27 Apr

It was with some mirth that I read the other day of a male author of “erotic fiction” who has resorted to Craig’s List to find a young woman willing to share a thirty-day erotic affair with him, an affair they would both write about, and which he would turn into a marketable book:

The book will detail every aspect of a mutually-agreed to romantic affair between myself and a young FEMALE lover (perhaps you), experienced over 30 days, as in the novel. The difference between the first book and this one will be verite: everything in this new volume will be the truth as both participants see it. If you agree to participate in this project, you will keep a diary of all of your thoughts, impressions and memories of the thirty-day affair that we will share. I will then combine your written thoughts with my own to present the reader with two versions of the same erotic story. One love affair, as seen separately by the man and woman.

My first thought was, this man has no real concept of the erotic, if he believes he can find it to order on Craig’s List. Others were angry at the implied sexploitation of the young woman (no payment offered) but I couldn’t get past my irritation at seeing the erotic so unforgivably reduced. Not to mention his confusion of the romantic with the erotic, which is like confusing Mills and Boon with The Delta of Venus. 

I know that “romance” and “romantic” are common euphemisms for sex, but “erotic” is a whole other concept, and far more dangerous.

Take, for example, what the French philosopher Georges Bataille has to say about the erotic: The whole business of eroticism is to strike to the inmost core of the living being, so that the heart stands still.


..eroticism, unlike simple sexual activity, is a psychological quest…eroticism is assenting to life even in death.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to encounter the erotic on Craig’s List. One of its hallmarks is that it can manifest anywhere, anytime, between any two people, no matter how apparently unlikely. And when it does it is frequently in the form of a coup de foudre, and a kind of madness ensues, madness in the sense that desire for the other is so great it overwhelms common sense, and even one’s sense of self-preservation. It is impossible to satisfy the erotic through simply having sex. Indeed, there is no such thing as simply having sex when the erotic is involved.

In essence, observes Bataille, the domain of eroticism is the domain of violence, of violation…

I don’t believe Bataille is saying that actual violence and violation are necessary for the erotic experience, although they may be for some participants. Rather, the violence is in how the erotic explodes into a life, violating all boundaries and disrupting “normal” feelings and behaviours. One has up till that point been self-contained, with boundaries safely in place, and no particular sense of yearning, except perhaps now and then and weakly, for something nebulous, a yearning easily shaken off by attention to daily life and responsibilities. Then, in a moment, one’s self-containment is violated, violently, by a sustained gaze, by a touch on an arm, by the presence of one you didn’t know you were looking for until suddenly he or she is there. In the immediate clamour you cannot formulate the thought: I want to be in his arms. Only later do you allow yourself to admit that desire.

You are no longer who you were seconds earlier. And you will never be again. This is the violence I think Bataille is describing.

The whole business of eroticism is to destroy the self-contained character of the participators as they are in their normal lives…Eroticism always entails a breaking down of established patterns, the patterns, I repeat, of the regulated social order basic to our discontinuous mode of existence as defined and separate individuals… The stirrings within us have their own fearful excesses; the excesses show which way these stirrings would take us. 

The idea that an erotic affair can be confined to thirty days is laughable: the erotic has its own timetable, it may be more, it may be less, but the idea that one can determine in advance its lifetime is an indicator that one is considering something else altogether.

It is possible to refuse the erotic. William Blake, in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, offers an opinion on refusal:

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling.
And being restrain’d it by degrees becomes passive till it is only the shadow of desire.

I suspect that what the author is searching for on Craig’s List is a shadow of the erotic, a shadow of desire. A simulacrum. And yet again, the reputation of a word is unforgivably traduced.

57 Responses to “Eroticism”

  1. 8 Degrees of Latitude April 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Who is this turkey, indeed? He seems to believe – as you note – that eroticism is or can be purposely confined to a 30-day flirt with benefits. That is to the erotic as Twitter’s 140 characters are to War and Peace.

    As you evocatively write, the erotic is loss of reason, the overturning of one’s world, the thrill, the electric charge, of the chance touch of an arm; of many things – in literature and in real life – that one may neither be expecting nor perhaps find particularly welcome.

    It can certainly be an inconvenience. But you wouldn’t want to miss it.

    Thanks for another great read. I seriously suspect you of being a gem. 🙂


  2. paul walter April 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    I’m with you. I think that’s an excellent critique. Erotic situation are exactly as you say- situations unfolding where uncertainty is again in play and risks seem to be involved.
    In fact, I think that’s the best thing thing you’ve ever written.
    I want to give you the loudest cheer possible.


  3. hudsongodfrey April 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I think what he’s after is a 30 day zipless fuck. It might even make good reading, but you’re correct in saying that good erotica is just about the least likely of outcomes.

    Who knows he may find somebody whose ideas diverge from his own in a thoroughly surprising fashion and take the project in a whole new direction. Or at least he’s hoping, because otherwise it’s not even a good script idea for a bad Hollywood romantic comedy.


  4. doug quixote April 27, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Men tend to the erotic, women tend to the romantic. It has always been thus. It is what is really hinted at in the phrase “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”.

    I don’t think women understand men, and I’m sure men don’t understand women.

    Vive la difference!


    • Jennifer Wilson April 27, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

      Oh,all right I’ll bite. Women do not “tend towards the romantic” Perhaps some women do. I don’t. I’m a huge fan of the erotic. The romantic leaves me unmoved. Largely. Unless combined with the erotic. Or something.


      • doug quixote April 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

        Glad to hear it, Jennifer. I don’t need to send you flowers, then; just an invitation to Sexpo? 🙂


    • richardmudford April 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      ‘It is what is really hinted at in the phrase “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”.’

      This makes it sound as if the phrase is some wise old saw or folk saying. It is nothing of the kind. It is the title of an idiotic book by a charlatan, that was intended to exploit the gullibility of people like you.

      All generalisations about women are puerile nonsense, none more so than the one you’ve served up here.


      • helvityni April 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

        As there are no female posters here to tell us what’s their take on eroticism, I’ll try…
        The silly American book about women being romantic and men something else does not ring true at all, at least not for me. I’m realistic, one for seeking the truth in any matter, and not one bit romantic or sentimental…hubby is both, romantic and sentimental, maybe they are leftovers of his Catholic upbringing.

        Read about eroticism, written by women like Anais Nin, Catherine Millet, Belle deJour, and even your own Aussie Nikki Gemmel , the author of The Stripped Bare to realise that women are not at all the romantic gender as so many like believe…of course many women are just that, but NOT all…


  5. atomoua April 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Is being in love having an erotic episode?

    And look at how vindictive the goddess of love can be here:


  6. atomou April 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Lovely read, Jennifer.
    Zeus only knows what this twerp is really after but whatever it is, it isn’t anything to do with Eros and his little arrows. The relationship between the erotic and the violent, or to just a tad pedantic, the belligerent was understood by the ancients of course and gave the two temperament very similarly named gods: Eros (of love) and Ares, of war, the most common cause of war beng eros… in most romantic novels, poems, plays, sculpture, architecture ad anything to do with the creative spirit, since that area, too, is within Eros’ domain.
    And, to get back to the twerp, whilst one can concoct, plan and prepare for war, this is no the case with anything relating to the erotic, the most salient characteristic of which is spontaneity – and this is the main reason that kids, in many societies, ancient and modern, were married off young.

    And so to a joke about what may be called an erotic episode -which, coincidentally, it was just published on my fb page!

    A recent poll showed that, after an erotic episode (aka a fuck):
    10% had a fag
    10% turned their back to their partner and
    The rest went home.

    Boom, boom!


    • Jennifer Wilson April 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

      I know its possible to love deeply without the erotic being involved. But when it is – wow


      • atomou April 28, 2013 at 8:31 am #

        That’s the sort that I have felt, Jennifer. Never this “love-or-die-of-consumption” stuff. Just good gentle, sweet love, which, until I met Mrs Ato, simply but gently dissipated.
        And even when I met this lovely lady, it was again, a sweet, caress of the heart, a proposal (’twas ‘er what did it) a marriage and a continuous sweet, gentle love.

        No fireworks, thank Zeus, no pains (except when either of us are debilitated by some common ailment or other) no outrageous or extreme pathology. No “blood-on-the-carpet” passions

        Just love! Filial love. Caring love. “Love-to-the-final-natural-breath” love!


        • doug quixote April 28, 2013 at 10:57 am #

          Filial Love? I know you are Greek, and Oedipus is one of your forbears, but isn’t that taking it a little far?? 🙂


          • atomou April 28, 2013 at 11:49 am #

            LOVE, DQ, LOVE! Not bloody eroticism! Not sex! Brotherly love, (the Christians call it “agape” to distinguish it from the other two loves, “eros” and “filia” which shows how little Greek they know, ignorance being their hallmark!)

            AND FURTHERMORE!

            I’l remind you that neither Oedipus nor his mother, Jocasta knew who was who and who was in their bed, until the oracle (through the seer Tiresias told them)!

            Oedipus’ uncle, Creon (after Oedipus had killed his pappy, Laius, unwittingly) had declared, that whoever kills that beastly Sphinx with her lethal approach to anyone who couldn’t answer her shitty riddles, would marry the now widowed queen, Jocasta and become king of the town (Thebes). So, Oeipus and Jocasta married and had four kids (two boys two girls) before the shit hit the land (Thebes)

            It was the idiot Freud who projected his own bizarre sexual pathology on this myth (and that of Electra, viz The Electra Complex -for Zeus’ sake!) that twisted everyone’s views about Oedipus.

            And, Oedipus, having learnt of his ungodly behaviour, gouged his eyeballs out with his wife’s/mother’s brooch, his mother/wife having also committed suicide once she had learnt of her own deed!

            Educate thyself here:


            • doug quixote April 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

              Fully aware of all of that, atomou. Just stirring.

              You bite so well!


              • atomou April 28, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

                I’ll have you know, Mister dq, I am the fisherman, not the fish! So, stop stirring up the waters, please, you’re turbulating the fish!


    • 8 Degrees of Latitude April 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm #



  7. doug quixote April 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
    Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
    If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
    If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
    I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
    But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
    And in some perfumes is there more delight
    Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
    I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
    That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
    I grant I never saw a goddess go;
    My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    As any she belied with false compare.

    William Shakespeare, sonnet 130.

    As opposed to the love poetry addressed to his lover and equal, the Earl of Southampton, De Vere here sends up the “dark lady”.

    Compare if you will :

    A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted
    Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
    A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
    With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion;
    An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
    Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
    A man in hue, all ‘hues’ in his controlling,
    Much steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
    And for a woman wert thou first created;
    Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
    And by addition me of thee defeated,
    By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
    But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
    Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.

    Erotic? Is it indeed! Here he addresses his male lover, beautiful as a woman can be, but with none of their faults! The sonnets lay hidden until several years after De Vere’s death in 1604 they were pirated and printed, only to be suppressed – at the behest of the powerful Earl of Southampton, naturally, who wanted no reminders of his errant youth.


    • Hypocritophobe April 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      The contemporary version? (read the last line)

      Start Me Up
      Rolling Stones.

      If you start me up,
      If you start me up I’ll never stop

      You can start me up,
      You can start me up I’ll never stop
      I’ve been running hot
      You got me just about to blow my top
      You can start me up, you can start me up,
      I’ll never stop, never stop, never stop

      You make a grown man cry,
      You make a grown man cry
      You make a grown man cry,
      Spread out the oil, the gasoline
      I walk smooth ride in a mean, mean machine
      Start it up

      You can start me up
      Kick on the starter, give it all you’ve got
      (you got, you got)
      I can’t compete
      With the riders in the other heats
      If you rough it up
      If you like it you can slit it up, slide it up
      Slide it up, slide it up
      Don’t make a grown man cry,
      Don’t make a grown man cry
      Don’t make a grown man cry,
      My eyes dilate, my lips go green
      My hands are greasy, she’s a mean, mean machine
      Start it up

      Start me up
      Ah, you’ve got to, you’ve got to
      Never, never, never stop
      Start it up
      Ah, start it up, never, never, never
      You make a grown man cry
      You make a grown man cry
      You make a grown man cry
      Ride like the wind, at double speed
      I’ll take you places that you’ve never, never seen

      It you start it up,
      Love the day when we will never stop
      Never stop, never, never, never stop
      Tough me up
      Never stop, never stop
      You, you, you make a grown man cry
      You, you make a dead man come,
      You, you, you make a dead man come


      • hudsongodfrey April 27, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

        The Long and the Short of it….. First the Long!


        by: Robert Browning (1812-1889)

        SAID–Then, dearest, since ’tis so,
        Since now at length my fate I know,
        Since nothing all my love avails,
        Since all, my life seem’d meant for, fails,
        Since this was written and needs must be–
        My whole heart rises up to bless
        Your name in pride and thankfulness!
        Take back the hope you gave,–I claim
        Only a memory of the same,
        –And this beside, if you will not blame;
        Your leave for one more last ride with me.

        My mistress bent that brow of hers,
        Those deep dark eyes where pride demurs
        When pity would be softening through,
        Fix’d me a breathing-while or two
        With life or death in the balance: right!
        The blood replenish’d me again;
        My last thought was at least not vain:
        I and my mistress, side by side
        Shall be together, breathe and ride,
        So, one day more am I deified.
        Who knows but the world may end to-night?

        Hush! if you saw some western cloud
        All billowy-bosom’d, over-bow’d
        By many benedictions–sun’s
        And moon’s and evening-star’s at once–
        And so, you, looking and loving best,
        Conscious grew, your passion drew
        Cloud, sunset, moonrise, star-shine too,
        Down on you, near and yet more near,
        Till flesh must fade for heaven was here!–
        Thus leant she and linger’d–joy and fear!
        Thus lay she a moment on my breast.

        Then we began to ride. My soul
        Smooth’d itself out, a long-cramp’d scroll
        Freshening and fluttering in the wind.
        Past hopes already lay behind.
        What need to strive with a life awry?
        Had I said that, had I done this,
        So might I gain, so might I miss.
        Might she have loved me? just as well
        She might have hated, who can tell!
        Where had I been now if the worst befell?
        And here we are riding, she and I.

        Fail I alone, in words and deeds?
        Why, all men strive and who succeeds?
        We rode; it seem’d my spirit flew,
        Saw other regions, cities new,
        As the world rush’d by on either side.
        I thought,–All labour, yet no less
        Bear up beneath their unsuccess.
        Look at the end of work, contrast
        The petty done, the undone vast,
        This present of theirs with the hopeful past!
        I hoped she would love me; here we ride.

        What hand and brain went ever pair’d?
        What heart alike conceived and dared?
        What act proved all its thought had been?
        What will but felt the fleshly screen?
        We ride and I see her bosom heave.
        There’s many a crown for who can reach.
        Ten lines, a statesman’s life in each!
        The flag stuck on a heap of bones,
        A soldier’s doing! what atones?
        They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones.
        My riding is better, by their leave.

        What does it all mean, poet? Well,
        Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
        What we felt only; you express’d
        You hold things beautiful the best,
        And pace them in rhyme so, side by side.
        ‘Tis something, nay ’tis much: but then,
        Have you yourself what’s best for men?
        Are you–poor, sick, old ere your time–
        Nearer one whit your own sublime
        Than we who never have turn’d a rhyme?
        Sing, riding’s a joy! For me, I ride.

        And you, great sculptor–so, you gave
        A score of years to Art, her slave,
        And that’s your Venus, whence we turn
        To yonder girl that fords the burn!
        You acquiesce, and shall I repine?
        What, man of music, you grown gray
        With notes and nothing else to say,
        Is this your sole praise from a friend?–
        ‘Greatly his opera’s strains intend,
        But in music we know how fashions end!’
        I gave my youth: but we ride, in fine.

        Who knows what’s fit for us? Had fate
        Proposed bliss here should sublimate
        My being–had I sign’d the bond–
        Still one must lead some life beyond,
        Have a bliss to die with, dim-descried.
        This foot once planted on the goal,
        This glory-garland round my soul,
        Could I descry such? Try and test!
        I sink back shuddering from the quest.
        Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?
        Now, heaven and she are beyond this ride.

        And yet–she has not spoke so long!
        What if heaven be that, fair and strong
        At life’s best, with our eyes upturn’d
        Whither life’s flower is first discern’d,
        We, fix’d so, ever should so abide?
        What if we still ride on, we two
        With life for ever old yet new,
        Changed not in kind but in degree,
        The instant made eternity,–
        And heaven just prove that I and she
        Ride, ride together, for ever ride?


        And for the Short

        I Wanna (unknown)

        I wanna


        A diatomic molecule

        And place You,

        The brilliant particle,

        At the other end

        Of my



        • doug quixote April 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

          You dare to quote that imposter Browning! Aaargh! Long, all right, and almost without content. Best forgotten is Browning.


          • hudsongodfrey April 28, 2013 at 12:08 am #

            Oh I just thought that it was funny because some people may remember stories of it having been taught in schools, right up until the point where the nuns could no longer sustain the pretence that it was about horse riding! 🙂


  8. atomou April 28, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    Ah, but there’s none a female that’s done a better job at love songs then Sappho and there’s none a man that’s done a better job than T.S. Eliot!

    6 Ode to Aphrodite (Edm. 1, 191 IB. et D)

    Immortal Aphrodite of the splendid throne*
    Daughter of Zeus, weaver of snares,
    Great Woman, grant me this:
    Let not my spirit be harnessed by this anguish,
    This affliction
    But come here, to me, as you did once before.
    Come to me again now,
    Great Woman
    release me from this great woe;
    grant me this, my heart’s greatest desire!
    Against all these pains,
    Great Woman, be my ally.

    Bloody hell, ey?
    What love misery must you feel to ask for Aphrodite’s help? What desperation!

    1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

    LET us go then, you and I,
    When the evening is spread out against the sky
    Like a patient etherized upon a table;
    Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
    The muttering retreats 5
    Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
    And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
    Streets that follow like a tedious argument
    Of insidious intent
    To lead you to an overwhelming question…. 10
    Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
    Let us go and make our visit.

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo.

    The last couple of lines in this extract flood me with melancholy!


  9. jo wiseman April 28, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    For anyone who hasn’t seen this yet.

    FIFTY SHADES OF GREY – (a husband’s point of view)

    The missus bought a Paperback,
    down Shepton Mallet way,
    I had a look inside her bag;
    … T’was “Fifty Shades of Grey”.
    Well I just left her to it,
    And at ten I went to bed.
    An hour later she appeared;
    The sight filled me with dread…

    In her left she held a rope;
    And in her right a whip!
    She threw them down upon the floor,
    And then began to strip.
    Well fifty years or so ago;
    I might have had a peek;
    But Mabel hasn’t weathered well;
    She’s eighty four next week!!

    Watching Mabel bump and grind;
    Could not have been much grimmer.
    And things then went from bad to worse;
    She toppled off her Zimmer!
    She struggled back upon her feet;
    A couple minutes later;
    She put her teeth back in and said
    I am a dominater !!

    Now if you knew our Mabel,
    You’d see just why I spluttered,
    I’d spent two months in traction
    For the last complaint I’d uttered.
    She stood there nude and naked
    Bent forward just a bit
    I went to hold her, sensual like
    and stood on her left tit!

    Mabel screamed, her teeth shot out;
    My god what had I done!?
    She moaned and groaned then shouted out:
    “Step on the other one”!!

    Well readers, I can’t tell no more;
    About what occurred that day.
    Suffice to say my jet black hair,
    Turned fifty shades of grey.!!


    • paul walter April 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm #



      • jo wiseman April 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

        Shock!!!!! We have overlapping senses of humour! It’s such an adorable (if that’s the word) versification. It arrived in my email attributed to Pam Ayres but she’s said not – Pam Ayresesque though.


        • paul walter April 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

          Tell you what, jo, I can exactly imagine Pam Ayres’ voice.. that is spot-on.
          As for the rest, you have a brain, I have one, sometimes adults disagree passionately on complex, serious issues.


        • hudsongodfrey April 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm #


          • jo wiseman April 29, 2013 at 7:48 am #



  10. doug quixote April 28, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    No Place For Sheep here, that is certain!

    Although a rampant ram and a randy ewe might find sweet green grass and frolic merrily upon the sward . . .


  11. atomou April 28, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Oh, for Zeus’ sake!
    Why would anyone wanna fall in love?
    Don’t you all know that…

    What do you get when you kiss a girl?
    You get enough germs to catch pneumonia
    After you do, she’ll never phone you

    Now go away and think about that: Pneumonia!


  12. samjandwich April 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Sorry to come in late. No poetry from me, and perhaps I’m gonna be the dissenter here as well but may I suggest that what you all need is a good rogering 🙂

    “the violence is in how the erotic explodes into a life, violating all boundaries and disrupting “normal” feelings and behaviours.”

    I would argue that this is precisely what the Craigslist fellow is seeking to *contrive*. I, er…

    I have had some relatively cursory looks-into the world of BDSM and stylised, fantastical relationships, the whole purpose of which it seems to me is to start with each individuals’ lusts and desires, and mash them together into what is hopefully an erotically-charged interaction. The rules that are created, such as a 30-day limit, are there to create more of a challenging and confronting situation for the people concerned. Entering into an agreement such as this with the understanding that you may well emerge broken-hearted and regretful just adds to the passion and urgency.

    (Well, that’s the idea anyway. For me the suspension of disbelief that is required to achieve eroticism under these conditions is more than I’m capable of. but maybe that’s just my lack of experience showing through).

    Regardless, I’d say what’s going on for Mr Craigslist is that, having suffered the indignity of having caught far too many jellyfish, tyres and old boots with his formerlly indiscriminate approach, he has simply rationalised his collection of tackle and directed it towards a specific target.

    Think of it as as a kind of fly-fishing.

    People who aren’t passionate about it simply can’t understand why you’d waste your time.

    And then there are the rubber leggins…


    • paul walter April 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      We ARE a bright spark today!


      • atomoua April 29, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

        I’m not!
        I’m just a poor fisherman, out in the big wide cosmic bay!


      • samjandwich April 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

        Funny you should say that Paul. Actually I’ve spent most of the day wondering how it is that people keep themselves going through the endless years.

        At 35 I’ve seen quite a lot of the world and I feel as though I’ve done enough to feel as though I’ll have a reasonable amount of engagement and control over anything I come across. To Atomou-a(?) I promise to re-read Zorba again soon. But one element of adulthood I feel I haven’t yet mastered is to find a compelling reason to remain curious, and to keep trying and making progress rather than to feel as though it’s all just going through the motions and lapsing into self-destructiveness.

        How do other people negotiate this?


        • paul walter April 29, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

          In a nutshell ( in my case) with great difficulty.


        • jo wiseman April 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

          @samjandwich If you’re talking about depression, then if it seems that going through the motions is all you have, I say cling to it. It might seem hard but it’s a lot harder to restart than to keep going. Going through the motions gets a lot of bad press but it leaves the way open for good things to happen and gives you options for the future that lapsing takes away.
          It you’re talking about a rethink of the path your life is traveling, look for a different path to follow. They say it’s better to move to something than from something.


          • paul walter April 30, 2013 at 1:12 am #

            Yes, that’s called “faking it it till you make it”.
            Hypo got to the sense of it with ,”not me, not me..
            Elisabeth, who visits from time to time, seems tp have a fair idea of the mechanics of it and can describe them in relatively comprehensible terms, but may not turn up again for a while.
            It is a real thing, perhaps to do with, initially, a minor let up (increase?) of serotonin from within the brain.
            But we are getting a fair way from the joys of eroticism here, the subject could be akin to the relation between joy and a stomach-pump.
            My condition responds well enough to prozac, unless the scrip runs out, guaranteeing true grief till the next chemist’s visit.
            In the wider sense I think depression relates to the life process or human condition itself, it seems to be the price humans pay for finding out what they wanted to know when they were young. A reminder of the human toll of lived life?Youhful over-optimism giving way to a more realistic appreciation of what can happen, good and life,in the wake of experience?
            “Thank god for experience”. as Alanis Morissette once sang.
            I don’t think recreational drugs help, they blunt other processes which people need functioning to stay ahead of accident, grief and depression, although this won;t be true of everybody.
            Good luck to you if you can party it out of your system, other wise you will have to sort out a new plan.
            Depressives tend to isolate, do the “Doona Dive” and hope it all goes away. But with alcoholics (for example), for whom depression and remorse seem t integral parts of the syndrome, socialising without substances seems to help in getting people off their own cases.
            Maybe they finally get to recall the forgotten good times the later sad, bad times wiped out their memory of and show that these can still be available, in the company of others, provided they adjust to new and changing circumstances and stay”out there”.
            Actually, writing this has me in recall of Jennifer Wilson’s concept of the practice or praxis of goodness and living perhaps that comes of decentreing, which does take effort, as you would all know, some times without the sense of any relief or reward to come from that.
            But I must stop here. if any one else has potential depression my cock and bull is the last thing they need. Better some one more competent steps up and discusses this.


  13. Hypocritophobe April 29, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    Depression V Reality

    Kudos to Devo.>>

    “It’s a beautiful world we live in
    A sweet romantic place
    Beautiful people everywhere
    The way they show they care
    Makes me want to say

    It’s a beautiful world
    It’s a beautiful world
    It’s a beautiful world

    For you
    For you
    For you

    It’s a wonderful time to be here
    It’s nice to be alive
    Wonderful people everywhere
    The way they comb their hair
    Makes me want to say

    It’s a wonderful place
    It’s a wonderful place
    It’s a wonderful place

    For you
    For you
    For you

    Tell me what I say

    Boy ‘n’ girl with the new clothes on
    You can shake it to me all night long
    Hey hey

    It’s a beautiful world we live in
    A sweet romantic place
    Beautiful people everywhere
    The way they show they care
    Makes me want to say

    It’s a beautiful world
    It’s a beautiful world
    It’s a beautiful world

    For you
    For you
    For you

    It’s not for me

    It’s a beautiful world, For you
    It’s a beautiful world, For you
    It’s a beautiful world, For you
    It’s a beautiful world, Not me


  14. doug quixote April 30, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    A good definition of happiness : good health and a poor memory.

    I have never mentioned this before on a blog, but I have personally plumbed the depths of depression; I did not want to raise it until I was quite sure it has been vanquished.

    Resilience is the thing : what does not kill you makes you stronger.

    In the late 90s I suffered the loss of both my parents, some favourite aunts and uncles and several good friends, all within a few years. Alone and bereft, but never lonely – I always seemed to enjoy my own company 🙂 , and it got me through.

    I hit the depths as a rabbit in the spotlight, as if paralysed by indecision. Do I do x, or should I do y, no, perhaps x is best? Then ended up doing nothing and going nowhere. Inevitably when this happens, one thinks the unthinkable – what would the world be like without me in it?

    I think it is a matter of survival, a matter of living through the bad times; too many did not live through the bad times. If you can somehow manage to be resilient enough to live through it, there is a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. There is not enough time in ten lifetimes to see it all and know it all, and to keep learning is a way forward, a way to get through the worst, and then to find the best.

    Onward and upward.



    • paul walter April 30, 2013 at 1:15 am #

      Pnya Doug, you were thinking about this the same time as I was.


      • doug quixote April 30, 2013 at 10:48 am #

        I read your post, Paul; rather than reply directly, I gave it my take.

        The psychologist recommended and the doctor prescribed Escitalopram; all it did after a year or so was to give me side-effects. A psychiatrist friend took me off the drugs entirely, saying that my particular brand of depression did not respond to and did not need the drugs, and the downside side-effects were worse than the problem they were meant to help.

        I think I came out of it gradually, by about 2008 or so, but it took eight years out of my life.

        I don’t know if the various programs are helpful or not, I never tried them. Perhaps some people are more resilient and self-reliant than others.

        BTW, one of the side effects was a reduction in libido, to come back to the topic!


  15. samjandwich April 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Thank you for all your replies everyone!

    Yes well for the record I’ve been quite a good consumer of mental health services ever since I decided I actually deserved them, maybe about 10 years ago. To be honest I’m still not entirely settled in my thinking on depression v. existential angst – it does strike me that once you reach an age where you’re no longer young you cease to embody potential and begin embodying self-actualisation… and I guess that’s where the “going through the motions” comes in when things aren’t going your way, because it’s true that you do have to do *something*. Essentially though yes, medications do work for me, but they’re by no means a panacea.

    Actually, Jo Wiseman’s comment of “they say it’s better to move to something than from something.” is in fact very wise, and something that I think, latently, we’re all striving for.

    … and perhaps over-analysis of self-and-other, as I have been accused of at various times, is a trap far more dangerous than any addictive substance. And you might be tempted to slap me when I over-indulge… but that would probably just turn me on!


    • hudsongodfrey April 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

      I really don’t know if it’s true or of any help Sam but it occurs to me having encountered family members and others with similar problems that worrying about why a depressive is the way that they are or using the language of what is and isn’t normal is hugely unhelpful. We can all play the grass-is-greener scenarios in our minds and become obsessed with wanting to be whatever it is that we’re not. But there’s a difference I think between working on your problems and striving for some unnecessary goal of perfection that you may not need to aspire to. Some of us just find it really difficult to learn to accept ourselves as we are, but I think you have to be getting closer to a solution once you’ve recognised you’re worthy of your own acceptance.

      Good luck with it 🙂


      • samjandwich April 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

        Thanks Hudson,

        What I do find interesting is that, perhaps this kind of disenchantment is an occupational hazard for us secular, individualist types… but here we see an example that despite this entailing that we are all responsible for making our own destinies, that doesn’t preclude people helping each other out. Quite a revelation really!


        • hudsongodfrey April 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

          A very good point well made. 🙂


  16. paul walter April 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm #



    • hudsongodfrey April 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      And after the spanking?


      • doug quixote April 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

        As Sam suggested above, what we all need is “a good rogering” 🙂


        • hudsongodfrey April 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

          There’s always somebody with a childhood so neglected as to have rendered them incapable of filling in the gap using the next line of the script from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 🙂


          • samjandwich May 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

            Well I’m just thankful that we’ve been saved from almost certain temptation!


    • samjandwich April 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

      For you Paul, maybe with a 10-foot barge pole!!


      • paul walter April 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

        Thank you, my sweet.
        I actually had some thing a little more gentle in mind, but there it goes.
        Just back to DQ, it does seem people have different reactions to different anti depressant medications and agree decreased libido is part of the compromise.
        This leads to another thought, that like DQ my depression was latent and triggered to reactive depression by the death of people very close, particularly a very special woman.
        Samjandwich’s comment earlier, on a second read, as well as HG’s more recently, covered it all especially well.


        • paul walter May 1, 2013 at 3:51 am #

          Anyway, girth trumps length, anytime!


  17. zerograv1 May 8, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    While off topic, I couldnt find a thread that really suited and thought this worth sharing


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