Erotic Interlude: Mysteries into Marriage
By Hapax Legomenon

99 Erotic Notions Index
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"So the mystery woman of Erotic Notion #18: Psyche's Revenge turns out to be nobody special," Lisa said. "I could have predicted that. Really, erotica plots are so predictable. Curiosity, thrill, disappointment. Don't stray from the formula."

"The story is more about the impression the woman left on the man than about the sex," I said.

"Oh, please," Lisa said. "You glorify the mysterious woman for no good reason. You'd be surprised how easy it is for aloof and uncommunicative women to attract male attention. If Natalie weren't such a question mark, she would lose most of her allure."

"That's true not just for women," I said. "Women are riveted by men with mysterious backgrounds and hidden needs."

"Sure," Lisa said, "but men are usually the instigators of desire – and more likely to be duped. Besides, biology gives incentives for women to be skeptical about affairs of the heart."

"Lisa, isn't some degree of mystery necessary for attraction? Courtship is about hiding and discovering. Gratification comes when you unmask layers of social convention and find human urgencies compatible with your own."

"But what happens in the morning...or the next day?" Lisa said. "Is love simply the result of a single act of exposure? Don't you shatter the mysteries of sex within the first week? After that, you need more than mystery to sustain love – if love is the goal in the first place."

"Maybe you're right. Maybe all I did was spin an erotic mystery," I said. "Actually though, most erotica removes mystery from the sexual experience. What does sex really feel like or smell like or taste like?"

"Oh, by the way, there is this thing called marriage, " Lisa said. "Google it sometime. Marital passion provides great inspiration for literature – going back to Homer. How to nourish it, how to transcend it, how to protect it from adversity. Stories of marital passion resonate more deeply in the hearts of readers than manipulated erotic scenarios. To write about sex, first you need to write about marriage."

"But I am single!"

"It doesn't matter," Lisa said. "Marriage is the primary way humans experience and enjoy sexuality."

"That's obviously not true," I said. "Sexuality begins in adolescence, and marriage is a symptom of middle age. People live with their sexuality for at least ten years before they seriously entertain the idea of marriage. Some never enter into the marriage contract at all; are these people unable to appreciate the complexities of erotic love?"

"Not really," Lisa said. "Single people have insights into the initial aspects of romance and attraction. I'll admit that. But how can they appreciate the rigors and ecstasies of sustained marital passion until they've experienced it firsthand?"

"Lisa, you aren't married either," I said. "How can you be so sure your views will radically change when you're married?"

"I don't," she said. "I'm just speculating, and so are you. But when I am married, my perspective on romance and sex will have evolved considerably."

"By the time a nun is 60 years old, her perspective on romance and sex will have evolved considerably as well."

"If you want to write about sex as a single person, nobody will stop you," Lisa said. "But years later you may look at your erotic writings and laugh."

"Why worry about that?" I said. "For all I know, a truck will run over me later this afternoon. Maybe now I can write about sex and love with the right kind of distance. Maybe the best time to savor the mysteries of marital passion is before one signs up for it."

"Mysteries...oh, you mean romantic illusions," Lisa said sarcastically. "It's good that people no longer enter marriage so blindly. Conservatives may criticize premarital sex, but at least it dispels romantic illusions. If people had more realistic expectations about relationships, there wouldn't be so much disappointment. "

"Relationships! Relationships!" I said. "That's all I hear from you. This story is about a one night stand with a mystery girl. Can't you enjoy the passions without getting bogged down by the story's psychological implications?"

"You are scolding me for doing exactly what the narrator does," Lisa said.

"But I just wanted you to enjoy the story."

"The story was okay," Lisa said. "It's more interesting for its portrayal of disillusionment than sensory evocations, which seemed cliched and empty."

"Maybe your indifference to that aspect of the story is affected in part by the fact you're a woman."

"I am not a woman," she said, smiling. "I'm a reader."

(After some soul-searching, I took up Lisa's suggestion to write an erotic story about marital passion ).

Written August, 2007.

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"To write about sex, first you need to write about marriage."
"But I am single!"                                  
Edmond Aman-Jean Lady in Pink
Edmond Aman-Jean Lady in Pink.

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