The uses of the erotic

I’ve been considering the meaning of ‘erotic’ and recently came across an essay by Audre Lorde, The Uses of the Erotic, where she says:

“…’erotic’ comes from the Greek word ‘eros’, the personification of love in all its aspects – born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony. When I I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the lifeforce of women…

The erotic is a measure between our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experience it, we know we can aspire.”

Of pornography she says:

“…pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling.”

And she says this, which I like a lot:

“The aim of each thing which we do is to make our lives and the lives of our children richer and more possible. Within the celebration of the erotic in all our endeavours, my work becomes a conscious decision – a longed-for bed which I enter gratefully and from which I rise up empowered.”

In trying to understand the transgender woman in my play – her emotional/physical/sexual identity – in order to respresent her in an authentic, dignified way, I’ve just listened to a talk by a neuroscientist explaining why heterosexual men like she-male porn; and I’ve been watching the video diaries of trannygirl15 – a lovely MtoF transsexual student from Quebec who talks about her transition and experiences. I also watched a she-male video on youtube which was interesting but uncomfortable.

I’ve come to believe that the reason a man would love a transgender woman is particular to who he is and who she is. I don’t think he loves her because of how she is but despite it…
At least that’s how I’d like it to be – about love in the end, rather than sex.

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