Although sex may be and often is devoid of love there has long been a complex relationship between love and sex. The ancient Greeks distinguished between erotic love and other forms of love, and even deified erotic love in the forms of Eros and Aphrodite (Amor or Cupid and Venus for the Romans). This module goes back to the ancient Greek context and introduces Plato’s famous work on love, the Symposium, before shifting to twentieth-century feminist writings on the erotic.
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
- Understand the historical context in which Plato wrote the Symposium
- Identify some major themes of this famous philosophical work
- Describe some of the ways that feminists have theorized love
- Reflect on the distinction between the erotic and the pornographic
- Explain Audre Lorde’s understanding of the erotic as a source of female empowerment