Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
Introduction
The Feminine Mind-1
The War Between the Sexes-2.1
The War Between the Sexes-2.2
The War Between the Sexes-2.3
Marriage-3.1
Marriage-3.2
Marriage-3.3
Marriage-3.4
Woman Suffrage-4.1
Woman Suffrage-4.2
Woman Suffrage-4.3
Woman Suffrage-4.4
The New Age-5.1
The New Age-5.2
The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. INTRODUCTION
THE VATSYAYANA SUTRA-1-2
THE VATSYAYANA SUTRA-3-4-5
OF SEXUAL UNION-1-2
OF SEXUAL UNION-3-4-5
OF SEXUAL UNION-6-7-8
OF SEXUAL UNION-10-11
ABOUT THE ACQUISITION OF A WIFE-1-2
ABOUT THE ACQUISITION OF A WIFE-3-4-5
ABOUT A WIFE-1-2
ABOUT THE WIVES OF OTHER MEN-1-2
ABOUT THE WIVES OF OTHER MEN-3-4
ABOUT THE WIVES OF OTHER MEN-5-6
ABOUT COURTESANS-1-2
ABOUT COURTESANS-3-4
ABOUT COURTESANS-5-6
ABOUT THE MEANS OF ATTRACTING OTHERS TO YOURSELF-1-2
CONCLUDING REMARKS

27. The Charm of Mystery 

 

 

Monogamous marriage, by its very conditions, tends to break down this 

strangeness. It forces the two contracting parties into an intimacy 

that is too persistent and unmitigated; they are in contact at too many 

points, and too steadily. By and by all the mystery of the relation is 

gone, and they stand in the unsexed position of brother and sister. Thus 

that "maximum of temptation" of which Shaw speaks has within itself the 

seeds of its own decay. A husband begins by kissing a pretty girl, his 

wife; it is pleasant to have her so handy and so willing. He ends by 

making machiavellian efforts to avoid kissing the every day sharer 

of his meals, books, bath towels, pocketbook, relatives, ambitions, 

secrets, malaises and business: a proceeding about as romantic as having 

his boots blacked. The thing is too horribly dismal for words. Not all 

the native sentimentalism of man can overcome the distaste and boredom 

that get into it. Not all the histrionic capacity of woman can attach 

any appearance of gusto and spontaneity to it. 

 

An estimable lady psychologist of the American Republic, Mrs. Marion 

Cox, in a somewhat florid book entitled "Ventures into Worlds," has a 

sagacious essay upon this subject. She calls the essay "Our Incestuous 

Marriage," and argues accurately that, once the adventurous descends 

to the habitual, it takes on an offensive and degrading character. The 

intimate approach, to give genuine joy, must be a concession, a feat of 

persuasion, a victory; once it loses that character it loses everything. 

Such a destructive conversion is effected by the average monogamous 

marriage. It breaks down all mystery and reserve, for how can mystery 

and reserve survive the use of the same hot water bag and a joint 

concern about butter and egg bills? What remains, at least on the 

husband's side, is esteem--the feeling one, has for an amiable aunt. 

And confidence--the emotion evoked by a lawyer, a dentist or a 

fortune-teller. And habit--the thing which makes it possible to eat the 

same breakfast every day, and to windup one's watch regularly, and to 

earn a living. 

 

Mrs. Cox, if I remember her dissertation correctly, proposes to 

prevent this stodgy dephlogistication of marriage by interrupting its 

course--that is, by separating the parties now and then, so that neither 

will become too familiar and commonplace to the other. By this means, 

she, argues, curiosity will be periodically revived, and there will be 


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