete fiction. The author of the article was Allan Hall, a reporter based in Germany who regularly sells stories to the British tabloids (back in the 1990s he was the London Sun
's New York correspondent). He seems to enjoy taking weird stories and juicing them up to make them even weirder. Headlines from some of his other stories include, "Dog Called Adolf Gave Nazi Salute to Children
," "My Twins Had Different Dads," and "Eaten By His Pet Spiders
" (this final article was apparently also more fiction than fact
). (I got many of these links via Heiko Hebig