Thursday, April 5, 2007
The Western world is obsessed with sex. It is used as a marketing tool, as a weapon in political struggle, as the mainstay of modern journalism and as the daily fodder of soap operas and afternoon shows. In the process, its currency has been debased. Sex has become mechanical — to the point where modern sex education concentrates on biology, contraception, social responsibility and the prevention of disease. In contrast, the ancient instructional tracts discuss the aesthetic aspects of sex, its joys and its delights. The humanist writing of the Renaissance and the erotic memoirs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries speak of its robust pleasures. Artists and painters have also struggled to depict the human sexual experience. For in sex we are most truly human — at once both animal and god-like.-- Nigel Cawthorne, The Secrets of Love: The Erotic Arts Through the Ages.