Pages: 219

This Edward Carpenter Reader On Friendship & Love contains the texts ‘Love’s Coming-Of-Age,’ ‘Iolaus – An Anthology of Friendship,’ and Sex = Love, and its Place in a Free Society.’ These principal works show his attitude and understanding toward sexual and loving relations. As will be seen from the texts in this collection, Carpenter was not solely concerned with relations of a sexual nature. On the contrary, he was principally drawn to relations of bonding: comradeship, friendship, trust, and mutual understanding. Carpenter, through his writings and selected extracts, refers to various ancient warriors, artists, and visionaries, which suggest and show a masculine love, and a form of recognized intimacy. For Carpenter, sexual intimacy is the allegory of love in the physical world.

Publisher: Azafran


THE subject of Sex is difficult to deal with. There is no doubt a natural reticence connected with it. There is also a great deal of prudery. The passion occupies, without being spoken of, a large part of human thought; and words on the subject being so few and inadequate, everything that is said is liable to be misunderstood. Violent inferences are made and equivocations surmised, from the simplest remarks; qualified admissions of liberty are interpreted into recommendations of unbridled license; and generally the perspective of literary expression is turned upside down.

There is in fact a vast deal of fetishism in the current treatment of the question. Nor can one altogether be surprised at this when one sees how important Sex is in the scheme of things, and how deeply it has been associated since the earliest times not only with man’s personal impulses but even with his religious sentiments and ceremonials.


Next to hunger it is doubtless the most primitive and imperative of our needs. But in modern civilized life Sex enters probably even more into consciousness than hunger. For the hunger-needs of the human race are in the later societies fairly well satisfied, but the sex-desires are strongly restrained, both by law and custom, from satisfaction--and so assert themselves all the more in thought.

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