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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

On-line version ISSN 1445-7377
Print version ISSN 2079-7222

Indo-Pac. j. phenomenol. (Online) vol.9 n.2 Grahamstown Oct. 2009




Experiencing the marital bed



Michele Thompson




This paper examines the marital bed through existential themes of spatial, temporal, corporeal and relational experience. It is a collaborative effort in that it relates anecdotes contributed by twelve people who each described - in writing, in interviews and in conversation - very personal moments of life in the "marital bed". Through other eyes, one sees that what seemed unique has echoes of a shared experience. The everyday noises and movements, the negotiations, even the sorrows of that particular place, are so familiar that, in recognising them as true to one's own experience, one wonders, "Is it like this for others too?"
What is presented here is the culmination of researching a phenomenon by trying to capture it in writing and rewriting, in order to give form to the truth in an experience, while knowing that, by writing it, the real truth becomes limited. Phenomenological writing becomes a conversation which is at once both intimate and universal. The marital tales speak to a specific journey, but, as when one recounts details of any special trip - say Paris, for example - the listeners are drawn inward to their own experience. Personal remembrance enmeshes with public exposure so that the collective sighs, "Ah yes, Paris. " And therefore we know some small fragment of an abandoned bed as truly as we know the family bed.



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