A simple book about sex, love and relationships. Most of it is fairly common thoughtwork and some is based on Freud’s work.
Ideas at a glance
- We grow up to be adults that monitor ourselves and our actions, expelled from paradise
- We nevertheless wish to be accepted as we are
- Physiological sexual reactions satisfy us because they are thought to override rationality
- Sex does not last for very long. The post-coital mood is often bad.
- Sexy people have symmetrical faces
- We tend to tiptoe around what we want. Thus making others and ourselves suffer.
- Sexual rejection is a case of bad luck rather than a serious moral judgement
- Relationships can make us get to know our partners to well, thus inhibiting sex and eroticism
- Small, trivial, everyday issues propagate into our relationships and cause petty
- Being in love is to grant them with an ideal idea of them in our eyes. Wrongdoing is then perceived as betrayal of our ideals.
- Modern pornography is devoid of any connection with reality
- Adultery is both bad and good at the same time, and can be seen as pathologic to long-term relationships.
- Sex runs sociiety; so many of the things we do, we do for sex
Lessons for long-term relationships from Manet
Manet does not invent the charms of asparagus, but rather reminds us of the qualities that we knew but overlook.
Given how common it is to be strange, it is regrettable how seldom the realities of sexual life make it into the public realm.
Despite our best efforts to clean it of its perculiarities, sex will never be either simple or nice in the ways we might like it to be. It is not fundamentally democratic or kind; it is bound up with cruelty, transgression and the desire for subjugation and humiliation. It refuses to sit neatly on top of love, as it should. Tame it though we may, sev has a recurring tendency to wreck havoc across our lives: it leads us to destroy our relationships, threatens our productivity and comples us to stay up too late in nightclubs talking to people whom we don’t like but whose exposed midriffs we nevertheless strongly with to touch.
Great sex, like happiness more generally, may be the precious and sublime exception.
The more colesly we analyse what we consider ‘sexy’, the more clearly we will understand that eroticism is the feeling of excitement we experience at finding another human being who shares our values and our sense of the meaning of existence.
… the paucity of sex within established relationships typically has to do with the difficulty of shifting registers between the everyday and the erotic.
It is not a new person we require, but a new way of perceiving a familiar one.
Hence the metaphysical importance of hotels.
To rescue a long-term relationship from complacency and boredom, we might learn to effect on our spouse much the same imaginative transformation that Manet performed on his vegetables.
Pornoggraphy, like alcohol and ddrugs, undermines our abiliity to encure certain kinds of suffering which we have to experience if we are to direct our lives properly.