C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Eros and Sexual Desire
• Eros is being in love and can also have sexual desire, but sexuality is only part of
Eros when it involves the state of being in love.
• “Venus” is the term used for pure sexual desire, without love.
• Lewis does not believe sexual desire with Eros is pure and without Eros is
• One can desire sex with another and then go on to develop Eros after
• Sexual desire without Eros wants “It”, the thing, Eros wants the beloved
o “It” is a sensory pleasure and thus very often a Pleasure ofAppreciation.
However, it can also be a Need-Pleasure because it is necessary for
mankind and reproduction.
o Eros makes one want the particular person, not the pleasure they can give
• Obliterates the distinction between giving and receiving
• Is noblest or purest when Venus is reduced to the minimum
• Makes abstinence easier
• “As Venus within Eros does not aim at pleasure, so Eros does not aim at
o Sex in love is not about the pleasure and also love is not all about
o We would much rather be unhappy with our lover than happy without
them because the pain of parting is too great
• “It is in the grandeur of Eros that the seeds of danger are concealed”
o when Eros speaks like a God, disregarding happiness, it can lead to good
o Love that leads to suicide, murder, etc. is extremely sincere and ready for
any sacrifice except giving up
• Provides an image of a higher love and must be redeemed by that higher love
• “All my life a ludicrous and portentous solemnization of sex has been going