The term eroticism refers to the god Eros from Greek mythology, a deity who symbolizes love and sexuality. From this mythological reference, the concept of eroticism has a wide range of senses and meanings.
eroticism and love
The feeling of love is usually accompanied by sexual desire and, therefore, has an erotic component (the chemistry of love is popularly referred to ). Despite this, culturally there are two ways of understanding love: romantic love and erotic love. The first can be exemplified with the story of Romeo and Juliet or with poems from the romantic tradition. Erotic love has a clear sexual ingredient and is evident in novels like “The Lover” by Marguerite Duras or in “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov.
The eroticism in culture
There are many cultural references related to eroticism. In Goya’s painting “A maja nua” or in “The Three Graces” by Rubens, the nudity of the female body is presented as an exaltation of erotic passion .
From a literary point of view , there is the subgenre of the erotic novel , where sexuality and love intersect, in the same way that happens with the novels “Sexus” by Henry Miller and the “History of O” by Jean Jacques Pauvert.
In the history of cinema there are so-called erotic myths, actors and actresses who represent sexual attraction and who have become cultural icons, such as Rodolfo Valentino who was one of the first male erotic symbols and Marilyn Monroe who became a symbol of female sexuality in the decade of 1950.
Some thinkers understand eroticism as an instinct , in the same way that Freud manifested the distinction between Eros and Thanatos, which is equivalent to love and death, two impulses constantly present in human beings.
Each cultural tradition has its own view of eroticism. In Eastern culture it is perceived as something natural and with an extra aspect of life, as manifested in the Kama Sutra in tantric sex. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, eroticism is associated with sin and injury.
Eroticism and Pornography
Eroticism can be confused with pornography, but they are two distinct ideals. While eroticism is directly linked to love and passion, pornography is far from love, since pornographic scenes do not express feelings of love, there is simply explicit sex without any other ingredients.