Karl Kraus: Half Truths and One and a Half Truths: Selected Aphorisms on Eros

09 November 2019



  • Erotic pleasure is an obstacle course.
  • Insights into erotic life belong to art, not to education. But sometimes these have to be spelled out for the illiterates. And it is mainly a matter of convincing the illiterates, for they are the ones who write the penal code.
  • It is high time for children to enlighten their parents about the secrets of sex.
  • Sexual enlightenment is that hard-hearted process which for hygienic reasons forbids young people to satisfy their curiosity themselves.
  • Sexual education is legitimate in that girls cannot be taught soon enough how children don’t come into the world.
  • Chastity always takes its toll. In some it produces pimples; in others, sex laws.
  • There is a pedagogy which at Eastertime decides to break it gently to young people just what hangs from the Christmas tree in that mysterious room.
  • The Judas kiss which Christian civilization gave to the human spirit was the last sexual act it permitted.
  • I am not for women but against men.
  • A fine world in which man reproaches woman with fulfilling his heart’s desire!
  • They treat women like a refreshing potion, refusing to admit that a woman may be thirsty.
  • Greek thinkers did not disdain whores. Germanic salesmen cannot live without ladies.
  • It is not the custom the custom to marry a woman who has previously had an affair. But it is the custom to have an affair with a woman who has previously got married.
  • Virginity is the ideal of those who want to deflower.
  • Blushing, palpitations, a bad conscience—this is what you get if you haven’t sinned.
  • As regards masochism and sadism, it is safe to say that a healthy person displays both perversities. The only ugly thing in each case is the word.
  • What are all the orgies of Bacchus when compared to the intoxication of someone who completely surrenders to continence!
  • Family life is an encroachment on private life.
  • The conjugal bedroom is the coexistence of brutality and martyrdom.
  • A father’s pride, laid on thick, has always made me wish that the fellow had at least experienced some pain during procreation.
  • Many things that are tasteless at table are spicy in bed—and vice versa. The reason most liaisons are so unhappy is that this distinction between bed and table is never made.
  • Society needs women of bad character. Those who have no character are a dubious element.
  • Women at least have elegant dresses. But what can men use to cover their emptiness?

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