Because eros is not the same as sex. Sex can be an aspect of the erotic, but there are aspects of the erotic that differ from sex. As Plato points out in Symposium, eros drives our longing for beauty, for truth, for justice. Sex outside the framework of the erotic might be, at best, a “zesty enterprise,” to quote Maude Lebowski. One little flicker of eros, and then it dies. Eros is about distance, about longing, even longing for the unattainable. The most erotic stories are usually the most hopeless ones. Happily ever after is not erotic, nor truly happy, nor truly ever after.

Rebecca Bratten Weiss