Issue #42 / May 2019

As one ages, does the reduction of sexual desire affect their general desire for creation, the ability to create or the whole cognitive and sensual involvement of being? { } How is the correlation between the sexual and the creative going in old age? { }


Not sure if there is a whole lot of sex in your religion or a whole lot of religion in your sex. Which is it?


Dear Philip and Kiara,

Philip, please forgive me for the radical edit I made to your question. It went to a place I was not entirely sure I understood – the gist of which was, I think, that you are a young man who abstains from sex as it allows you to be more “enacted in your existence”, and provides your youthful mind with a heightened sensibility towards your own writing. If I have got that wrong, please excuse me, as I am old, doddery and enfeebled, and certain concepts are simply beyond me.

If I do have the basic premise of your question correct, then I am happy to impart that sexual desire for the aged, as far as I can tell, is not subject to any particularly dramatic downturn, and the reptilian male brain remains as deranged and priapic as ever. Actually, I have a terrible feeling that as we blunder into our bleak and bladdery winter years, it may just get a whole lot worse. Of course, it may just be that I am living a kind of last hurrah, and in a year or two a band of tearful mermaids will wave goodbye as I sail my little empty boat into the setting sun, with an oar that won’t row, row, row. I don’t know, but I’ll keep you informed.

With regards to sexual desire and songwriting, creativity and desire have always been inextricably linked for me. Many songs I write are simply erotic re-enactments, written with the sole intention of creating a remembered image of the one I love and, indeed, desire. Beyond that though, there is a certain sexualness to the very act of writing – the process itself is erotic. With songwriting we enter the imagination, that wildest of erogenous zones, where intense, obsessive yearning can be like a roaring in the heart and the loins both. The imagination becomes both the ‘safe space’ and the ‘un-safe space’, a strange blend of almost religious rigour and total abandonment, where everything rises to the starry heavens, even as it goes to hell.

So to answer your question, Philip, the good news is that this imaginative space still feels alive with potential – old age has not diminished it – indeed, it still rages and burns.

And, Kiara, to get to your question, I think this is why religion and the erotic are often indistinguishable from each other in my writing – they both inhabit the same yearning space, are both transcendent acts of wishfulness, and both require the imagination to make them function in any meaningful way. You are right to suggest that there may not be any difference between them at all.

Love, Nick


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