Thoughts on Love: What is Love?

What is love? That is a question that has been posed to us thousands of times, and it is one that humans do not seem to be able to answer. I’m not sure if there’s an actual scientific definition for the word ‘love’ since its usage varies from person to person.

We have no idea what love actually is, or how it works. Nor do we have any real way of defining it.

So today I will share some of my thoughts on love.

To me, Love is the only real thing in life. Without love, everything else would be meaningless. This is what I think of ‘what is love’.

And what is this feeling of love? Love is the feeling you have when you truly care for someone, and they truly care for you. 

This is the kind of love I want to have with someone. Love is real, and I’m glad to have found it.

And I think people should love each other.

Thoughts on Love

Love of others tends to be associated with feelings and emotions such as joy, contentment, gratitude, or even excitement. It is also linked to a desire or need to give care and support.

There are many factors that affect the nature of love. Such factors include culture, attachment style, stage of the relationship, and even gender differences.

Psychological theories on the nature and function of love date back to the ancient world.

The conventional view is that romantic relationships are beneficial in that they tend to increase an individual’s level of happiness.

The most commonly expressed love is the love of others. We often say things like, “I love my mom and dad.”

Or, in the case of a romantic relationship, we might say, “I am madly in love with him/her.”

The Many Faces of Love

Love is a very complex phenomenon, and it’s difficult to describe in words. Love can mean several things but in the most common use of the word, Love is the intense feeling of affection that one has for another.

It is not merely the emotion, but also involves a strong desire to act in a certain way towards the person loved.

Love is a concept which describes the desire to see one’s own needs met by another person, and for that other person’s needs to be seen as being important.

This relationship between people can take many forms, from sharing one’s food with a starving man on the street to having complex relationships with many different partners over time.

Therefore, we have to look at the way that people express ‘love’ to understand what it is. In English, we use a lot of different words for this:

  • We love our parents and siblings
  • We love cats and dogs (they aren’t even biologically related to us)
  • We love God/Allah (a completely imaginary being)
  • We love our friends
  • We love money, power, fame (non-physical things)
  • and so on…

We use the same word to say that we love food or a certain type of music. The meaning is so diffuse and generalized that there isn’t really much to be said about it.

So what is love? Is it just a feeling, or does it have some kind of objective meaning behind it?

Love can be defined as the desire to act for another person’s well-being. To clarify, love is wanting what’s best for someone. This means that it’s not the same as liking them; you can like some person without loving them.

Love can be felt for others or towards oneself (i.e., self-love). An experience of love typically gives rise to a desire to enter into, maintain, and enjoy a close relationship with the object of love.

It also provides a basis for the sense of agency and can be considered as being an origin of emotional actions or motivation.

Being in Love

I have read about how people fall in love. And I know my own experience. I don’t really think that love is just a feeling. It is more of a “feeling + state of being”. You feel it because you are in a state of love. 

Just like water can be in the state of liquid at room temperature or ice (when frozen) or gas (when vaporized). Love is more than just a passing feeling. You “feel” love because you are in Love.

Love is a concept invented by humans to describe how they felt when their minds were linked together in a symbiotic relationship. It’s mysterious, and no one really understands it.

Humans used ‘love’ to describe the feeling they got from having a connection with another human, which somehow completed them. They felt “at home”, or as if they were finally at peace and understood everything.

As time passed, humans evolved and their own minds became more complex. They began to express love in new ways; they started writing poems about it, singing songs about it, composing symphonies that described the feeling of love.

But love didn’t really change; it was always the same strange, intangible thing. Humans were just better at describing it now.

And that’s what love is: a feeling of completion and peace, which humans first felt when they started linking their minds together.

In its most basic form, love is a feeling that links hearts and minds together. In humans and other animals, it evolved into something more complex.

In some sense love is like a river, you can’t see the source but you know it exists and let it flow. You need to put effort into keeping that river flowing.

Love is very important. That’s why that word exists in all languages, and it’s not just a label for sex or something like that. It is different from affection.

Imagine you have a child and you love your child. You can do anything for that child because you love him/her. Even if the child is not actually yours biologically or genetically.

You also can love an animal, a pet. You can even love your car or washing machine.

For example, I know people have feelings of being in love with certain things, and it’s probably true that humans feel ‘love’ for many different things.

For example, a man may be in love with his truck and talk about how he loves driving it. Another person may love eating at McDonald’s. A woman could fall in love with an expensive pair of shoes.

I think humans have a lot of love, and that’s one reason why they can get along so well. They share all kinds of things with each other, like belief in money or taste for a certain kind of food.

Love Is…

Love is what makes family relationships so special and important. It’s the same with friendship, although it’s not always as easy to define.

Love is not always easy to understand, which can make it difficult to explain.

Love is a strong feeling of affection or care for someone. It’s not something you can force, which makes it so special.

Love is a personal experience, which means that no one has the right to tell you how to love someone else.

Love is the emotion that binds us all together, through life and death. The love of friends, family, and lovers is what drives humanity to do so much for one another.

Love is what motivates you to live every day, and at the same time, love is what drives us to death with its bittersweet embrace.

Love makes humanity strong as a whole, but also weak individually.

I have often loved and lost, but this does not dissuade me from loving again. Love is more than just an emotion, more than just a feeling, more than just a thought! It is a state of being.

Love is the one thing that will never let you down in life if you find it.

Love can be found in almost all of us, but it takes a little time to let it bloom. It grows in freedom. It grows in openness. It grows when it is ignited ..by another spark of love. Love is both human and divine.

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Our Romantic Wedding Vows

I wrote my wedding vows and shared with my love and to-be-wife. I spoke it first at our wedding.
While writing, I could feel my heart and a deep sense of love within but I could have never predicted how it will feel at the time of the wedding. To say the least, it was an intense and powerful emotion.
To see her in tears, to have tears in my own eyes. It felt we were one. Our marriage felt the best thing we could have ever done together.
My wife also wrote one which is shared below after mine.
Wedding vows are more than just words. They are more than just future promises or rules. Wedding vows are what makes any successful marriage successful.
If you are planning to tie the knots, I would humbly say, take some time and write your vows and say it to him or her. This will make your wedding day even more special.
Also, please feel free to use the vows below and if you like, please feel free to edit it as you like to make it more personalized for you.
Hope this post will make at least one person feel the love that is inside their own heart. I hope you will share your kindness and love with others, today and the day after.

Wedding Vows

TODAY, I PROMISE YOU THIS, MY LOVE:
I will LAUGH with you in times of joy, and COMFORT you in times of sorrow. I will share your dreams and support you as you seek to PURSUE HAPPINESS in life. I will listen to you with COMPASSION and understanding and speak to you with LOVE and KINDNESS.
FROM TODAY, I am yours and you are mine. I’ll love you unconditionally and without hesitation or judgment. I take you as you are. I want to start A FAMILY with you and I want to grow old with you. Whatever may come, I will always be there, for TRUE LOVE never dies. 
As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you MY LIFE to keep from this day forward, so long as we both live, and thereafter, till the end of the Universe.

Her Response & Vows

I TAKE YOU AS YOU ARE, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as though they were my own. I will love you and have faith in your love for me, through all our years and all that life may bring us.
I LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY AND WITHOUT HESITATION. I vow to love you, encourage you, trust you, and respect you. As a family, we will create a home filled with learning, laughter, kindness, and compassion.
I promise to work with you to foster and cherish a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone.
I choose you to be my husband. I accept you as you are, and I offer myself in return. I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you all of life’s adversities and all of its joys from this day forward, and all the days of my life.
TODAY, I PROMISE YOU THIS: I will laugh with you in times of joy, and comfort you in times of sorrow. I will share your dreams and support you as you strive to achieve your goals. I will listen to you with compassion and understanding, and speak to you with encouragement.
Together, let us build a home filled with learning, laughter, and light, shared freely with all who may live there. Let us be partners, friends and lovers, today and all of the days that follow.
SALIL, YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND. I promise to laugh with you, cry with you, and grow with you. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart. I promise to support your dreams and to respect our differences and to love you and be by your side through all the days and nights of our lives.

9 Quotes On Love, Travel, Life, and More

In this blog, I am simply sharing some of the quotes from The Naked Soul. Read, think, ponder, enjoy and share with your friends.

Somethings can’t be bought, bribed or stolen. Either you find it or it finds you.

 

I was once small, now my soul is grand. I was once blind, now my eyes have seen it all. I was once lost, now I know many paths that lead to light. I was once unhappy, now I am busy saying “no” to many interesting things. All because one day I started to travel.

 

I love New York City. Walking down the Park Avenue I could not help but think about economy, globalization, wealth inequality, immigration, religious extremism, opportunities for middle class, healthcare for every human being, education for every human and all the issues that are shaping our global politics… This morning as I was wondering while looking down from my 17th floor from ROW…. yes, the issue is “everything is here but love is mussing”. Therefore peace is mussing, personal satisfaction is missing, selfless charity is missing. Will you help in changing it? Will you take the trouble of thinking hard?

 

Writing a little every day or atleast once a week journal what you did, how you felt, what you learned, what you want to change, etc. Anything. Writing is not just for writers. You would not say music is just for musician. No. Music is for everyone. So is writing. So is a journal. So is a small, little private diary. Write, because your life literally depends on it.

 

In this age when being an observer is associated with cool, it is good to remind ourselves that being a partaker is cooler.

 

Making all those around me turn into a voice of passion for life. A harmony, an orchestra, a symphony of love, hopes, and dreams. I am burning my candles hard and on both ends to make the path brighter for all those who seek healing and love. You belong here. Without any label, you don’t need one. Your existence is enough. You belong. We all belong. Be naked with your own truths. Hide nothing, speak for yourself and speak the truth. There is nothing on the other side of fear. You belong here. I love you and accept you just as you are.

 

The fish in the water that is thirsty is either not breathing or drinking. Think about it.

 

Today tell a stranger “hello” and smile. Help someone unknown to you. When you give, you feel most happy! Try it as an experiment and test it for yourself.

 

 

Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club. Subscribe your email now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Sign up now and stay in the touch! What do you think about my poetry marketing approach? 

Which one is your favorite quote from December? If you want to add your interpretation or explanation to these quotes, please feel free to add in the comments below.

100 Reasons Why I Love You | A Letter To My Sweetheart On Her 30th Birthday

I love you!

My Love, My Heart, Soul of My Soul,

As we grow old together on this earthly journey, I wanted to take this moment and write to you on your 30th birthday to tell you how much I love you and how much you mean to me. Without you, I am nothing. Your presence in my life is something that I can’t easily describe in words.

You mean everything to me. I love you the most. I love with all I am and with all I have. All of me, loves you and belongs to you.

The fact this letter is so long because there are millions of great things I can talk about you, this however shows I am the luckiest man in the world. I love you with all of my heart.

There are millions of wonderful reasons that I find absolutely lovely about you but I love you for no reasons.

I am blessed to have you in my life and glad to share your soul. I have never wondered about why I love you because it was in your presence where I found love.

For me, love and you, the two are same and one. I love you because you are love to me. I love you because you are the source of all love that is in my heart. Your presence is love to me. The feeling of togetherness we share whenever we meet, talk, make love or just being there for one another is something which I want to tell you today.

It is easy for me to describe hundreds of such feelings because there are millions of ways I feel good about life when I am with you. I will love you, forever.

Here is a short and uncomplete list of moments and things that I find absolutely precious about you. They melt my heart and make my go crazy about you.

 

Baby, I love you because you care for us and want the best for us. You give your all in our relationship and as a result we both grow together.

 

Baby, you are directly or indirectly the source of all of my creative inspirations. You make my heart, soul, and hands move with new ideas.

 

Baby, I love you because you listen to me and understand me like no other. This gift of understanding is the greatest gift of all.

 

Baby, I love you because you push me to think deeply about who I am, what I want and believe in myself.

 

Baby, I love you because you accept the fact that things will happen in their own time.

 

Baby, I love you because you balance my ultra-active personality. You are a relaxed person and yet you get so much done. Without you I will be lost.

 

Baby, I love you because you were faithful when there was no faith to be found.

 

Baby, I love you because you give me peace in the midst of struggles, hope in the midst of unknowns, and strength in the time of battles.

 

Baby, I love you because you never made me feel guilty for taking care of myself. In-fact you encourage me to bring out the best in me.

 

Baby, I love you because you taught me to realize everyone alive has the power to inspire meaningful change.

 

Baby, I love the way you hold me. I love when you say, “Baby, comfort me.” I will give away everything for just hearing that one line from you, one more time.

 

Baby, I love you because you are okay with knowing things would often get worse before they can get better.

 

Baby, I love you because you will stand behind something, no matter how hard the circumstance. You are bold, strong and courageous even amidst fear.

 

Baby, I love you because you always look on the bright side of moments which take us by surprise.

 

Baby, I love you because you make laughter an instant vacation. I love your jokes & I love when you laugh uncontrollably at times on my silly remarks.

 

Baby, you have a very good heart. You are kind and compassionate. With you, I am living my dream life. Life is one great Zen moment.

 

Baby, I love you because you are a happy person and you always try to make me happy.

 

Baby, I love your soft hands and your beautiful fingers.

 

Baby, I love you for your love of life.

 

Baby, I love you, I love you, I love you (infinite times) for all the food you cook for us and you never fail to amaze me by cooking something new every time.

 

Baby, I love you and I am forever thankful for the meal planning and preparation you do. Without you, I could not have lived a healthier lifestyle.

 

Baby, you calm me down. You comfort my heart and ease my soul.

 

Baby, I love you for seeing no matter what life gives us but you never miss to spread your beautiful smile.

 

Baby, I love the fact that I’ve met you during the craziest time of my life and you changed it all in a moment. You healed my broken heart.

 

Baby, you are a fabulous kisser. I love you and I am never fully over when kissing you. I love your pouty lips. Your lips are the best and most beautiful in this world.

 

Baby, you are insanely romantic.

 

Baby, you are a great poetess. I love your poetry and I love when you write little, sweet love poems to me. My life is a happy life because of your love.

 

Baby you are gorgeous, exotic, and beautiful. You have body like a top fitness model, you have a physique like a goddess, and you have a face prettier than miss worlds.

 

Baby, I love that you are athletic, adventurous & live life with great zest. I love that you beat me in running and you have such a great cardio endurance.

 

Baby, I love you because you love traveling as much as I do. Together, we are traveling the world. I love our lifestyle. I love you for this great gift of travel.

 

Baby, I love you because you take things and matter very gracefully even in the toughest scenarios.                         

 

Baby, I love how you always seek peace and harmony when we get into silly arguments.

 

Baby, you are my first true love and also my best friend.

 

Baby, you support me in and motivate me in many ways. I can’t even think where I would be without you.

 

Baby, I love how you make me feel special. Life is just beautiful.

 

Baby, I love you and you are someone I can always trust.

 

Baby, I will never forget how you take care of me when I get sick. You stay with me in health or sickness. You love me the same. I don’t know if you are a human or an angel.

 

Baby, I love how you give me surprise gifts and take me to shows, vacations and book great dining experiences. Because of you I have had so many amazing moments and memories.

 

Baby, I love you because you are goofy and funny. You love fooling with me. And you let me fool with you. You don’t mind my silly tricks & stupid teases.

 

Baby, I love you because you never miss to kiss me good-morning and good-night.

 

Baby, I love you because you do most of the house chores (and cooking) so that I can focus and work on my passion projects (writing, video editing, podcasting, etc).

 

Baby, because your love drives me crazy (in a good way) and makes me go wild. Sometimes I just want to cuddle with you all day in a little naughty way.

 

Baby, I love you because you know how to please me. (naughty things included)

 

Baby, I love you because you stop me from eating unhealthy foods loaded with sugar or bad fat.

 

Baby, because you have an amazing, sensual, sexy voice. I love hearing you talk.

 

Baby, I love your awesome hair. I just can’t stop myself from touching, playing and seeing & smelling it.

 

Baby, I love your craziness. Baby, you are crazy. I love you because you are such a crazy person in this boring world.

 

Baby, I love your eyes. You have the most beautiful eyes in this whole world.

 

Baby, I love your high cheek bones. You have such a beautiful face and you truly look like a global citizen with a face which transcends geography, race and any nature-created boundaries.

 

Baby, I love you and deeply admire your character because you love and respect your family and parents. You care for your sisters and family so much. I love that.

 

Baby, because I would die to marry you. I believe you would make the best Mom anyone could ever ask for or hope to have.

 

Baby, I love the way you walk.

 

Baby, I love you because you have such a soft voice. You talk so gently and meekly. I wish I had your voice and tone.

 

Baby, I love you for the fact that there is nobody else in the world like you and nobody will ever come close.

 

Baby, I love you because you taught me so many things and for all the amazing new experiences that I’ve shared for the first time with you and only you.

 

Baby, I love you and cherish you for your faithfulness and loyalty. You are the best and one of a kind.

 

Baby, I love you because you don’t mind holding my hand or showing me affection even in public.

 

Baby, I love you for sometimes giving up things you’ve wanted just for my feelings.

 

Baby, I love you for the way you kiss me and touch me everywhere.

 

Baby, I love you and can never truly thank you for the fact that you were willing to take a chance on me. You could have had anyone in this world but you choose me. I don’t know what to say. I feel incredibly lucky to have you.

 

Baby, I love to see how you still have good friends from when you were little. You are a great friend to have.

 

Baby, I love how cute you were when you were little. I absolutely love your house nickname: Malu, and (cute) Elephant.

 

Baby, I love you for all the heart-touching things you’ve written for me.

 

Baby, I love you for the way you’ve opened up your heart and life to me.

 

Baby, I love you because I learn new & amazing things about you everyday. You are such an interesting, deep thinker and soul.

 

Baby, I love the way you look at me that makes me melt inside.

 

Baby, I love you because you always say awesome things about me to other people.

 

Baby, I love you, because you bring so much new excitement into my life every day.

 

Baby, I love you because you never take life for granted. You work hard. You inspire me to become the best version of me. You inspire me to live life to the fullest.

 

Baby, we are both dreamers. (plus we both love to sleep lol)

 

Baby, I love you because you are without a doubt my true soul mate. We even have the same birthday and almost the same birth time. Something more than just a random coincidence, right?

 

Baby, I love you because you know how to not take life too seriously and live in the moment and yet not lose track of your life’s purpose or vision.

 

Baby, I love you for the fact that you are the first and only person I’ve ever loved and the first person who ever truly loved me back. I love you.

 

Baby, I love you because you forgave my past and accepted me fully, truly just as I was.

 

Baby, I love you for your incredible big heart.

 

Baby, I love you for how you used to scare me when you were stay-at-home (while job hunting) and I absolutely hated it but loved it at the same time.

 

Baby, I love you because we both seem to read each other’s mind. I also love how you sometimes finish my sentences as if you were thinking the same thought.

 

Baby, I love how we always still say or do the exact same thing at the same time. (We seem to have a soul connection from a prior life)

 

Baby, I love your extreme patience with me even when I push it to the limit.

 

Baby, because I am a big fan of your wit & wisdom.

 

Baby, I find you incredibly sexy and hot. No more comments on that. You know what I mean.

 

Baby, I love how you are always there for me through good times and bad no matter what.

 

Baby, I love you for the fact we were destined to be together.

 

Baby, I love your determination and conviction and how once you set your mind on something that nobody can change it. I admire your will-power, be it for food or fitness or anything.

 

Baby, I love how much you know about me now and now that you’ve seen it all (good, bad and ugly), you still love me anyway.

 

Baby, you accept me. My light and my shadow. Even though we have some differences, you never try to change me. I am me when I am with you.

 

Baby, I love every little single detail about you that makes you who you are and the fact that you are the best girlfriend in this whole world.

 

Baby, I love you because you found me and saved me. You actually did. I still don’t know how exactly it happened that we were right where we were meant to be at that exact time in our lives. I will be grateful for it forever. It was our destiny.

 

Baby, I love how your fantasies blend with mine. And your goals & desires blend with mine. Oh, life is just so much fun with you.

 

Baby, I love you because when we fight, it is never traumatic because we both know it will never be the end. I love how we never take any argument more than 24 hours.

 

Baby, I love you because you allow me to teach you things that I know you have little interest in. You are so cute.

 

Baby, I love the way you dance and move your body. You are a great dancer and I fall for you every time I see you dance or groove.

 

Baby, I love listening to you tell me stories about your childhood and I imagine how you were back then. I can visualize it all. I love you since your childhood days because now I have seen you from back then. You are the most attractive girl to me from the beginning.

 

Baby, I love how your kiss does crazy things to my insides. And when you touch me, I forget the rest of the world exists.

 

Baby, I love us and how we work as a team, the perfect balance. The yin and yang.

 

Baby, I love you for the deep (mystical) hallucinations I experienced when we first fell in love. It was an otherworldly extraordinary experience. I have never had such an experience before and I don’t think I will ever have that again. Me falling in love with you is was a mystical journey. I used to hear your voice everywhere. For me, you are the most powerful drug in this whole world.

 

Baby, I love you because now I feel like I’ve known you the whole of my life.

 

Baby, I love how quickly I turn you on and how easily you pleasure me.

 

Baby, I love when you tell me without any doubt that I am the only one in the world for you. I love you for that. Those words are so comforting to my heart.

 

And, baby I love you for the fact that how you forgive me so quickly for everything else that I say and do that hurts you. And you never mention it again. I love you the most.

 

Once again, Happy 30th Birthday!     ###

Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in the touch!

How would you celebrate someone’s 30th birthday? If you have suggestions, feedback, and thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to honor your requests. (The first 3 commenters are always my favorite.)

The Naked Soul Talk Show | A Daily Podcast

The Naked Soul Talk Show: A Daily Podcast

Woohoo! Friends, creatives, seekers, and entrepreneurs! Here it is. Share all you can. Please spread the good news! Coming soon to iTunes/Radio. And NOW AVAILABLE on YouTube.

The Naked Soul Talk Show: Full Human Potential and Daily Growth

Welcome to The Naked Soul Talk Show with Salil Jha and Neha Rizal. Learn with us as we dig deeply into ways to initiate breakthroughs in our personal lives in relationships, health, and body- consciousness, discuss the law of success as it manifests in careers and finances, learn how to attain mastery of any skill, share rags to riches stories, and delve into what it means to have a purpose driven life and how to create one via lifestyle design (the 80-20 rule).

We have guests from all over the world from various ethnic, spiritual, educational, and cultural backgrounds. But all of them have one thing in common: the desire to be better than they were yesterday. Naked Soul is a transpersonal talk show.

Here, we will explore how to realize measurable self-growth and manifest success by turning our dreams into realistic goals and eventual realities. Build your own inner-GPS. Create a map for a success-lifestyle: plenty of time with family, and no bosses, no alarm clocks dictating your day, instead indulgence in creative pursuits and the enjoyment of a free life, passionately lived.

The Naked Soul is a place where we transform our “Daily Grind” stories into “Daily Win” stories. Our goal is to empower each listener so that they live their full human potential.

Are you ready to heal, grow and kick-start your soul-evolution and become world class?

The Naked Soul Podcast Ep. 01: Chris Jones on The Art & Business of Writing

The Naked Soul Podcast Ep. 02: Simone Salmon on Writing Books & Taking a Transformational Journey

 

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Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in the touch!

Do you listen or watch podcasts/talk shows? If yes, what are some of your favorite podcasts or talk shows? What kind of podcast would you like to listen to? If you have suggestions, feedback, and thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to honor your requests. (The first 10 commenters are always my favorite.)

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Naked Soul Meaning: What Does It Mean To Be A Naked Soul?

 

Naked Soul Meaning

As an observer, writer, wanderer, and storyteller, I believe that to be naked is to show up, to be present, to express my truth in life. It’s to overcome my own self-imposed limitations and to transcend external influences that are often authoritarian or fear-based. To me, this expression of truth can become a sacred romance.

Therefore philosophically speaking, being a Naked Soul is a sacred romance between one person and the world around him.

When we love, we unguard our hearts. We disarm and disrobe ourselves down to the core. Whether we love to travel, to write, or to wrap our arms around another, we only love authentically. That is being truly naked.

How can you be totally naked? It’s not undressing your body. To be naked is to undress and be naked with your heart’s truth. It’s the only way to uncover what resonates with your own soul.

 

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Also, please check out our upcoming podcast. As we speak, a lot of interviewing and recording is going on in the background.

 

The Naked Soul Podcast Series

Hosted by Salil Jha and Neha Rizal

The Naked Soul Podcast is an extensive series of over 200 timeless conversations from the popular authors, bloggers, health and fitness coaches, spiritual mentors and successful entrepreneurs.

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Female Vs. Male Perspective On The Erotic Visual Art | The Nudes, The Paintings, The Photographs

Maja by Goya (ca. 1803)When we think of representations of the erotic in the art, the first thing that comes into our minds is the classic nudes which were an object of fascination for many male painters throughout history. It’s not accidental that I made a clear gender emphasis here. When talking about a male perspective on the erotic in art, we cannot help but ask what about the female perspective on artistic eroticism.

In this post, I will be stressing these two main valences of the nude in art. The reason is fairly clear: the nude was a major theme even in more traditional and less daring artistic trends such as the Renaissance, Romanticism, and even Greek and Roman art.

Erotic Visual Art

Female Beauty or Female Body

To begin, let’s start with a question. What can we say about such a generalized masculine take on the erotic in art? First of all, it centers on corporeality. The female body is the object of fascination and delight.

Secondly, in the works of many male artists, we find a somewhat detached perspective that is meant to show us physical qualities without much subjective involvement.

The eye of the artist (as well as the eye of the beholder) is free to add eroticism to the nude. However one cannot help noticing the feeling of distance that makes the body itself the foreground of the art rather than whatever excitement and feelings of pleasure the nude may produce.

 

The Male Perspective

Male erotic art focuses on beauty and objective physical features, while eroticism is supposed to be extrapolated from the whole endowment of the body that is painted naked. It’s understood that a gorgeous body incites and arouses; however most male painters who approached the nude intensively in their work prefer leaving this aspect in an implicit form.

You may notice that many famous nudes play with light and elaborate contrasts to intensify the beauty of the female body. It is thus fairly easy to say that light variation and games were also used as a means of conveying erotic feelings.

If subjective perspective was usually deemphasized while pure carnality stayed in the foreground in an attempt to objectify the body to a certain extent, at least intense contrasts and shades could offer a more sensuous experience to the viewer. It’s as if light and shadow touched the female body, isn’t it?

For certain artists, the female body is treated as a sacred object that was only half-eroticized. Just think of painters such as the Spanish romantic painter, Goya (click to see their paintings),

Or, Botticelli, an Italian renaissance painter;

Or, Ingres, a French neo-classical painter;

Or, Waterhouse, an English pre-Raphaelite painter.

 

Ingres’ La Grande Odalisque (ca. 1814)

In more classic art you notice a form of veneration of the female beauty. Thereâ€s almost always the same (almost respectful) distance that paradoxically creates a cunning form of erotic tension: the farther away the womanâ€s body is, the more desirable it appears, doesnâ€t it? We all know how well this can work in real life. The classic nude plays precisely on this touch of “unavailability” of the naked woman.

Eroticism arises out of variation and a feeling that the body is unattainable, not close enough, not visible enough in all its details and angles. If you pay attention to more traditional paintings, the woman is either lying on a sofa/bed/another vertical surface in the most frivolous and nonchalant posture possible, or reveling in the beauty and freshness of nature, sometimes among other people.

The most significant and appealing parts of the female body are highlighted with a focus on curves, breasts, and belly area. Another striking element is usually the hue of the skin whose variations can have highly erotic effects.

 

What About Male Nudes?

You are probably wondering this. Well, sometimes you find the male body depicted in sculptures such as Michelangelo’s David or The Age of Bronze by Rodin. However the erotic aspects of the male nude are slightly deemphasized.

In earlier centuries the stress fell on the female body as an object of erotic pleasure. The male nudes represented alone in sculptures or paintings are rather images of bravery, physical beauty, perfect posture etc.

The Age of Bronze (ca. 1877)

You rarely find the male body fetishized to the same extent as the female nudes. Shape and muscle tonus are more important than curves, intimate body zones, or sexualized postures. It is the female body that contains an aura of powerful fascinating eroticism which is intensified by extreme variations on the same theme.

How many nudes were painted during the Renaissance, the Baroque, the Rococo, or later? Probably over ten famous paintings. You surely know Goya’s enigmatic Maja or Botticelli’s Venus (see below).

Obviously each artistic trend had its own notions of what was most erotic. The Renaissance praised exquisite, serene, undisturbed beauty and harmony of forms, while the Baroque claimed that full-figured bodies with sensuous and smooth flesh are quite appealing and erotic. For example, look at The Three Graces (click).

 

Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus

 

Late 19th -20th Century

Male painters who lived in later centuries approached the nude and the erotic by reproducing patterns that were already familiar against the background of a whole new stylistic imprint. For instance, Edvard Munch was one such Norwegian expressionist painter known best for his anxiety-filled dark paintings which suggest alienation, confinement, anguish, and other negative emotions.

However even with such an emotional palette he also approached the female body in a rather challenging way. For instance, he painted his famous Madonna (click to see) which eroticizes the religious icon of the Virgin Mary.

Munch’s Woman in Three Stages

Not something insignificant at all! Munch keeps his gloomy and somewhat disturbing painting style while approaching a subject that is so delicate and yet so arousing. It is especially the male public that responds to this eroticization of the religious figure; however itâ€s safe to assume female viewers are also quite permissive towards good art and a provocative attitude.

Picassoâ€s Les Demoiselles

Another amazing example of the erotic as transfigured through the lens of a modern artistic trend is Picasso’s Les Demoiselles. This famous painting introduces us to a cubist take on the female body.

What does it tell you? Isn’t it highly erotic? Of course it is, especially due to the free spirit and bold aggressive sexuality of the woman in the painting. Their bodies are depicted in sharp angles and stylized shapes, but they still maintain the provocative beauty of the female nude. The color of their skin is also extremely alluring, especially when you are free to indulge in contrasts and comparisons.

Obviously cubism is pretty abstract art and the female faces may seem a bit mechanicized and devoid of feeling….but in this painting itâ€s the bodies and the exhibitionistic postures of the women that matter. The woman is no longer represented as a big cat lying gently and idly on a sofa while exposing her beauty to the viewer. Female sexuality is now raw, harsh, active, mobile, insinuating of real sex due to the women’s aggressive and ostentatious positions.

To sum up, the male perspective on the erotic focuses on the female body as an object of pleasure and artistic transfiguration. The emphasis falls on form, color, games of light and shadow, and capacity to enter ingenious contrasts either with a darker room/wall/piece of furniture, or with the lively colorful nature, if the women are outside. What is eroticized is the body itself while the face and expression are deemphasized. It’s physicality as well as an ability to appear somewhat distant that are in the foreground in the male (and rather traditional) take on the erotic in art.

 

The female perspective

When it comes to the female perspective on the erotic, one must mention right from the start that it was far more limited in former centuries due to the position of the woman in the whole society and culture. Even if a woman painted (which was not very frequent), her themes were much more quiet and decent. A woman couldnâ€t afford the same freedom to approach the body or other aspects of the erotic. Thus female painters whose art does delve into sexuality are quite close to the 21st century.

 

Georgia O’Keefe

Let’s look into the most prominent one. How could we not talk about Georgia O’Keefe? She is probably the embodiment of the female erotic in painting. Extremely fascinating and sexual as a woman, Oâ€Keefe herself led a life that praised female power and complexity. Her face retains an aura of mystery and quiet strength. She was also quite daring as a woman and posed naked for various photos.

Obviously she was a woman in full touch with her sexuality who was not afraid to use her body as an object of art and public pleasure. But what about her own paintings? Thereâ€s something totally different going on in female erotic art. Oâ€Keefe didnâ€t paint nudes. She painted the female erotic itself. Many of her paintings depict flowers in elaborate vivid colors from a rather close angle.

Georgia O Keeffe ca. 1915

Some of them are quite overtly evocative of the female genitalia. But itâ€s not only the shape and sexual symbolism that strikes us in Oâ€Keefeâ€s paintings. Thereâ€s a distinct emotionality conveyed at the same time. You can feel exuberance and love of life in almost every petal of the flowers in Oâ€Keefeâ€s paintings. Thereâ€s a sharp vibrant vitality screaming through all her paintings that you cannot not associate with sexuality.

Georgia O Keefe

 

The Use of Natural Imagery

Sometimes floral or other kind of natural imagery is depicted for its own sake … as an eulogy to the beauty in the environment. However thereâ€s something distinctively feminine in her whole style and perspective. You could hardly picture a male artist painting all that floral and flowery sophisticated imagery. Thereâ€s a finesse of lines that embody femininity and an eye for the right angle and distance that also suggest a female perspective. It doesnâ€t feel like a detached or objectifying look or lens.

For example, as you have seen above, there is definitely that living emotionality in Oâ€Keefeâ€s paintings. The close-up to simple wonders in the natural world which also evoke female sexuality in a more or less explicit way convey a typically female dexterity in playing with distance and seeing deep inside of things. Strong vibrant colors, ingenious intimate floral shapes, visible emotional undercurrents in most of her paintings … all that speaks more than one hundred nudes, donâ€t you think so?

Oâ€Keefe didnâ€t paint human figures, but she did paint the female erotic itself. Actually her art doesnâ€t limit itself to suggestions of female eroticism; however even when she alludes to male genitalia, the perspective remains a feminine one. For example, look at this painting, called Yellow Calla.

O Keefe’s Yellow Calla

Itâ€s already fairly obvious the female erotic is tightly connected with emotionality in visual art. If Oâ€Keefe is the epitome of colorful vitality, thereâ€s another famous female painter whose life was marked by different events and whose art reflects another kind of emotional landscape, namely Frida Kahlo.

 

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a very sexual and independent woman who acted according to her own feelings and listened to the beat of her own drum instead of paying too much attention to social or cultural convention. Her art is also typically female in a very intimate, very sentimental way. As you probably might know, Frida had a quite tragic life after a severe accident. Her paintings reflect her tormented internal life as well as her powerful sexuality, although in a more twisted form. Her paintings represent the female body in a distorted and suffering-bound form while still being eroticized. Look at her The Broken Column.

The Broken Column

Frida Kahloâ€s paintings emanate a specific sadness and darkness and are remarkable through a combination of the natural and the erotic. The body is often presented in association with the natural environment. Itâ€s as if earth and nature were sexualized, while the body itself feels at home in a natural setting among trees and leaves.

What is striking in Kahloâ€s paintings is the fact that sexuality is communicated primarily through the body, but the face of the figures who are represented are still important. Itâ€s not the expressionless and coldish face in traditional nude paintings that almost fades in the background as the body is fetishized and objectified.

Frida Kahlo’s Two Nudes Painting

Kahloâ€s art also lends emotionality to the erotic through the faces she paints which are often sad, deep, wrapped in thought, melancholy etc. What may have well been pure love of life in Frida Kahlo turns into deep grief and confined, restrained sexuality in her paintings. It is nonetheless a typically female perspective which enriches the erotic with very complex emotional nuances.

 

Eroticism Emotionalized

Is the female perspective on the erotic always emotionalized? You may think it is, but letâ€s not fall in the trap of generalizations. Modern art allowed for a wide array of styles and during the 20the century it was fairly easy for a woman to play an active part on the cultural scene. Her style didnâ€t have to closely respect existing trends, originality and purely personal views were more welcome, and she could even challenge men through a bold and unconventional approach, if she wanted to.

In this context some female artists chose the path of high emotionality and subjectivity in which the erotic was treated as a part of their more encompassing vision. Others preferred walking the more common road of “en vogue” styles and didnâ€t intend to distinguish themselves as particularly feminine through their perspective.

 

The Grey Zone – Tamara de Lempicka

Such an artist is Tamara de Lempicka whose art deco style is so neutral and dry, yet impressive, that you can easily forget sheâ€s female. And yet she did approach the erotic in her own way. She painted many nudes whose harsh and slightly coarse lines and angles remind us of Picassoâ€s style.

Tamara de Lempicka, portrait photograph, Paris, ca. 1929

There is a sharpness and an aggressive impulse in her paintings that almost seems male. Look at this one for example. Does that lower the value of her art? By no means. Sheâ€s just a very interesting case. She is a female painter who chose to “ungender” herself as an artist and approached the classic figure of the nude in a novel, even daring way without resorting to emotionality or allusions of feminine sensitivity.

Tamara’s approach to physicality and sexuality are straightforward, exhibitionistic, and provocative through a slightly ironic tinge. Quite wonderful for a female painter! She is an interesting example that suggests an escape from femininity into a grey area in terms of gender imprint.

I will end my post with a more “casual” form of art, but not less valuable – photography. I wonâ€t get into what male photographers (and perspective) does with the human body and sexuality. Especially in modern and contemporary times the erotic often becomes NSFW when it comes to this very accessible and less demanding art. However letâ€s not consider it easy!

Sally Mann’s Black and White Work

Sally Mannâ€s Photography

Photography can be highly sophisticated and meaningful when weâ€re talking about an extremely talented artist. To illustrate what both photography and a female perspective can do with the erotic I decided to look into Sally Mannâ€s work a bit. She is one of the most gifted photographers ever alive and sheâ€s a woman! Why am I stressing this aspect now? Itâ€s precisely because of the nature of her works. Had she photographed only landscape, buildings, or fashion models, her gender wouldnâ€t have been so significant. But she had her personal pet figures and motifs, namely children.

Sally Mann is incredibly creative and ingenious. She has an extraordinary eye for detail, she senses light and shadow as the air that one breathes, and she has a gift for very inventive, provoking, and ambivalent scenes and images that stir contradictory reactions. On the one hand, you notice her refinement and her use of subtle and even graceful expressions, postures, and facial features; on the other hand, you canâ€t help responding to the challenging and thought-provoking side of her photographs.

Some of her works arouse mixed emotional responses. Yes, the children she photographs are very special and itâ€s obvious she chose unique looks, a strange convincing gaze, a fragile body. At the same time she juxtaposes this allusion of innocence and spontaneity with a few bold provocative images such as a dead doe, a fire that breaks out during a picnic …and last, but not least, an erotic feeling.

Well, as you probably already know that Sally Mann eroticizes some of her children. It depends on the photograph. Sometimes you get an ambiguous image in which atmosphere and vibe seem to prevail and a naked body looks accidental. The gymnast girl on the table is a great example.

Other times Sally Mann pushes boundaries full force as she literally represents a child dressed in adult clothes and embellished with make-up while displaying a naked upper body. The girlâ€s expression is serene, confident, unflinching, adult-like.

Whatâ€s even more provocative and edgy is the way she sometimes overtly sexualizes children when she places them in clearly sexual postures whose realism is amazing. Look at this girl sitting on a wooden fence.

 

Conclusion

As you could see, the female perspective on the erotic can range from a rather classical emotionality or sentimentality typically associated with this gender to highly daring and even slightly transgressive approaches that somewhat defy and even overthrow gender conventions.

Does it make a clear difference if the artist is male or female when it comes to the erotic? As you could see from this post, the answer is affirmative: more often than not the artist will let their own gender have a say in their imagery, vision, and approach to the erotic. This difference is by no means meant to create a boundary though; it is only about fascinating distinctions and fine nuances that derive from a gendered perspective on the erotic.

 

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Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in the touch!

What is your perspective on the erotic art? Do you think man and woman view and approach it differently? The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them via email (sort of like buddies). So share your thoughts. Any other questions please feel free to share with the community.

Rumi to Lesbian Love to Black Erotica: Erotic Poetry Book Review

Erotic poetry lovers, this book review is dedicated to you all. In today’s blog post, I am going to review and highlight my pick for top 11 books of Erotic Poetry.

You are going to love each and every one. These books span across time, geography, writing style, and theme. 

Erotic Poetry Book Reviews

Skin / The Naked Soul Partners

Erotic Poems

Edited by Peter Washington

This book is a collection of erotic poems from around the world that spans various time periods and locales. It includes such famous erotic poets as Ovid, Octavio Paz, Lord Byron, and John Keats among others.

The poems contained in this anthology are sensual and romantic with hints of erotic love which is evident in verses from poems such as “The Quiet Glades of Eden” by Robert Graves and “Three Poems” by Bharthari.

 

Graves writes:

If it should please you, for your own best reasons,
To take me and flog me with a rawhide whip
I might (who knows?) surprisingly accept
This earnest of affection

 

Bharthari writes in one of his poems:

A hundred times they kiss, and then
A thousand times embrace
And stop only to start again;
There’s no tautology in such a case.

 

Many of the poems contain physical imagery with references to the breasts, lips, and eyes that allow the reader to get a sense of the appearance of the lover. Allusions to sex abound without explicit descriptions of sexual intercourse.

In this collection, the editor, Peter Washington, has compiled a series of poems that allows the reader to truly feel the complex emotions of romantic relationships. The animalistic nature of sex was explored in some of the poems. This allows the book to serve as an excellent representation of the passion and intimacy of loving relationships.

The main critiques however of this anthology are that the poets are primarily male with very few female poets and that many of the poets are foreign. Even the translators of poems by foreign poets generally were male.

There were very few American poets. Peter Washington also did not select many modern poems so some of the references in the poems are not easily understood.

Despite these critiques, this book serves as a good introduction to different poets and may inspire the reading audience to select more works of poetry by these poets.

They are poems that can be read alone or to your romantic partner as they are sensual, romantic, and intensely visual so readers could visualize the settings of the poems.

A thousand lives / The Naked Soul Partners

The Erotic Spirit: An Anthology of Poems of Sensuality, Love, and Longing

Edited by Sam Hamill

This anthology of erotic poems includes poems that as the title alludes to are more in the erotic spirit than being explicitly erotic. These poems are poems that enlighten readers about love and relationships and allow for a greater understanding of the necessities of an enduring and passionate relationship.

In this compilation, the editor, Sam Hamill, has organized a collection of poems that are diverse in voice (both ethnically and gender-wise). What was interesting was the inclusion of poets that are not as well-known.

However, this does not mean that major poets are not included. Some of the more famous poets in this collection include Ovid, Catullus, Sappho, Ono No Komachi, Rumi, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman.

Several poets have numerous poems included in the book which allows the reader to become more familiar with the differences in their writing styles.

What makes this collection stand out is its abundance of poems by Asian poets and the beautiful allusions in these poems to the physical nature of intimacy, the seasons, and the majesties of nature including references to lotus blossoms and moonlight.

The poems in this anthology are filled with the complex feelings of love including the sense of yearning for a loved one, despair, and loss. It is also a very cohesive body of poems that are organized by time period so readers can see how authors have depicted passionate relationships throughout the years. This is certainly a poetry collection worth recommending for those who wish to have a great introduction to a wonderful variety of poets.

 

The Best American Erotic Poems from 1800 to the Present

Edited by David Lehman

This collection of erotic poems was a well-organized anthology that included a mix of classic and modern American poems including such classic erotic poems as “I Sing the Body Electric” and “Lifting Belly”.

The poems were organized by the author’s year of birth which allowed readers to visualize the evolution of romantic poetry from the 19th century to the present.

David Lehman, the editor, included such celebrated American poets as Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, E. E. Cummings, and Edna St. Vincent Millay and more obscure poets such as H. Phelps Putnam and Emma Lazarus.

The poems in this anthology were more difficult to understand as many were concrete in nature. This led to the subliminal messages to be not as easily comprehended by the average reader. This is the main critique of this collection. However, despite this, it was interesting to read modern erotic poems that told rich stories.

What was unique about this book was that the poems were much more explicit in nature with some veering on the pornographic. The poems in this book were very romantic and personified aspects of the sexual experience. Lehman also included poems with homosexual sexual relationships which showed the diversity of romantic relationships.

There were many poems by women which allowed readers to have a unique perspective on how gender impacted sexual experiences. Other books reviewed previously did not have such a diverse assemblage of voices.

This is a collection of poems worth recommending for those who would enjoy reading modern carnal poems about love, lust, passion, and sexual intimacy.

Black Erotica

Photo by The Naked Soul Partners

Erotique Noire: Black Erotica

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis, Reginald Martin, and Roseann P. Bell

This was a unique collection of erotic poems, stories, and essays by Latin American, and Caribbean-American men and women of African descent.

It is a very well-organized collection that was divided into sections according to the subject matter of the writing. It provides lengthy and comprehensive perspectives on the everyday intimate experiences of blacks. Intermingled throughout were insightful academic commentaries that helped the reader to understand more about black erotica, music, and culture.

There was a great diversity of voices in this book including a good balance of male and female authors. The authors reflected on the spiritual aspects of sexual experiences; the effects music had on their sexual experiences; and the beginnings of new sexual relationships among other topics.

The poetry in this book was very erotic and explicit with a mix of longer poems and haikus. This was truly a special anthology as the writers were great storytellers who allowed readers to visualize the experiences that were documented within the book.

This was a cohesive body of work that was very carnal and explicit in nature but also sensual and passionate. The writing could be concrete at times and it was interesting to read different interpretations of the sexual experience by the black population. This is certainly a book worth recommending for those who want a close study of the intricacies of black erotica.

 

The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems

Ono No Komachi and Izumi Shikibu

This was a well-translated and beautiful collection of ancient Japanese love poems by two court poets that were passionate and full of desire. These short but deep poems were verses that expressed the longing that the poets felt for their lovers. Although the poems were brief, they were very emotional.

The verses contained rich imagery that allowed readers to visualize the settings of the poems. Many of the poems in this book took place at night as the poets reflected on the moonlight and nights spent with their romantic partner.

The seasons played a role in several of the poems as many reflected on autumn and leaves falling.

The depiction of the changing seasons served as an ode to the passage of time in the course of a relationship. Some poems were mildly erotic and many were very intimate. The painful and bitter nature of romance was explored in some poems.

This collection showed that even long ago, the feelings of love have not changed significantly. These poems contain the same emotional weight of more contemporary love poems. This is truly a collection worth reading for those who wish to read meaningful love poems that have withstood the test of time.

Lesbian Love Poems

Two lovers / The Naked Soul Partners

My Lover is a Woman: Contemporary Lesbian Love Poems

Edited by Leslea Newman

This was an enticing collection of lesbian love poems by modern poets. The poems in this book were organized by the author which allowed the reader to read different perspectives on intimacy and the passions of homosexual relationships.

These were very personal poems that enlightened readers on who the poet really is in their most private moments. Some poems were mildly erotic in nature.

What was special about this book was the rich storytelling of the poems contained within. The poems contained descriptive imagery and made even the most everyday moments worth savoring. The poets were very accepting of the imperfections of their lovers and revealed in the beauties of the female physique.

What is worth noting is that the poems do discuss prejudice against lesbianism and interracial relationships which are still issues that pervade our current society. This book was published almost twenty years ago so there was even deeper prejudice back then.

There are some guilt and shame by the female lovers depicted but also a sense of an undying love that could withstand the hatred and oppression that society had for these types of relationships.

Rumi and the Expression of Divine Love

Rumi: The Book of Love (Poems of Ecstasy and Longing)

Translations and Commentary by Coleman Barks

This was a spiritual body of work that contained poems that were filled with longing and very introspective in nature. The poems were beautifully translated by Coleman Barks and before each section began he insightfully commented on each thematic section and included personal anecdotes on the wisdom obtained from speaking to religious teachers.

Rumi’s poems are very abstract and deep with powerful musings on the majesty and beauties of love. They spoke to the healing power of love and the desire and lust that love added to one’s life.

The poems in this book were full of natural metaphors and many Middle Eastern references that were difficult to understand. Despite this critique, Barks was able to compile a wonderful assortment of poems by this great Sufi mystic.

The poems were primarily about the lingering presence of love in one’s life and just how incredible a presence it is.

Rumi was a great storyteller and his stories enlighten readers with the wisdom of his life’s experiences. His poems were very passionate and filled with the enjoyment of spiritual and earthly pleasures. This collection is highly recommended for lovers of more soulful poems that have withstood the test of time.

 

Songs of Love, Poems of Sadness

The Erotic Verse of the Sixth Dalai Lama & translations by Paul Williams

This brief collection was rich in natural imagery and showed just how much love could affect you physically. The short verses in this book were poems that yearned for love. They truly depicted how love could be taken away in a heartbeat.

The young lovers in this book did not always have the fortune of lasting relationships so it was evident that love should be valued when it is possessed.

Paul Williams beautifully translated the verse of the esteemed sixth Dalai Lama and allowed readers to be enlightened by the wisdom of such a holy figure.

Clearly, this Dalai Lama had experienced the many facets of love and had sadly lamented many times a lost love. His intimate reflections allowed the reader to glean great insight into his most personal moments such as his feelings at the beginning of a new relationship.

The main critiques of this collection were that it was far too brief and that some translations were not easily understood by the average reader. In addition, the verse could often be very abstract in nature so the latent meanings of these poems were difficult to interpret. Despite these critiques, this was a deeply poignant and spiritual body of work.

 

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

Translations by Anne Carson

This translated work that compiled all of Sappho’s fragmented verses in one collection allowed the reader to get a sense of the rich life experiences of this renowned Greek poet.

The variety of portions of her verse contained pleas to the Greek gods, goddesses, and muses for the safety of her family and companions. It was evident that Sappho was close to many and truly valued her beloved companions.

What was unfortunate about having only segmented verse though was the sense of losing the deeper meanings of her verse. The translator explained the missing pieces of her verses in her introduction by stating that none of Sappho’s poems existed in full.

The fragments though led to a disjointed reading experience. Another critique was the obscure references to ancient Greek cities and temples that without the help of the book’s glossary were not easily understood.

Despite these major critiques, this was a beautiful collection of verse on many topics but primarily on the love that Sappho had for her romantic partners who were often female. The stanzas revered the female physique and appearance.

Her poetry though was often introspective in nature and full of complex emotions about the women she loved. They were passionate poems full of fervent desire for her companions.

This complete collection is recommended for those who want to read the full range of Sappho’s writings that was made very accessible for modern readers by the translator.

Breakfast / The Naked Soul Partners

Modern Day Erotic Love Poems

100 Love Sonnets

Pablo Neruda

This book beautifully translated from its original Spanish is an intimate collection of sonnets dedicated to Neruda’s beloved wife, Matilde.

It was evident in reading this book that Neruda passionately loved his wife and was very emotional about the thought of her death. The sonnets in this book were numbered and organized according to the time of day the poem was set in.

These poems were full of deep feelings and mildly erotic in nature when he described the beauties of his wife’s physical being.

He loved her not only for her pleasant appearance but also for her imperfections. Many of the poems alluded to the peacefulness of nature and her sense of oneness with the earth.

Pablo Neruda and his wife had both had similar humble upbringings that laid the foundation for their future. He alluded to the poverty of their former lives and how it brought them closer together.

Theirs was a happy marriage bound to last eternally. Although some poems had dark undertones particularly the ones set in the darkness of night, the poems set during the light of day reflected his abiding love of nature.

This book was an eloquently worded ode to the multifaceted aspects of love and is perfect for reading with your romantic partner. There is little to critique about this book except for its mentions of places the reader may not be familiar with.

 

Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems

Salil Jha

Since this my own book, therefore to present an objective review, I will let Kirkus review speak for Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems.

From Kirkus:

Jha’s collection of concise, warm, and erotic poetry explores the delights of physical love from (primarily heterosexual) male and female perspectives.

The bulk of these poems describe various acts of sexual congress in non-explicit ways while trying to capture the rich emotional tenor of lovemaking as opposed to casual sex. Just feel the words because “these poems are written not to be understood by the mind but to be felt by the heart”, Jha writes.

He switches between male and female perspectives, describing the joys of being taken and taking. Love Fantasies seems to describe a heterosexual woman’s experience: Then I ride it like a cowgirl to reach as far as I can be. / I hustle, I shake, I grind, I wind, I go deep / where there is only one path and one way to be.

Elsewhere, Wake Up has a decidedly more heterosexual male perspective: You slide me down / Into the wetness / Even before / I am awake.

Many of the poems, such as One Soul and Soul Mate, focus on the feeling of love itself, absent any particular physical expression. The text is peppered with simple line drawings of sex, like a slideshow of soft-core Kama Sutra.

Jha manages to sketch the outlines of sex and love without making it too concrete or specific. The poems shifting points of view create a sensual atmosphere that encourages the reliving of fond memories and the ignition of current fantasies. Although the language used to describe anatomy can sometimes be clunky or a little too “fruit-oriented” (the melon family makes many appearances), the spirit of the work is joyful and tender.

Erotic poetry that evokes feelings of joy, happiness, and an overall celebration of the arts of physical and romantic love.

 

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Was this post helpful to you in deciding which books you might want to read next? Do you have suggestions, tips or your own reviews to share? If yes, please feel free to share your thoughts or question(s) with us? Please leave your thoughts and input in the comments below.

The Erotic Poetry of Kamasutra: A Treatise on Pleasure

There is perhaps no literary work as tantalizingly erotic as the Kamasutra. When you visualize this book, you may only think of the sexual imagery contained inside.

The truth is that this book while sexual in nature also has a rich history and contains beautiful poetic language.

Kamasutra: A Treatise on Pleasure

Erotic Poetry of Kamasutra

Let us begin by exploring the history of this book before adventuring into its poetic nature.

The book was compiled in the third century by an Indian sage, Vatsyavana. He believed that this text that contained past sexual knowledge helped him to meditate and contemplate the divine.

The book was written in Sanskrit and its translated title means “a treatise on pleasure.”

Senses and pleasures 

The book explores pleasure both sexually and intellectually by discussing various topics including Society and Social Concepts; On Sexual Union; About the Acquisition of a Wife; About a Wife; About the Wives of Other Men; About Courtesans; and On the Means of Attracting others to Yourself.

It essentially serves as a crucial primer on the physical and psychological aspects of romance including how men can win over women; what women can do to win over men; the states of a woman’s mind; the role of an intermediary; and why women might reject men.

The book contains charts that organize male and female physical types into categories and show how physically compatible they are with their partner.

Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra is considered the first study of sexuality but due to the complexity of the Sanskrit it was written in it was considered obscure.

It was translated into English in the late 19th century by Sir Richard Burton, a well-known linguist, and Arabic translator.

Burton had originally been working on translating a 15th-century revision of the work, the Ananga-Ranga, but wanted to learn more about Vatsyayana who was cited numerous times in the Ananga-Ranga.

First translation

He orchestrated the effort to refer back to the Kama Sutra and translate it into English. He fulfilled his desire to publish a Western translation and stimulated widespread interest in India and other countries.

Since then it has been translated numerous times and been published in multiple versions.

The book at first begins analytically as a series of instructions on how a man should live a life dedicated to religious observance and learn to live according to the principles of what is referred to as dharma, artha, and kama.

Dharma is obeying the principles of Hinduism, Artha is based on acquiring material items and friendships, and kama is enjoying pleasure according to the lessons of the Kama Sutra. But then there were those who objected to pleasure and wished to keep the ideal human pursuits limited to dharma, stating:

“Pleasures should not be sought for, because they are obstacles to the practice of Dharma and Artha, which are both superior to them, and are also disliked by meritorious persons. Pleasures also bring a man into distress, and into contact with low persons; they cause him to commit unrighteous deeds, and produce impurity in him; they make him regardless of the future and encourage carelessness and levity. And lastly, they cause him to be disbelieved by all, received by none, and despised by everybody, including himself.”

Indian Caste System

The book does explore the caste system in India by describing the three classes of men including the Pithamarda, the Vita, and the Vidushaka.

  • The Pithamarda was described as a poor man who has few personal possessions but comes from a good country and is skilled artistically.
  • The Vita is a man who is a wealthy married homeowner who is honored by citizens.
  • The Vidushaka is only skilled in some of the arts but is trusted by all of the citizens.

Vatsyavana believed that men should really only get to know men of their own caste.

The Kama was practiced by following Hindu principles and marrying virgins who belonged to their own caste.

The Naked Soul Partners

 

The Treatise on Pleasure

The more sensual aspects of the book begin in the second part when men were categorized according to the degree of passion they had and it was stated in the book:

“A man is called a man of small passion whose desire at the time of sexual union is not great, whose semen is scanty, and who cannot bear the warm embraces of the female. Those who differ from the temperament are called men of middling passion while those of intense passion are full of desire.”

Females were said to have a different kind of passion then men as the book explained that females wish to enjoy sexual relations with men for a longer period of time then men need to have sexual intercourse. One writer in the book was quoted as saying,

Females do not emit as males do. The males simply remove their desire, while the females, from their consciousness of desire, feel a certain kind of pleasure, which gives them satisfaction, but it is impossible for them to tell you what kind of pleasure they feel. The fact from which this becomes evident is that males when engaged in coition cease of themselves after emission and are satisfied but it is not so with females.”

The various types of love were explored and were categorized as love gained from continual habit and performance, imaginary love, love derived from belief, and love derived from perceiving external objects.

Couples engage in different kinds of embraces to express the kind of love that they feel for their partner.

This is a passionate expression of love as a union of this kind is a special one that cannot be broken by others. The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this in the poem Bound For Me when it says:

She comes and looks deep into my eyes

Her beautiful majestic eyes, mesmerizing me

There she stands on the doorpost

Waiting for my move

I take her hand into my hand

Pressing softly

She takes off her clothes gently

To the last piece

There she stands in all skin

In all her glory

She offers me a rope and stretches her arm

She is bound for me

There she waits for me

Warm

Exhilarating

Lifting each other

Blindfolded warriors in a field

Fingers

Tongue

Soft lips

Our weapons of love

And our bodies

Our shields

She satisfies me in ways

My words fail

I love her

 

Kamasutra portrayed on the walls of the temple of Khajuraho

Vatsyavana wrote about the power of embraces when he wrote:

“The whole subject of embracing is of such a nature that men who ask questions about it, or who hear about it, or who talk about it, acquire thereby a desire for enjoyment. Even those embraces that are not mentioned in the Kama Shastra should be practiced at the time of sexual enjoyment if they are in any way conducive to the increase of love or passion. The rules of the Shastra apply so long as the passion of man is middling, but when the wheel of love is once again set in motion, there is then no Shastra and no order.”

Embracing transitions into kissing which is an even more sensual type of love.

There are many different ways to kiss your lover including a straight kiss which is contact between both sets of lips; a bent kiss when the lovers are bent towards one another; a turned kiss which is when one turns up the face of the other by holding the head and chin; and a pressed kiss which is when the lower lip is pressed forcefully.

Kisses can express love in a much deeper and personal way than merely embracing.

The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this while exploring the nature of kissing when it says:

Go kiss her from her forehead to her feet
Let this poor heart
In you
Become courageous
Now you are ready, my friend
Now you know
You bring love with love
You make love with love
Love knows no desperation
Love knows no boundaries
No limitation
You have charted the earth well
On the surface of her skin
With your beloved by your side
Hand in hand
Lips to lips
To the glorious birth
Of a new love

The Sexual Freedom

Women were said to enjoy other kinds of physical contact including biting, pressing nails against one another, and striking one another.

Vatsyayana wrote about this kind of contact when he said:

“Those which increase passion should be done first and those which are only for amusement or variety should be done afterward.”

In addition to more physical expressions of love, there were also different ways to form sexual unions with one another. This was explained by stating:

“An ingenious person should multiply the kinds of congress after the fashion of the different kinds of beasts and of birds. For these different kinds of congress, performed according to the usage of each country, and the liking of each individual, generate love, friendship, and respect in the hearts of women.”

Sexual intercourse was analogized to a dispute with your partner. It is a way to truly express opinions about each other and is very physical and romantic.

The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this the following poem, stating:

Love
Like youngsters
Running around, restless
So naive at heart
And hands
Without blame
Don't come and try to stop us
That we celebrate
Our sacred dance
In our preserved innocence
Tonight

Women were said to express their pleasure in the process of making love by relaxing their bodies and showing great willingness to be united with their partners. Men should interpret pleasure by the mood of their partners during the process.

Vatsyayana wrote of this when he said:

“Though a woman is reserved and keeps her feelings concealed, yet when she gets on top of a man, she then shows all her love and desire. A man should gather from the actions of the woman of what disposition she is and from what way she likes to be enjoyed. A woman during her monthly courses, a woman who has been lately confined, and a fat woman should not be made to act the part of a man.”

Men helped women get in the mood for sexual intercourse by conversing with them and embracing them with affection.

This would help a woman to be filled with love and desire for her partner. There were said to be different kinds of sexual partnerships including the loving congress; congress of subsequent love; congress of artificial love; congress of transferred love; congress like that of eunuchs; deceitful congress; and congress of spontaneous love. Vatsyayana said that men who were skilled in the arts of love were admired and respected.

From sexual unions, the relationship transitioned into something much deeper and into a permanent marriage. Vatsyayana said:

“A man should fix his affections upon a girl who is of good family, whose parents are alive, and who is three years or more younger than himself. She should be born of a highly respectable family, possessed of wealth, well connected, and with many relations and friends.”

The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses the sentiments about the bond of marriage when it utters:

When my friends ask
About you
I tell them
That I met you today
My friends marvel at this
But to me
You are a new
Beginning
Every day
There is no end in such love
Nothing is old here
We age
But our spirit remains the same
And we become
The part of eternal sky

Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems (a modern day Kamasutra)

Once the couple has been married, a man then had to make an effort to instill a sense of trust in their partner. Earning her trust involved embracing her, kissing, and engaging her in conversation. The husband would then ask his wife if she liked him. 

Vatsyayana wrote about what she should say to such a question:

“She should remain silent for a long time, and when at last importuned to reply, should give him a favorable answer by a nod of the head.”

Once the wife became more comfortable with her husband, he would then touch her whole body and teach her about the arts of love.

The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses about the arts of love in verses from the following poem:

What will you give to your lover?
Do you possess a moonstone or stardust?
Have you planted a thousand roses?
Have you mapped the earth?
To take your lover
On a journey full of mirth?
No—
I don't have a moonstone
Nor do I have stardust.
I am poor but have roses and flowers
In all colors
I will be kind to her limbs
I can fill her life with passion
Her organs will thank mine
Her eyes will peck at mine
Her hairs I will brush
Igniting the passion in her soul
Her vale merging with my knoll,
A hummock,
Just for her pleasures
Ever waiting, ever desiring

It is now evident that a romance is something that requires great effort on the parts of both partners in a relationship.

The Kamasutra describes the stages of romance extensively and how the couple should act towards one another. While the book is an ancient text, some of its advice still holds true today and can be adhered to by all couples.

Erotic Poetry And Literature: Do People Prefer It Over Other Art Forms?

There is something particularly delightful and passionately engaging about reading erotic poetry. We all can agree to that. But, do people prefer it to watching erotic films or admiring the eros in other arts such as sculptures or paintings?

Let’s look a little dipper into this question in this blog post.

Erotic Poetry and Literature

Erotic poetry and literature is an extremely special, but also delicate genre. You probably wonder why. The answer is fairly simple.

One the one hand, erotic literature is constituted along two distinct and related coordinates: it introduces the reader into a world of myriad feelings by means of which sexual relationships are woven into being and at the same time it seeks to arise in the readers sensations of pleasure and thus awake their own eroticism.

On the other hand, erotic literature is a borderline genre situated in-between high culture and more interested enjoyment, so to speak. Obviously reading erotic poetry is different from reading drama (tragedy, for instance).

Erotic literature goes beyond purely aesthetic pleasure. We don’t necessarily read erotic literature to immerse in a coherent fictional universe that can teach us things and change our perspective on life.

We don’t read erotic poetry in order to engage in a cool-headed analysis of the way a poet constructs setting, mood, rhyme, and rhythm, etc. — unless we actually specialize in literary theory or literature as such. However such cases are extremely rare.

The appeal of erotic poetry

What makes up the immense appeal of erotic poetry for the majority of readers?

First and foremost, erotic poetry acts almost as a release for our brains, since we are so used to repression and societal models which sometimes turn sexuality into taboo and may even claim it could be “dirty”.

Erotic poetry is an excellent proof that sexuality is actually something beautiful that can be transfigured into art. This transformation can be a form of sublimation, to use a concept that was promoted by Freud. [1]

By means of art, people experience a form of purging (or catharsis) instead of repressing their desires. Erotic poetry is simply a fantastic source of pleasure which acknowledges the beauty and the high priority of sexuality while allowing for a half-abstract experience. Why is it not concrete?

Well, reading erotic poetry requires a degree of abstraction implied by any form of art: the readers move through an array of feelings and experiences that are not their own. For this reason, erotic poetry is not only about sublimation in the purely psychoanalytical sense, since it doesn’t only equal a transformation of one’s own impulses except in a very general way.

Of course through reading erotic literature one gets to indulge in phenomena and sensations that one usually finds pleasurable without committing any transgression from the point of view of one’s own morality.

Instead of betraying one’s spouse with other people, erotic literature permits the readers to escape the boundaries of their own concrete couple in order to find pleasure somewhere else.

However erotic poetry does much more than, say, allowing for the sublimation of the need for erotic diversity: it raises the erotic at the level of the aesthetic and thus it opens the gates towards a different kind of sublimation, literally speaking.

Erotic poetry allows us to experience the sublime itself in the philosophical sense (as a highly impressive and moving quality of greatness) that was so well theorized by Kant. [2]

Why erotic poetry?

What makes us enjoy reading or writing it so much? Is it the same thing that we experience when watching an erotic film or examining a painting/sculpture which shows us a nude figure or builds on direct representation of sexuality?

We all know about famous works of art that know no restraint in presenting the body as it is for both the aesthetic and the erotic. Of course, we have heard of Michelangelo’s David and we have probably seen it not only once.

How about Goya’s Maja Desnuda? Apart from such widely known examples, there are myriad erotic artworks that may even have been created by contemporary artists you might not have heard of yet. As you can picture, our century is extremely prolific and permissive regarding the erotic and this trend is not limited to literature.

If you are interested in more powerful and even more exotic works of art that could even challenge your own frame concerning what art can do about sexuality, you can take a look at all 15 examples that have made history in this respect.

For many people, the erotic is reduced to pornography and they unwillingly choose to experience it by means of cinema, photography, or magazines that specialize in eroticized displays of the body meant to arouse the readers. Why “unwillingly”?

Because these channels are actually the easiest to access and people often receive information through these media without questioning its purpose or its broader identity.

Why look for something just as delightful when you can watch erotic films anytime on numerous TV channels or you can buy as many DVDs you want?

Some people may have less commercial preferences and are quite familiar with a different kind of erotic movies that relies much less on cliche and objectification, namely erotic art film such as Ai no corrida.

People who are versed in both art and eros surely know this film already. They must also have an excellent understanding about the extent to which drawing on the erotic in art has amazing and high-quality results. Surely other people still have prejudice regarding erotic art or literature in particular.

An Aphrodisiac

Some may still consider this genre to verge on superficiality or to function only as an aphrodisiac. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The charm and the mystery of erotic literature lie precisely in its ability to be both arousing and aesthetically valuable. Hardly anyone reads erotic poetry only to get turned on. Most readers want an artistic experience together with the more simple delight of the senses that could easily be achieved by other means.

However what makes erotic literature worth so much for such a large public? One of the deeper reasons is related to the fact that literature has been for a good while a great channel for erotic expression when society encouraged repression.

Not only did literature allow for what social norms tried to forbid, but also it created a very propitious space for the expression of sexual deviations. By this term, we don’t mean anomaly since sexuality shouldn’t be treated normatively.

The bottom line is that literature was the perfect terrain for seeding ideas that would have usually been considered to be less mainstream even by sexually open-minded people.

Why is Venus in Furs by Sacher-Masoch so appreciated? Why is an author like Marquise de Sade not only renowned, but also valuable in his own way? Why has a poet and critic like Swinburne also made history through his treatment of the erotic?

Not only thanks to his abundant talent. It was also partly because of his homoerotic tendencies, partly due to his having approached more “exotic” topics (and fetishes) such as flagellation.

50 Shades of Grey

Why is a book like 50 Shades of Grey so successful nowadays? Strangely enough, we live in an era that treasures openness and liberalism, so how come BDSM is still impressive?

The explanation comes down to novelty rather than deviation. Not many erotic works have ventured that far and this is still unexplored territory.

BDSM may be rather commonplacefor some people nowadays “we can no longer regard such practices as deviant,” since many people express interest in experimenting at least and some do it quite openly, adopting it as a real lifestyle.

Moreover, there’s plenty of information about BDSM in the media and anybody who desires to discover why it is worth trying only has to look up things on the web.

Erotic Films

Erotic films are also extremely open to such practices since they are part of what plays. However, in literature as well as in other arts such phenomena are still fresh and in very high demand.

What makes erotic poetry so special against all this background? Why does the public appreciate it so much when there are plenty of other ways of enhancing the erotic experience or of experiencing the erotic through art?

Why erotic poetry? What distinguishes it from other genres?

First of all, no genre makes use of imagination the way poetry does. Lyricism and subjectivity are exploited to the maximum, metaphor is the tissue of poetry, and the artist has immeasurable freedom of transfiguring actual sensation and turning it into an almost otherworldly experience.

When reading erotic fiction everything looks almost as in a porn film and the readers are quite familiar with many aspects of sexuality and of the acts described.

There’s scarcely anything surprising except for things like the sex positions that are going to be employed, the moment when people climax, the denouement, etc.

Poetry offers much more: the erotic is often represented figuratively while still phenomenally impactful. Yes, most readers are aroused when reading erotic poetry.

However, at the same time, they are in awe at the fine expression, at the sophistication of feeling, at the synesthetic combination of impressions stirred by the senses and so on.

Poetry doesn’t only describe a sexual act more often than not. Erotic poetry is both about sensitivity and sexuality. The readers are kept in suspense that is not necessarily one that has to do with erotic climax or the development of the relationship between two people.

Poetry cultivates another kind of unexpected: it is the emotion that takes the readers by surprise and also makes them vicariously live through the figure (or the voice) in the poem.

This highly enjoyable feeling of living vicariously through characters is particularly exciting in erotic literature, as you may picture and you may well know.

It’s not necessarily a matter of empathizing with characters or getting inside their brain to understand their point of view and perceptions.

When reading erotic literature we live vicariously through others in an equally erotic way: we are aroused almost as the characters are, we experience similar sensations.

However erotic poetry is even more valuable than that, because it allows us to live vicariously not only through our bodily reflexes. Erotic poetry offers us rich and complex emotional content, intellectual pleasure, and erotically stimulating experience.

Naturally not any erotic poem is going to have the same impact on us on a physical level it highly depends on how overt and striking it is.

However, we almost always enjoy reading erotic poetry from a mental standpoint at least. Often we can really identify with an emotional shade described in the poem. Maybe our own understanding of the erotic was awakened through the right words; maybe a feeling we have for someone was struck through a well-placed and evocative image. It is much more than a representation of the sexual act we search for when reading erotic poetry.

How about the metric part? How does form contribute to the beauty of the erotic? Doesn’t rhyme imply a certain rigor? How can poetic rhythm grasp the actual flow of the erotic?

Although some could expect these demands that may go hand in hand with the lyrical genre (though white verse is quite fashionable) to be a hindrance rather than an advantage, the truth is much more nuanced.

Meter has its own charm because it contains an element of the game: it is a challenge to put sexuality into verse! Have you ever thought of comparing rhyme and rhythm in erotic poetry to actual the actual form and pace of the erotic? This is also a metaphor, of course, but all in all, there’s truth to it since meter can play the role a sex position plays.

How come? It’s simple: it gives shape and structure to the erotic, an experience that in itself is the epitome of wilderness. For this reason, poetry as a genre can actually enhance the value of the erotic. It’s not a mere description of a succession of steps that lead to climax.

Erotic poetry has a flow of its own because of metric elements. Each feeling and fascicle of sensations can be put into different verses depicted in so many ways! It’s almost the equivalent of experimenting with sexuality directly, don’t you think so?

Of course, free verse is also an option and a rather successful one. But let’s not forget more conventional forms of poetry. There’s a special charm to them because they organize experience and hold it in restraint. Everybody knows too much freedom may actually undermine pleasure in a way.

It’s already a truism that forbidden fruit tastes better. Aren’t we attracted more to what is not easily accessible — at least not at once? Poetry offers us a sense of structure and refraining.

We don’t have the same kind of delightful experience when reading erotic fiction. We can only imagine the characters involved and build a picture of what everything must look and feel like. But there’s hardly any form of teasing, is there? Metric demands can act as a challenge for people who love erotic poetry — both writers and readers.

For the writer, it’s both a game and a way of sublimating erotic experience through yet another filter and form. Maybe it’s not as appealing and complex to simply describe things as they are.

Imagination and musicality are extremely potent. For readers meter and rhythm enhance the experience. They create music apart from describing the erotic. Sonority adds layers to the feelings or sensation described, just as a color can sometimes express a mood or a specific atmosphere better than a whole stanza.

If you are not yet familiar with all the joys of erotic poetry, now it is time to expand your horizons. Don’t miss out on such an interesting and promising genre only because you are accustomed with other arts or media. Obviously, poetry will not give you the unambiguous concreteness you can find in a film, but it lets your imagination do some work as well.

This is a terrific gift that enhances the potential of the erotic. Your mind is stimulated to reproduce the eroticism it discovers in verse. One could say poetry is a double act of creation: it is not only the poet who creates a world by means of imagery and meter; it is also the reader who transfigures the text into a picture of their own that only builds on what the eyes read.

Every reading is thus also an act of creation, as interpretations enriches the text. Unlike other genres, erotic poetry allows for much more space for what Umberto Eco called opera aperta (the open text).

The poet and the reader work in unison in order to grasp the uniqueness of erotic feeling. Just think about how much reading a novel or short stories offers you out of this multilayered experience. Only then will you understand why erotic poetry has unequaled force and is still widely appreciated and enjoyed.

People love it when their experiences rise above the mundane and this is something erotic poetry promises and delivers without fail. You will simply not find as much pleasure when you read an utterly realistic novel that does nothing more than describing sexual acts in order to turn the readers on. Erotic poetry reflects a specific purity of intent even when it is rather explicit. In erotic poetry aesthetic delight never comes second to anything else.

 

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Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Sign up now and stay in touch!

What do you think about the expression of Eros in the form of erotic poetry and literature? Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.

Spirituality and Eroticism: An Erotic Perspective

I’ve recently been looking into the history of spirituality and eroticism. Since the antiquity, there has always been some overlap and deep connection between the two great muses of human pursuits.

Spirituality and Eroticism

From my research, what I have found that either the religion has tried to suppress the eros or embraced it by transforming and expressing the eros by channeling the sexual energy into spiritual, selfless love to God or some ideal.

While I’ve been checking out ancient teachings and beliefs, biblical verses, songs and poetry, all with the theme of eroticism and spirituality in mind.

I can honestly say that I’ve literally been blown away and swept off my usually grounded feet by the jaw-dropping beauty, frank honesty and unguarded language used by mystics, poets or pagan priests advocating their love for spiritual and mystical figures.

The strength of their ecstatic devotion never fails to shine through, even within their sometimes sexually charged diction. In fact, if I was of religious persuasion, you could probably say that through what I’ve learned, even in a short time frame, I’ve literally been taken to the church (or temple) and back.

It was no less than a sacred pilgrimage through time and cultures.

Let’s look at some of these overlaps where the erotic meets the spirit.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Since I’ve just mentioned church this is as good a time as any for Spanish mystic and nun, Saint Teresa of Avila (who was canonized by the Catholic church during the 1600’s) to share with us her heartfelt and intimate feelings towards God.

Saint Teresa is said to have experienced devotions of ecstasy which was one of perfect union with God. Her devoutness could not be more apparent than in her poem, I Would Cease to Be:

God
Dissolved
my mind, my separation
I cannot describe now my intimacy with Him
How dependent is your body’s life on water and food and air
I said to God, I will always be unless you cease to Be,
And my Beloved replied,
And I would cease to Be
if you died

You get a real sense of her intensity and passion from the words used here. Whenever I read it I get the feeling that it could almost be a poem written to a lover.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Such displays of beautiful outpourings towards religious and spiritual figures by their devotees have been thematic throughout the centuries. The poem (a prayer as hymn actually): Dear God by lifelong devout Christian, Saint Francis of Assissi also shows the true extent of his feelings:

Dear God, please reveal to us
your sublime
beauty
that is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,
so that we will never again
feel frightened.
My divine love, my love,
please let us touch
your face.

 

I love the line please let us touch your face, it’s exactly the kind of thing a person would long to do from the moment he/she begins to fall in love with someone. Saint Francis was canonized as a saint during 1228.

Mirabai

Sixteenth-century Indian mystic, Mirabai, is another plenary example of devotion in its purest form. She became a lifelong follower of Sri Krishna whom she thought of as her husband.

So passionate was her devotion, Mirabi inspired many others to take the same devotional path.

Even well-known sadhus (Hindu word for ascetic holy men) came to her for divine influence. Her life’s sacrifice to Krishna really shines through in this poem:

 

The Saffron

The saffron of virtue and contentment
Is dissolved in the water-gun of love and affection.
Pink and red clouds of emotion are flying about,
Limitless colors raining down.
All the covers of the earthen vessel of my body are wide open;
I have thrown away all shame before the world.
Mira’s Lord is the Mountain-Holder, the suave lover.
I sacrifice myself in devotion to His lotus feet.

 

A lot of Mirabai’s poems were written to be sung as bhajans (religious songs of praise) and many of them are still sung in India today.

Song of Songs

I am going to return to the theme of Christianity for now as we take another journey back to one of the religion’s most well-known holy scriptures, the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon).

It’s from the Judaic Old Testament and it’s frank and animated details of the physical love between two people definitely makes it unique to the books of the Bible, especially when you consider that it’s said to have been written between 971 and 965 BC.

“Let my lover come into his garden
and taste its delicious fruits.”
– Song of Solomon 4:16
 

There are a great many different versions, translations and interpretations around of this book, e.g. King James version, Hebrew translation or the more recent International version.

I’ve included just a small snippet of the more modern International version below, but it can be found here in its entirety.

 

Song of Songs

While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.

My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.

– Song of Solomon 1:12-14

 

Do try and take in the whole thing if you haven’t already, I think the Song of Songs is a fantastic expression of the power of love and the physical attraction it brings, which definitely makes it stand out more than other books of the Old Testament.

Sumerian Mythology: The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi

This is said to be one of the oldest love poems from the ancient world. Recently translated, the words for The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi are said to have been found on stone tablets in the ruins of Nippur, one of the ancient cities of Babylon.

In this myth, a high priestess acting on behalf of the goddess of the land has sex with the ruler of the country to show the goddess’s acceptance to him as guardian of her people.

This ritual is said to bring prosperity to the goddess’s people (who would watch the whole of this sacred act taking place).

 

With verses that include phrases like:

He shaped my loins with his fair hands, and,

Who will plough my wet ground?

 

This poem is far more explicitly upfront than most in this blog. However, because the translations by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer are quite recent, I don’t think I can include an excerpt in this blog for copyright reasons; but along with more information about Sumerian mythology, the poem can be found in its entirety here.

The Sumerians, like the ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped many gods. Their religious practices at times obviously included some sexual behavior.

We’ve probably all noticed the consistent use of erotic imagery when looking at history books on ancient times e.g. the representation of male Greek Gods often being that of naked well-endowed males.

It’s hugely apparent that back then, sexual attitudes and behavior, unlike today, didn’t seem to encourage any shameful undertones whatsoever.

When you consider that for two hundred years after Rome’s state religion became Christianity, long term gay unions including marriage were still in existence, it’s so apparent that during this era there were few restrictions imposed on sexuality before later teachings and opinions changed things.

The Virtues of Chastity

It was around 50AD that chastity became a virtue after Saint Paul advocated that the highest love was God and that chastity was the best expression of one’s holiness.

He was of the opinion that if the commitment to chastity could not be sustained then marital sex would then be the next option.

This, to me, basically suggests that Saint Paul felt that sex was sinful and that chastity was actually a clear expression of one’s religiosity.

Jesus

I am not sure that Jesus even held this same belief as Saint Paul. Although there isn’t a huge deal of stuff documented about Jesus’ attitudes towards sexual behavior. He did preach that men and women should be treated the same when it came to adultery and divorce.

When Jesus came across a woman who had committed adultery, he did not condemn (The Hebrew bible authorized stoning for this act). Instead, he uttered one of his famous phrases:

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” – John 8:7

Thomas Aquinas

During the 12th century Philosopher and Theologian, Thomas Aquinas’ impact on sexuality and sexual practices was so phenomenal it even still asserts its influence over the Catholic church today (not bad for a guy who died around eight hundred years ago!)

He was of the belief that sexual organs were merely a vehicle for procreation, any other uses were deemed unnatural or immoral, especially when it came to homosexuality.

His opinion laid the foundation for Christian attitudes that would continue for centuries. Aquinas’ poem to God “Could you Embrace that” can be found here.

Osho

Have a look at the quote below which was made by modern-day spiritual leader and Indian mystic Rajneesh (Osho).

 

So always remember, whatsoever I say to you, you can take it in two ways. You can simply take it on my authority, Because I say so, it must be true — then you will suffer, then you will not grow.

 

I love this quote because it immediately encourages the growth of the mind. During his time on Earth (between 1931 – 1990), Osho gave nurturing talks on all manner of subjects, ranging from meditation, enlightenment, religion, and self-exploration.

He was also a follower of Tantra which he describes as the science of transforming ordinary lovers into soul mates.

Rather than seeing sex as a sinful act, Osho believed it to be sacred and joyful. This is a snippet from one of his discourses From Sex to Superconsciousness.

 

Only in the moments of coitus did man realize that it was possible to feel such profound love, to experience such illuminating bliss. And those who meditated on this truth in the right frame of mind, those who meditated on the phenomenon of sex, of intercourse, came to the conclusion that in the moments of climax the mind becomes empty of thoughts. All thoughts drain out at that moment. And this emptiness of mind, this void, this vacuum, this freezing of the mind, is the cause of the shower of divine joy.

If you want to know the elemental truth about love, the first requisite is to accept the sacredness of sex, to accept the divinity of sex in the same way you accept God’s existence with an open heart. And the more fully you accept sex with an open heart and mind, the freer you will be of it. But the more you suppress it the more you will become bound to it.

You can read more of this discourse here.

 

John Donne

I am going to round things up now with something I haven’t heard about very often an erotic poem written by a priest. This one was created during the 16th century by Anglican priest, John Donne. It’s called:

 

To His Mistress Going to Bed

Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th’hills shadow steals.
 
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
License my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned,
My mine of precious stones, my empery,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds is to be free;
Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.
Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee
 

To read the complete poem, please visit here. John Donne’s poems were first published posthumously in 1633 and 1635.

Read another one of John Donne’s poem: The Ecstasy by John Donne

The End

Thanks very much for looking at my blog, please let me know if you enjoyed reading it.

 

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What do you think about the Eros and Religion? Do you also feel they connect deeply and that they are basically the same powerful force? I am sure there are other aspects or connections that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.

Broken Boundaries: 5 Most Striking Erotic Poems of All Times

Erotic Poems by Charles Bukowski, W. H. Auden, Mutsuo Takahashi, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Emily Dickenson.

From The Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems

Erotic literature has been for a long time a rather controversial and fascinating genre that transgresses boundaries in many respects.

It is by no means new, but it was valued in its own right in antiquity (Sappho’s works or the Kama Sutra are only two examples among the most famous ones).

However given certain restrictions imposed in other historical periods such as the Middle Ages, the Victorian era, and even during times which are closer to the 21st century, erotic literature can still be considered a genre that challenges convention.

Only in our decades can we see more openness towards a new kind of exploration of the erotic.

It is enough to think of work such as Fifty Shades of Grey and its success and you can easily understand why and how the erotic has become a new focus for the literature-loving masses as well as for the critics.

Most Striking Erotic Poems

Erotic poetry is particularly intriguing because this genre has often demanded a higher degree of lyricism through an expression of subjectivity and quite often “complex feelings.”

How do these qualities mesh with the erotic? Is the erotic pure physicality? Does it imply the depiction of mere sensation or it also plays on emotionality and abstraction? What does the aesthetic of the erotic look like?

It is essential to understand that there’s more to erotic poetry than corporeality or sexuality.

The way this interesting and not at all simple genre manifests itself differs, of course, from one historical time to another and even from one country to another, depending on several particularities of the artistic trends that were influential at one point and on preferred kinds of sensitivity/ imaginary in a given cultural space.

Which are the most striking erotic poems of all time? What is extraordinary about them? Does it only depend on the horizon of expectations of a certain era and public? It’s self-understood that many erotic poems written by contemporary authors would have shocked people in the 17th or 18th century.

However, our intention is showing a few remarkable erotic poems in their full historical and artistic context.

For starters, what did erotic poetry look like in the 18th century? It was, of course, much more veiled and metaphoric than nowadays.

Some poets were however more provocative and even cultivated a form of aesthetic perversion (Charles Algernon Swinburne, for instance) while approaching more delicate topics and employing abundant imagery of sensuality.

One relevant example is the eroticization of a religious female figure, for instance.

The erotic was visible in the intent of challenging boundaries (e.g. a Madonna vs. whore binary) and not necessarily in the depiction of overt sexuality.

Others poets preferred a more concealed style. Eroticism was thus often approached under the guise of more “elevated and socially appropriate feelings such as love, admiration, fascination, etc.

Let’s go through a few outstanding erotic poems that qualify as the most striking of all times.

Come Slowly, Eden! by Emily Dickenson

This short poem is primarily memorable through its intense and pregnant metaphor or female orgasm. There may have been more daring poems written in the 19th century.

However, what is extremely special about this poem comes down to the fact that it was written by a female author who was actually never married.

Emily Dickenson’s life centered on her closeness to her family, on forms of seclusion as well as on a few ambiguous relationships that were probably never consummated. Scholars have investigated the poet’s sexuality and concluded she may have actually had a homoerotic orientation (given her intense friendship and correspondence with Susan Gilbert Dickenson, her sister-in-law).

What makes this poem so interesting? Well, it’s precisely the enigmatic and ambiguous gender imprint and sexual orientations it implies.

The poem consists of two stanzas only and it is constructed along the fertile and powerful metaphor of a bee that circles a flower and ultimately sips its nectars. The amazing imagery depicts the bee as a “he” while the flower is feminized.

What is absolutely fascinating about this short poem is the way in which conventional gender roles mingle and blur: the bee that should be the predator and sip the nectars from the alluring, but passive flower actually ends up being a fainting victim, since he is lost in balms.

Orgasm is thus described as a sensation of Eden for both parties. The flower is deeply sexualized through the image of the chambers (instead of petals), while the bee is metonymically represented through the image of the lips, thus further intensifying the complex sexual connotations of the poem:

 

Come slowly Eden
Lips unused to thee-
Bashful sip thy jasmines-
As the fainting bee.

 

The eroticism in this poem is heightened through powerful olfactory and gustative images: jasmines, balm, nectars, etc.

Evidently, the sexual act is veiled through the description of a common phenomenon in the natural world whose beauty could potentially be admired as such without any erotic connotations.

The apparent candor suggested by this poem is telling of the way an erotic poem could be written in an era that did not allow too much freedom of sexual expression.

Intensely figurative, Emily Dickenson’s erotic poem remains among the most striking, especially in the context of the whole mystery surrounding the poet’s own sexual orientation and activity.

Gacela of Love Unforeseen by Federico Garcia Lorca

In the first half of the 20th century, the erotic was already not as taboo as before. Modernist poets experimented tremendously while still retaining a love for highly metaphoric representation or dream-like scenes.

Federico Garcia Lorca is a significant Spanish poet who gained international recognition through the force and the complexity of his imagery. Aesthetic elements that were employed by artists all over the world during that time harmoniously combine with traces of Spanish folklore in Lorca’s poetry.

Similarly the emphasis on subjectivity and imagination one can generally find in modernism gains additional nuances through the passionate and emphatic style that is so appreciated in the Spanish culture.

Lorca has written a lot of erotic poetry, but this particular poem is remarkable through its almost tragic tonality. Can the erotic be tragic?

Strange as it may seem, in Lorca’s poetry eroticism is intensified through anguish or the feeling of loss and death.

The poem starts with a definite impression of the bond (and binding) between a man and the woman he speaks about while also addressing the poem to.

In the man’s words, nobody can understand the secrets of the woman’s body as well as he could. The female body is described through expressive images of bloom and scent which obviously symbolize sexuality and attraction:

Nobody understood the perfume/ Of the dark magnolia of your belly.

Lorca’s poem is striking not so much through its sexual images (which are not exactly shocking for the time when the poem was written).

What singles it out among many other erotic poems is the contrast between absolute surrender and immersion in sexuality and the atmosphere of loss and ceaseless suffering.

Sensorial images are rich and allusive, as the woman’s visceral being is compared to Magnolia and her gaze appears to be between plaster and jasmine, resembling a pale and seeding branch.

Interestingly the natural imagery suggesting compelling scent and color are accompanied by allusions of extreme heat so as to convey intense eroticism:

while I for four nights laced myself/ to your waist, the enemy of snow.

The allusion of the transgression of time boundaries through intense love and sexuality is however crushed in the end, because what seems to last forever is not the connection between the two lovers, as one would expect, but the man’s painful lust.

The woman is now called the garden of my agony instead of being only a source of joy and pleasure. Hardly can one find something more impressive and memorable in the context of erotic poetry than the last stanza of Lorca’s poem:

 

forever, forever: Garden of my agony,
your body fleeing from me forever,
the blood of your veins now in my mouth,
your mouth already listless for my death.

 

The ending of Lorca’s poem can be interpreted as a hint that the erotic is only fulfilled in the man’s imagination and death accompanies a dream destroyed. At the same time, we can read it as a confession of an agony that followed the loss of love: the man’s never-ending pain can thus be one that derives from tormenting memories of physical love.

The ending of this poem is quite open as if what actually matters is the acute feeling of death that accompanies the erotic; other meanings are rather fluid.

There is also a suggestion of a strong consciousness of time passage that turns the erotic into an intense, but tragic experience. Aware of implacable death, the man is haunted by cruel images of perdition both in a physical and spiritual sense. The concreteness of pain and the overall feeling of hopelessness are remarkable in a poem whose content is primarily erotic.

It is not accidental that the mouth loses its erotic connotations in the ending of the poem as death seems to cover everything. What was once an uttermost immersion in the other’s body seems now a shockingly concrete image of death (e.g. the woman’s blood in the man’s mouth).

The contrast between pure physicality and a just as unambiguous and concrete loss (and potentially even decay) distinguishes this poem among others in the genre.

The Shower by Charles Bukowski

How can we discuss erotic poetry without mentioning Charles Bukowski? One of the most famous and provocative American poets in this respect, Bukowski has written considerably in the direction of erotic literature.

Unlike other authors, he turned the erotic into one of his major themes and he often used violent and shocking imagery.

In his case, the power of the erotic comes down to an explicit and incredibly concrete style rather than to metaphor and lyrical refinement.

Bukowski is also renowned for bringing “common people living on the fringes of society into literary focus without distorting their images or trying to embellish them in order to fit convention.

For the first decades of the latter half of the 20th century that was a notable achievement! Bukowski was a major challenger of aesthetic tradition who aimed at redefining the parameters of poetry rather than assimilating tradition. He also performed masterfully in his approach to the erotic.

What is particular about Bukowski’s erotic poetry? The right answer probably comes down to a strange, but a very genuine blend of pure sensation and deeper emotionality such as melancholy, sadness, yearning, etc.

Given the rawness of his erotic imagery, one would except a more frivolous kind of subjectivity when first approaching his poems.

However, this couldn’t be farther from the real substance and effect of Bukowski’s erotic poetry.

The Shower is remarkable through its depiction of post-coital communication between two lovers. It is striking because it doesn’t represent an actual sexual act nevertheless it is extraordinarily erotic.

The poem introduces the shower as a habitual practice between two lovers. What is strange is that gradually the reader has a strong impression of uniqueness, since this intimate act is described as something the man and the woman enjoy as if it weren’t recurrent, let alone boring or monotonous.

The shower thus becomes a mere continuation of the sexual act the two have just disengaged from. Showering together afterward only shows them how powerful the chemistry between them still is and impels them to fully eroticize the new act.

The poem is quite shocking through its language, as there are absolutely no reservations about the explicit depiction (and naming) of the genitalia.

Bukowski intends to use everyday language regardless of what people may consider being slang.

There is absolutely no disguise; every part of the male or female body, no matter how intimate, is named and depicted in full detail as the poem alludes to the (new) erection that will likely culminate in yet another sexual act even though this remains unsaid and the two lovers are further presented as they get dressed:

 

I grin grin grin, and then I wash her. . . first the ****,
I stand behind her, my cock in the cheeks of her **** 
I linger perhaps longer than necessary,
then I get the backs of the legs, the ****,
the back, the neck, I turn her, kiss her,
soap up the breasts, get them and the belly, the neck,
the fronts of the legs, the ankles, the feet,
 and then the ****, once more, for luck. . .
another kiss, and she gets out first,
toweling, sometimes singing while I stay in
turn the water on hotter

 

Bukowski’s poem doesn’t limit itself to what one may call concrete cynical eroticism. It also includes some sarcastic gender commentary, since it makes it clear that naming the male genitalia while censoring the female ones is not at all accidental.

The poem thus humorously and ingeniously mocks at the social convention and gender discrimination reflected in what may be considered to be acceptable language.

The irony is extremely charming since sexuality and the body is described in their full organic nature. Physiology takes over figurative language as the poem builds on the purity of raw sensations and chemistry.

The poem surprises the reader in an interesting way: it doesn’t end through a climatic depiction of a sexual act, but rather in a melancholy tone. The unexpected ending is one in which the erotic is endowed with slightly metaphysical/religious nuances.

Only by means of such an abysmal experience can the man’s memories of pain or defeat be appeased.

The erotic is thus acknowledged as a force that helps people overcome negative life experiences and even transcend the mundane.

This poem is unique through the way it combines concrete sexuality with a deeper feeling of sadness and loneliness that would linger in the man’s psychic space unless he had the chance of reveling in such apparently banal moments.

Sleeping Wrestler by Mutsuo Takahashi

A famous contemporary Japanese poet, Takahashi has written mainly homoerotic poetry whose style ranges from explicit eroticism to more psychological content.

Sleeping Wrestler sounds like an aesthetic gem even when you totally disregard the fact that it concentrates on homosexual love. This can be considered to be a rare talent of the poet since homo-eroticism was still a delicate issue in the 20th century.

The poet manages to eliminate any impression of potential discomfort or clumsiness in the expression of homosexual love and lust.

This particular poem simply describes a genuine and deep emotional connection between two men in a rather unique way: the poem can also look like some sort of gay manifesto since apparently only one of the two men is completely aware of the actual attraction between them.

The whole poem thus sounds like a plea for the acknowledgment of homoerotic orientation addressed to the object of the speaker’s attention and affection. Of course, the poem can be interpreted as a man’s attempt to show the other how he represses attraction because of gender pressure and socially constructed impediments.

Repression is described as sleep, struggle, and murder. Giving in to social norms regarding sexuality and fighting to bury his attraction to another man deep inside his psyche, the sleeping wrestler is actually also a murderer, since he destroys sincere interpersonal connection and love.

The atmosphere of the poem is intense and the voice of the man seems both dreamlike and terribly real. The poem builds on the paradoxical blend of a sense of fragility (perhaps strange for the usual images of homosexual love ingrained in the consciousness of the public) and struggle.

Eroticism is represented as a struggle not only in the sense of repression of sexual orientation but also as far as the sexual act is concerned.

Images of wrestling and fight, verbal constructions such as you nail me down, metaphors like a pillar of tendons or the ring of your entangled body and the insertion of the famous figure of the toreador Escamillo (from Bizet’s Carmen) are all very powerful in the representation of homoerotic love as a tense conjoining of bodies:

 

On your stout neck like a column, like a pillar of tendons
The thoughtful forehead
(In fact, it’s thinking nothing)
When the forehead slowly moves and closes the heavy eyelids
Inside, a dark forest awakens
A forest of red parrots
Seven almonds and grape leaves
At the end of the forest a vine
Covers the house where two boys
Lie in each others arms: I’m one of them, you the other
In the house, melancholy and terrible anxiety

 

As one man tries to convince the other to give up on repressing his sexuality by urging him to open his eyes, the whole poem seems soaked in a feeling of melancholy and terrible anxiety which, of course, can be caused by the very fact that only one of the men is at peace with his homosexual attraction.

However, this mood intensifies the dramatism of the struggle in the poem and turns eroticism into a fascinatingly complex experience.

All in all this poem can also be read as a more generic call for people who may have homoerotic impulses to stop resisting them and killing the rare and precious feelings of lust and love.

The Platonic Blow by W. H. Auden

Last, but not least we cannot ignore the long and highly controversial erotic poem written by Wystan Hugh Auden. As the title indicates, this poem focuses on an act of fellatio.

If this is not striking enough for its time, namely the 40s it is a poem about homosexuality as well.

It’s essential to mention that this poem differs from the others we have already discussed through its purely pornographic (rather than lyrical) nature.

Auden wrote this poem as a challenge. It was not included among his usual poems meant for the general public, but it secretly circulated around certain circles.

It was only published in 1965 in the American counterculture magazine entitled Fuck You/ A Magazine of the Arts.

Why is this poem so remarkable? Is it only because of its shocking nature? The answer is more complex: Auden’s poem is valuable both through its daring convention-challenging quality and its aesthetic content.

While there is not much emphasis on subjectivity or internalized eroticism, the sexual act is by no means represented as something shameful or disgusting, in spite of all its explicit and highly abundant details.

We should not forget that during the latter half of the 20th-century oral sex was still a taboo topic.

It may actually be a bit taboo even nowadays for a certain public, although doubtlessly the media and the general direction of art and culture allow for much more freedom and open-mindedness.

This poem may well be the most striking erotic poem ever written, given its whole artistic and socio-cultural context: it was written for a well-defined, but narrow public in 1948 by an established poet.

The poem was published by someone else in 1965 in a counterculture magazine. It depicts nothing more and nothing less than a homosexual act of fellatio; it employs extremely direct and yet not vulgar language; it is quite long and captivating almost as gripping as a 15- minute scene in a porn movie. It describes genuine attraction and quite sophisticated, but also raw eroticism. It involves two men and depicts what could be considered to be an unequal, unilateral sexual act and yet everything seems rather balanced, authentic, and appropriate.

The poem has undeniable aesthetic value through the strength of the sensations and feeling the poem represents.

This list of remarkable attributes could continue. What is amazing about Auden’s erotic poem is the fact that it makes use of little figurative language in order to describe the homosexual act.

However the metaphors we come across are impressive and memorable: the male organ is a work of mastercraft, a firm vase of sperm, or a royal column ineffably solemn and wise; during intimacy, all act was clutch.

The actual communication between the two men is strikingly direct, pure, and authentic:

 

I glanced as I advanced. The clean white T-shirt outlined
A forceful torso, the light-blue denims divulged
Much. I observed the snug curves where they hugged the behind,
I watched the crotch where the cloth intriguingly bulged.
 
Our eyes met, I felt sick. My knees turned weak.
I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to say.
In a blur I heard words myself like a stranger speak.
“Will you come to my room?” Then a husky voice, “O.K.”

 

The whole poem conveys an impression of disarming and genuine eroticism between two men who are completely aware of and deliberate about their sexuality. There’s no need to hide or pretend since homoeroticism is regarded and treated as an incredibly natural and pleasant experience in which social convention has absolutely no place.

Auden’s poem thus appears as a climax of erotic poetry in its own right. What may have been or may be further written afterward would find it quite challenging to equal its artistic and erotic force, given its whole artistic and cultural context.

 

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What do you think about these authors and their out-of-the-time poems? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Top 10 Most Celebrated Erotic Poets: From Sappho to Pablo Neruda

It is a rather difficult task to assort a list of most celebrated poets of erotic literature. I believe many such lists exist today. No such list will appeal to everyone. I am sure, everyone will have a few differences in the choice of selected poets.

With that said (and out of our way), what I present here is my take on this popular subject based on my own research and reading of more than 300 erotic poetry collections.

Most Celebrated Erotic Poets

 

The three criteria’s that I used were: poet’s popularity (determined by their “popularity coefficient”), influence of the poet’s writings on society (then and now), and the quality of work (this factor was more subjective and therefore I preferred to look for the “passion” element in their writing).

This is going to be a long post with plenty of lovely and enjoyable poems. I, therefore, request you to sit tight and enjoy this lovely journey. Here we go with our top 10 most celebrated erotic poets in chronological order.

I: Sappho

Sappho was one of the few female poets of ancient times and wrote lyric poems that could be performed with the accompaniment of a lyre. She was one of the first poets to write in the first person and was known to have romantic feelings mainly for women. Sadly, only fragments of her work are left today and only one of her poems remains in its entirety.

 

Fragment One:

I have not had one word from her
Frankly I wish I were dead
When she left, she wept
great deal; she said to me, This parting must be endured, Sappho,
I go unwillingly.
I said, Go and be happy but remember (you know well)
whom you leave shackled by love
If you forget me, think of our gifts to Aphrodite and
all the loveliness that we shared.

 

Fragment Two: To Atthis

Though in Sardis now,
She thinks of us constantly
And of the life we shared.
She saw you as a goddess
And above all your dancing gave her deep joy.
Now she shines among Lydian women like
The rose-fingered moon
Rising after sundown, erasing all
Stars around her, and pouring light equally
Across the salt sea.

 

These fragments convey a tone of sensuality and a deep desire for the women that Sappho felt affection for. They are beautiful examples of early erotic poetry and serve as an example for subsequent poets.

Sappho remains an inspiration to many contemporary poets and continues to be studied by literary scholars.

For more information visit here.

II: Ovid

Ovid was a Roman poet who was acclaimed in his time for his poetry. He wrote a number of love poems that were collected in works such as The Art of Love.

He was exiled by the emperor Augustus to the barren seaport of Tomi and remained there for the last nine years of his life until his death.

Elegy 5

In summer’s heat and, and mid-time of the day,
To rest my limbs upon a bed I lay;
One window shut, the other open stood,
Which gave such light as twinkles in a wood,
Like twilight glimpse at setting of the sun,
Or night being past, and yet not day begun.
Such light to shamefaced maidens must be shown,
Where they may sport, and seem to be unknown,
Then came Corinna in a long loose gown,
Her white neck hid with tresses hanging down,
Resembling fair Semiramis going to bed
Or Lais of a thousand wooers sped.
I snatched her gown: being thin, the harm was small,
Yet strived she to be covered there withal.
And striving thus, as one that would be cast,
Betraying herself, and yielded at the last.

 

Either she was fool

Either she was fool, or her attire was bad,
Or she was not the wench I wished to have had.
Idly I lay with her, as if I loved not,
And like a burden grieved the bed that moved not.
Though both of us performed our true intent,
Yet could I not cast anchor where I meant.
She on my neck her ivory arms did throw,
Her arms far whiter than the Scythian snow.
And eagerly she kissed me with her tongue,
And under mine her wanton thigh she flung,
Yes, and she soothed me up, and called me Sir,
And used all speech that might provoke or stir.
Yet like as if cold hemlock I had drunk,
It mocked me, hung down the head and sunk.

 

As is evident by these poems Ovid was able to convey the more psychological aspects of love while still using physical imagery.

His poetry is beautiful and a milder form of erotic poetry. Ovid remained a significant literary figure long after his death and was very influential to writers in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

For more information visit here.

III: Petrarch

Petrarch was an Italian poet who wrote prolifically about a woman, Laura, that he encountered on Good Friday in Avignon, France.

He wrote 366 poems based on his love for Laura. He is best known for this sequence which was collected in a song-book entitled Rime Sparse or Scattered Rhymes in English. He was the earliest poet to write using the sonnet.

 

I’d sing of love in such a novel fashion

I’d sing of love in such a novel fashion
That from her cruel side I would draw by force
A thousand sighs a day, kindling again
In her cold mind a thousand high desires;
 
I’d see her lovely face transform quite often
Her eyes grow wet and more compassionate,
Like one who feels regret, when it’s too late
For causing someone’s sorrow by mistake;

 

Alas, so all things now do hold their peace

Alas, so all things now do hold their peace,
Heaven and earth disturbed in no thing;
The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease;
The nightes car the stars about doth bring.
Calm is the sea, the waves work less and less.
So am not I, whom love, alas, doth wring,
 
Bringing before my face the great increase
Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing
In joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease.
For my sweet thoughts sometimes do pleasure bring.
But by and by the cause of my disease
Gives me a pang that inwardly doth sting,
When that I think what grief it is again
To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.

 

Petrarch’s sonnets are ones of unrequited love and desire. He was never able to be with the woman of his heart’s desires which is reflected in his many sonnets.

His poetry remained influential after his death in 1374 and was translated by Geoffrey Chaucer who incorporated the translations into his own work.

For more information please visit here.

IV: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an influential poet and playwright who wrote erotic poems such as Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He was recognized in his time for his plays and sonnets that were published in a collection entitled The Sonnets of Shakespeare.

 

Venus and Adonis (But, lo! From worth a copse)

But, lo! from forth a copse that neighbours by,
A breeding jennet, lusty, young, and proud,
Adonis’ trampling courser doth espy,
And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud;
The strong-neck’d steed, being tied unto a tree,
Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he.
Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder;
The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds,
Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven’s thunder;
The iron bit he crushes ‘tween his teeth
Controlling what he was controlled with.

 

Sonnet 98: From you I have been absent in the spring

From you I have been absent in the spring
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and you away.
As with your shadow I with these did play.

 

These poems are filled with beautiful physical and natural imagery. Shakespeare’s poems are ones filled with desire and flirtation. His poetry although not very erotic in nature remains great testaments to love to this day.

For more information please visit here.

V: Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift was best known in his time for publishing Gulliver’s Travels. He had many romantic relationships in his life but wrote primarily about two of his partners in his love poems.

 

A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed

Corinna, pride of Drury-Lane,
For whom no shepherd sighs in vain;
Never did Covent-Garden boast
So bright a batter’d strolling toast!
No drunken rake to pick her up,
No cellar where on tick to sup;
Returning at the midnight hour,
Four stories climbing to her bower;
Then, seated on a three-legg’d chair,
Takes off her artificial hair;
Now picking out a crystal eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.

To Love

In all I wish, how happy should I be,
Thou grand Deluder, were it not for thee!
So weak thou art, that fools thy power despise;
And yet so strong, thou triumph’st o’er the wise.
Thy traps are laid with such peculiar art,
They catch the cautious, let the rash depart.
Most nets are fill’d by want of thought and care
But too much thinking brings us to thy snare;
Where, held by thee, in slavery we stay,
And throw the pleasing part of life away.
But, what does most my indignation move,
Discretion! thou wert ne’er a friend to Love:
Thy chief delight is to defeat those arts,
By which he kindles mutual flames in hearts;
While the blind loitering God is at his play,
Thou steal’st his golden pointed darts away:
Those darts which never fail; and in their stead
Convey’st malignant arrows tipt with lead

 

These poems reveal Jonathan Swift’s conflicting views on love. The first is very sensual in nature with descriptions of a woman undressing while the second is his perspective on love. Both poems reveal a darker side to romance.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting this link and this one.

VI: Robert Burns

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet who wrote prolifically about love and had multiple romantic partners. Some of his most famous poems about love include My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, and My Girl, She’s Airy.

A Red, Red Rose

O my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till the seas gang dry.

 

Anna, Thy Charms

Anna, thy charms my bosom fire,
And waste my soul with care;
But ah! how bootless to admire, 
When fated to despair!
Yet in thy presence, lovely Fair,
To hope may be forgiven;
For sure ‘twere impious to despair
So much in sight of heaven.

 

Robert Burns’s love poems show that he was a romantic who loved deeply and thought of his partners with great affection. His poetry is still very popular to this day.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here at poets.org.

VII: Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was one of the first major American poets. He wrote a number of poems on the subject of love and helped to make sex an acceptable topic in mainstream literature.

To You

Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops,
work, farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating,
drinking, suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
 

A Woman Waits For Me

A woman waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking,
Yet all were lacking if sex were lacking, or if the moisture of
the right man were lacking.
Sex contains all, bodies, souls,
Meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the
seminal milk,
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves,
beauties, delights of the earth,
All the governments, judges, gods, follow’d persons of the
earth,
These are contain’d in sex as parts of itself and justifications of itself.
Without shame the man I like knows and avows the
deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.

 

These poems are filled with passion and great sentiment for the ones that Whitman loved. The first poem describes the beauty of a woman he was in a relationship with while the second describes the wonders of sex.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

VIII: Lord Byron

Lord Byron was perhaps the most famous of the Romantic poets. During his lifetime he had two main lovers, his half-sister and his cousin, who inspired many of his poems.

 

When We Two Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow –
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

 

Epistle to Augusta

My sister! my sweet sister! if a name
Dearer and purer were, it should be thine;
Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim
No tears, but tenderness to answer mine:
Go where I will, to me thou art the same –
A loved regret which I would not resign.
There yet are two things in my destiny, –
A world to roam through, and a home with thee.
The first were nothing -had I still the last,
It were the haven of my happiness;
But other claims and other ties thou hast,
And mine is not the wish to make them less.
A strange doom is thy father’s sons’s, and past
Recalling, as it lies beyond redress;
Reversed for him our grandsire’s fate of yore,
He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore.

 

These poems reflect some of the turmoil and despair of love. They are filled with beautiful imagery and enable the reader to empathize with him. The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

IX: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet whose poetry was intensely sexual. He was a passionate lover who was responsible for the suicide of his wife. Irony?

Love’s Nocturn

Master of the murmuring courts
Where the shapes of sleep convene!
Lo! my spirit here exhorts
All the powers of thy demesne
For their aid to woo my queen.
What reports
Yield thy jealous courts unseen?
 
Vaporous, unaccountable,
Dreamland lies forlorn of light,
Hollow like a breathing shell.
Ah! that from all dreams I might
Choose one dream and guide its flight!
I know well
What her sleep should tell to-night.
 

The Stream’s Secret

What thing unto mine ear
Wouldst thou convey, what secret thing,
O wandering water ever whispering?
Surely thy speech shall be of her.
Thou water, O thou whispering wanderer,
What message dost thou bring?
 
Say, hath not Love leaned low
This hour beside thy far well-head,
And there through jealous hollowed fingers said
The thing that most I long to know
Murmuring with curls all dabbled in thy flow
And washed lips rosy red?

 

These poems reflect some of the heartache and despair of love. In these poems, Rossetti was able to convey the emotional turmoil of love and use beautiful natural imagery to describe how he felt about love.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

X: Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda was one of the first major Hispanic poets.

He wrote heavily about love in collections such as Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) and Cien sonetas de amor (One Hundred Love Sonnets).

 

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
 
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself, 
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
 
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, 
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine, 
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

 

The Song of Despair

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.
Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!
 
You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!
It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.
The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.
 
In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!
You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,
sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!
 
I made the wall of shadow draw back,
beyond desire and act, I walked on.
Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,
I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.

 

These poems are filled with desire for the women of Neruda’s affections and show how passionate Neruda was about love. These poems convey a sense of unconditional love and are great sentiments to the power of love.

Both poems referenced can be found by visiting here and here.

 

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What do you think about these poets and erotic poems? Do you agree or do you have alternative suggestions or poets I should look into? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.