“This close psychological connection between sex and death can also be found reflected in the French reference to sexual orgasm and its immediate aftermath as la petite mort, the little death.”
“Sex, like romantic love, is a constant reminder of our irrationality, and its sway over our hard-won rationality. Of our inescapable physical embodiment. It is humbling to our spiritual hubris. And it is dangerous. The concept of “safe sex” is an oxymoron. Sex, when fully engaged in, is always risky business. Possible pregnancy, disease, injury and even death accompany the sexual act on the physical level. Falling in love, obsession, rejection, abandonment, loss of self, fear of annihilation, psychosis and the manic madness of ecstasy are all potential psychological side-effects of sex. One passionate, spontaneous sexual encounter can change the course of a life, for better or worse.
At some deeper level, sexuality is intimately linked with mortality. With birth and death. This association is depicted in Freud’s poetic notion of Eros and Thanatos, the two fundamental instinctual forces of human existence, in which the positive sexual “life instinct” (Eros) does eternal battle with the negative “death instinct” (Thanatos). Sexuality fights against death, affirming life. Ultimately, death defeats sex. But instinctual sexual energy or eros, whether expressed in the creation of children, artistic work, caring relationships or heroic accomplishment, trumps death by transcending it in the future. Life goes on, a new generation is born, one is fondly remembered by family, lovers and friends, and what is created and accomplished lives on long beyond death. This close psychological connection between sex and death can also be found reflected in the French reference to sexual orgasm and its immediate aftermath as la petite mort, the little death. In this sense, sex provides a spiritually, psychologically and physically renewing ritual of death and rebirth, and a concrete reminder of their existential inseperability.”
– Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D.