Can We Really Trust Ourselves? The Art of Lust

We all know it… the whip of lust, adrenaline rush of wanting all at once or, as was seductively described by Maureen Medved in The Tracey Fragments

“One day you fall for this boy. And he touches you with his fingers. And he burns holes in your skin with his mouth. And it hurts when you look at him. And it hurts when you don’t. And it feels like someone’s cut you open with a jagged piece of glass.”

or perhaps Saul Williams in Said the Shotgun to the Head

“Have you ever lost yourself in a kiss? I mean pure psychedelic inebriation. Not just lustful petting but transcendental metamorphosis when you became aware that the greatness of this being was breathing into you. Licking the sides and corners of your mouth, like sealing a thousand fleshy envelopes filled with the essence of your passionate being and then opened by the same mouth and delivered back to you, over and over again – the first kiss of the rest of your life. A kiss that confirms that the universe is aligned, that the world’s greatest resource is love, and maybe even that God is a woman. With or without a belief in God, all kisses are metaphors decipherable by allocations of time, circumstance, and understanding”

 

We have all known it, since the moment we have transformed into adults, pretty young back then but still… adults.

Lust… the word first used before twelfth century and defined as a strong feeling of sexual desire – makes you wonder – is it a constant occurrence in our lives, or we tend to grow out of it, as if it were a pair of worn-out jeans?

Furthermore, are we entitled to the feeling, even upon passing the so-called ‘young age’, even upon reaching certain life milestones: establishing long-term partnership, having a house, a garden, maybe kids, and a dog?

Surprisingly enough, once we reach all the goals we realize: nothing ever changed. The spark we had within us is still there, burning, now even more fiercely, persistent and strong. With maturity we become confident in what we do want and what not, so sparking that fire within us may not be as frequent yet once it happens, fireworks are sure to follow.

So… here I was, thirty-nine, committed, life established on solid grounds… was it for lack of excitement and wanting to feel alive again, or perhaps reasons more frivolous, wanting to escape the defined path into unknown, for mere pleasure of expectation, that I have found myself prone to this rush and jitters of feeling lustful again?

There was nothing unusual in what I was feeling constantly, C. JoyBell C. describes it perfectly when she says…

“I don’t know why people are afraid of lust. Then I can imagine that they are very afraid of me, for I have a great lust for everything. A lust for life, a lust for how the summer-heated street feels beneath my feet, a lust for the touch of another’s skin on my skin…a lust for everything. I even lust after cake. Yes, I am very lusty and very scary.”

Each age carries its peculiarities within, and the most important one in the mid-life and its crisis, is that all of a sudden, you become irresistibly comfortable with the person you have become, with no need for approval, justification or explanations. You simply – are.

And I was. I am. And am irreversibly in love with myself. And that is liberating.

Are we all in quest for liberation?

C. JoyBell C. wraps it up perfectly when saying

“I’m not in search of sanctity, sacredness, purity; these things are found after this life, not in this life; but in this life I search to be completely human: to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to get lost, to be found, to dance, to love and to lust, to be so human.”

 

But maybe the best description of lust in maturity is found in a confession by Catherynne M. Valente in Deathless

“Koschei smiled. His pale lips sought hers, crushing her into a kiss like dying. She tasted sweetness there, as though he still kissed her with honey and sugar on his tongue. When he pulled away, his eyes shone.

“I don’t care, Marya Morevna. Kiss him. Take him to your bed, and the vila, too, for all it matters to me. Do you understand me, wife? There need never be any rules between us. Let us be greedy together; let us hoard. Let us hit each other with birch branches and lock each other in dungeons; let us drink each other’s blood in the night and betray each other in the sun. Let us lie and lust and take hundreds of lovers; let us dance until snow melts beneath us. Let us steal and eat until we grow fat and roll in the pleasures of life, clutching each other for purchase. Only leave me my death — let me hold this one thing sacred and unmolested and secret — and I will serve you a meal myself, served on a platter of all the world’s bounty. Only do not leave me, swear that you will never leave me, and no empress will stand higher. Forget the girls in the factory. Be selfish and cruel and think nothing of them. I am selfish. I am cruel. My mate cannot be less than I. I will have you in my hoard, Marya Morevna, my black mirror.”

 

So here I was, mature enough, and lustful as ever… it was not that feeling that excited me as much, as knowing that the newly found lust is not necessarily to be kept secret. So maybe this not-so-innocent musing can be best wrapped up by a uncanny toast by Patricia Highsmith for New Year’s Eve, 1947…

“My New Year’s Eve Toast: to all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace.”

 

Love Gina Wings

 

 

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Secret Love Two Centuries Away: Ludwig van Beethoven

 

It is July 6th and 7th, year 1812. Love letters, addressed to the Immortal Beloved were safely placed in a drawer, to be found, unsent, in the composer’s estate after his death.

 

immortal beloved

 

Love and longing are almost tangible in each word he puts down, and we all, familiar with love’s pains and sufferings, can relate to every single one…

“… why this deep grief, where necessity speaks – can our love exist but by sacrifices, by not demanding everything. Can you change it, that you are not completely mine, that I am not completely yours?”

And, as always in love, there is hope that keeps the love alive. With every word the object of his affection is less distant and more real…

“We will probably see each other soon, only, today I cannot convey to you my observations which I made during these few days about my life – If our hearts were always close together, I would have no such thoughts. my heart is full with so much to tell you – Oh – There are moments when I feel that language is nothing at all.”

But maybe the most loving, sincere words filled with longing and desire are kept in letter written the day after…

 

immortal beloved

 

“Good morning, on 7th July.
While still in bed my thoughts turn towards you my Immortal Beloved, now and then happy, then sad again, waiting whether fate might answer us – I can only live either wholly with you or not at all, yes I have resolved to stray about in the distance, until I can fly into your arms, and send my soul embraced by you into the realm of the Spirits – yes unfortunately it must be – you will compose yourself all the more since you know my faithfulness to you, never can another own my heart, never – never – O God why do I have to separate from someone whom I love so much, and yet my life in V[ienna] as it is now is a miserable life – Your love makes me at once most happy and most unhappy – at my age I would now need some conformity[,] regularity of my life – can this exist in our relationship? – Angel, I have just heard that the mail coach goes every day – and thus I must finish so that you may receive the letter immediately. – be patient – only through quiet contemplation of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm; for only by calmly considering our lives can we achieve our purpose of living together.- be calm – love me – today – yesterday – What yearning with tears for you – you – you my life – my everything – farewell – oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your Beloved

L.

Forever thine

Forever mine

Forever us.”

 

immortal ever mine

 

Supposedly romantic as he was, Ludwig, despite many liaisons, was unable to form a lasting attachment to one woman, and had remained single his entire life. With this fact in mind, I cannot help but wonder whether such depth of feeling, and such yearning would be possible if it had not been aimed at a person unattainable?

Is unavailability the crucial ingredient of longing so deep and intense, as if knowing that the one we are longing for is available, but not to an extent we are hoping for?

 

Beethoven

 

We’ve come a long way from mail carriages and weekly delivery – with today’s technology the most beautiful love messages are deleted – rather than kept in a drawer. Stolen in uncertainty and born out of longing and yearning, they are as ephemeral as summer dew… with the first glimpse of Sun they are gone. Yet they remain the most precious and most sincere, and, probably, the most loving of them all. There is an uncanny force in longing that makes the objects of our passions more precious, more wanted, more desired. With each hour passing the desire increases.

 

But, a romantic soul in every one of us will know… this is how love longing sounds like…

 

Love Gina Wings

Don’t Be Fooled: It Is Not Only Humans Who Do Sex For Fun

Meet bonobo apes: along with chimpanzees human’s closest relative, the three species sharing 99% genome.

Chimp_bonobo_Darwin

 chimp & bonobo & Darwin

image credit: National Geographic

Bonobos and chimpanzees diverged some 2 million years ago and have developed in quite different directions. While chimps are male dominated, strictly patriarchal society with alpha males and increased aggressiveness, bonobos live in a matriarchal society, are peaceful, calm and, to humans’ greatest surprise, quite sexual.

Bonobos have sex for sex’ sake and do it quite often with quite many partners. They are creative in it, too: performing oral sex, changing partners regardless the gender and… oh, well… you get the idea… sky is the limit, and bonobos, similar to their human counterparts, are quite imaginative indeed.

“The greatest difficulty which presents itself, when we are driven to the above conclusion on the origin of man (evolution through natural selection), is the high standard of intellectual power and moral disposition which he has attained.”

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871)

But, is it really so?

Is Mr. Darwin right, or he simply did not know better?

Now we know bonobos: emotional, emphatic, sexual and peaceful. It is important to point out that the species was first distinguished in 1928, and described in detail in a study by Eduard Paul Tratz and Heinz Heck published in the early 1950s. Yet, with this knowledge, I can not help but wonder:

Are we – humans – more intelligent and hence more advanced, or have we only not understood, or did not know our bonobo relative that well?

It is believed that sexuality has created humans: the moment we had raised on two feet, making our private parts not so easily attainable and quite concealed, sex has become an endless game of romance, seduction, pleasure and deceit. The game is so irresistible that we are prone to submission our lives to it, we live for it, we drive our zest for life from it.

In case of us, humans, is it derived from the simple biological imperative of reproduction so the show must go on, or do we do it for pleasure’s sake only?

And, if we do it for pleasure, how has it come in the picture in the first place?

We may check our relatives, bonobos, again… peaceful in nature,they are real animal hippies. It is believed that such calm nature of bonobos is the result of their sexuality: for them, sex is a way of reaching and experiencing pleasure, relieving stress and bonding. Considering they have sex quite often, it is no wonder they indeed are calm and cool. The developed sexuality is presumed to be a result of the abundant living environment they live in. Bonobos’ habitat is a 500,000 km2  (190,000 sq mi) area of the Congo river basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo: rain forest area with plenty of food within one’s reach. Therefore our relatives, unlike chimps, have never had the need to search for food, or have experienced the lack of it. Knowing not of scarcity has provided for spare time they can use to develop other interests – sex being one of the main. This further provides for possibility to create alliances and connections which is more attributable to females. Maybe this best explains why bonobos are matriarchal.

Musing further on this, a thought comes to mind: maybe we, humans, are not as advanced and superior as we like to see ourselves, but rather are unaware of other species and their ways.

It might be sex, it might be woman power, but bonobos indeed are one of the most interesting animal tribes.

Love Gina Wings

What Dangerous Liaisons Can Teach Us about Connection Between Sex and Power

Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power. – Oscar Wilde

In his only novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses first published in 1782, with English translation first appearing in 1898, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos depicts the seductions and deceit in France high class society circles at the end of eighteenth century. The plot revolves around Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquize de Merteuil who use their powers to turn sensuality into a game, thus creating a tangled web of seduction, affairs and betrayal. A story of infinite games of romance, Les Liaisons Dangereuses is, in its core, a story of power, questioning the connection between ultimate power, personality and sexuality: a question so actual and all-consuming, that the book was made into a great movie, Dangerous Liaisons, released in 1988.

This underlying question in core of the work is best depicted in the movie excerpt exploring independent woman’s survival in a wicked world of eighteenth century France.

 

And the dialogue script, revealing all there is to be known of woman’s position in a society:

– I often wonder how you managed to invent yourself.

Well, I had no choice, did I? I’m a woman. Women are obliged to be far more skillful than men. You can ruin our reputation and our life with a few well-chosen words. So, of course I had to invent not only myself, but ways to escape no one has ever thought of before… and I’ve succeeded because I’ve always known that I was born to dominate your sex and avenge my own.

– Yes, but what I asked was: how?

– When I came out in the society I was fifteen. I already knew that the role I was condemned to – namely to keep quiet and do what I was told – gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe: not to what people told me which, naturally, was of no interest but to whatever it was they were trying to hide. I practiced detachment, I learned how to look cheerful while under the table I stuck a fork into the back of my hand. I became a virtuoso of deceit. It wasn’t pleasure I was after, it was knowledge: I consulted the strictest moralists to learn how to appear, philosophers to find out what they think, novelists to see what I can get away with and in the end, I distilled everything into one wonderfully simple principle: Win or Die.

– So, you are infallible, are you?

If I want a man, I have him. If he wants to tell, he finds that he can’t. That’s the whole story.

– And, was that our story?

– I wanted you before we’d ever met: my self-esteem demanded it. Then, when you began to pursue me, I wanted you so badly. It’s the only time I’ve ever been controlled by my desire: single combat.

 

The whole situation makes one wonder is it all plain romance, or unconquerable yearning for power. Is power the secret, underlying motivator in all our endeavors? And, if so, what is to be gained from it? – the question even more important in lieu of the fact we are willing to put everything at stake just to taste it…

power… try it… own it… master it…

Irresistible in its entirety, Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a revolutionary masterpiece which has launched a whole new era of revealing the most deeply hidden truths, almost exclusively of power and control.

Love Gina Wings