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Elentir  Elentir is offline
Join Date: 29 Oct 2003
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 67
Talking The Devil, Hedonism, and Gay Sexuality

OK, I can't stop, I just realized I didn't respond to Telcontar's OTHER post about the Devil and all that. I will TRY to be briefer. But my dissertation in grad school (had I actually written it, that is) was going to be about male sexuality as portrayed in Roman poetry of the first century BCE-- so I have lots and lots I could say about it! (It was also about self-awareness and self-identity, so that's why the mirror thing from the other post was big with me, too. )

If this is too far off topic, so be it!

You are right on about hedonism being associated with nonreproductive sex, thus becoming pleasure for pleasure's sake. But it also has to do with Greco-Roman sexist (i.e., patriarchal) society and their view of women. Preoccupation with pleasure was often seen as a sign of femininity, softness, and especially passivity. Their concept of sex was very focused on who was top and who was bottom. The bottom role was "naturally" assigned to women, slaves, and pubescent men. In their culture, these three categories were generally conflated into one category, sexually speaking (with women being the sort of "ur" category). Sex was also often a form of punishment, abuse, or subordination as much as for reproduction or pleasure. A man being penetrated by another man was seen as the ultimate humiliation, but the penetrator suffered no stigma whatsoever.

Thus, for a man to WANT to be the passive partner, that was practically unthinkable! It was considered to be the ultimate in soft, unmanly, feminine behavior, and because of the association of pleasure with women, they were seen as people afflicted with hedonistic appetites that went far beyond what was normal or decent (sort of like, being a man isn't enough for them, they have to be women, too!). In all fairness, a "straight" man who did nothing but have sex with women all the time would have been considered "queer" in much the same way. As I recall in reading in some book or other on this topic, even in our own culture, a guy who wants to have sex all the time is less "manly" than a guy who wants to play football all the time.

I like your connection with the Moon and the Lovers/Devil. It's like the dog and the wolf of the Moon are the "dreamworld" versions of the man and woman of the other two cards. And I think of the howling as the fact that, while one is wild and the other is domesticated, they both share a common "longing" as you put it, or share a common past, a common memory, and a common instinct. Seems there is way more sexuality in the Moon card than I ever thought before!

So much for brevity.
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