THE EROTIC EYE AND THE EROTIC SENSES
Chapter One of "The erotic eye and its nude"
In this first chapter we want to dwell on the erotic eye itself. Fascinated as it is, it cannot refrain from looking at the ever changing - and often surprising- shapes in which the erotic nude appears. Why can lovers not stop looking at each other's body, hearing each other's voice, smelling each other's odours, feeling each other's skin, let alone enjoying each other's orgasm? Why are there so many erotic senses and how do they relate to each other?
(1) LOVE AND ENDURING PERCEPTION
"Wo du hingehst, da will auch ich sein".
B. Brecht, Dreigroschenoper.
The evolution of erotic senses is a side effect of the evolution of love.
The oldest form of love is love between parents and children. In order to secure the well-being of their offspring, it is important that parents and children are staying nearby each other, even when there are no immediate needs to be met. That is why they want to permanently perceive each other. This need is the primeval form and the kernel of love: loving partners are always looking for each other and trying to stay in each other's vicinity.
Parental love is extended to sexual love when male and female begin to cooperate in view of the bringing up of their offspring. To be able to help each other always and everywhere, also parents develop a need to always remain within each other's reach.
To satisfy this need, the "erotic appearance" is developed which will interest us in the following chapters. The erotic appearance of humans consists of specific patterns for the diverse senses: form and colour, sound, odours, softness and warmth, orgasm. In contrast with the perception of needs and obstacles, which we want to get rid of as soon as possible, the perception of the erotic appearance is pleasurable. Rather than avoiding it, we are looking for it. And when we have found it, we want to enjoy it forever.
(2) THE EROTIC SENSES
Erotically sensitive senses develop through the transformation of existing senses or organs. Touch is predisposed for such adaptation: to be present is in the first place literally being nearby somebody. With humans, the naked skin as a whole is erotically sensitive, and parts of it are even more sensitive: the hands that touch, the lips that kiss and the sexual organs that penetrate and contain.
But lovers cannot always remain in physical contact with each other. To gratify their needs and to avoid dangers, they have to give up bodily contact. When all their needs are met and all the dangers have disappeared, they seek each other's presence again. In the meantime they try to stay in contact at a distance. That is why also and foremost the distance senses - eye, ear and nose - are sensitive to the perception of an erotic appearance that can be perceived from a distance.
Since erotic congress wants to endure, two problems arise: how to warrant normal interaction with the outer world, and how to enable sleep? The most appropriate way to solve the first problem, is to suspend the need for erotic commerce until interaction with the outer world is no longer necessary. And falling asleep is made possible through the building in of a climax - the orgasm - which temporarily suspends the need for erotic commerce. After sleep, the need to perceive one's partner and to interact with the world resurges. The whole cycle starts all over again.