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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Saturday, 25 May 2013

On sex and women

Monday, May 25th., Villa des Nefliers, Fontainebleau.

It occurred to me, for the first time I do believe, that women, when very intimate, have coolnesses and difficulties just as men do and perhaps more. I had always unthinkingly assumed that women, on such terms, always understood each other and held together perfectly. I can see the origin of my error, dimly; it has something to do with the idea of women solidifying themselves together in a little group as distinguished from the whole male sex, of them understanding each other so much better than any man could understand them, that they understand and sympathise with each other to absolute perfection. Curious misconception, but natural.

I see that at bottom, I have an intellectual scorn, or the scorn of an intellectual man, for all sexual-physical manifestations. They seem childish to me, unnecessary symptoms and symbols of a spiritual phenomenon. (Yet few Englishmen could be more perversely curious and adventurous than I am in just these manifestations.) I can feel myself despising them at the very moment of deriving satisfaction from them, as if I were playing at being a child. And even as regards spiritual affection, I do not like to think that I am dependent spiritually, to even a slight degree, on anyone. I do not like to think that I am not absolutely complete, and sufficient in myself to myself. I could not ask for a caress, except as a matter of form, and to save the amour-propre of her who I knew was anxious to confer it.

Two hours walk in the rain in the forest this after-tea, when ideas for my play, my novel, and a story "The Cat and Cupid" simply bubbled up out of me.

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