An Interview With Thomas Moore On Sex And The Soul
The goal of our sexuality — especially in our thinking about lovemaking — should be to evoke the spirit of Venus. That’s really what it’s about. It’s not about the modern idea of people trying to communicate with each other. Nor is it just instinct, nor biology. In The Soul of Sex, I set out to write about sex in a way that was not biological, not psychological, and not sociological. I came to the conclusion that summoning the spirit of sex — which the Greeks called Aphrodite and the Romans called Venus — is still what sex is about, and is what we need to do in today’s world.
Sex is so stunning and powerful that the sexual gaze would seem to have something in common with the religious gaze. Of course, for many religious people, sexual fascination is the opposite of the religious spirit, but in some traditions where sex is considered sacred, it isn’t much of a leap from honoring the image of a saint to venerating an image of a sexual god or goddess.
At dinner, I was soft-spoken, laughed a lot, and didn’t delve immediately into the deepest possible level of conversation, the way I usually do. It was somehow easy to let my date pull out my chair for me, to wait politely while he served me first, to nod and smile and gracefully sip my wine. When I did talk, my fingertips floated and flashed in the air in front of me, trailing invisible purple sparks. I have no idea what either of us said.
Kitty’s aunt sewed her a pink satin boob. Kitty showed it to me on my third night at her house. She sat at the antique vanity in her bedroom and placed the small, soft cushion in my hand. The color made me think of 1930s Hollywood starlets. Kitty would never wear it, of course. She hadn’t worn a bra before the mastectomy, and she wasn’t planning to start now. But she smiled up at me and said, “Isn’t it sweet?”
The second time I come to see her, she lets me touch her right breast. I’m sure she would let me touch the left one, and maybe slide my hand down her smooth belly, but the idea is too much for me. She strokes my arm as I hand her the fives through the window, just barely brushes her fingertips along the inside of my elbow. I roll her nipple between my fingers, run my palm over the breathless curve. I want to stop.
I suppose it might make sense at this point in my life — with a wife and a son and long afternoons of contentment drawn around me — to disavow my passion for Solange. Or, at the very least, to relinquish her memory. But you don’t relinquish anything when you’ve fallen in love, no matter how briefly. The heart writes in indelible ink.