At Issue

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

In psychology and religion, the individual’s experience of sex is of key importance in shaping the personality. Whether it be the loss of virginity, the acceptance of homosexuality, or the cultivation of a fetish, erotic experience creates a window that looks upon the writer’s mind and upon the writer’s culture. Eroticism in literature may unlock or loosen the bonds of guilt and shame. The erotic experience of another may allow the individual to see that he or she is not alone and that fantasies once thought to be perverse are in fact shared by many. Furthermore, the nature of fantasies, particularly if they are frowned upon by the culture, may reveal a hidden prejudice toward a group or lifestyle.