Men speak her name in lascivious tones, eyes back-lit with lust.
But though she made her name on her sexiness, at 71 she is complaining loudly about today’s sex-crazed culture.
We are all turning into sex addicts: “We have equated happiness in life with as many orgasms as you can possibly pack in,” she says.
Your first thought may be that this is all rather hypocritical, coming from the woman who fuelled fantasies around the globe when she stepped into the movie One Million Years BC in a teeny fur bikini.
And that this particular momma turned red-hot for her son’s wedding to Freddie Trueman’s daughter back in 1990, arriving in a clingy, strippy-strappy dress that looked like it had been borrowed from the film Indecent Proposal’s props department. (The marriage, by the way, turned out to be as short as the groom’s mother’s hemline).
But actually, cast your minds back to publicity shots of Raquel looking luscious and you’ll see very little. Welch never posed naked with one of those wet-lipped, open-mouthed porn faces. She was nowhere near as overtly sexual as today’s pop stars are in videos aimed at teenagers.
If men remember her as hugely sensual, it is because her pose and her demeanour left lots to be desired, as it were. It proves her point; sexiness comes from subtle suggestion firing the imagination.
“Back in my day we didn’t have to hear about sex all the time. They’re ruining us with all the explanations and the graphicness,” she insists. “Nobody remembers what it’s like to be left to form your own ideas about what’s erotic and sexual.”
Far from being a hypocrite, Raquel, a sex bomb in an altogether more innocent age, is probably one of the best-placed to comment; she’s more acutely aware that sexuality has moved on a million years in just a few decades. And that greater liberation and freedom has come at a price.
For proof, look no further than website Mumsnet’s discovery that some 10per cent of women say they have been raped.
One in 10 – it sounds improbably high. So does another alarming statistic from their We Believe you campaign; that when women are sexually assaulted or raped, 83 per cent don’t report it.
But then stop and think about all the women you know who have experienced a sexual encounter gone-wrong.
After a few too many glasses of wine, a friend of mine realised the man she had dated a couple of times but never had sex with was helping himself while she was too out of it to refuse.
I remember feeling I “had” to say yes to a guy I was dating but wasn’t totally sure of, because I was staying at his house and he’d just cooked me dinner.
Many cases go unreported because women either don’t think they will be believed, or we feel in some way we’re to blame; that we got ourselves into the situation. And should we really be making a fuss, when sex is what everyone is supposed to be doing?