Actually, it is only a partial distinction between differing aspects of the erotic phenomenon taken as a whole. The love with which our research is concerned is essentially passion-love, the only type that deserves the name of love. I call that state love. It is normally an integrating part of passion-love. Taken on its own, it forms the lower limit of passion- love, but it always retains that intrinsic quality.
In general it is important here to establish the fundamental difference between our concept and that of the positivists. The difference lies not in the physical or biological interpretation, but in the root meaning of sexual union; for otherwise we both see in that union the essential end and conclusion of every experience based on mutual attraction between the sexes, the center of gravity of all love. At this point we have the precipitate, I he movement to the act, and the consummation the natural terminus ad quern or end purpose which is the point and purpose of the erotic experience.
The highest form of love between man and woman is, in a sense, unreal without that short circuit, the coarsest form of which is the climax of the sexual orgasm; and it is precisely this which encompasses the transcendental and nonindividual dimension of sex. It is true that Platonic love can also take us beyond the individual through continuous and absolute self-denial, but only as a spiritual disposition. It can bear fruit in a different way, but not in the actual experience, in a true fission of the being.
We therefore oppose the concept that represents as progress and enrichment the passage from sexual love to domestic love consisting mainly ol afl'ection and social feeling, based on family life, offspring, mill all the rest. Lor this represents existentially not a plus but a minus and a sharp drop in level. In such forms, the contact with pi nuordial loivcs, however dim to begin with, is lost or kept only by 12 The Metaphysics of Sex reflex action.
The Evolution of Love
From a metaphysical point of view, man creates with it an illusory solution for that need for confirmation and ontological completeness which constitutes the essential and unconscious basis of the sexual impulse. The best-known exponent of this school was D.
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It is the imagination, the intellect, the principles, the education, the tradition. Leave the instincts to themselves and they will do very little evil. She is the door by which we come in and go forth. In her we return to the Father, just like those who, blind and unconscious, were present at the transfiguration.
However, in spite of this view, he fell into an avoidable ambiguity and made an ideal of salvation out of a mutilation. On an erotic level imitation of nature becomes imitation of the beast. Thus, to define love and sex in man requires a group of complex factors, which in certain cases may even include what may seem to be perversion when compared with an animal criterion.
In man, sex has its own specific physiognomy.
It is already free to a very large extent — the more the individual is differentiated, the freer it is — from the bonds and seasonal periods of sexual excitement that are maintained in animal sexuality and more so in the case of females than males. Man can desire and make love at any time, and that is a natural extent of his love. Basically, physical sexual desire never exists in man; the desire of man is substantially always psychic, and his physical desire is only a translation and transposition of a psychic desire.
Only in the most primitive individuals does the circuit close so fast that only the terminal fact of the process is present in their consciousness as a sharp, driving carnal lust unmistakably linked to physiological conditional qualities which take the foremost place in animal sexuality. The instincts of reproduction and for preservation are denominated the fundamental forces, linked to the species, which operate in man its much as in beasts. Instinct in y ynan.
The knowledge that the union of man and woman, moved by sexual desire and sensualism, can resuk in the begetting ofa. We find this confirmed in the fact that some primitive peoples attributed births to causes bearing no relation to coitus. Reproduction is a possible outcome of sexual activity but is not in any way included in the actual experience of sexual excitement. It is unthinkable to associate the most exalted models of human love in history and art, such as Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Paolo and Francesca, with a happy ending and a baby, or rather a whole brood as a crowning feature!
The fire burns, consumes, and does not produce. Children are only useful to unhappy women. When a man and woman copulate only to bring children into the world, they j certainly do not have this idea in mind at the moment of their union, nor is it this idea which arouses and transports them during coitus. Indeed, the primary fact is the attraction that arises between two beings of opposite sex, together with all the mysierv ami metaphysics which that attraction implies; il is the desire ol one lor the oilier, the Eros and Sexual Love 15 invincible impulse toward union and possession in which their acts obscure a still deeper impulse.
Some comments made by Solovieff are also relevant in this context.
Swann in Love (Chapter 3)
He showed the error in thinking that the reason for sexual love is the multiplication of the species. Many organisms in both the vegetable and the animal realms reproduce asexually; the sexual fact occurs in the reproduction not of the organisms in general but of the higher organisms. Although sexual love reaches its greatest importance and strength in man, he reproduces at a lower rate than the animal species. When we consider the two extremes of animal life, if multiplication without sexual love is at the lower end, then at the upper end, the summit, there will be sexual love that can exist with an almost complete lack of reproduction, but with the fullest expression of passion.
It is unknown to die persons involved, whom indeed it deceives and uses as mere tools. Essentially, these are mere speculations on the borders of Darwinism, and their one-sided and abstract nature is obvious. First, this mechanism of biological end purpose should belong to the unconscious to which it was assigned most decidedly by E. It would have to be a fully unconscious instinct that steers an individual toward the particular man or woman who shows the most suitable qualities for re- production since there is nothing of this kind present in the cons- ciousness of the one who loves and desires.
The elementary attraction of the sexes and the fluid-intoxication that arises between them is innocent of such an instinct or its hidden knowledge. As we shall see later, even when looked at from the outside and strippedof subjective evidence, the problem of sexual choice is much more complex than the theory of natural selection implies. If we shift our attention to a mundane activity, nourishment, and compare it to sexual choice, we find that no man but the most primitive will choose or prefer only those foods best suited for the survival of his organism.
Moreover, we should expect to find a reduced sexuality among the less noble examples of the human species; yet it is in fact the most primitive people who are the most prolific. The mental and physical characteristics ol an individual depend on the specific combination of his parents' Eros and Sexual Love 17 chromosomes, which bear complex and remote heredities that may not appear at all in the phenotype of visible qualities of the parents.
Such an absurd conjecture is not very profitable since it would be necessary, whenever insemination takes place, to see which female and which male chromosomes will prevail, joining together to give form to the new being. Even biological science has not mastered this knowledge. Often, and not by pure chance, such unions are childless. Man can indeed fall if he allows himself to be unnaturally overwhelmed by the daemon of bios, and it is at this level that procreation takes place. In man there is a uonbiological element that activates the sexual process even at the moment when sex invests and moves the physical element, bursting out in insemination.
The procreative instinct, especially in the selective function imagined by Schopenhauer and the followers of Darwin, is a myth. Between love and procreation there is no direct, living connection. They are so integral a part of human erotic experience 1 hat when lacking, the purely physical union may lose a great part of its interest and, in certain cases, be thwarted and rendered primitive.
Kissing, for instance, is not required for procreation, and if kissing on i he mouth is not universal, equivalent customs such as rubbing noses or touching w'ith the forehead have an erotic purpose. A biological end purpose would he content with a simple and strictly localized act, whereas these and other aspee. Let us take the theory that sets the tendency toward pleasure at the very base of sexual instinct.
Nova et vetera
The teachings of Freud, therefore, were mistaken in his earliest phase when he established the pleasure principle, the Lustprinzip, as the basis not only of eros but of the whole human psychic life. In this the theories of Freud were just the products of his time. In periods of decadence such as the present one, sensuality develops in the dissociated form of simple pleasure. As a result, sex becomes a kind of drug, and the addiction to it is no less profane than actual drug addiction. The art of love once existed as a discipline that was not reduced to an assemblage of devices and techniques depending on mere lust.
This art was known in ancient times and is still practiced among Eastern peoples.
Both then and now, women skilled in this art have been esteemed and respected no less than virtuosi of any other art. In the days of Polybius, statues of courtesans stood in temples and public buildings near those of Eros and Sexual Love 19 soldiers and statesmen. Such women in Japan have also been honored with monuments. And, as with every art in the traditional world, there is associated with this art a secret knowledge. Pries- tess prostitutes of the ars amandi were linked to certain initiatic cults. The higher capabilities of the experience of eros will not manifest when this experience takes place in its coarsest and blindest forms.
If this is present, the touch of a hand can sometimes provoke a greater intoxication than any skillful activation of erogenous zones. In the meantime it will be useful to debunk certain sexological views that have been formulated regarding this question, since our intention is to free this field of every materialistic explanation of eros. The latter has to be content with stating the fact and showing only its nervous mechanism.
In this field, as in so many others, ambiguities have multiplied owing to the failure to distinguish the content of the experience itself from the conditions that are needed for ii to occur, even more so when such conditions are studied by physiology rather than by psychology. We should ask ourselves why analogous processes, beginning with the emptying of the bladder timing urination, do not bring as much pleasure. Next, it is obvious 1 hat this theory can be right, if al all, in the case of man only, since the 20 The Metaphysics of Sex sexual climax in woman is not linked to an ejaculation.
In her the appearance of vaginal secretions runs parallel to her general state of erotic excitement and may even be lacking; if vaginal fluids are secreted by a woman, they are linked to the reduction of swelling, to the lessening of congestion of the blood in the sexual organs, which in some cases may coincide with the moment when she is bathed with semen but in other cases is independent thereof and, in any event, is only the effect of a psychic and nervous fact. Sexologists have mistakenly paid little attention to the fact that orgasm can be felt in a dream without ejaculation by both men and women.
Some say that this pleasure can have a more ecstatic and all- pervasive nature than that of the actual sexual act, and we shall see the reason for this. Correctly interpreted, it is the normal association of pleasure with the physiological that automatically brings the dreaming person back to the physically conditioned plane by interrupting the process.
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In principle, however, the pleasure, in the dream can be adopted as one of the arguments for demonstrating the possibility of an erotic process separated.. Men can even experience pleasure in sleep when generative capacity has become exhausted through old age or when the ability to ejaculate has been destroyed by traumatic conditions in the nervous ducts. For that matter, the impulse to coitus cannot be understood by a materialistic explanation in the animal world either and is, in a certain way, endogenous.
Some experiments, conducted first by Tarchanoff, showed that in certain cases the seminal vessels of an animal were empty before copulation and filled up gradually during copulation, thus inverting the relationship between cause and effect; far from being governed by the state of fullness and swelling of the organs, the sexual impulse itself brought about that state.
Eunuchs whose seminal glands have been removed usually suffer from sexual anesthesia; yet there have been cases where their sexual desire persists and even becomes sharpened. In some instances, desire is so intense that, far from needing depletion, it drives the genital organs to the extremes of their capability, doing violence to nature so that man emits blood rather than semen. Also, a very high intensity of desire can inhibit rather than provoke ejaculation we shall return to this point.
This becomes a torment. Thus, Havelock Ellis, after various attempts to explain sensual pleasure, again concluded that the impulse which leads to pleasure is, in a certain way, independent of the seminal glands-and-. Other modern research has attempted to explain sexual excitement as an effect of hormone intoxication; indeed some have cited this cause as the very basis of falling in love.
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