Poet only had sex with 'small fraction' of men

Thu, Feb 12, 2009, 00:00

POET CATHAL Ó Searcaigh has said his sexual encounters extended no further than kissing and cuddling and that he only had sexual encounters with a “small fraction” of the men he knew.

In a frank interview with Hot Pressmagazine, Ó Searcaigh said he did not “indulge in anal intercourse” despite saying in the Fairytale of Kathmandudocumentary that he did have sex with young men who came to his room.

“I would say honestly, that for me, sexual activity is in the wanting, rather than the satisfaction. I don’t indulge in anal intercourse. I have nothing against it, but for me sexual attraction is about caressing, it is about kissing, it is about holding someone,” he said.

Ó Searcaigh has been the subject of controversy since the release of the documentary in March. In the film, its maker Neasa Ní Chianáin confronted him with the allegation that he used his position as a generous western benefactor to poor families in Nepal to exploit vulnerable teenagers to have sex with him.

He replied in the film: “The boys came to my room because my room is open all the time. I certainly had sex with them, yes, yes, yes, but I wasn’t coercing them into having sex with me.”

The interview, published in today’s Hot Press, took place after Ó Searcaigh decided not to appear on last Friday’s Late Late Showbecause RTÉ wanted to prerecord it for legal and taste reasons.

Ó Searcaigh denied claims that he had sex with 50 or 60 young men and said such claims were motivated by jealousy. He told the magazine he was in love with Naryan Panta, the Nepalese teenager for whom he was shown in the documentary buying a bicycle. In a DVD released last year in defence of Ó Searcaigh, Panta claimed that he was in a long-term emotional and physical relationship with the poet.

“Naryan, whom I love, with all my heart. Not alone do I love him, but we have a wonderful relationship still, and we are in contact with each other nearly every day,” Ó Searcaigh said.

He denied being a sex tourist and said he had never paid for sex.

When questioned about the number of men he had sex with, he replied: “I had sexual encounters – and that in the widest sense of the word – with only a small fraction of those that I knew. Reports of my virility are much exaggerated.”

He admitted to being “incensed” at the suggestion that his generosity towards families in Nepal was a ruse for him to have sex more often. “No, no, no, that is ridiculous. It was never shown in the film that I spend so much time with families, older people, conduct workshops with women in Nepal, the literati of Nepal are up in my room, elderly men talking about poetry, translating poetry, none of that comes across in the film.

“It is as if I am a continuously depraved Pied Piper, out on the streets, enticing all the young men of Thamal to a debauch,” he said.

When contacted last night, Ó Searcaigh said he had not seen the interview, and was legally constrained from saying anything.