A Harem of Discrete and Never-Repeated Wonders

Anais Nin’s irate letter to her anonymous patron, posted on Letters of Note last month, has some key insights into how to write fine erotica. The patron had insisted that Nin “leave out the poetry” and “concentrate on the sex.”

How much do you lose by this periscope at the tip of your sex, when you could enjoy a harem of discrete and never-repeated wonders? Not two hairs alike, but you will not let us waste words on a description of hair; not two odors, but if we expand on this, you cry “Cut the poetry.” Not two skins with the same texture, and never the same light, temperature, shadows, never the same gesture; for a lover, when he is aroused by true love, can run the gamut of centuries of love lore, What a range, what changes of age, what variations of maturity and innocence, perversity and art, natural and graceful animals.

There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.

Preach it, sister.

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