QOTD: Eroticism Is The Work of Women


“Among ourselves, we have made the distinction between pornography and eroticism. Pornography treats sexuality grotesquely to bring it back to the animal level. Eroticism arouses sensuality without this need to animalize it. And most of the women I have discussed this with agree they want to develop erotic writing quite distinct from a man’s. The stance of male writers does not appeal to women. The hunter, the rapist, the one for whom sexuality is a thrust, nothing more. Linking eroticism to emotion, to love, to a selection of a certain person, personalizing, individualizing, that will be the work of women. There will be more and more women writers who will write out their won feelings and experiences.”

Anaïs Nin – Eroticism in Women, 1974 from In Favor of the Sensitive Man and other essays

2 Comments Add yours

  1. M.R. Greer says:

    While I love Anaïs and her writing, this quote doesn’t sit well with me. It seems to define what women and men want from sex in very limiting ways. Men are not mere “thrusters” and women can desire sex to be nothing but a “animalism”. I resent the idea that a coincidence of biology defines my relationship with sex, and the quote seems to ignore the variety of real-life desire.

    Erotica lives somewhere between creator and consumer. What is erotic to one person may be pornographic to another, in a generically infinite variation of lust. The most explicit porn, no matter the production value or absence of artistic sensibility, may bring the height of erotic bliss to some. To others, the mere act of removing a stocking is the height of appeal. The aesthetics of sex is a very personal thing, and generalizations rarely suit the subject.

    The only line in the quote that doesn’t get my hackles up is the final one: “There will be more and more women writers who will write out their won [sic] feelings and experiences.” Amen to that.


    1. ST says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment! This is exactly the kind of conversation I was hoping to start. I certainly agree, and think to the writing of Henry Miller as an easy example, whatever ones feelings of Miller are. I personally like the sweet spot between pornography and erotica – in this description – where the lines are juicy and gentle all at the same time.

      “She rises up out of a sea of faces and embraces me, embraces me passionately— a thousand eyes, noses, fingers, legs, bottles, windows, purses, saucers all glaring at us an we in each other’s arm oblivious. I sit down beside her and she talks— a flood of talk. Wild consumptive notes of hysteria, perversion, leprosy. I hear not a word because she is beautiful and I love her and now I am happy and willing to die.”

      ― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

      Liked by 1 person

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