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The Pathwork Lectures offer guidance and advice for self-development and personal growth—inspiring consciousness since — Become a Member. Greetings in the Name of the Lord. I bring you blessings, my dearest friends. Blessed is this hour.

Tonight I would like to discuss three particular forces in the universe: These are three distinctly different principles or forces that manifest differently on every plane, from the highest to the lowest. Humanity has always confused these three principles. In fact, it is little known that three separate forces exist and what the differences between them are. There is so much confusion about this that it will be quite useful for my friends to hear what the reality is.

The erotic force is one of the most potent forces in existence and has tremendous momentum and impact. It is supposed to serve as the bridge between sex and love, yet it rarely does.

In a spiritually highly developed person, the erotic force carries the entity from the erotic experience, which in itself is of short duration, into the permanent state of pure love. However, even the strong momentum of the erotic force carries the soul just so far and no farther.

It is bound to dissolve if the personality does not learn to love, by cultivating all the qualities and requirements necessary for true love. Only when love has been learned does the spark of the erotic force remain alive.

By itself, without love, the erotic force burns itself out. This of course is the trouble with marriage. Since most people are incapable of pure love, they are also incapable of attaining ideal marriage. Eros seems in many ways similar to love. It brings forth impulses a human being would not have otherwise: This is why eros is so very often confused with love. But eros is just as often confused with the sex instinct which, like eros, also manifests as a great urge.

Now, my friends, I would like to show you what the spiritual meaning and purpose of the erotic force is, particularly as far as humanity is concerned. Without eros, many people would never experience the great feeling and beauty that is contained in real love. They would never get the taste of it and the yearning for love would remain deeply submerged in their souls.

Their fear of love would remain stronger than their desire. Eros is the nearest thing to love the undeveloped spirit can experience. It lifts the soul out of sluggishness, out of mere contentment and vegetation. It causes the soul to surge, to go out of itself. When this force comes upon even the most undeveloped people they become able to surpass themselves. Even a criminal will temporarily feel, at least toward one person, a goodness he has never known.

The utterly selfish person will, while this feeling lasts, have unselfish impulses. Lazy people will get out of their inertia. The routine-bound person will naturally and without effort get rid of static habits.

The erotic force will lift a person out of separateness, be it only for a short time. Eros gives the soul a foretaste of unity and teaches the fearful psyche the longing for it. The more strongly one has experienced eros, the less contentment will the soul find in the pseudo-security of separateness. Even an otherwise thoroughly self-centered person may be able to make a sacrifice during the experience of eros.

So you see, my friends, eros enables people to do things they are disinclined to do otherwise; things that are closely linked with love. It is easy to see why eros is so often confused with love.

How then is eros different from love? Love is a permanent state in the soul. Love can only exist if the foundation for it is prepared through development and purification. Love does not come and go at random; eros does. Eros hits with sudden force, often taking a person unaware and even unwilling to go through the experience. Only if the soul is prepared to love and has built the foundation for it will eros be the bridge to the love that is manifest between a man and a woman.

Thus you can see how important the erotic force is. Without the erotic force hitting them and getting them out of their rut, many human beings would never be ready for a more conscious search for the breaking down of their own walls of separation. The erotic experience puts the seed into the soul and makes it long for unity, which is the great aim in the Plan of Salvation.

As long as the soul is separate, loneliness and unhappiness must be its lot. The erotic experience enables the personality to long for union with at least one other being. In the heights of the spirit world, union exists among all beings—and thus with God.

In the earth sphere, the erotic force is a propelling power regardless of whether or not its real meaning is understood.

This is so even though it is often misused and enjoyed for its own sake, while it lasts. It is not utilized to cultivate love in the soul, so it peters out. Nevertheless, its effect will inevitably remain in the soul. Eros comes to people suddenly in certain stages of their lives, even to those who are afraid of the apparent risk of adventuring away from separateness.

People who are afraid of their emotions and afraid of life as such will often do anything in their power to avoid—subconsciously and ignorantly—the great experience of unity. Although this fear exists in many human beings, there are few indeed who have not experienced some opening in the soul where eros could touch them.

For the fear-ridden soul that resists the experience, this is good medicine regardless of the fact that sorrow and loss may follow due to other psychological factors. However, there are also those who are over-emotional, and although they may know other fears of life, they are not afraid of this particular experience.

In fact, the beauty of it is a great temptation to them and therefore they hunt greedily for it. They look for one subject after another, emotionally too ignorant to understand the deep meaning of Eros. They are unwilling to learn pure love, and simply use the erotic force for their pleasure and when it is worn out they hunt elsewhere.

This is an abuse and cannot continue without ill effects. Such a personality will have to make amends for the abuse—even if it was done in ignorance.

In the same vein, the over-fearful coward will have to make up for trying to cheat life by hiding from eros and thus withholding from the soul a medicine, valuable if used properly. Most people in this category have a vulnerable point somewhere in their soul through which eros can enter.

There are also a few who have built such a tight wall of fear and pride around their souls that they avoid this part of life experience entirely and so shortchange their own development. This fear might exist because in a former life they had an unhappy experience with eros, or perhaps because the soul has greedily abused the beauty of the erotic force without building it into love.

In either case, the personality may have chosen to be more careful. If this decision is too rigid and stringent, the opposite extreme will follow. In the next incarnation circumstances will be chosen in such a way that a balance is established until the soul reaches a harmonious state wherein there are no more extremes. This balancing in future incarnations always applies to all aspects of the personality.

In order to approach this harmony to some extent at least, the proper balance between reason, emotion, and will has to be achieved. The erotic experience often mingles with the sexual urge, but it does not always have to be that way. These three forces—love, eros, and sex—often appear completely separately, while sometimes two mingle, such as eros and sex, or eros and love to the extent the soul is capable of love, or sex and a semblance of love.

Only in the ideal case do all three forces mingle harmoniously. The sex force is the creative force on any level of existence. In the highest spheres, the same sex force creates spiritual life, spiritual ideas, and spiritual concepts and principles.

On the lower planes, the pure and unspiritualized sex force creates life as it manifests in that particular sphere; it creates the outer shell or vehicle of the entity destined to live in that sphere. The pure sex force is utterly selfish. Sex without eros and without love is referred to as animalistic. Pure sex exists in all living creatures: Eros begins with the stage of development where the soul is incarnated as a human being.

And pure love is to be found in the higher spiritual realms. This does not mean that eros and sex no longer exist in beings of higher development, but rather that all three blend in harmoniously, are refined, and become less and less selfish. Nor do I mean that a human being should not try to achieve a harmonious blend of all three forces. In rare cases, eros alone, without sex and love, exists for a limited time.

This is usually referred to as platonic love. But sooner or later with the somewhat healthy person, eros and sex will mingle. The sex force, instead of being suppressed, is taken up by the erotic force and both flow in one current. The more the three forces remain separate, the unhealthier the personality is. Another frequent combination, particularly in relationships of long standing, is the coexistence of genuine love with sex, but without eros.

Although love cannot be perfect unless all three forces blend together, there is a certain amount of affection, companionship, fondness, mutual respect, and a sex-relationship that is crudely sexual without the erotic spark which evaporated some time ago. When eros is missing, the sexual relationship must eventually suffer. Now this is the problem with most marriages, my friends.

There is hardly a human being who is not puzzled by the question of what to do to maintain the spark in the relationship which seems to evaporate the more habit and familiarity with one another sets in. You may not have posed the question in terms of three distinct forces, yet you know and sense that something goes out of a marriage that was present at the beginning; that spark is actually eros.

Daniel Bergner: 'Women's desire is an underestimated and constrained force' | Books | The Guardian

According to research done by University of Texas psychologist David Buss , women in their 30s and 40s actually have higher sex drives than teenage girls and women in their 20's.

What's more, women in their 40s also experience more powerful orgasms and are more likely to be multi-orgasmic, according to a Harvard Health Report.

Relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam, co-author of The New Joy of Sex told The Guardian , "There's plenty of research that shows sex gets better for women as they get older.

It's one of the best-kept secrets of women's lives. The conventional wisdom holds that men can have orgasm-worthy, yet totally meaningless sex, while women have a hormonal response to orgasms that makes them fall in love and cuddle. But Barry Komisaruk, professor of psychology at Rutgers University told Salon that, while orgasming does cause both men and women to release the so-called "love hormone" oxytocin, there isn't any evidence that the hormone actually makes anybody fall in love.

Komisaruk says that, while more research need to be done, current findings suggest that orgasming has a similar affect on men and women. This calls for some equal opportunity cuddling! Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Here are 6 of the oldest myths about female sexuality: Women are best suited to sexual monogamy.

Women aren't as "visually" stimulated as men. Women take much longer to become sexually aroused. Women's libidos and sexual enjoyment decrease with age. Orgasms make women fall in love; it's hormonal. All photographs are attributed to Getty Images; all paintings are in the public domain. It's too easy for us women to convince ourselves to settle for less. Orchansky showed earlier that the primitive genital gland, extracted from the body of Wolff, is hermaphroditic.

In the formation of a new being, the action of the force that causes the sexual differentiation of organic matter becomes increasingly precise. By means of this force, the capabilities relating to one sex are developed, whereas those of the opposite sex are eliminated or stay in the embryonic or latent state, or are present only in varying quantities, depending on the predominant capabilities that define the actual male and female type.

There is thus an analogy with what happens in ontogenesis. Just as the process of individuation of a human being leaves behind it, in its rudimentary state, the capabilities corresponding to various animal species, so also, in man and woman, the process of sexual development leaves behind it, in the rudimentary state, the capabilities of the opposite sex which were present in the original state.

One aspect of this is the existence of hormone complexes of the two sexes and, herewith, a latent bisexuality in every individual. When sexual development takes place, sexual characteristics of various types are usually classified separately, as follows: All of this lies within the field of effects, whereas the cause is sex as a molding and differentiating force.

In biology, the vitalism of Driesch and other authors has by now x won acceptance, and so it is no longer heretical to look into forces of! The Aristotelian concept of entelechy has been revived,. The various primary, secondary, or tertiary sexual characteristics' of man or woman come later and are its outward expressions.

Weininger, in seeming to go deeper into the problem of sexual differentiation, asked whether it would not be right to revive a theory defended earlier by Steenstrup, who had presumed the existence of a differentiated plasma in individuals of the two sexes. However, by means of it, an undeniably accurate intuition had been applied at the wrong level.

If there truly were a difference between the plasma of man and woman, then it would be due to such an entelechy. Thus, when Weininger said that sex is present in every part of the body, he was right so long as he was not referring only to the biological plane. In effect he had already gone beyond that plane when, to prove his thesis, he declared that every part of the body of one sex produces erotic excitement in the body of the other sex; for to explain this, it is necessary to bring in a supraphysical factor.

In Far Eastern terms this is a question of the yang and yin principles, which penetrate both the t inner being and the material body of man and woman under the form of a fluid and an elementary molding energy. The special pari played by sweat in certain popular enchantments is well known. M Smell plays an important part in the magnetism of physical love and in the "fluidic intoxication" of lovers.

It was believed in 30 The Metaphysics of Sex olden times and is still believed among certain primitive peoples today that the fluid of a being penetrates to such an extent that it impregnates not only the body but also the clothing with this are associated some cases of fetishism.

Hence arise practices that are often continued in the customs of both lovers and primitive peoples. Anyone whose sensitivity is sufficiently refined will recognize that in amorous relations there is a kind of mutual psychic vampirism that is partly rooted in the sense of smell.

The smell of man or woman in purely material terms concerns us here only in a secondary way; the possibility of a corresponding psychic effect in the case of human beings can only be explained in terms of an equally psychic, subtle counterpart.

This fact clearly demonstrates characteristics that are instinctive and rather coarse and that are often more highly accentuated in various animal species; for here, as elsewhere, that which in man belongs in principle to a higher plane is made visible and specifi: It is also possible to see the basis of the ancient Mexican belief that reproduction is the outcome of the mingling of the breath of man and woman.

Having completed this not unuseful digression, let us return to the problem of sexual development. We have said that there are various degrees of sexual development. The physical-anatomical fact that in every individual of one sex there are also rudiments of the other sex corresponds more generally to the possibility of an incomplete sexual development and therefore of beings who are exclusively men or women but who have characteristics of intermediate grades.

Weininger deserves special praise for having emphasized this point and also for having formulated a corresponding methodological criterion: It is necessary to start by defining absolute man and absolute woman, male and female in their pure state as Platonic ideas or archetypes, so that we may discern the degree ol actual sexual development in given Eros and Sexual Love 31 individuals. Our sole reservation lies in the fact that, as opposed to the case of geometry, the absolute man and absolute woman are conceived not only from a heuristic point of view as being abstract measurements for masculinity and femininity, but i also ontologically and metaphysically as being real primordial powers ithat are always and inseparably present and active in men and women, even though actual men and women show such powers to a greater or lesser degree.

However, except in extreme cases or, it is very important to add, in very unusual experiences , the picture we get of every normal man and woman is one in which the content of pure male or female quality varies, whence springs the first law of sexual attractions. The part shown by one person had to match perfectly the part kept by the other person. Thus, as there are various degrees of sexual development, such a situation arises when a given degree of virility finds its counterpart in a corresponding degree of femininity in the other being.

Lastly, Weininger put forward a real formula for the first basis of sexual attraction. Lor instance, a man who is three-quarters man yang and one-quarter woman yin will be irresistibly attracted and llcvelop the strongest magnetism with his female complement, a Woman who is one-quarter man and three-quarters woman; this will be so because the sums ol the fractions will reestablish the whole iibsolnle man ami absolute woman.

We can affirm that they are the ones who love each other and seek to be united with each other through the persons of every man and every woman; and so the saying is true that all women love only one man and all men love only one woman.

Physical Sex and Inner Sex At this point we have to consider the following principle: There is no existence except as men and women. This point of view is held steadfastly against the belief that being a man or a woman is something accidental or secondary as compared with being human in general; sex is seen as a difference that concerns only the physical and biological part of human nature, to the degree that sex has meaning and implications only with respect to the naturalistic side of human life.

Such a point of view is abstract and inorganic and in reality can only be held by a human race disintegrating through regression and degeneracy. This view only considers the final, most coarse and tangible aspects of sex. But the truth is that, before and besides existing in the body, sex exists in the soul and, to a certain extent, in the spirit itself.

We are man or woman inwardly before being so externally; the primordial male or female quality penetrates and saturates the whole of our being visibly and invisibly, in the terms used here earlier, just as color permeates a liquid. Moreover, if intermediate degrees of sexual development exist, as we saw earlier, that can only mean that the basic quality mentioned shows an intensity that is sometimes higher, sometimes lower, depending on the individual.

This does not explain the conditional nature of sex. This is a realm of superstructures and of intellectualized and social forms whose excessive growth characterizes the degenerating and bourgeois phases of a civilization. Later on we shall emphasize the fact that every human being consists of two parts; one the essential part and the other the outer, artificial, acquired part that is formed in the life of relationships and creates the persona of I lie individual. Either of the two parts can be more developed than the other, depending not only on the individual but also on the kind of civilization.

This can degenerate to an almost exclusive, i teratological development of the outer and artificial mask of the! Only then will it seem of little importance whether one is man or woman, and such a fact will have less and less value in the determination of vocations, self-development, conduct of life, model of occupations — a value that has always been honored by civilizations.

This very assumption implies that the difference between male and female psychology has been considerably reduced. Modern civilization, being expedient, intellectualist, and socialized, has given an increasing emphasis to things totally i unconnected with the essential side of human beings.

A question of this kind is lacking in sense because it assumes that the two can be measured against each other.

If we set 1 aside everything artificial, external, and acquired, we find that there ; is a difference of Platonic ideas between man and woman that makes j impossible any common measurement. In other words, the only thing we can do is establish the superiority or inferiority of a given woman on the basis of her being more or less close to the female type, to the pure and absolute woman, and the same thing applies to man as well.

The claims of modern woman, therefore, spring from mistaken ambitions as well as from an inferiority complex, from the mistaken idea that a woman as such is inferior to man. The only qualitative standard is the degree of more or less perfect realization of the nature proper to a person. There can be no doubt that a woman who is perfectly woman is superior to a man who is imperfectly man, just as a farmer who is faithful to his land and performs his work perfectly is superior to a king who cannot do his own work.

In the range of ideas we are dealing with, we should take it as being settled that manhood and womanhood are, above all, facts of an inner nature.

It is possible to be a man as far as the body is concerned without being equally so in the soul anima mulieris in corpore inclnsa virili — the soul of a woman enclosed in a manly body , and the same is of course true of a woman.

Such cases of asymmetry are due to various factors and are similar to cases encountered in the realm of race individuals of a given race who have the psychic and spiritual characteristics of another race. This, however, does not prejudice the basic quality of the fluid that a being has, depending on whether that being is physically a man or woman; nor does it prejudice the unity of the process of sexual development.

The phenomenon mentioned can be explained by the fact that in given cases this process is centered principally on a given domain, creating asymmetry because the remaining areas have not been developed to the same degree. He who is not a man in spirit and soul is not truly a man, and the same applies to a woman.

It is best to emphasize this point because we must bear it in mind in the law of sexual attraction mentioned earlier. Eros and Sexual Love 35 In effect it is spiritual manliness that, even though only obscurely, excites and awakens the absolute woman; in the extreme case this manliness, beyond that of a warrior or ruler, leads even to the supernatural.

We shall deal later on with the metaphysical as well as the existential side of such a case. Salome does not see the centurion struck with love for her, who offers her everything and in the end kills himself for her. She is fascinated by Jokanan, the prophet and ascetic. What shall I do without you? Neither the rivers nor the great lakes will ever again extinguish the fire of my passion.

The respective conditions are rigidly maintained only in the case of primitive individuals who are degraded compared with the pure type in question.

Jf, on the other hand, the inner sex is sufficiently differentiated, it may assert itself with a certain independence from the physjcal. This independence from physical conditioning is also confirmed in some cases of eunuchs, whose physical impairment may not only fail to destroy their sexual impulse, but may also not harm their inner manhood. Examples of this have often been cited, including Narses, who was one of the best generals of later ancient times, Aristonicus, the ministers Fotinus and Eutropus, Solomon a lieutenant of Belisarius , Haly grand vizier of Suleiman II , the philosopher Favorinus, and even Abelard, among many others.

Conditional Nature and Forms of Erotic Attraction For a complete definition of the factors involved in sexual choice, we must consider in greater detail the structure of the human being with reference less to modern studies than to traditional teachings.

We have distinguished two main parts or layers of the human being, the essence and the persona; now we must take the more profound pari, ihe essence, and divide it in two parts. Thus there will be three levels in all. The first is the level of the outer individual, which is a social construct, an entity whose form is fairly arbitrary, "live," and unsteady Invniisc of its artificial nature. The second level 36 The Metaphysics of Sex belongs to the profound being, to the depth dimension, and is the site of what in philosophy has been called the principium individuationis.

It is here that those forces act by which a being is what it is, both physically and psychically, and is distinguished from every other being of the same species; thus it is also the site of the inborn nature of each person. These formative forces are called samskara or vasana in the Hindu tradition; They not only are related to hereditary or racial factors, but are conceived as comprising heredity, as causes, preformations, and influences whose origin may lie beyond a single human life.

The third and deepest level concerns elementary forces superior and prior to individuation but acting as the ultimate seat of the individual. In this realm, where the first root of sex is found, the original force of eros is aroused. In itself, this level is prior to form and determination. Each process assumes a form and determination in the same measure that the energy of this level invests the two other levels and to the degree that the process is continued in them.

With this background it is possible to apprehend every aspect of what happens in sexual attraction. At the deepest level, that attraction is something that goes beyond the individual, and erotic experience reaches this level in the final and traumatic form of coitus.

In this regard, we see the validity of the saying that all women love only one man and all men love only one woman. Here there is a principle of indifference and interchangeability. The same principle is in force in the positively disindividualized forms of eros, which can be seen in a Dionysiac experience, for example. Therefore, it is not always true to say that the most vulgar and animalistic form of love is that in which one loves not a woman, but the woman.

Exactly the opposite may be true. Lastly, when it is said that love is born at the first instant or not at all, when we speak of a coup de foudre, this refers mainly to cases where, owing to special circumstances, it is the force of the deepest layer that acts in a direct, unhindered, predominant way. The first law that governs the process of sex at its third and deepest level is the one governing the desire for a complement, for the reintegration of the pure male quality and the pure female quality by the union of man and woman.

At the boundary between the second and third layers, the intermediate and the deepest levels, the conditional qualities of bonds belonging to the individuation or inborn nature of a given being start to act almost at once. At this new stage, as regards erotic passion and inclination, it is no longer a matter of indifference what a given woman is besides being a woman and constituting the elementary, ontological complement of which we spoke.

The intermediate level is generally also the level at which the woman loved is idealized; in it there arises the illusion that a woman is loved for one or another of her qualities, whereas that which is truly loved and w'hich binds the lover is her naked being. When the profound force of eros does not permeate the intermediate level directly or fix itself there completely as happens in the great majority of cases , there remains a certain margin of indetermination;.

But this freedom of movement or ability for displacement of the eros can also have another cause, namely the imperfect individuation of a given being,. II the inner face of a person is nol very definite, so equally will 38 The Metaphysics of Sex the object of his desire be less definite and, within given limits, more changeable.

The repetition of experience too, can undermine the stability proper to the first period of the erotic life. Thus Balzac found that in the first woman one loves, one loves everything, as if she were the only woman; afterward, one loves the woman in every woman. Let us now pass on to the level of the outer individual. As we said before, everything at this level is inorganic and lacks deep roots. In other cases the deciding factors may become social and environmental ones, such as class, fashion, tradition, and vanity.

However, should eros suddenly recover its fundamental character and follow the conditional qualities belonging to its deepest layers, it will then act in a catastrophic manner on everything that has formed in the outer realm of the social individual and therefore in the sexual relations. Another case that can be analyzed in this context is an elementary sexual passion and attraction that can be accompanied by disdain and even hatred between two lovers; it is the energy of the deeper plane that is acting to undermine all the determining affinities of character and all the values that would normally be focused on the intermediate plane.

This case is symmetrical with that in which the affinities proper to the intermediate plane can, in their turn, negate everything which belongs to the outer realm of social morals and institutions. Finally, we can mention the fact that there are artificial means of , arousing in a more or less free state the elementary force of eros by neutralizing those more superficial layers.

Here we can note the 'action of alcohol and some drugs; these were sometimes employed in ' sexual rites, such as Dionysiac ceremonies and Tantrism. Love potions, whose true nature is lost to the modern world, have played a similar role. By this, as we shall see, eros can lead to some forms of daemonic worship as well as to sexual magic proper. In everything we have said so far we should never confuse the role of that which conditions with the role of that which determines.

For a machine to function properly, it must consist of given parts that interact correctly;: But when motor energy is lacking, even the most perfect machine will stay still. In an ordinary individual, and especially in a civilized individual of the Western world, erotic experience often has a passive nature-It is as if the corresponding processes begin and proceed on. He cannot even focus these processes accurately on any of the three levels.

This situation is considered so natural and normal that a person thinks his desire must be compulsive, beyond his control, or else he doubts the sincerity and depth of his feeling or desire. Furthermore, one must take into account differential psychology based on varying social institutions. For instance, the institution of polygamy naturally fosters a male type in which the ego 40 The Metaphysics of Sex has a greater degree of freedom as regards eros with greater mutability and hence less stability.

In this male type the erotic experience per se has more importance than the relationship with a specific woman as a person an Arab proverb says: Polygamy does not always correspond to the outer and inorganic situation proper to a libertine. The change from polygamy or from marriages that allowed concubines as an integral part of the family to monogamy, notwithstanding the conformist views prevailing today, is in no way a replacement of a lower type by a higher type of manhood, but is exactly the opposite; it is rather a symptom of a potential and much greater enslavement of man by eros and woman, and that is not a thing which marks a higher civilization.

For the present we shall give only one example: Before going any further, let us cast a glance over the ground we have covered. We have rejected every finalistic, biological interpretation of eros, and we have dismissed the Freudian pleasure principle as no better than the.

The magnetic theory, in our view, corresponds more closely to reality. We have gone deeper into this theory by means of data taken from traditional teachings, which talk of a state or. The correlative thereof is a displacement of the plane of consciousness, which in turn becomes the cause of a magical activation of the power of the imagination and of a more or less strong obsession of the mind with one dominant idea.

The ancient doctrine of an invisible change, produced in the blood when a person is seized by eros, has been restored to its true value. Finally, we have examined the conditional qualities linked to the existential desire for a complement within the framework of the doctrine of the manifold layers of a person. However, we have emphasized that the primary force and basis of everything shall always be deemed to be that which proceeds directly from the ratio of absolute manhood to absolute womanhood; and in ihis regard the more intense the process, with all ils attendant effects of elementary attraction, the Eros and Sexual Love 41 more decided the differentiation of the sexes or, in other words, their sexual development.

But here it may be said we have taken a circuitous route and evaded the essence. No matter how much we try to explain eros, we always come back to eros itself and inevitably meet the fundamental question: Why are man and woman attracted by each other? Having succeeded in recognizing this elementary and uncompromising fact, we must seek its meaning.

This is precisely the same as asking what is the meaning of sex itself, and we now find ourselves led to the center of the metaphysics of sex proper. The Metaphysics of Sex The Myth of the Hermaphrodite Myth is the means by which the traditional world expressed the ulti- mate significance of being. The traditional myth has the value of a key, but it has been neglected as such in past attempts to explain myth within the framework of natural history, biology, and psychology.

Our intent is to reinstate myth as a resource in order to explore the metaphysics of sex. Several myths lend themselves to this investigation, but let us choose one that is most familiar to Western man, while bearing in mind that the same meanings are contained in myths of other cul- tures.

Here, two theories of love, intermingled with the myth, are expounded by Aristophanes and Diotima respectively. We shall see that in a certain respect the two theories are complementary and illustrate the contradictions and problems of eros. The first theory concerns the myth of the hermaphrodite. As with almost all the myths introduced by Plato into his philosophy, we must suppose its origin to stem from the initiatic cermonies of the ancient Greek mysteries.

Indeed the same theme winds its way below the surface of the most varied literature, ranging from the gnostics and ancient circles learned in the mystery cults down to authors of the Middle Ages and the early centuries of the modern era. Corresponding themes can also be found outside Europe. The traditions recounted by Homer regarding Otho and Ephialtes and their attempt to scale the sky so as to assault the gods is also attributed to this race. Thenceforth there arose beings of one sex or the other, male or female; they were, however, beings who retained the memory of their earlier state and in whom the impulse to reconstitute the primordial unity was kindled.

According to Plato, in that impulse should be sought the ultimate metaphysical and everlasting meaning of eros: Is it not perhaps this for which you long, a perfect, mutual fusion so that you will never be sundered from each other by day or night? If this is what you wish, I am ready to melt you and weld you together with fire into one and the same individual so as to reduce you to one single being instead of the two which you were beforehand; in this way you may live united to each other for the whole of your lives and, when you are dead and down in Hades, you may be only one instead of two and may share together one single fate.

Well, then, ask yourselves if this is what you want and whether you think you can be happy if you obtain it. Now, the cause of this desire is to be sought in the fact that this was indeed our primitive nature when we constituted one unit which was still whole; it is really the burning longing for this unity which bears the name of love.

For example, the primordial beings whom Plato has described, even recounting their physical features, ought not, of course, to be conceived as actual members of some prehistoric race whose remains or fossils we would expect to find. Instead, we should conceive of a state y a spiritual condition of origins, not so much in the historical sense as in the framework of an ontology, of a doctrine of the manifold stales of being.

By stripping away the overlying myth, we can timlersiaml the sialc as one of absolute being neither divided nor dual , of a complete enlily or pure unily which, in ilsell, is ihc 44 The Metaphysics of Sex state of immortality. This last point is confirmed in the doctrine ex- pounded by Diotima later on in the Symposium and also set forth in the Phaedrus, where, in reference to so-called Platonic love and to the theory of beauty, the connection between the ultimate goal of eros and immortality is explicit.

The differentiation of the sexes corresponds to the condition of a divided being, finite and mortal, partaking in the dual condition of one who has life, not in himself, but in another being; this is not the original state of being. In this respect a parallel could be made with the biblical myth, inasmuch as the Fall of Adam has as its outcome his exclusion from the Tree of Life. As a whole, the myth of Plato alludes to the change from unity to duality, from being to the loss of being and of absolute life.

Its dis- tinctive character and importance, however, lie precisely in its appli- cation to the duality of the sexes and direct us to the hidden meaning and ultimate object of eros.

The purpose set forth in the Upanishads is the same when it speaks of what is really sought in the course of ordinary life: Here is the key to all the metaphysics of sex: Flesh and sex arc the tools for an ecstatic approximation of the achievement of unity. When looked at in this light, many aspects of profane love and of sex- uality are clarified. At the same time, we can already foresee the path leading to the sphere of mystic eroticism and of the sacred or magical tf use of sex belonging to so many ancient traditions.

For already at the beginning of our inquiry, we have revealed the elementary basis of the erotic impulse to be metaphysical and not physical.

Therefore our way is now open to the series of investigations that will be the subjects of the subsequent chapters. In the meantime we must not overlook a particular point. If the mythi- cal beings of earliest times were such that they could strike terror in the gods and vie with them, then we can hypothesize that eros — the ultimate search for integration — is not so much a nebulous mystic state as a condition of being that is also potency.

This factor will have a bearing in our study of the initiatic forms of sexual magic, but this motive must be stripped of pathos. In a wider context, Promethea- nism can shed its negative character of breach of trust. The tradition that gave form to the myth of Prometheus and the Giants is also that of the Heraclean ideal.

This ideal is an equivalent to the aim pursued by the Titans; it belongs in general to those who, despite everything, pursue access to the Tree of Life. When Heracles attains enjoyment of the apples that confer immortality according to one version of the legend, it is Prometheus who shows him the way , he attains Hebe, everlasting youth, on Olympus, not as a violator of a trust but rather as an ally of the Olympians.

Related to this, we can allude to the fact that the Promethean moment latent in eros is effectively attested to in scattered accounts belonging to various traditions. We shall limit ourselves here to recalling that in the cycle of the Holy Grail a cycle replete with initiatory content under the guise of chivalric adventures , the lemptaiion that woman represents for an elected knight is sometimes miributed to Lucifer, 8 thus taking on a very different meaning from 1 lie moralistic notion of the mere seduction of the flesh.

It is only a different orientation that, alongside some morphological likenesses, differentiates Prometheus from Heracles, or the experience mentioned from Satanism; but this is not the time to dwell on that subject. In fact, Plato distinguishes four kinds of favorable manias, which are not pathological or subhuman, and refers them to four divinities respectively: This is the case with a lover as much as with a Dionysiac initiate or with anyone whose vision surpasses the limits of time or with a person undergoing a magical experience.

In any case, the references are precise. Thus Plato recognizes one iree trunk, of which sexual eros is a branch, a specialized type. Its raw material is an animation and liberating exaltation that almost grafts a higher life onto human life in mythological terms; a fertiliz- ing and integrating possession by a daemon or god , which, if it obeyed only its own metaphysics, as defined by the myth of the her- maphrodite, would have as its highest possibility a telcte or initiation as Plato saiil , an equivalent of the initialic ceremony of the Greek 48 The Metaphysics of Sex mysteries.

In fact, orgia meant the state of inspired exaltation that began the initiatory process in the ancient Greek mysteries. Here we must distinguish various degrees. As this intensity lessens or as a lover becomes used to perform- ing the physical act with the same person, the pleasure tends more and more to be localized bodily in given zones and essentially in the sexual organs. Man is notoriously more predisposed than woman to this further deterioration.

In the end, we are left with a dissociated pleasure, detached from every profound experience. This condition represents the counterpart of a miscarriage of the impulse of eros, as an impulse directed toward the absolute being and the immortal, within the circle of physical generation; to this will correspond the other theory of love, as expounded by Diotima, which we shall consider below.

In the present context, it may be worthwhile to refer again for an instant to the Platonic difference between two kinds of mania so as to develop their respective natures. This force may be ontologically higher or lower than the principle of the human personality.

Hence there arise the possibility and concept of an ecstatic intoxication that also has a decidedly regressive character. Sexual magic in particular rests on Ihis very thin dividing line. To use a theoretical example, we may mention the divergent inter- pretation given by Ludwig Klages. It corresponds to the yin or female, dark, nighttime part and not to the yang male, light, daytime part of a human being.

Thus the ecstasy that he speaks of could well be called an earthly or perhaps even a daemonic ecstasy. Its emotive content had already been described in Hindu tradition with the word rasavadana. A well-differentiated phenomenology of mania and of eros exists, therefore, and from a practical viewpoint, its importance can never be sufficiently emphasized. However, it is certain that both the fore- going negative possibility and a positive possibility of a divine exalta- tion are equally far from one based on pathological origin and from the brutish and blind impulse of eros on an animal level.

Neither the ethnologists nor the historians of religions nor the psychologists have taken any notice of such important distinctions. As a wish for the everlasting possession of good, love is also the wish for immortality.

Mortal nature, overworked and subdued by the onslaught of love, seeks to reach immortality in the form of the continuation of the species by generating. This is also the process through which no human being perishes: It is indeed immortality in the sense of the perpetuity of the species. Let us reserve the right to return to this subject later and say here only that in the eyes of such a civilization, which set the maternal mystery of physical generation at the summit of its religious concept, the individual has no existence on its own; it is a fleeting thing that lasts for a day.

Only the maternal cosmic womb is everlasting, for the individual beings return and are dissolved in it but also swarm forth forever from it, just as new leaves sprout on a tree in the place of those which have fallen. This is the opposite of true Olympian immor- tality, which implies instead the abrogation of the naturalistic and earthly-motherly bond, the departure from the everlasting circle of generation, and the ascent toward the region of immutability and pure being.

At such a level absolute being escapes into the individual endlessly; and, by generating, the individual will end- lessly give life anew to another being affected by the same impotent impulse. At this rate, we may well intro- duce the mythical, Schopenhauerian daemon of the species and say that lovers are deceived by him: Pleasure is the bait of generation, and that bait is also the charm and beauty of woman; although lovers deem they are living a higher life during the exaltation of their coitus and are grasping at unitv, they are actually serving the purpose of generation.

Kierkegaard perceived that during their union lovers form one ego only but are nonetheless deceived, because at the same point the species triumphs over the individual. This contradiction, as he said, is even more ridiculous than everything for which Aristo- phanes found love to be a laughingstock.

He noted rightly that a higher prospect should not be excluded: One could believe that if lovers did not attain an immortal and unified nature, yet by agreeing to act as tools for generation and sacrificing themselves, they could see that goal attained in a being they generated. But this does not happen; the son is not born as an everlasting being that ends the series and goes upward, but is born as a being exactly the same as they are. Its purpose is I lie search for a substitute for the real need of a metaphysical confir- ms ion of oneself; and the phenomenology of eros follows this desceni, this degradation.

This is why eros is so very often confused with love. But eros is just as often confused with the sex instinct which, like eros, also manifests as a great urge. Now, my friends, I would like to show you what the spiritual meaning and purpose of the erotic force is, particularly as far as humanity is concerned.

Without eros, many people would never experience the great feeling and beauty that is contained in real love. They would never get the taste of it and the yearning for love would remain deeply submerged in their souls. Their fear of love would remain stronger than their desire. Eros is the nearest thing to love the undeveloped spirit can experience. It lifts the soul out of sluggishness, out of mere contentment and vegetation.

It causes the soul to surge, to go out of itself. When this force comes upon even the most undeveloped people they become able to surpass themselves. Even a criminal will temporarily feel, at least toward one person, a goodness he has never known. The utterly selfish person will, while this feeling lasts, have unselfish impulses. Lazy people will get out of their inertia. The routine-bound person will naturally and without effort get rid of static habits. The erotic force will lift a person out of separateness, be it only for a short time.

Eros gives the soul a foretaste of unity and teaches the fearful psyche the longing for it. The more strongly one has experienced eros, the less contentment will the soul find in the pseudo-security of separateness.

Even an otherwise thoroughly self-centered person may be able to make a sacrifice during the experience of eros. So you see, my friends, eros enables people to do things they are disinclined to do otherwise; things that are closely linked with love. It is easy to see why eros is so often confused with love.

How then is eros different from love? Love is a permanent state in the soul. Love can only exist if the foundation for it is prepared through development and purification. Love does not come and go at random; eros does. Eros hits with sudden force, often taking a person unaware and even unwilling to go through the experience. Only if the soul is prepared to love and has built the foundation for it will eros be the bridge to the love that is manifest between a man and a woman.

Thus you can see how important the erotic force is. Without the erotic force hitting them and getting them out of their rut, many human beings would never be ready for a more conscious search for the breaking down of their own walls of separation. The erotic experience puts the seed into the soul and makes it long for unity, which is the great aim in the Plan of Salvation.

As long as the soul is separate, loneliness and unhappiness must be its lot. The erotic experience enables the personality to long for union with at least one other being. In the heights of the spirit world, union exists among all beings—and thus with God. In the earth sphere, the erotic force is a propelling power regardless of whether or not its real meaning is understood. This is so even though it is often misused and enjoyed for its own sake, while it lasts. It is not utilized to cultivate love in the soul, so it peters out.

Nevertheless, its effect will inevitably remain in the soul. Eros comes to people suddenly in certain stages of their lives, even to those who are afraid of the apparent risk of adventuring away from separateness. People who are afraid of their emotions and afraid of life as such will often do anything in their power to avoid—subconsciously and ignorantly—the great experience of unity. Although this fear exists in many human beings, there are few indeed who have not experienced some opening in the soul where eros could touch them.

For the fear-ridden soul that resists the experience, this is good medicine regardless of the fact that sorrow and loss may follow due to other psychological factors. However, there are also those who are over-emotional, and although they may know other fears of life, they are not afraid of this particular experience.

In fact, the beauty of it is a great temptation to them and therefore they hunt greedily for it. They look for one subject after another, emotionally too ignorant to understand the deep meaning of Eros.

They are unwilling to learn pure love, and simply use the erotic force for their pleasure and when it is worn out they hunt elsewhere. This is an abuse and cannot continue without ill effects. Such a personality will have to make amends for the abuse—even if it was done in ignorance. In the same vein, the over-fearful coward will have to make up for trying to cheat life by hiding from eros and thus withholding from the soul a medicine, valuable if used properly.

Most people in this category have a vulnerable point somewhere in their soul through which eros can enter. There are also a few who have built such a tight wall of fear and pride around their souls that they avoid this part of life experience entirely and so shortchange their own development. This fear might exist because in a former life they had an unhappy experience with eros, or perhaps because the soul has greedily abused the beauty of the erotic force without building it into love.

In either case, the personality may have chosen to be more careful. If this decision is too rigid and stringent, the opposite extreme will follow. In the next incarnation circumstances will be chosen in such a way that a balance is established until the soul reaches a harmonious state wherein there are no more extremes.

This balancing in future incarnations always applies to all aspects of the personality. In order to approach this harmony to some extent at least, the proper balance between reason, emotion, and will has to be achieved. The erotic experience often mingles with the sexual urge, but it does not always have to be that way.

These three forces—love, eros, and sex—often appear completely separately, while sometimes two mingle, such as eros and sex, or eros and love to the extent the soul is capable of love, or sex and a semblance of love.

Only in the ideal case do all three forces mingle harmoniously. The sex force is the creative force on any level of existence. In the highest spheres, the same sex force creates spiritual life, spiritual ideas, and spiritual concepts and principles. On the lower planes, the pure and unspiritualized sex force creates life as it manifests in that particular sphere; it creates the outer shell or vehicle of the entity destined to live in that sphere.

The pure sex force is utterly selfish. Sex without eros and without love is referred to as animalistic. Pure sex exists in all living creatures: Eros begins with the stage of development where the soul is incarnated as a human being.

And pure love is to be found in the higher spiritual realms. This does not mean that eros and sex no longer exist in beings of higher development, but rather that all three blend in harmoniously, are refined, and become less and less selfish.

Nor do I mean that a human being should not try to achieve a harmonious blend of all three forces. In rare cases, eros alone, without sex and love, exists for a limited time. This is usually referred to as platonic love. But sooner or later with the somewhat healthy person, eros and sex will mingle. The sex force, instead of being suppressed, is taken up by the erotic force and both flow in one current.

The more the three forces remain separate, the unhealthier the personality is. Another frequent combination, particularly in relationships of long standing, is the coexistence of genuine love with sex, but without eros. Although love cannot be perfect unless all three forces blend together, there is a certain amount of affection, companionship, fondness, mutual respect, and a sex-relationship that is crudely sexual without the erotic spark which evaporated some time ago.

When eros is missing, the sexual relationship must eventually suffer. Now this is the problem with most marriages, my friends. There is hardly a human being who is not puzzled by the question of what to do to maintain the spark in the relationship which seems to evaporate the more habit and familiarity with one another sets in.

You may not have posed the question in terms of three distinct forces, yet you know and sense that something goes out of a marriage that was present at the beginning; that spark is actually eros. You find yourself in a vicious circle and think that marriage is a hopeless proposition. No, my friends, it is not, even if you cannot as yet attain the ideal.

In the ideal partnership of love between two people all three forces have to be represented. With love you do not seem to have much difficulty, for in most cases one would not marry if there did not exist at least the willingness to love. I will not discuss at this point the extreme cases where this is not so. I am focusing on a relationship where the choice is a mature one and yet the partners cannot get around the pitfall of becoming bound by time and habit, because elusive eros has disappeared.

With sex it is very much the same. The sex force is present in most healthy human beings and may only begin to fade—particularly with women—when eros has left. Men may then seek eros else-where. For the sexual relationship must eventually suffer unless eros is maintained.

How can you keep eros? That is the big question, my dear ones. Eros can be maintained only if it is used as a bridge to true partnership in love in the highest sense. How is this done? Let us first look for the main element in the erotic force.

When you analyze it, you will find that it is the adventure, the search for the knowledge of the other soul. This desire lives in every created spirit. The inherent life-force must finally bring the entity out of its separation. Eros strengthens the curiosity to know the other being. As long as there is something new to find in the other soul and as long as you reveal yourself, eros will live. The moment you believe you have found all there is to find, and have revealed all there is to reveal, eros will leave.

It is as simple as that with eros. When a certain point of usually quite superficial revelation is reached, you are under the impression that this is all there is, and you settle down to a placid life without further searching.

Eros has carried you this far with its strong impact. But after this point, your will to further search the unlimited depths of the other person and voluntarily reveal and share your own inward search determines whether you have used eros as a bridge to love. This, in turn, is always determined by your will to learn how to love.

Only in this way will you maintain the spark of eros in your love. Only in this way will you continue to find the other and let yourself be found.

There is no limit, for the soul is endless and eternal: There can never be a point when you know the other soul entirely, nor when you are known entirely.

The soul is alive, and nothing that is alive remains static. It has the capacity to reveal even deeper layers that already exist. The soul is also in constant change and movement as anything spiritual is by its very nature.

Spirit means life and life means change. Since soul is spirit, the soul can never be known utterly. If people had the wisdom, they would realize that and make of marriage the marvelous journey of adventure it is supposed to be, forever finding new vistas, instead of simply being carried as far as you are taken by the first momentum of eros. You should use this potent momentum of eros as the initial thrust it is, and then find through it the urge to go on further under your own steam. Then you will have brought eros into true love in marriage.

Marriage is intended by God for human beings and its divine purpose is not merely procreation. That is only one detail. The spiritual idea of marriage is to enable the soul to reveal itself and to be constantly on the search for the other to discover forever new vistas of the other being. The more this happens, the happier the marriage will be, the more firmly and safely it will be rooted, and the less it will be in danger of an unhappy ending. Then it will fulfill its spiritual purpose.

In practice, however, marriage hardly ever works that way. You reach a certain state of familiarity and habit and you think you know the other. It does not even occur to you that the other does not know you by any means. He or she may know certain facets of your being, but that is all.

This search for the other being, as well as for self-revelation, requires inner activity and alertness. But since people are often tempted into inner inactivity, while outer activity may be all the stronger as an overcompensation, they are being lured to sink into a state of restfulness, cherishing the delusion of already knowing each other fully.

This is the pitfall. It is the beginning of the end at worst, or at best a compromise leaving you with a gnawing, unfulfilled longing. At this point the relationship turns static.

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