I came to see my affairs of the heart as
almost entirely rooted in the mating game
ADVENTURES IN EROTICA
relationships • 08.09.15
I became less romantic with years. It was the drip-effect of mundane events as they came to bear on my more fanciful notions about how the world was. This was especially so with women and sex. I realised, particularly when drives started to wane, just how much of a slave I’d been to my libido and its manifest agenda. I realised that love and lust could impact on the emotions in similar ways.
Thus I began to understand myself more as a material being. I saw that all humans are cut from the same cloth, all are animals with animal needs whatever the moral codes. I pictured culture as veneer on top of a near infinite physical, chemical and biological reality. Such a realisation wasn’t depressing. It was just a healthy disillusionment, part of a process of observing things as they are rather than how I wanted them to be. Knowledge was replacing belief.
Thoughts like these were the context in which I set out to write about my experience of sex. The writings were decidedly not about the complex dynamic that attended a relationship life. They were mainly about the fucking, the doing of it and the withholding of it, divested of romance. They were about how I came to see my affairs of the heart as almost entirely rooted in the mating game.
There was a further factor. I discovered some 19th Century erotic literature, the memoirs of Cora Pearl, a celebrated English courtesan. This was interesting because I’d long felt an absence of suitable vocabulary for talking about sex, especially its baser aspects. Too many taboos and repressions got in the way. It seemed that the processing of desire was made too difficult for too many people by stupid rules, ethical precepts and social imperatives alongside having to submit to an entire edifice of legal and financial conventions devised for the controlling of intimacy. Add to that a profusion of jokey vernacular to contend with from sexist men and it was not a pretty picture.
All of this meant one could easily be denied any artful depiction around that most essential of human activities: sex. Pearl’s unabashed narrative served as antidote. Together with an increasingly unromantic worldview it helped me contrive a form of personalised erotica using some of my own amatory adventures as story material. Out of discretion they’re not represented here.
When reading back, treating the women as purely sexual, deliberate though it was, I wondered if I was branding myself no better than the kind of men I despised. Obviously an alternative sexism was not the intention. When I wrote romantically about relationships it felt pretentious. When I wrote about raw sex it read much more truthfully. Authenticity was the endeavour, a returning to something lost perhaps, a liberation from what came of imposing too strong a moral conscience on top of the deep seated drives from desire.