Agapeta is a Latin word meaning “female spiritual lover”. It refers to a love where desire is dominated by feeling. It was first used by early Christians in their attempt to encourage chaste tenderness between men and women. This way of loving was renewed and enriched by courtly love, the strange and beautiful fountain that suddenly sprang in southern France during the 11th century, which we know through the poetry of the troubadours. It was called amor purus (pure love), it required lovers to show restraint and patience, to prove their sentiments. It stood in opposition to “mixed love”, the usual heterosexual normative habit of seeking, behind a mask of feelings, first of all sexual union. According to the Beguines, two persons do not really love each other “nisi se possent ponere nudus cum nuda in uno lecto et tamen non perficerent actum carnalem” (unless they can lie man with woman naked in one bed and nevertheless not accomplish the carnal act).
Je vais plaider la plus ridicule des causes ; il n’existe rien de plus bafoué en civilisation que l’amour sentimental…
Charles Fourier, Le Nouveau Monde Amoureux
Today overtly sentimental love may seem outlandish in an epoch where sex is fetishized as an emblem of power and a measure of efficiency and productivity, when the pervasive pornographic mind transforms any affectionate relation into sexual exploitation. Ubiquitous X-rated works evoke production chains, drilling and mining, where the maximum must be extracted from every part of the human body, while pleasure and emotion have no place in them.
Thus freely expressed sentimental love, regardless of social, moral or generational barriers, becomes a rebellion against the bondage of normative and productive sexual orthodoxy.
Now very young girls possess an unmistakable charm, a captivating magic that enthrals those who can open their hearts to them. With the younger ones, the restraint and tenderness of amor purus not only are necessary, but become themselves a reward.
But the hateful and obscene mind cannot understand that, so faced with this love and devotion outside official bounds, it will imagine the worst pornography, then self-righteously scream about monstrosity. We regularly hear hysterical calls for a crusade. As in the 12th century, love goes hand in hand with heresy, the faith “that dare not speak its name”, and both have their worshippers burned.
Amor coma la beluga
D’un res met fòc à la bruga
E la flamba ven caluga
A pena vos amaluga
Que sentissetz lo reumat
Love like the spark
Suddenly sets the heather ablaze
And its flame goes wild
Barely has it seized you
That you smell burnt
Marcabru (troubadour c1100-c1150), La Canson de Marcabrun