Erotic Interlude: The Magic Created
By Hapax Legomenon

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A week after I sent Lisa the link to Erotic Notion #32: Kinkiest Thing You Can Imagine, she sent this reaction:

Oh, yes, the fabled one-night stand. The seduction without complications, the excitement without disappointment or regret. Such encounters are frictionless; they lack the subtle negotiations that go on at the beginning of meaningful encounters. To be erotic, seductions require friction and yes, an element of risk.

Maybe these stories are just works of a restless imagination, like giraffes wearing tuxedos or monkeys playing violin while riding unicyles. Perhaps to criticize this kind of notion is beside the point. I have a sense of humor too; for a while I can take off my puritanical glasses and appreciate silliness.

Can a woman or man really indulge in guilt-free sex and enjoy it afterwards? It requires a combination of tolerance and stubborness. Sexual attractions are fickle; a person who seems sexy today might be gross the day after. The brain either tires or revolts. A momentary passion, when satisfied, no longer seems interesting. Eventually someone has to be thrown out of the bed. The person who is thrown out feels deceived; the person who does the throwing out has to be oblivious to another's pain. But actually that is a kinder form of rejection. More often one one person spends the time awaiting the lover's next reapperance, never quite abandoning hope.

I only had one encounter that might be described as a one night stand. I'd always been attracted to a certain man, and one night we found ourselves on a couch together at a friend's party. We hit it off immediately. I always knew there was sexual attraction, but I let myself believe we had also connected on a deeper level. I later realized that this rapid escalation of intimacy was what doomed the relationship to begin with.

Two or three nights of passion, that was all. Then, a world of heartache. I would have loved to be the one to call it off, but I never came to my senses. For weeks I let myself believe that we were something special, that the magic was still there, and I had only be patient. Yes, it was all magic, the kind you applaud at a show. The magnitude of my self-deception is now obvious, but not a day goes by without my yearning for those magical, beautiful moments once again.

So when you write up these imaginary one-night stands, don't expect my applause. Maybe they seem like harmless titillations. Go ahead, I say. Enjoy yourself. Create your own magic show. But when the show is over and the audience is gone, you'll wonder why you spent so much effort creating a reality instead of trying to understand one.

Written, August, 2005

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"...Not a day goes by without my yearning for those magical, beautiful moments once again. "
                    and Virgil Encountering the Shades of Francesca de Rimini and
                    Paolo in the Underworld (1851)
Ary Scheffer, Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca, (1851)
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