susan sontag on sex

“As a writer, I tolerate error, poor performance, failure. So what if I fail some of the time, if a story or an essay is no good? Sometimes things do go well, the work is good. And that’s enough.
It’s just this attitude I don’t have about sex. I don’t tolerate error, failure—therefore I’m anxious from the start, and therefore I’m more likely to fail. Because I don’t have the confidence that some of the time (without my forcing anything) it will be good.
If only I could feel about sex as I do about writing! That I’m the vehicle, the medium, the instrument of some force beyond myself.
I experience the writing as given to me — sometimes, almost, as dictated. I let it come, try not to interfere with it. I respect it, because it’s me and yet more than me. It’s personal and transpersonal, both.
I would like to feel that way about sex, too. As if “nature” or “life” used me. And I trust that, and let myself be used.
An attitude of surrender to oneself, to life. Prayer. Let it be, whatever it will be. I give myself to it.
Prayer: peace and voluptuousness.
In this, no room for shame and anxiety as to how the little old self rates in the light of some objective standard of performance.
One must be devout about sex. Then, one won’t dare to be anxious. Anxiety will never be revealed for what it is — spiritual meanness, pettiness, small-mindedness.”

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