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The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe

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An account that delves into what poor Crusoe must have been up to, those long years on his island. The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe is a well-written guide to onanism, beastiality, homosexuality, memory and the power of fantasy.

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The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe

Humphrey Richardson

This page copyright © 2004 Olympia Press.


That incomparable romance, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, was inspired by (the probably rather less inspiring) diary of a Scots mariner, one Alexander Selkirk. This Selkirk, abandoned by his ship's captain on the lonely and desolate island of Juan Fernandez, dwelt there, in solitude, in appalling solitude, for the space of four long and cruel years. One cannot help but imagine that the activities of this authentic castawaya mettlesome fellow, according to all indications as warm-blooded as any other sailorincluded some other than those dictated by his material requirements. He may indeed have raised goats and kept parrots, planted and cultivated wheat and built ingenious habitations for himself; but, can there be any question of it? he surely took steps to perfect a situation which all those practical enterprises only made bearable. Who for one moment, who today would fancy that Selkirk's life was less complete than anyone else's? that patient toil could ever do away with or even blunt those instincts in himand in us toofor the satisfaction whereof and in whose name all our patient toiling is done? No, later on, when rescued and brought home to native soil, Alexander Selkirk, returning to his old haunts, the inns and taverns of London and Aberdeen, would, between mugs of good brown ale, give liberal accounts of his affairs. Of his sentimental affairs, and they involved strange and peradventure animal partners. His astonishing and frank disclosures were remembered in salty tales that made the rounds of many a fleet and made merry many a brace of tars gathered round meat and drink in British pans.

Defoe of the discerning eye and keen ear collected these narratives, but tempered them in a moralist's prose, in as much as possible avoiding even the faintest allusion to what lay behind his Robinson's remarkable piety and to what comforted and put hope in that poor man during hours when it would be the common lot to pine away and despair. But, despite Defoe's admirable discretion, do we not obtain an occasional glimpse into the darker recesses of Robinson's nature? What of those dreams, dreams sometimes of harrowing sadism, that are sprinkled throughout the book? For example:

“At night I often dreamt that I was slaying savages... during that time my murderous mood remained at a constant pitch, and I would employ the greater part of the day, which might have been better spent in other exercises, devising ways to elude and outwit them and to attack them upon sight...”

And here we begin to have curious glimpses into the character of a personage usually esteemed for his Christian and resolute virtue. Rare in Defoe's work, these infrequent but crucial passages only hint at, never reveal entire, what is essential in the life of this man, tormented in his flesh just as you are, just as I am, and alone, condemned to be alone on a deserted island. Today, the modern temper and taste call for performances like Dr Kinsey's bulky report and Stekel's Onanism and Homosexuality; there are gaps to be filled, and our chroniclers are there to fill them. And the tale that follows is nothing more or less than an attempt to visualize and to recapture the secret side, the neglected aspect of Robinson Crusoe's life, a life led in a world perhaps less devoid of at least the thought of women (in the practical absence of their carnal presence) than an XVIIIth Century journalist's version of the story has led us to suppose.

The morning after the shipwreck, Robinson found himself lying upon a deserted beach. Crying their strident cries, a few seagulls circled and glided the snowy stripes of their white wings against a faultless background of blue sky. The sun's rays were beginning to caress and warm the man's shattered frame. An access of fever preceded that moment when, slowly, he opened eyes full of wonder and dismay upon his actual prospects. The remnants of several dreams lingered briefly, then faded out of his mind: as he awoke, he thought he saw the face of Evelyn, the widow of this departed English captain and friend. Evelyn... she was leaning her head against his chest, and he smelled the keen smell of wrack and spray and seaweed and intolerable desolation. Evelyn's tongue glided mischievously from between her lips, red lips, a pink tongue. And now a tall woman, naked, stood there before him, gazing at him. Her full body glowed with a blinding light. Clarissa Beldon? Clarissa herself, who had, with such infinite beauty, lavished her favors upon him in a London bawdy-house on that remote eve of his setting out aboard the vessel now being hammered to pieces on an offshore reef. —His muscles ached. There was a night-to voluptuous ache at his groin, his thighs wept with fatigue. Swimming ashore had put fire in his body. And now he woke ablaze.

Low towards the horizon lay tiny blots of cloud, the last vestiges of the storm. Robinson got to his feet, stretched, staggered a few paces, and went to sit down upon a white dune. Still moist, stiff with rime and salt and the terror of the night's experience, his clothes clung to his body, to his smarting skin: his shirt hung in tatters, gaps in the cloth showed the curly black hair on his chest. He had lost his shoes in the flood. The seawater had swallowed his stockings. Through a long rent in his breeches, his virile member lay exposed, shining like a legionary's standard under the—laughing sun. The man took a deep lungful of air and raised up his two arms towards heaven in a gesture of supplication and grief. His, right sleeve had fallen back, uncovering his sweat-soaked armpit. Grains of sand stuck to the hair under his arm. There was sand in his mouth and his teeth grated. He spread wide his legs, got up again and attempted to take a step. Weary man! His thighs thrilled with pain, and he stayed where he was. He remained still, haggard, planted there. Then, bursting out into wild laughter, he set to tearing off what remaining garments still hid his nakedness. His gestures were convulsive. And there stood the man, his mortal coverings spread round him, on the sand, riffled by the gentle breeze. The line of palm trees danced upon the shimmering dune as though seen through a drinking glass. Completely naked, he let himself sink heavily down upon the clean sand, and there he crouched, like some hunter's dog awaiting a signal. This first act upon what was to become his own island, this mighty yielding up of the mask, this forthright self-exposure filled him with a feeling of extraordinary freedom, guilty and victorious at the same time. His eyes glistened with contentment behind his tight-shut eyelids. Then, fear rose into his face.

The fear of wild animals, of predatory, marauding beasts. He lay there, petrified, and those terrible creatures approached him on soft-padded feet, with a loping stride, came up to him and sniffed this object. He remained still, in a trance. He needed sleep. He needed to rest and recover his strength. And so, with infinite difficulty, he raised himself and tottered towards the trees which bordered the shore, dragged himself towards the place where the interior began, and never once cast a glance behind him. His advance would have looked mad, impossible to some stranger's eye, and a stranger would have seen Robinson climb a kind of palmetto, finding foothold in the splayed bark, clinging to the pendant fronds; it was as though by a miracle he found the energy to reach a point some ten or twelve feet above the sandy ground. And there, his arms wrapped tight around the bole of the tree, he lay his cheek against husk and bark, he thought, he waited. Before sinking into oblivion, a fugitive smile touched his cracked lips. He felt his sex stir itself and stand bravely up, and venture forth to lodge itself in a niche in the tree's bole, a moss-upholstered cavity, a little downy nest. He was already beginning to feel at his ease. Solitude encouraged him to feel at home.

And now birds twittered and chirped a gay symphony in the foliage of unnumbered trees. The sky was grown denser, the air now was a shade heavier, thicker and less fresh. And the heat! the heat was infernal. Robinson, stiff in every joint, scrambled painfully down from his tree, dropping the last three or four feet and landing with a thud on the sand. The jolt made him realize that time had passed: that he had spent a day and a night sleeping aloft, like the bit of stormblown or seablown driftwood, of leftover that he was. He remembered that, towards an evening whose memory now came back to him, he had hitched himself around in search of a better resting place and, a little higher up, had wedged himself into a crotch of the same tree. There, he had made himself more comfortable by collecting palm fronds and laying them between himself and the wood, and he had rolled some other fronds into a makeshift pillow. Throughout it all, he had gone about things with the absorbed air of a sleepwalker, no sooner opening his eyes than plunging the next moment into a yet deeper slumber. In the middle of the night he had felt chilled; and, his teeth chattering, there had been anxious hours while he listened to the night sounds in the brush, afraid to descend to the beach to pick up the clothes he had left there. He consoled himself with his burning sex: it warmed his numb fingers. Towards morning, new dreams had invaded him:

—He was alone aboard, a vessel at sea. All the crew had hurled themselves into the water. He scanned the horizon, made out a faraway landscape, coasted a foreign shore, seeking haven. He opened a hatch: out leapt a lion, its teeth bared, roaring. Fortunately, such was the beast's impetus, that it bolted past him and over the gunwale, flinging itself into the waves. Robinson opened another hatch, then a door leading into a stateroom. Evelyn was there, lying upon a canopied bed. At which point Robinson lived through the entirety of that splendid night when, at Pennyfield's, he had made that woman his own, she, the legitimate wife of a ship's captain. His ship's captain and friend.

“Well,” said he, “I went in noiselessly, moving steadily over a carpet. As I reached the foot of a wide stairway leading up to Evelyn's room, the idea came into my head to undress myself. I did, keeping on nothing more than a brief article of underclothing that draped my loins. Softly, I opened the door to her room, and advanced without a sound to her bedside. The window was ajar, and the light of the moon illuminated the room. The curtains sheltering the bed glistened a thousand silver reflections. On the floor, a Persian carpet shone like a pool of still water. Evelyn slept, her lips ever so little apart. She had pulled the sheets to one side. The dark tip of a breast emerged from the unlaced throat of her nightgown. In the course of an apparently agitated slumber, her gown had mounted the entire length of her body and now lay rolled in a tuck above her belly. A buttock exhibited itself in delicate profile. I didn't hesitate, I can assure you, not I: I got into that bed. Evelyn uttered a cryquickly, I pressed my right hand to her mouth. With my left I thrust back the covers and made straight for her slit, spreading her legs which yielded most willingly. I toyed with the growth that burgeoned there, inserting a finger where humidity seemed to beckon to be touched. Looking squarely into her eyes, I stared at Evelyn, and saw two immense brown eyes shining in the moonlight and crowded with the flash of stars and tremendous dark distances. She tried to bite my hand: pressed firmly against her lips, it was hurting her... and then, and then, instead of her teeth, a tiny tongue's tip began to lick my palm, and then the whole tongue, wet all over with saliva. She kissed my hand. Her eyes seemed to be melting. That space 'twixt her legs, that wonderful' wilderness, began to transform itself into a magical lake. Four fingers I dipped into its tepid waters; a fifth sought to join the others. Evelyn emitted a. sharp protest and... with an abrupt movement, a kind of leap, flung her legs wide. Oh, how wide! I flowed over her, a river going to find the sea. Out lips met, darting fast; our tongues touched, intertwined. We were as two bewitched. I made my own way in; no need of a guiding hand to find the way, for the entrance stood at broad welcome. Our conflicting bellies were thick bedewed, we slithered. Her body resembled a sponge that Icould soak up no more, a perfumed sponge which, when touched, exuded marvels. Our mouths dissolved. Sugar and water. Sweet wine, pure nectar. Evelyn held her superb posture. I had slipped both hands beneath her and I held each of her thighs gripped. She was profoundly agape. And her legs, her legs... magnificent legs, tensed and straining and strong and alabaster under the cool moon...” Such was the dream that visited Robinson during his second awakening.

Presently, he was wandering over the shingle in aimless search of his clothing. He failed to find it, and concluded that the wind had blown it away. Now he was seized by a furious hunger. And it was then he perceived the wrecked ship careened on its side, stranded on a bar some half-mile out from the land; he decided to swim out and ransack it.

We all know that the battered hulk contained booty enough to repay his considerable efforts; that he found victuals and what he needed to wear, and that he fashioned a raft out of loose planks and ferried back all the materials and gear he was able to salvage. We know as well that he began without further ado to construct a retreat, a kind of rustic cabin surrounded by a palisade of sharpened stakes implanted firmly in the ground. It would be logical to suppose that he devoted those first weeks—the period we might denominate that of “Installation”— to purposeful labor, and that, taking first things first, he left distraction and personal sentiments strictly aside. Still in all, those visits to the stranded ship —with its atmosphere of otherworldliness, its debris, the fragments of round mirrors flanged with tin and scattered on the sliming decks, the empty hammocks rotting in the crew's quarters—weighed upon him and excited him. However, it remains relatively certain that Robinson, too preoccupied with the problem of getting settled and too weary, did not dream during this period. Fever and death's nearness had led his mind to react by dreaming; and Evelyn had vanished in so many soap-bubbles... A calm ensued. Nevertheless, gradually, his senses were coming back to life. 'Twas thus:

One hot day, just past the noon-hour, the wind was softly soughing in the palm tree crests. The fronds swayed nobly, like Madame de Pompadour's fan. The 30th day of October, the year 1659: one month exactly since Robinson had set foot on this island. He had decided to reserve this afternoon for some salutary repose. Stretched out in the shade of a young tree, he dozed fitfully; the Pekinese dog he'd brought off the wreck was lying at his feet. Robinson, almost happy in that quiet moment, was surprised to hear himself singing a cansonetta he'd learned from some Italian sailors: “Dolce farniente...” The sound of his own voice startled him. He suddenly realized he'd not spoken for a month. (He whistled to his dog.) Memories came rushing tumultuously into his mind, like a crowd battling to get into a theatre: the lively round of life in London, the lodgings he had occupied in the City, the barouches circulating in the muddy streets, the porters, the merchants, the women, Evelyn... He crossed his already bronzed legs and shifted so as to take fuller advantage of the sun. It occurred to him that if he were to undress completely he would be able to take a proper sunbath. At the time he was wearing some of the former captain's spare clothes which he had discovered in a chest—well, he was wearing those garments, not out of a misplaced modesty, as Defoe would have us believe:

“...for I could not resolve myself to going naked like a savage... Clothing protected me from the fierce sun, and reminded me that I had once been a civilized and respectable man...”

but simply to preserve the fragile treasure he carried between his legs. It was something to consider and to protect: early on in his new life, he had, as naked as your hand, gone off hunting gulls and, squatting down to trap one of them, had, through awkwardness, scratched one of his tender parts. Robinson now unclothed himself and gave himself up to the sun's warmth. He lit a little Spanish cigar—he'd brought back some tobacco from the wreck—and its smoke coiled lazily, in gentle volutes through the windless air. The whole wide world's calm seemed to be gathered here on this blonde beach, on this deserted island which lay inert, decent, around the sleeping Robinson Crusoe. The action of the broiling sun upon those parts of his body to which we have just alluded, became little by little manifest. And Robinson was off in a dream:

He was in the midst of a circle of dancing women. Now they separated, drew back, now they came together; sometimes one would step backward whilst her neighbor stepped forward. Sometimes they would raise their arms and clap their hands. Needless to say, every one of these women was nudeall, that is to say, but one. She was wearing a little pair of Panties, in the style of the day, and it was embellished with black lace at the fringe. He recognized Clarissa Beldon. Unmistakable. She stopped her dancing and approached him. Suddenly, the scene, or rather the surroundings, changed.

Now they were in a London alehouse. “Charley's Monkey", that was the name of the establishment. He recognized it. Clarissa, dead-drunk, snuggled up against him. She plunged her head into his opened shirt-front and fell to nipping at his chest with her teeth. She was drooling, poor thing. Robinson could see nothing but—and it extended as far as his eye could reacha white and tender nape constellated out of grains of beauty. He undertook in vain to bite it. The sailors seated at near by tables got up and grouped round Robinson and Clarissa and laughed to split their sides. The sailors pointed their fingers at the couple. Some of them got up on tables in order to have a better view. Clarissa withdrew her head.

She spoke to the assembly. “You're going to see,” she announced, “the panic I can put a healthy man into. You,” she murmured to Robinson, “eh, you, my lad, you'll see too. I'll have you on your back...”

The knot of sailors tightened. Each tossed his cap in the air. Clarissa's sugared lips were shaded by an odor of mingled beer and water, but a poignant smell, an entirely female smell emanated from her and soon triumphed over the scent of drink.

“Up with you!” she cried.

She took Robinson by the hand and had him climb upon one of the trestle tables. She kissed him furiously, passionately, while her voyaging hands scouted out the secrets of his blouse and trousers, found entry and fondled his body. A besotted comrade, springing from one table to the next like a goat, landed on theirs and sprinkled a full level pint of beer all over them. Other sailors imitated his example. Our two heroes were soon soaked from head to foot.

“Eh Clarissa! Enough of that silly stuff, girl! Show us what you know how to do!” cried the company.

A sailor hoisted the woman's skirts and the spectators were treated to a glimpse of her buttocks sheathed in green silk in the style of the period. Clarissa squirmed like an ecstatic python. She drew away from Robinson, seized his device, hurled herself upon him. He swayed and fell beneath her. A dented tankard, a smashed plate. He was choking, he was stifling, he was exultant. Clarissa gave him not an instant to recover his wits or his balance: she crawled on all fours over him and, tucking up her dress, sat exactly astride his face.

“Hurrah!” “Splendid!” “Three cheers!” exclaimed the spectators.

Robinson endeavored to extricate himself, but couldn't. He gave it up and began to bite what was presented to his mouth. Clarissa skipped and let out a delighted howl, then yielded to this treatment, less severe than one might suppose, yielded softly, and completely covered his head with her full skirts. She knew what she was about, seemed as happy as a hen hatching an egg, and even carried things to the point of carefully pressing down the pleats in her skirt lest they be wrinkled. And underneath it all is Robinson, under an unusual sort of tent, face to face with something strange, something precious, and something soft and slick (that green silk unmentionable ornamented with ruffles and frills which shone in the subdued light). Before his eyes, moulded by the silk is something that attracts him and that is separated in two by a seam in the silk. He explores, he finds the way, the silk submits to the thrust of his nose reddish, sweet-smelling hairs tickle him; to avoid sneezing, he applies his tongue. Clarissa has a spasm, she sinks down upon Robinson's mouth, all but crushes her vanquished partner.

The silken sky expanded into a vast sky of tarpaulin. And now the dream was set in the context of Robinson's own tent, his real one. Exotic fruit of all kinds, the fruit he consumed every day, that was his certain fare, drifted down on him like a blanket of snow. Fruit landed on his toughened wind-burned body with a squashing sound: sqqsshh... A sweet syrup bathed him, there was something pulpy... This contact with over-ripe fruit brought him to a pitch of voluptuousness. So huge were the proportions of this sensation, so unbelievable huge were they, that he awoke. The sun beating on his naked reclining body was the cause that promoted this sensation. Robinson stared at himself, abashed, astounded, and peered at a virility whose existence he had not so much as thought of during a good month. The desire of a woman smote him, the fingers of that desire pried into his very nerves. His circumstances appeared excessively melancholy, his lot beyond words fitter. Unthinkingly, he picked up a guava which had landed beside him, and he weighed it in his hand. That sun-ripened guava's skin could not resist the pressure of this thumb—it was unconsciously he poked a hole in the fruit, a hole the size of a Spanish doubloon. Sticky juice ran down his thumb, down his wrist. Therewith, proceeding with full knowledge and keenest awareness of what he was about following the example that had been taught him by his boy Xury (a young Moor with whom some few years before he had crossed the Mediterranean on another and almost as unlucky voyage), he filled the hole in the guava—but not with his thumb. The fruit's melting meat gave way, the hole widened little by little as Robinson applied a rhythmic attack, well regulated and perfectly expert. It was not long before the impression he sought was indeed so ideally realized...

The Pekinese had held an interested eye cocked on him. And now the dog barked. It sniffed the air and headed off in the direction of a little heap of stones down towards the middle of the beach. Intrigued, Robinson got up and hastened after the animal. There was an extraordinary scurry amidst the rocks: Robinson discovered his dog barking and skipping about an enormous tortoise. Robinson studied the situation. The tortoise's shell had, he noticed, an unusual shape: there was something feminine here.

Terrified, the creature had drawn in its head, tail and feet. Robinson bade the Pekinese be still and, equipping himself with a long pole, heaved the tortoise onto its back.

He ate the flesh. The shell he used for a bathtub. Things were assuming a certain order, certain distinctions were evolving. The castaway's activities were dividing into two definite categories:

Category 1: The activities connected with his practical needs, that is to say, of food and of clothing and of shelter (these activities having been so well and so fully described by Defoe, we feel under no obligation to go deeply into them);

Category 2: Diversions, distractions, secret pastimes, matters of the very gravest concern to Robinson who very rightly believed that, were he to neglect them, he would risk losing all touch with the brotherhood of mortal men.

For, isolated on this forgotten island in the center of a by and large uncharted sea, Robinson desired strongly to remain attached to mankind: one link with his sort was labor: he cultivated a technician's talents. Another link was play; and he grew very skillful and ingenious indeed in devising little games.

At any rate, a tortoise shell became a bathtub. He placed it on the ground just before his tent every morning and would take his bath, sometimes several baths in a given day. He would fill it with water and relax those limbs of his which were perpetually wearied by unceasing toil. Reclining there, he would dream. He might fancy he was not Robinson, but Evelyn, that Evelyn was taking a bath. He might spread his legs and figure himself as a woman. In his solitude, he could do no more than think of women, than imagine them. Needless to say, thanks to repeated imaginative efforts and much heavy meditation, his imaginings took an unhealthy turn. By dint of too much pondering upon anything, of pondering upon nothing else, one often ends up obsessed, impregnated by that thing; and from there it is an easy step to becoming that thing, to substituting oneself for it. Poor chap! Robinson thought so much and so hard about women that he, Robinson, so virile, so male, used every now and then, for a fleeting or for a long moment, to take himself for a woman: a woman through and through, from top to bottom. For example, he had but to sit down in that tub in order, immediately, to think of Evelyn. Of her long salty tongue, of her fine smooth skin, of her breasts accentuated towards their extremities, finishing in sharp nipples, and of that other zone, so well fledged and so prominent that it seemed a small curiously located head, a mask that smiled, that yawned, that sulked, that expressed surprise, anger, interest, that consumed, that ejected, all that depending upon the hour of the day and upon other contingent circumstances. Naked Evelyn—that is to say, the essential Evelyn—had the look of being ready to go to some carnival, of being in fine form and humor for a fling. Well, this is how it would go:

After having organized his faculties and for some minutes striven to conjure up a visual image of Evelyn, he would bend his gaze towards, say, his hands which, immersed in the water, would start to tremble and to metamorphose into slender little hands with long tapered fingers and long, exceedingly pale fingernails. Robinson's blurred eyes seemed to see his chest grow fuller; as he watched, his hairiness disappeared; lo! a little more, and two matchless breasts lay there. He held a dreamy eye on his member lolling and as though troubled swaying under water and in its beard of curls holding hundreds of tiny air-bubbles. And, as he watched, extraordinary I he positively saw that member dwindle and in its place appear a cleft in his flesh. From time to time, the shrill cry of an island bird disturbed his somnolent contemplation. The murmur of the sea-swell lapping at the shore, or of waves swarming and breaking against the outlying rocks, reached his ears like some lullaby. And, once, a coconut fell into his tub. The water splashed and...

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