“The Uses of the Erotic”

Posted: October 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Audre Lorde’s The Uses of Erotic

In Audre Lorde’s article, she goes out to seek and redefine the true meaning of erotic. She seeks to explain how erotic is a term for females to express spirituality and their hidden feelings. Audre says that erotic is “a measure between our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings”. What this means is that she is trying to re-associate this word with more meaningful thought and emotions. It is an “internal sense of satisfaction” to her when she experiences it. She explains that not only can the satisfaction be accomplished through the action of sex but also in other satisfying actions throughout daily life. She gives an example of herself feeling erotic through a simple action such as when she was mixing a pellet with margarine. What she tries to show in this example is that erotic can be felt in almost anything that you choose to feel emotions. Audre glorifies the word “erotic” as a term of emotions and feelings, satisfaction and sensation.

However, over the past few decades the term erotic has been co-notated with a negative stigma. This term has been “vilified, abused, and devalued” according to Lorde, and has been used as a way to make females feel inferior against males. Erotic has been associated with the pornographic despite being a huge contrast to it. Erotic has been made to become a term in which women can only experience when they are being used for sex and sensation without any feelings, emotions, or satisfaction associated with it.

Audre Lorde argues that the term erotic and pornographic should no longer be associated with each other. She argues that erotic contains much more meaningfulness than a word such as pornographic which is degrading and gives men a sense of superiority over women. She argues that we must stop this association so that one can truly appreciate feeling erotic. So that one can feel emotions and satisfaction in their daily lives in every action  they do. Erotic should be used as a function to feel a strong and deep connection with another person, it should be used to form a bridge between two people not just sexual sensation, and it should be used for anything that brings a sense of accomplishment.

I agree with Lorde’s argument completely. Before reading this article, I never put into any thought about the word erotic or pornographic. As any average person, I associated these two words as the same thing; however, after this reading, I was enlightened by its true meaning. As Lorde mentioned erotic comes from the Greek word eros which mean intimate love which is completely different from pornographic which means sexual sensation without feeling. I also agree with Lorde’s argument that feeling erotic during sex should be with someone you truly care about, because it forms a bridge between those two people and allows them to share their feelings with each other. I believe it is better to be able to express being erotic when you are feeling joy and satisfaction in small actions everyday than to just hear it be used in pornographic.


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