Like athletics or aesthetics, but for people like me who are obsessed with the art, science, and high mystery of eroticism. I had to coin the word “erosthete” to express the way I feel about Erotics. I think it could be a classical field of study the way ethics and aesthetics are. Like the fine arts, it has identifiable patterns that we can analyze but also a mysterious element that can’t be measured. It is distinct from sexuality in that it live entirely in the mind though we often end up expressing and enjoying it in the flesh.
What we find ‘arousing’ is not necessarily sexual. Often it has an allure that lives only in fantasy. Danger, tension, horror, camp, the sublime, the obscured, the unseen, those last three are synonyms, glamour… I think if were uncouple arousal from sexuality, there’s a huge range of things in this world that excite the senses and imagination. Usually when you feel that way about something though, it’s easy to confuse it for a sexual response because all our words for excitement (including excitement) have a sexual connotation. “Turn on” in the 60s used to mean anything that piqued your interest, and “sensual” is used interchangeably with “sexual” even though it has a word entirely of it’s own.
It’s not that I’m not interested in sexuality; I just think it takes credit for far too many of our most heightened experiences. I also think it’s a story most people already know, whereas erotics is uncharted narrative that can always surprise you even when you think you already know yourself.