vendredi 26 février 2010

Sex, its parallels and metaphors

A good work of literature, be it a novel, a short story, an essay or a poem has some striking structural or compositional similarities with sexual act. In literature too, we have a foreplay, then action which leads to mounting tension and finally orgasm or, in case of literature, to a kind of a solution, katharsis, be it happy end or not. And finally, there is a rest, a peace, absence of urge or conflict. I suppose evolutionary pshychology and ethology have something to say about this. Literature, poetry is somehow similar to birds' singing or tomcats miaouing and fighting. And in the same time it's mimesis, a representation of such, often demonstratively, pugnacious behaviour. Troubadour is a kind of a songbird, but often a songbird singing about its life and its song.

Have the other arts also parallels and perhaps origins in our sexual behaviour? In classical music or in indian ragas, we have similar composition, often mounting intensity and tension, and finally -- the powerful, energetic orgastic finale. And of course: in music as in sex we have rhythm. That connects sex and music with poetry and dance. But similarities between dance and sexual act have been obvious for people for many generations. Not so obvious are the parallels between sex and war, the most intense and fatal conflict that sooner or later is solved, followed by peace. I have found fighting and warmaking as metaphors for lovemaking both in antique Roman and old Chinese novels.

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