On Pornography

384832586_42d75cd3bd_o

Sexual fantasy is as old as civilization (as opposed to as old as the race), and one of its outward and visible signs is pornographic literature, an entirely middle-class phenomenon, since we are assured by many investigators (Kinsey, Pomeroy, et al.) that the lower orders seldom rely upon sexual fantasy for extra-stimulus. As soon as possible, the uneducated man goes for the real thing. Consequently he seldom masturbates, but when he does he thinks, we are told, of nothing at all. This may be the last meaningful class distinction in the West.

Nevertheless, the sex-in-the-head middle classes that D.H. Lawrence so despised are not the way they are because they want deliberately to be cerebral and anti-life; rather they are innocent victims of necessity and tribal law. For economic reasons they must delay marriage as long as possible. For tribal reasons they are taught that sex outside marriage is wrong. Consequently the man whose first contact with a woman occurs when he is twenty will have spent the sexually most vigorous period of his life masturbating. Not unnaturally, in order to make that solitary act meaningful, the theater of his mind early becomes a Dionysian festival, and should he be a resourceful dramatist he may find actual lovemaking disappointing when he finally gets to it, as Bernard Shaw did. One wonders whether Shaw would have been a dramatist at all if he had first made love to a girl at fourteen, as nature intended, instead of at twenty-nine, as class required.

Gore Vidal
Pornography (1966)
United States: Essays 1952-1992

Photo by Frank KovalchekWhat’s been on man’s mind for a long time! Carnivale mask, Venice (2007)

Smelling Is Desiring

Photo by Beata Wilczek

The nose is really a sexual organ. Smelling. Is. Desiring.

We have five senses, but only two that go beyond the boundaries of ourselves. When you look at someone, it’s just bouncing light, or when you hear them, it’s just sound waves, vibrating air, or touch is just nerve endings tingling…

Know what a smell is? It’s made of the molecules of what you’re smelling. Some part of you, where you meet the air, is airborne. Little molecules of you…Up my nose.

Mmmm…Nice, Try it. Inhale…

Sssshhhh…

Smelling. And tasting. First the nose, then the tongue. They work as a team, see. The nose tells the body – the heart, the mind, the fingers, the cock – what it wants, and then the tongue explores, finding out what’s edible, what isn’t, what’s most mineral, food for the blood, food for the bones, and therefore most delectable…

Salt…Mmm. Iron. Clay…Chlorine. Copper. Earth…

What does that taste like?…

It tastes like ”nighttime”?…

…Stay?

From Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America (1991)

Photo by Beata Wilczek

Fever

Photo by Darlyne A. Murawski: Diatoms

I have brought back a good message from the land of 102 degrees:
God exists.
I had seriously doubted it before;
but the bedposts spoke of it with utmost confidence,
the threads in my blanket took it for granted,
the tree outside the window dismissed all complaints,
and I have not slept so justly for years.
It is hard, now, to convey
how emblematically appearances sat
upon the membranes of my consciousness;
but it is truth long known
that some secrets are hidden from health.

John Updike
Collected Poems 1953-1993

Photo by Darlyne A. Murawski: Diatoms

This Is It

Gore Vidal, 1992

Because there is no cosmic point to the life that each of us perceives on this distant bit of dust at galaxy’s edge, all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. Because there is nothing else. No thing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all.

Gore Vidal
Armageddon? (1987)
Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia

a cat is a cat is a cat is a cat

she’s whistling and clapping
for the cats
at 2 a.m.
as I sit here
with my
Beethoven.

“they’re just prowling,” I
tell her…

Beethoven rattles his bones
majestically

and those damn cats
don’t care
about
any of it

and
if they did
I wouldn’t like them
as
well:

things begin to lose their
natural value
when they approach
human
endeavor.

nothing against
Beethoven:
he did fine
for what he
was

but I wouldn’t want
him
on my rug
with one leg
over his head
while
he was
licking
his balls.

Charles Bukowski
You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense (1986)