This famous story is far froma classic piece of writing and far from pornography and further even from eroticism. I read it admittedly because it is so famous and not because I wanted to be amazed, titillated or excited, so perhaps my motivation was not what was intended by the purported authors. The storyline and descriptions are pleasingly written (or perhaps better said, translated), however, the meat of the novel lies in chapter five, "The Law", and it is with this part that for me the real interest of the book lies. Although you could possibly say this chapter is post fact justification for reckless sexual behaviour, it is far more revealing than that. The character Mario, who teaches the eponymous heroine her art of pleasure and eroticism, discourses on the laws of the erotic; boiled down into three - 1. Natural sex is not erotic, man versus nature is the distinguishing feature or eroticism and the most "human" of acts. 2. Asymmetry, by which is meant that sexual acts with even numbers of participants(for instance between a couple!)is not erotic and is a surrender to nature. Sexual acts must always be between uneven numbers, three, five, etc. 3. Multiplicty, by which is meant no repetition, but as many different partners as possible. There is plenty of references to the necessity of being young, beautiful and wealthy in all this, as are of course the shadowlands of paedophilia and the rest of that ilk. Although I cannot prove it, I suspect the text was heavily written or editted by a male given the amount of male "instruction" for a beautiful young female, how a beautiful young female should behave rather than how a middle aged male should! Semen in vast quantities sprayed liberally also seems to my mind a more male position than a female one. So from that point of view, I would say sexist as well as perverse. Why then do I rate it a four star? Simply because it states so clearly the intended perversion of the pre-aids era. It is a manifesto of hedonism, with specious "arguments" that need almost no refutation as they contain so many logical errors as to be superfluous. For instance, if nature is to be in conflict with the erotic man, the question has gone begging about the very nature of man! If you want to understand the pre-aids erotic situation read this, if you want stimulation of another sort, I suspect you can do a lot better! Apropos the necessity of youth and beauty, it would be interesting to know where the very aged "Mario" and extremely frail "Emmanuelle" now stand.