Erotic Interlude: Confessions and their Dangers
By Hapax Legomenon
99 Erotic Notions Index
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"I wish your stories could have fewer confessions and more seductions," Lisa said at the coffee shop. I had sent her my latest story Erotic Notion #52: September 27 two days ago. "Confessions are meaningless without action. Ultimately, they are about feeding the ego, not furthering love. A confession declares, 'I want!' without requiring action."

"I agree. But a seduction require two people to play."

"Hello? This is fiction, remember?" Lisa chided. "Your characters can do anything they want! "

"Asserting such power makes me uncomfortable. It is no coincidence that erotic authors like Milan Kundera emerged behind the shadows of a totalitarian state, a state that dictated behavior and intruded on people's lives."

"Don't be silly. Kundera's characters were fine and interesting – "

"They were stereotypes!"

"You are overanalyzing Kundera's books. Every artistic depiction reduces the human personality to a few basic traits. That's obvious. Just because a character has straightforward motivations doesn't mean he or she can't come alive. You're just being a prude."

"Maybe you're right," I said. "Maybe my stories need more sex. But most sex scenes in books have an air of unreality; everything sounds corny or cliched or vulgar. Harder, harder! Yes, yes, YES! But in real life people's erotic behavior is not half as interesting as their private thoughts. Confessions provide a glimpse. Nicole Kidman's sexual confession in Eyes Wide Shut … wow! Wouldn't you love eavesdropping on the random sexual confessions of somebody you find attractive (even if you were not the object of this person's desire)? Married man and woman confess things to partners, but unattached people rarely have anyone to confess sexual feelings to. Ironically that's precisely the time when their passionate feelings are most intense. "

"I distrust confessions," Lisa said. "They are a sign of weakness. Most are insincere or have ulterior motives. Proper expressions of love are appropriate for a time and place. When a couple is truly in love, there will be ample opportunities for expressing it."

"That," I said, "presupposes two people who know they are loved in the first place. And how can you ever know? I once confessed my affections to a woman who upon hearing them refused to see me again. Refused to write or even talk to me. Because she rejected my passionate feelings, she preferred having nothing to do with me. If I had said nothing, maybe we'd still be friends. Confess your passion and be banished from friendship; that's a good reason to keep your mouth shut."

"Shucks, life is tough," Lisa said. "Passion is shared. That's just something you have to accept; it's the risk of loving. But a woman needs to receive signals from a man before some grand confession is announced. Confessions coming of nowhere almost always strain a friendship. The adored woman rarely shares this intensity of feeling; she hasn't even had time to consider it. And even in the rare case when she feels something, a woman needs evidence that the emotional outburst is not simply the result of one man's private idealizations."

"Well, then, are passionate confessions just futile?"

"Obviously not. But a woman needs to be careful. She needs to check a man's passionate feelings before they turn into obsessions. No woman can afford to ignore the dangers of an obsessed suitor."

"But passions are by definition irrational."

"Obviously. But is the passion directed toward some good or simply towards maintaining the feeling?"

"How can you tell?"

"You can," she replied. "The more dangerous kinds of passions persist even when you try to discourage it."

"Both love and passion seek permanence."

"A dangerous passion must be stopped. It must be killed. Before it goes too far."

"There we have a paradox," I said. " When a passion is moderate or restrained, it can be controlled … and even terminated. But a passion that is total and all-consuming can sustain itself for an eternity. "

"It can also drive a person crazy!"

Written, July, 2006

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"Confess your passion ...and be banished from friendship; that's a good reason to keep your mouth shut!"
Pollaiuolo, Daphne and Apollo,
Pollaiuolo, Daphne and Apollo
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