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Desire - Sexual Initiation.docx

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Comparative Literature and Culture
Course Code
Comparative Literature and Culture 2125A/B
Andrea Allen

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SEXUAL INITIATION  in a sense, woman’s sexual initiation, like man’s begins in earliest childhood  erotic experiences of the young girl are not simply an extension of her former sexual activities; very often they are unexpected and disagreeable  all the young girl’s problems are epitomized in sharp and urgent form  psychiatrists all agree on the extreme importance of a woman’s first erotic experiences: their repercussions are felt throughout the rest of her life  for a man, the transition from childish sexuality to maturity is relatively simple: erotic pleasure is objectified  erection is the expression of this need – himself remains at the center of this activity  woman’s eroticism is much more complex and it reflects the complexity of the feminine situation  clitorid orgasm, like that of the male, is a kind of detumescence which is accomplished in a quasi-mechanical manner  We still speak of taking a girl’s virginity, her flower, or breaking her maidenhead. This defloration is not the gradually accomplished outcome of a continuous evolution, it is an abrupt rupture with the past, the beginning of a new cycle  The female may be conscious of the intrusion of an object into the vagin,e particularly if vaginal muscles are tightened, but the satisfaction so obtained is probably related more to muscle tonus than it is to erotic nerve stimulation  Vaginal pleasure exists  The new erotic cycle inaugurated by the first copulation requires for its establishment a kind of montage or rearrangement in the nervous system  Anatomic destiny is thus profoundly different in man and woman, and no less different is their moral and social situation. Patriarchal civilization dedicated women to chastity, it recognized more or less openly the right of the male to sexual freedom, while woman was restricted to marriage  The nature of marriage, as well as the existence of prostitutes, is the proof: woman gives herself, man pays her and takes her  So for the lover and act of love is conquest, victory  It is sometimes held on the contrary that women is impure because she has dirty dishcharges and that she pollutes the male  Man is ruler in the world he holds that the violence of his desires is a sign of his sovereignty; a man of great erotic capacity is said to be strong, potent – epithets that imply activity and transcendence  The erotic attitude for the female is very complex at the moment when she faces the male for the first time  The truth is that virginal desire is not expressed as a precise need the virgin does not know exactly what she wants  But we have seen that in a majority of women a passive sexuality has also developed since childhood  She chooses a compromise; she gives herself a virile man, but one young and attractive enough to be a desirable object; in a good looking youth she can find all the attractions she covets  But the elements of even passive eroticism are ambiguous  There is no organ that permits the virgin to satisfy her active eroticism  Feminine sex hunger is in a sense active  A women in love is neither asleep nor dead; there is a surge in her which unceasingly ebbs and flows: male desire is tension, it can spread through a body whose nerves and muscle are taut  Virginity is valued so highly in many circles that to lose it outside legitimate marriage seems a real disaster  The role of initiator belongs to the young man anatomically and conventionally, the virgin young man’s first mistress also gives him his initiation  Men and women all feel the shame of their flesh; in its pure, active presence, its justified immanence, the flesh exists under the gaze of others  Every young girl feels uncertain of herself at the moment of the dreaming of herself, dreaming of herself as seen through masculine eyes  This is the reason why the man’s attitude will have deep and lasting effects. His ardor and affection can be a source of confidence that will stand the women in good stead  To be gazed at is one danger, to be manhandled is another  However deferential and polite the man may be, the first penetration is always a violation  Defloration was a kind of rape in this case. But it can be painful even when quite voluntary  From childhood on, the notions of superiority and inferiority are among the most important  It is the man who decides what position is to be used in love making, especially when the woman is new at the game – and he determines the duration and frequency of the act  Woman does not recognize herself in it, and this explains in large part why she does not recognize its desires as hers – man gets stiff but woman gets wet  There is another factor that often gives man a hostile aspect and makes the sexual act a serious menace: it is the risk of impregnation  Remorse over a lost virginity may bri
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