"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Allure, Indifference, And Tantrism–The Sexuality Of A Highly-Evolved Man

In Tennessee William’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Brick Pollitt, the son of the wealthiest landowner in Mississippi and married to the most beautiful woman in the county had a remove that gave sexual pleasure to Maggie, but frustrated her need for love and affection.

Such a wonderful person to go to bed with, and I think mostly because you were really indifferent to it.  Isn’t that right? Never had any anxiety about it, did it naturally, easily, slowly, with absolute confidence and perfect calm, more like opening a door for a lady or seating her at a table than giving expression to any longing for her.  Your indifference made you wonderful at lovemaking – strange? – but true.

Maggie the Cat

Bret Nichols was very much like Brick Pollitt, but fortunately shared none of his psychological pain.  He, unlike the Tennessee Williams character, suffered no moral guilt, no doubts about his own sexuality, and no Oedipal rage.  He endured no sexual abuse which might have neutralized his affection for women and given him his cool remove. Nor was he otherwise occupied – a mathematical genius like Ramanujan whose precocious insights left no room for anything more than food and sleep. For all intents and purposes, Bret was a perfectly normal, well-adjusted, and happy young man.

He knew from an early age that women found him attractive; and once they had gone to bed with him, irresistible. Even as an adolescent, he had more self-control than a much older man, and he was passed around the community of stay-at-home moms without jealousy or concern.  His indifference was the seal on the compact signed between them. Love, passion, or intimate demands were excluded by both parties. Bret enjoyed the attention, the favors, and the small rewards that his afternoon lovers gave him; and the women of New Brighton were delighted to have a man who could satisfy even the most capacious sexual appetites.

What Bret offered was something that most women wanted but would never admit – an emotionless, unattached, but powerful sexual relationship; and what he received in return was more valuable than any gift – tribute as a sexual wizard, a necromancer, a sorcerer with an uncanny ability to read women and to elicit from them the most passionate and profound sexual feelings.

He was a portraitist of women.  Like Sargent he was able to capture the essence of the each woman who sat for him. Although Sargent rarely knew any of his subjects intimately, he had an uncanny ability to sense something especially telling about them. In every gesture, expression, and posture he read something about who they were, what they expected, and most importantly what they wanted.  His portraits show their ease, directness, confidence, allure, arrogance, and concern.

Sargent woman

Bret was a sexual portraitist.  He had the same finely-tuned sensibilities of Sargent but instead of painting women, he recreated them. By removing all the inhibitions which limited their emotional range and changed them from hesitant, expectant, often timid women into fully expressive and confident ones.

Chance Wayne in Tennessee Williams Sweet Bird of Youth is an aging gigolo. He had a sexual potency which was tempered by a very different type of indifference.  Women were meal tickets, carriages to Hollywood, and means to an end.  Other than his looks, Chance was ordinary and common.  The Princess Alexandra del Lago says to him, “I like bodies to be silky smooth, hard gold”.  Chance is youth and beauty, both fading like hers, but lovemaking with him is the best kind of temporizing.

Sweet Bird of Youth

Bret had none of Chance’s opportunism. He did not love women to make a living, but to be a master.  The Vicomte de Valmont in Pierre de Laclos’ Les Liaisons Dangereuses has the same indifferent confidence that is alluring to women.  He, like Bret, was able to seduce women for the simple glory of the conquest.  He understood women like Bret did, but used this knowledge selfishly and destructively. The seduction of a virgin was one thing, but getting her to abandon her sexual privacy and her religious faith at the same time was the best achievement at all.

Image result for images john malkovich liaisons dangereuses

For most men, Bret’s reserve and control were impossible; and the best that the most accomplished could do was to think of a spaghetti dinner or a long bus ride to prolong their lovers’ pleasure.  The fact that women could go on forever, one orgasm after another, with never a need to hold back anything in reserve because the next wave of pleasure was sure to come, was daunting. Yet, despite the insistent demands of their partners, men keep at it, failing often, wanting to keep male potency but at the same time wishing for female insatiability.

Something must be missing in Bret’s makeup.  How could he love women yet maintain such reserve and distance? Could he possibly be so unselfish that a woman’s pleasure came first? Could one really believe a sexually artistic temperament, one which allowed for high degrees of intimacy while restraining instinctive passion?

Hindu sadhus achieve levels of self-control unimaginable to a Westerner. They are able to reduce respiration and pulse rate to near flatline. They can endure frigid temperatures and terminal heat. Self-discipline they say is the only way to release the soul and let it make its way to God. The physical sensations of sight, touch, smell, and taste are impediments to spiritual evolution.  They were not meant to be enjoyed but to be repressed in the interest of something far more important.

Image result for image naked sadhu in tibet mountains

Bret Nichols had some of this Hindu asceticism; but rather than deny the senses and the illusory world, he simply moderated them.  Sexual passion was not an enabler but a detractor.

At the same time Bret was more like those Hindu adherents to the Tantras which, in place of the Vedas, involve magic rituals for healing, averting evil, and union with the female creative principle. Sexual union did have a spiritual aspect after all; and the sculptures at Khajuraho were testaments to the power of this sacred belief.

Image result for tantric imagesImage result for images sexual sculptures khajuraho

Men think about sex all the time. Not a day goes by without images of breasts, warm lips, wetness, and soft, smooth bodies.  Every day from 12 to 90 and beyond. Yet for most men, sex is little more than a compulsion – a primal urge hardwired into all animals, but given the added and often uncomfortable aspect of awareness. Men think about sex, hunt for it, are never satisfied with it, and go to their graves wishing they had had more.

The fictional Vicomte de Valmont was a step up on the phylogenetic scale.  He was as much of an animal in his basic desires as a monkey, but used awareness and intelligence to make sex far more than a primitive procreative, tool.  He used it as an expression of will.

Brick was crippled by weakness, and his indifference was more of a symptom than an attribute.  Chance Wayne’s opportunism lowered him on the primate scale and his calculation was anything but creative or expressive.

Bret was an artist, a Nietzschean, and a canny psychological observer.  The only thing that prevented his spiritual evolution was his simplicity.  He never questioned his relationships with women, nor speculated on their origins or purpose.

The only sign that perhaps he did eventually realize the higher order of his sexuality was the fact that he never married. How could such an evolved awareness of the spiritual potency of sex ever withstand years of marriage? Or be lowered to simple progeniture?

He always seemed happy enough and led what looked to be a productive, fulfilled life well into his seventies. I know one thing for sure – he never thought about sex all the time like the rest of us.

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