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Venus in Furs (1870)

You cannot deny that love lasts for only a brief moment, uniting two beings as a single being that is capable of only one thought, one sensation, one will.

The person who doesn't know how to subjugate will all too quickly feel the other's foot on the nape of his neck.

Man desires, woman is desired.

The true comic muse is the one with tears running down under her laughing mask.

Full moon! There it was, peeping over the tops of the lower firs that edged the park, and a silvery haze filled the terrace, the clumps of trees, the entire landscape as far as the eye could see, and the haze blurred softly into the distance like quivering waters.

It is merely the egoism of the man, who wants to bury a woman like a treasure. All attempts at using vows, contracts, and holy ceremonies have failed to bring permanence into the most changeable aspect of changeable human existence, namely love.

Every man--I know this--turns weak, pliant, ridiculous as soon as he's in love.

If I can't enjoy the full and total happiness of love, then I want to drain its torments, its tortures to the dregs; then I want the woman I love to mistreat me, betray me, and the more cruelly the better. That too is a pleasure.

I saw sensuality as sacred, indeed the only sacredness, I saw woman and her beauty as divine since her calling is the most important task of existence: the propagation of the species. I saw woman as the personification of nature, as Isis, and man as her priest, her slave; and I pictured her treating him as cruelly as Nature, who, when she no longer needs something that has served her, tosses it away, while her abuses, indeed her killing it, are its lascivious bliss.

Every woman has the instinct, the propensity to profit from her charms, and there's a lot to be said for giving oneself without love, without pleasure. While doing so, a woman remains quite cold-blooded and can gain her advantage.

Never feel safe with the woman you love, for a woman's nature conceals more dangers than you think.

Despite all the progress of civilization, women have remained exactly as they emerged from the hand of Nature.

Love knows no virtue, no merit; it loves and forgives and tolerates everything because it must. We are not guided by reason, nor do the assets or blemishes that we discover tempt us to devotion or intimidate us. It is a sweet, mournful, mysterious power that drives us, and we stop thinking, feeling, wishing, we let ourselves drift along and never ask where we are drifting.

A real apple is more beautiful than a painted one, and a live woman is more beautiful than a Venus of stone.

Pleasure alone makes existence worthwhile. A pleasure-seeker has a difficult time parting from life.

People who want to live like Olympian gods must have slaves whom they throw into their fishponds and gladiators who fight during their masters' sumptuous banquets--and the pleasure-seekers never care if some blood splatters on them.

There is no describing the feeling of being mistreated by a successful rival in front of the woman you worship.

Woman, as Nature has created her and as she is currently reared by man, is his enemy and can only be his slave or his despot, but never his companion. She will be able to become his companion only when she has the same rights as he, when she is his equal in education and work.