CESNUR - center for studies on new religions


June 17-20, 2004 - Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Marco Vassi: "Metasex" and Zen Spiritual Search

by J. Edgar Bauer
A paper presented at CESNUR 2004 international conference, Baylor University, Waco (Texas), June 18-20, 2004 – Preliminary version – Do not reproduce or quote without the consent of the author

"[Hillel] used to say, […] if not now, when then?
Pirkei Avot 1, 14

marco vassi1. While sexuality was of paramount importance for authors such as Walt Whitman or D. H. Lawrence, Marco Vassi took it on --in the words of David Guy-- "as a kind of priestly vocation."[1] Although Vassi published more that a dozen books, many essays and hundreds of erotic stories that were eventually translated into German, Japanese and Italian, the biographical information available is often uncertain, and at times even contradictory.[2] He was born in 1937 in New York City, and died of AIDS in 1987. According to his own account, Vassi studied in the 1970s with several spiritual masters, including Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Eido Shimano, Stanley Fischer and Hilda Charlton. He also tested the communities of Bhagwan Rajneesh and Da Free John.[3] From 1976 to 1981, Vassi did research on contemporary erotic possibilities, "embodying and articulating the full range of metasexual forms, including heterosexual neo-monogamy, gay romance and promiscuity, male lesbianism, bisexual double-coupling, the triad, the swing, the orgy, and the sadomasochistic ritual."[4] His partially fictionalized autobiography The Stoned Apocalypse has been included as the first of ten volumes of erotic stories and novels published under the title The Vassi Collection. Significantly, this autobiography begins with the motto from Gautama Buddha: "I truly attained nothing / from total unexcelled enlightenment,"[5] and ends with the lines: "There is only what is, and that is mute. / I have stopped searching."[6]

2. In 1984, Vassi was asked by his friend Lee Lozowick to write the foreword of his upcoming book Living God Blues[7], in which he depicts the essential spiritual teachings of the Sufi-inspired Hohm Community he founded in Arizona. Vassi agreed to write the presentation not without "ambivalence", since although he respected Lozowick as a spiritual master,[8] he had "never been able to buy into his trip."[9] Despite being only a three-page text, Vassi's foreword is a relevant source for determining his basic spiritual stance. Characteristically, Vassi decided not to read the book he was presenting in order to avoid writing "a polite evasion or a principled refutation."[10] There were, however, two things he knew about the book he could "recommend unqualifiedly"[11]. One was the author, with whom he had been friends for seven years and whom Vassi credits with playing "the best game of spiritual hardball anywhere."[12] The other was the title of the book. Vassi wholeheartedly welcomes Lozowick's contention that God has got the Blues, since "[g]iven the abysmal quality of the human condition, God should be down."[13] Notwithstanding his general acknowledgment of Lozowick's spiritual stature, Vassi clearly states the fundamental reason for his dissent. He notes: "A few months earlier I'd made a formal break with all traditional spiritual approaches, even contemporary radical models like Saqi's [i.e. Lozowick's]. I'd just had a book published that offered an alternative."[14] The book to which Vassi refers is titled Lying Down. The Horizontal Worldview and constitutes the most thoroughly-argued presentation of his spiritual insights. Focusing on a radical critique of immemorial patriarchal culture and its hierarchical structures, Vassi's book articulates his break with all religious and spiritual traditions to date in the name of a "not merely cultural but mutational"[15] paradigm of religiosity.

3. In 1976, eight years before the publication of Lying Down, Vassi edited and introduced a selection of texts under the title The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex. Radical Sex in the Establishment.[16] According to Vassi, the standpoint of Penthouse and of the book he issued was that "eroticism is, in and of itself, a valuable, happy, and life affirming movement and needs no defense for its presentation."[17] While the pieces of the book "all affirm the life impulse as it manifests in erotic forms", they do not "attempt[] to set up standards of behavior, but only [to] suggest[] possibilities for a wider appreciation of what is metasexually possible."[18] Intended to continue the work by Alfred C. Kinsey and Wilhelm Reich,[19] the books offers a résumé of the phenomenon that has been widely dubbed the "sexual revolution" and is often associated with "The Age of Aquarius" inaugurated by "the psychedelic sixties".[20] Clearly critical of "America, the land of the Puritan legacy,"[21] Vassi observes that "the definition of 'normality' ha[s] evaporated in the strong light of erotic revelation,"[22] although "our society has as yet felt only the first tremors of true erotic freedom."[23] While conceding that we cannot "fully envision what a world would be like if the erotic energy were completely liberated," Vassi holds for certain that "the species would, for the first time in at least ten thousand years, turn away from the destruction of other life forms, the poisoning of the environment, and warfare among its own members […]."[24] Against the backdrop of this promising vision, Vassi attempts "to construct a new conceptual framework" for the individual's sexual freedom, and to this end, he introduces "a new term into the English language"[25], namely the libertarian-inspired concept of "metasex" as distinct from reproductive-oriented "sex". Not surprisingly, Vassi's perhaps most characteristic essay is titled The Metasexual Manifesto, and the book in which it was eventually included The Metasex Manifesto.

4. Vassi had a keen sense of living in a period in which the resources and possibilities inherent in the traditional understanding of religion and sexuality had been exhausted. Thus, in his most audacious speculations, Vassi envisaged the end of the "vertical worldview" that has formed human history for the last 10,000 years, and focused on the conditions for a paradigm shift to a post-religious and metasexual world. Vassi's radical exposure of religion and religiosities was informed by his intimate knowledge of very diverse religious groups and communities, including all major religious traditions except Judaism.[26] During a lecture in 1975, Vassi made his critical standpoint abundantly clear when he asserted: "Gurdjieff was a bald headed crank who died about twenty years ago, a Turk who caused more mischief in his lifetime than Jesus, Buddha and Mohamed put together."[27] From Vassi's perspective, the sociological difference between mainstream religions and alternative religiosities is only of secondary import, since both are subservient of power structures that maintain them alive at the price of emptying their meaning. Thus, while Vassi contends in general that "Christianity is not only dead, but rotting,"[28] he also castigates minority groups for the leader or guru ideologies on which they all are based or which they develop in time. According to this scheme of religious degeneration, originally promising insights such as that of the Esalen psychiatric approach, are eventually "organized, ritualized, jargonized, and finally turned into a religion."[29] Indicatively, Vassi admits toward the middle of his autobiography that he "was totally disillusioned with all the salvation scenes […]."[30] By the end of the book, Vassi amplifies his hopeless depiction of the religious landscape to a somber view of mankind's historical outcome: "The civilization is rotten to its core. The entire bag, all two thousand years of it in the Western world, and some six thousand years for as far back as there are written records in the East. In fact, man is malignant at heart, a broken spoke in the wheel of creation, a stupid bestial creature who is barely redeemed by odd moments of decency."[31]

5. Vassi's explorations into diverse religious landscapes in America and the Far East were marked from early on by the general perspective of his Zen spiritual search. The fact that Vassi was introduced to Zen in Japan and that he repeatedly compared himself with a Zen monk[32] offers a relevant biographical context to his approach of existing religions and religiosities with the mental attitude resulting from spiritual enlightenment. Far from identifying himself with any religious historical truths or making any ontological assumptions, Vassi developed a spiritual stance that faute de mieux could be described as a paradoxical religiosity of "no-religion". Such a stance can be traced back to the teachings of some schools of thought within Zen Buddhism that were made known in the West especially by Alan Watts in his popular essay Religion of No-Religion.[33] Closer to the present, the philosopher of religion and Buddhist scholar Arvind Sharma has also touched on the issue of "no-religion" in connection with his elaborations on the (non-)existence of the sacred.[34] In the case of Vassi, "non-religious" enlightenment was closely related to his contentions regarding the ending of the so-called "vertical worldview" and of the resulting patriarchal structures that pervade cultural history from its very beginnings. Consequently, Vassi's unmasking of religious illusions leads up to the "horizontal worldview" he propounded toward the end of his life. The religious spirit itself being one of the ideological products of cultural verticality, Vassi's basic philosophic intent is to open up an horizon that reckons not only with the "death of God", but with the end of religion. It is not by chance that Vassi implicitly claims a unique role in the history of the deconstruction of religion when he asserts: "For half a century [Jiddu Krishnamurti] has traveled the globe doing a Shiva's dance of destruction, razing all the temples and teachings of the past five thousand years. But he has steadfastly refused to go beyond the parameters of his 'negative intelligence.' He is to the spiritual tradition what Einstein is to classical physics, the last of the old guard. He leveled all that went before but is incapable of envisioning what might come after, in the same way that Einstein balked at the implications of the new physics right up until his death."[35] In this context, Vassi stresses that Krishnamurti "has a point in denouncing all the methods, systems and worldviews that spiritual teachers have produced", but only to critique that "he has not grasped their unifying principle, that of verticality[…]."[36] In the last resort, Vassi claims to go beyond Krishnamurti's negative diagnose by envisioning an "horizontal worldview" designed to overcome the cultural hierarchies responsible for man's historical bondage.

6. Invoking the testimony of Shunryu Suzuki, the founder and first abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center in the Sixties, Vassi contends in the opening paragraphs of Lying Down that "to inhabit one's posture with real dignity, i.e., mindfulness and compassion, is enlightenment."[37] Further, he refers to the fact that the four postures – standing, sitting, walking and lying down – are termed the "four dignities" in Buddhism. Against this background, Vassi predicts a "planetary spasm of species consciousness" that will eventually reveal the need of a paradigm shift to the "horizontality" of lying down. In evolutionary perspective, Vassi maintains that "from the moment, several million years ago, when we altered our destiny by standing erect, until today, we have been shaped by the single paradigm of verticality, and the 'shift' that is required now, quite simply, is going horizontal."[38] Writing in 1983, Vassi stressed that "[w]e are witnessing the end of the vertical joyride, with all its splendors and horrors,"[39] and pleaded for a worldview in which lying down is the most direct way to get out of the way of the "Way". According to the post-religious "meta-meta-way"[40] Vassi sketches out, the horizontal position enables a new awareness of the illusory but inevitable horizon in which human finitude is imbedded. Since Vassi considered all religions, cults and churches to be inextricably knotted in the hierarchical matrix of verticality, he was particularly receptive of Krishnamurti's insights into the functioning of religious power and surmised that the mission of this spiritual master "may turn out to have been something like that of Moses for the horizontal paradigm."[41]

7. For Norman Mailer, Vassi was a "sexual explorer" whose itinerary he describes as follows: "Even for the late fifties and sixties, Vassi carried it pretty far. He went way beyond threesomes, foursomes, and more gala endeavors of the orgy. As a presumptive heterosexual, he also voyaged past bondage and domination into personal degradation. He uses the concept of degradation--it is his word--to describe being cornholed by a dozen men in a Turkish bath; in short he did everything. [...] He got into about every kind of sexual--that is, Metasexual--relation possible with men and women; he even got married."[42] In his essay Beyond Bisexuality, Vassi underlines that his "adventures had served a single purpose: to exhaust all the subjective aspects of the sexual act."[43] Further autobiographical evidence suggests that Vassi understood his own sexual lifestyle as a pursuit of ultimate awareness of "how polymorphously perverse we are."[44] For the sake of articulating the complexities of his sexual experience and attaining conceptual clarity, Vassi created the already mentioned concept of "metasex", which was intended to subsume all erotic non-procreative behavior including celibacy.[45] Since sex is "a vehicle for making babies,"[46] there is, sexually, "only one way to do it: male and female in genital intercourse."[47] On this level, Vassi concedes that the index of sexual labels as presented in Richard von Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia sexualis[48] makes sense. However, once sexual variety is seen "within the metasexual purview these sub-categories [of Krafft-Ebing] are meaningless, [and] we must find a new way to articulate our erotic experiences."[49] Since according to strictly sexual criteria not only homosexuality and bisexuality, but even contraception are perverse, Vassi pleads for abolishing categorizations at the metasexual level, adducing that "if you are not making a baby, there is no qualitative difference between what two men do together and what a man and a woman do together."[50] Despite superficial similarities with the discourse of other sexual libertarians in the period, Vassi's contentions remain unique in that they are contextualized within the post-religious paradigm of his horizontal world view. In the last resort, the metasexual overcoming of the mere biology of "sex"[51] opens up a metaphysical dimension in which the elucidation and assessment of the erotic as an unavoidable illusion takes place.

8. Sex being "a key to doorways of knowing"[52], Vassi's sustained critique of the reductive way in which civilization in general, and Western culture in particular has conceptualized the intricacies of erotic life leads to his attempt to articulate what might be termed a new grammar of the eroticum. In this grammar, the concept of "mode" is meant to "provide a vehicle for grasping and communicating erotic behavior and feeling [.]"[53] As "the paradigmatic mood, within which the [sexual] activity takes place," the concept of mode is intended "to displace all questions of detail, number, and gender, and put sex and metasex in a more fluid context."[54] While procreative sex only allows for the "reverential mode" in correspondence to the ethical imperatives of parenthood, metasex offers a gamut of modes all dependent upon the capacity for compassion with regard to the eventual sexual partner or partners. Beginning with the metasexual "procreative mode" as a transposition of baby-making-sex into the realm of non-biological, spiritual birth-giving, Vassi proceeds to distinguish between the theatrical, therapeutic, romantic, masturbatory, and the Zen modes of metasexuality.[55] In his elaborations on these modes Vassi underscores their intimate connection to spiritual and psychological healing as well as their immanent tendency to overcome "modality" itself.[56] Indicatively, the culminating Zen mode purports that "the concept of mode is itself shaken, and finally burst open, until the conceptual curtain lifts and all imagery dissolves."[57] As a transmodal deconstruction of its antecedents, the Zen mode purports the negation and supersedence of all instrumental mediations, since "[i]t carries a unique sense of the moment's utter reality, and within that there lie all the joy and terror of coming face to face with The Nakedness."[58] From this perspective, the itinerary of the knowledge-seeking debauchee appears as an ascesis antithetical of psychological repression and based on a spiritual progression toward the immediacy of the real. With this in mind, Vassi's pregnant formulation that "Bhodi Is the Body"[59] can be understood in the sense of an enlightenment synonymous with the awareness of immediate corporeality. It is not by chance that, in this context, Vassi's basic line of argument aims at the dissolution of the prevalent sexual categorizations in the light of a profounder comprehension of what is attainable in and through the body. As Vassi asserts in Lying Down, "patriarchy is on its last legs, but there can't be a return to matriarchy either," so that what is needed is "to enter a holoarchical stage of understanding in which both genders […] move toward the overall emergence of an androgynous mind."[60]

9. According to Vassi's depiction of the new horizontal paradigm, "being confined by unreal boundaries is what fundamentally defines the human condition."[61] In principle, the horizon is the human token of finitude, since it can be transformed into an explicit object of knowledge and thus superseded, but only to be replaced by an ulterior field of the unknown that constitutes the new horizon of further epistemic achievements. Although man can overcome any given horizon, the fact of his always being bound by the next one, is a reminder that it is not possible to go beyond a last horizon "precisely because it is an illusion."[62] Since despite its unreality the horizon is everywhere and defines everything, it is "not by climbing higher or probing deeper" that it can be surpassed, but by ironically accepting "the absurdity of having reality shaped by illusion." Against this backdrop, "lying down" appears as Vassi's basic metaphor for letting ourselves be absorbed by the horizon, and thereby achieve a mystical transcendence of the limiting illusion. Not surprisingly, Vassi describes his book Lying Down as "a crucible in which the vertical [is] pulverized, and mixed with the horizontal essence, to produce a different quality of being."[63]

10. Metasexuality is the locus of a holistic liberation from the closures imposed by the overvaluation of procreative sexuality throughout cultural history. Since for Vassi sex is only thinkable on the basis of the binomial scheme of sexuality, he assumes that the sexual disjunction itself can only be overcome at the level of the mind on account of its androgenic fluidity. Thus, strictly speaking, the metasexual paradigm adds a new dimension of the eroticum, but fails to transform the perception and understanding of biological sex. Like other eminent sexual searchers and researchers in the 20th century, Vassi was not aware of or ignored the ground-breaking scheme of sexual distribution propounded by Magnus Hirschfeld in the context of his "doctrine of sexual intermediaries", whose first formulation goes back to 1896.[64] Hirschfeld's doctrine is based on the assumption that the sexuality of the individual results from the unique structural relatedness of different descriptive levels of the sexual, each one of them occupying a specific position between the poles of the masculine and the feminine. Although the doctrine operates with the male/female opposition, men and women as such, according to Hirschfeld, do not exist in nature, but just sexed individuals combining male and female attributes on different sexual levels in unique proportions. On these assumptions, the resulting open-ended number of sexualities can be displayed, ideally, within a unified paradigm of sexual gradation in which each individual constitutes a non-repeatable variation of male/female composites.[65] Since Hirschfeld's doctrine of sexual intermediaries includes all biological levels of sexual description, it purports a more radical overcoming of binomial sexuality than the one foreseen in Vassi's metasexual elaborations.

11. Sexualities being as diverse as the number of sexed individuals, Hirschfeld's doctrine invalidates Vassi's basic assumptions concerning the "natural" dichotomy of the sexes and its supersedure by the salutary workings of the psyche. If the body itself is marked through and through by sexual intermediariness, there is no reason for Vassi's restriction of sexual fluidity to the realms of spirituality. More importantly, Vassi's uncritical sanction of the binomial conception of sexuality endangers the scope of his libertarian pursuits, since he fails to acknowledge the corporeal anchorage of sexual alternatives as yet unrealized in the prevalent cultural frameworks. It is not by chance that Vassi's theoretical instrumentality seems hardly suitable to cope with the body-related perplexities of sexuality resulting from genetic engineering, chirurgical sexual reassignments, and the prospects of male pregnancy.[66] Against the background of Hirschfeld's doctrine of inexhaustible sexual variability, "nature" proves to be more "perverse" than Vassi ever dreamed of.[67]

12. Vassi's foremost merit resides in his attempt to articulate the eroticum within the overall framework of his post-religious reception of Zen spirituality. However, his elaborations on the distinction between sex and metasex and on their specific modes of deployment evince serious deficiencies related not only to his understanding of the biological basis of sexuality, but also to his analysis of the ethical implications of metasex. Given the Buddhistic insistence on compassion for all sentient life and on the awe of defenseless existence, it is disappointing that Vassi failed to deal with the problem of unintended pregnancy as a result of metasexual activity and to define theoretically his position with regard to abortion. It is nevertheless significant that Vassi was, on a personal level, a pragmatic advocate of abortion, and even took the issue in an unduly casual way.[68] Despite his spiritual quest for "Nakedness", Vassi seems to have been incapable of recognizing its reality in the helpless body of the unborn child. Being aware that the "stupefying wonder of the universe is not what it is, but THAT IT IS,"[69] Vassi was always ready to castigate "[t]he entire process of dehumanization which is the keynote of the ugly edifice of our cultured world […]."[70] But his own Buddhistic sense of awe did not lead him to a critical examination of the presumptive rights to decide against the survival of unborn human beings. Given that Vassi's views do not contradict Camille Paglia's depiction of the fetus as a removable "benign tumor"[71], there does not seem to be much consistency in his realization of the ethics of compassion as preached by Siddhartha Gautama. In this respect, Vassi could have learned a lesson from his older contemporary Pier Paolo Pasolini, who also pleaded for radical sexual liberties, while acknowledging the inviolable dignity of unborn human life.[72]


[1] Guy, David: The Red Thread of Passion. Spirituality and the Paradox of Sex. Boston and London: Shambala, 1999, p. 139.

[2] Cf. Guy, David: The Red Thread of Passion, op. cit, p. 42. The following supplementary information has been gathered from different sources: Ferdinand William Vasquez-d´Acugno was born on November 6, 1937 in New York City. He grew up in the Italian immigrant neighborhood of East Harlem in Manhattan. At the time, his major influences were, as he wrote, "the medieval order of the Church and Mafia, the tribal lessons of the streets, and discovering the magic of reading." ( Vassi, Marco: "About the Author". In: Vassi, Marco: Lying Down. The Horizontal Worldview. Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1984, p. 102. Cf. also: Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse. New York: A Richard Kasak Book Edition, 1993, p. 27.) Since in the spirit of cultural assimilation his parents had his name changed to Fred Vassi at age thirteen, he published his first books under that name. In the middle of his sophomore year he dropped out to enlist in the Air Force, where he was picked up for Intelligence work. After a year-long intensive course in Mandarin Chinese at Yale, he worked as a translator in Korea and Japan, where he married and divorced two years later. During his years in Japan he was introduced to Zen Buddhism at the Rock Garden of Ryoanji, in Kyoto. Back in America, Vassi obtained a B.A. from Brooklyn College and began a master's program in Psychology at the New School for Social Research. He next joined the staff at the Institute for Holistic Personality Research where he designed psychological experiments based on the work of Else Gindler and Wilhelm Reich. Feeling that he was "ripe for a revolution" (Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse. New York: A Richard Kasak Book Edition, 1993, p. 29), Vassi also studied Political Economy at the Center for Marxist Studies, esoteric disciplines at the Gurdjieff Foundation, therapy at the Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis and the Stanislavski Method at the Theatre of Encounter. (Cf. Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse. New York: A Richard Kasak Book Edition, 1993, pp. 8-10; 33-38.) In 1967, he continued his studies in California and began a seven-year study of the work of Jiddu Krishnamurti while experimenting with psychedelics. (Cf. Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 103.) In 1969, he returned to New York where he began a career as a professional writer.

[3] Cf. Vassi, Marco: Lying Down. The Horizontal Worldview. Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1984, p. 104.

[4] Vassi, Marco: About the Author. In: Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 103.

[5] Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse. New York: Masquerade Books, 1993, p. 1.

[6] Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., p. 197.

[7] Lozowick, Lee: Living God Blues. Prescott Valley, Arizona: Hohm Press, 1984.

[8] Tellingly, Vassi depicts Lozowick as a "sufi siddha" and as one of the foremost spirituals teachers since the Krishnamurtian revolution in the United States (Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 83). Vassi also mentions him among several "radical and traditional spirituals masters and teachers" with whom he had studied (Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 104). In the autobiographical narrative, however, Vassi offers a much less flattening portrait of "Abraham Rubin", the name Lozowick is assigned in the book. Vassi writes: "[…] I met Abraham Rubin, a self-proclaimed Sufi master who looks, acts, and talks like an old Jewish tailor. I learned little about the details of his life except that he has travelled around the world many times, had been taught by Sufi and Zen masters, and was an 'accredited' master in at least three schools. He actually had diplomas on his wall attesting to the fact that he was enlightened. But Abe was a goof. He was the kind of person who could pierce through to the heart of any given situation and understand the humanity of it instantly, but he was garrulous and cranky. […] It was impossible to take him seriously, impossible not to love him. He wasn't what he claimed to be, but what he actually was, was so much more." (Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op.cit., p. 143-144.)

[9] Vassi, Marco: Foreword. In: Lozowick, Lee: Living God Blues, op. cit., p. vii.

[10] Vassi, Marco: Foreword. In: Lozowick, Lee: Living God Blues, op. cit., p. viii.

[11] Vassi, Marco: Foreword. In: Lozowick, Lee: Living God Blues, op. cit., p. ix.

[12] Vassi, Marco: Foreword. In: Lozowick, Lee: Living God Blues, op. cit., p. ix.

[13] Vassi, Marco: Foreword. In: Lozowick, Lee: Living God Blues, op. cit., p. ix.

[14] Vassi, Marco: Foreword. In: Lozowick, Lee: Living God Blues, op. cit., p. viii. Emphasis added.

[15] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down. The Horizontal Worldview. Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1984, p. 100.

[16] Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex. Radical Sex in the Establishment. New York: Warner Books, 1976.

[17] Vassi, Marco: Introduction. In: Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex, op. cit., p. 11.

[18] Vassi, Marco: Introduction. In: Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex, op. cit., p. 12.

[19] For a detailed analysis of Reich's positions concerning religion and sexuality cf.: Bauer, J. Edgar: Wilhelm Reich: Organisierter Mystizismus, Genitales Elend und die Bedeutung Christi. In: Bukumatula. Zeitschrift des Wilhelm Reich Instituts. Herausgegeben vom Wilhelm Reich Institut. Wien: 1. März 2004, pp. 4-30. The essay will also be published in the forthcoming issue of: Emotion. Beiträge zum Werk von Wilhelm Reich. Hrsg. von der Wilhelm-Reich-Gesellschaft e.V. Berlin: 16 (2004).

[20] Cf. Vassi, Marco: Introduction: In: Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex, op. cit., p. 10.

[21] Vassi, Marco: Introduction. In: Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex, op. cit., p.11.

[22] Vassi, Marco: Introduction. In: Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex, op. cit., p. 10.

[23] Vassi, Marco: Introduction. In: Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex, op. cit., p. 12.

[24] Vassi, Marco: Introduction: In: Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex, op. cit., p. 12-13.

[25] Vassi, Marco: The More It Changes, The More It Stays The Same. Introduction. In: Vassi, Marco (Ed.): The Wonderful World of Penthouse Sex, op. cit., p. 351.

[26] For Vassi's negative view on the Hassidic and Reformed Jews of his Brooklyn neighborhood cf.. Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., p. 30.

[27] Vassi, Marco: A Driving Passion. New York: A Richard Kasak Book Edition, 1993, p. 153.

[28] Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., p. 130.

[29] Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., p. 101. Cf. also Vassi's assessment of the Tucson religious scene he frequented: "Tucson is a place that breathes the religious spirit, although formal religion there, as everywhere, has degenerated to empty social ritual." (Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., p. 126.)

[30] Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., p. 106.

[31] Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., p. 171.

[32] Cf. e.g. Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., p. 86, 138, 139. In correspondence to the Zen spiritual tradition, Vassi recurs in his autobiography to specific Zen terminology and topoi to convey rather secular ideas (cf. e.g. Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., pp. 180, 185, 193). During a series of lectures on eroticism delivered in New York in 1975, Vassi stated that in 1968 he "had shaved [his] head and was walking around with a staff being a Zen master." (Vassi, Marco: A Driving Passion, op. cit., p. 85.)

[33] Cf. Watts, Alan: Religion of No-Religion. In: Watts, Alan: Buddhism. The Religion of No-Religion. The Edited Transcripts. Boston / Rutland, Vermont / Tokyo: Tuttle Publications, 1999, pp. 33-48.

[34] Cf. Sharma, Arvind: Philosophy of Religion. A Buddhist Perspective. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 151-152.

[35] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 82.

[36] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 82.

[37] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 10.

[38] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 11.

[39] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 53.

[40] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 14.

[41] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 83. Against the background of Krishnamurti's critical assessments, Vassi determines the fundamental role of horizontality in his own life work when he underscores: "[…] I realized that lying down wasn't the subplot of the text of my life history, but the guiding principle and source of illumination of all my work for almost a quarter of a century. I saw that it had been the real theme, informing everything else all along." (Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 99.)

[42] Mailer, Norman: Preface. In: Vassi, Marco: A Driving Passion. New York: A Richard Kasak Book Edition, 1993, p. 6.

[43] Vassi, Marco: Beyond Bisexuality. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto. Erotic Tales of the Absurdly Real. New York: Bantam Books, 1976, p. 171.

[44] Vassi, Marco: A Driving Passion, op. cit., p. 132.

[45] Cf. Vassi, Marco: A Driving Passion, op. cit., p. 167.

[46] Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 178.

[47] Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 180.

[48] Cf. Krafft-Ebing, Richard: Psychopathia sexualis. Mit Beiträgen von Georges Bataille, Werner Brede, Albert Caraco, Salvador Dalí, Ernst Fuhrmann, Maurice Heine, Julia Kristeva, Paul Kruntorad und Elisabeth Lenk. München: Matthes & Seitz Verlag, 1984.

[49] Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 180.

[50] Vassi, Marco: A Driving Passion, op. cit., p. 17.

[51] Cf. Vassi, Marco: A Driving Passion, op. cit., p. 16.

[52] Vassi, Marco: Beyond Bisexuality. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 171.

[53] Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 180.

[54] Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 180.

[55] Cf. Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., pp. 183-190.

[56] Cf. Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 190.

[57] Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 190.

[58] Vassi, Marco: The Metasexual Manifesto. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 190.

[59] Cf. Vassi, Marco: Bhodi Is the Body. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., pp. 109-120.

[60] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 79.

[61] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 93.

[62] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 96.

[63] Vassi, Marco: Lying Down, op. cit., p. 99.

[64] The text referred to is: Ramien, Th. (= Magnus Hirschfeld): Sappho und Sokrates oder Wie erklärt sich die Liebe der Männer und Frauen zu Personen des eigenen Geschlechts. Leipzig: Verlag von Max Spohr, 1896.

[65] Cf. Bauer, J. Edgar: Der Tod Adams. Geschichtsphilosophische Thesen zur Sexualemanzipation im Werk Magnus Hirschfelds. In: 100 Jahre Schwulenbewegung. Dokumentation einer Vortragsreihe in der Akademie der Künste. Ausgewählt und herausgegeben von Manfred Herzer. Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1998, pp. 15-45. The essay has been reissued in: Seeck, Andreas (Ed.): Durch Wissenschaft zur Gerechtigkeit? Textsammlung zur kritischen Rezeption des Schaffens von Magnus Hirschfeld. Münster / Hamburg / London: Lit Verlag, 2003, pp. 133-155. For a presentation of Hirschfeld's sexological ideas in English cf. Bauer, J. Edgar: "Magnus Hirschfeld." In: glbtq. An encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture. General Editor: Claude J. Summers. 3 pages. www.glbtq.com, 2004.

[66] For an overview of these issues cf. the chapter Challenging techniques in: Wiston, Robert: The IVF Revolution. The Definitive Guide to Assisted Reproductive Techniques. London: Vermillon, 1999, pp. 187-207.

[67]Cf. Bauer, J. Edgar: "43 046 721 Sexualtypen." Anmerkungen zu Magnus Hirschfelds Zwischenstufenlehre und der Unendlichkeit der Geschlechter. In: Capri. Herausgegeben vom Schwulen Museum. Redaktion: Manfred Herzer. Berlin: No. 33, Dezember 2002, pp. 23-30.

[68] Vassi, Marco: The Stoned Apocalypse, op. cit., pp. 145 and 153.

[69] Vassi, Marco: Bodhi Is the Body. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 118.

[70] Vassi, Marco: Bisexuality, Therapy and Revolution. In: Vassi, Marco: The Metasex Manifesto, op. cit., p. 160.

[71] Paglia, Camille: Sexual Personae. Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. New York: Vintage Books, 1991, p. 11.

[72] On January 19, 1975 Pasolini published in Corriere della Sera his far-reaching article "Sono contro l´aborto", which was later included in his book Scritti corsari under the title "19 gennaio 1975. Il coito, l´aborto, la falsa tolleranza del potere, il conformismo dei progressisti." In the opening sentences Pasolini wrote: "Sono […] traumatizzato dalla legalizzazione dell´aborto, perché la considero, come molti, una legalizzazione dell´omicidio. Nei sogni, e nel comportamento quotidiano - cosa comune a tutti gli uomini - io vivo la mia vita prenatale, la mia felice immersione nelle acque materne: so che là io ero esistente. Me limito a dir questo, perché, a proposito dell´aborto, ho cose più urgenti da dire. Che la vita sia sacra è ovvio: è un principio più forte ancora che ogni principio della democrazia, ed è inutile ripeterlo." (Pasolini, Pier Paolo: Scritti corsari. Prefazione di Alfonso Berardinelli. Milano: Garzanti, 1981, p. 98) In Lettere luterane he explained: "Perché io sento con particolare angoscia la colpevolezza dell´aborto? L´ho detto anche questo chiaramente. Perché l´aborto è un problema dell´enorme maggioranza, che considera la sua causa, cioè il coito, in modo così ontologico, da renderlo meccanico, banale, irrelevante per eccesso di naturalezza." (Pasolini, Pier Paolo: Lettere luterane. Torino: Einaudi, 1976, p. 25.)