“Voluptuaries of all ages, of every sex, it is to you that I offer this work; nourish yourself upon its principles: they favor your passions, and these passions, whereof coldly insipid moralists put you in fear, are naught but the means Nature employs to bring man to the ends she prescribes to him; harken only to these delicious promptings, for no voice save that of the passions can conduct you to happiness.” -the Marquis de Sade, “To Libertines”, Philosophy in the Bedroom
Hedonism is one of those words and philosophy that has the tendency of being horribly misused and misunderstood, equated with gluttony and a lack of self-control and interpersonal boundaries. Moderation, with all things, is a great life philosophy and the man whom I quoted in the epigraph would scoff at that. But I love this quote and it is appropriate for a discussion of hedonism. Of course, the occasional overindulgence is to be expected. We’re human after all. I like to say, “Indulge, with care”, an influence from my study of Hedonistic and especially Epicurean thought.
One of my heroines is Ninon de Lenclos, known as the Epicurean courtesan. It was through her biographies and letters that I was introduced to Epicureanism and from there, other hedonistic philosophies such as that of the Cyrenaics. As a modern-day courtesan who considers Professional Companionship an art worthy of study and pursuit, pleasure in all its forms is extremely important. I am a rational creature as Voltaire would have it. Living a life full of unabashed pleasures has been good for my soul. Even a day of pleasure will do the same for you.