Non-sexual Eroticism

Sometimes the most erotic experiences don’t involve being sexual all.

When I was in the Marines, I spent several years stationed in Okinawa. The various services each had bases on the island, and it was my unit’s practice to go on a long run between bases about once a month. On this occasion, I had been pushing myself particularly hard, and after about six miles or so, I was nearing the end of the run. The finish line was a couple hundred yards inside Kadena (an Air Force base). I was very tired by this point, though, and it took all of my concentration to put one foot in front of the other.

I had the light headed feeling that a long run can sometimes give, and I think this is why I didn’t notice the other runner until she took place next to me. I could smell her – sweat with an undercurrent of sweetness – and I listened to her breathing. I wanted to turn and see who it was, but I was too tired; it was more than I could do. So I continued to stretch my legs out, naturally falling into step with my mysterious companion.

After a moment, she increased her pace, and so, reluctantly, I increased mine. I was almost spent, but I didn’t want to fall behind her. I focused on her breathing, letting that sound fill my mind as I led her pace us. For a long time, or a brief moment, my whole world was the sound of two footsteps almost in unison, and the sound of inhalations and exhalations, not at all in unison by complementary somehow, as if her breathing was inside my own.

Suddenly I heard a soft purr in my ear whisper, “Thank you”, and heard her footsteps trail off to the side. Then I did look, but in vain, as she was nowhere in sight. I hesitated a moment, but only a moment, as the yells of my fellow Marines who had already finished the run urged me on. Refreshed, her scent still in my nostrils, I sprinted ahead to my destination.

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~ by arkhilokhus on April 28, 2008.

2 Responses to “Non-sexual Eroticism”

  1. This epitomizes perfectly what eroticism is. The difference between sex and eroticism, is, in the first the purpose of sex is the reduction of tension, in Eros, on the contrary, one does not wish to be released from the excitement, but to hang on to it. The end of sex points towards gratification. whereas with Eros it is about desiring, forever reaching out, expanding.. and erotic continuum.

  2. Dark Lady,

    Welcome, and thank you for such an interesting comment. I particularly love your phrase “erotic continuum”. That evokes the sort of notions of connectedness that links, I think, eroticism with mysticism. And you’re right, too, about not wanting to be released from excitement. Learning to abide in that place of delightful tension is a wonderful discipline.

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