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Old 03-01-2013, 04:18 PM   #27
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My take on this is that if there's no sex, why call it marriage? There are other quite sufficient words - why not call it friendship instead?

Originally Posted by Bthberry View Post
One would assume that Tom and Goldberry--not that I'm calling them Maiar--had a fulfilling marriage. Yet we don't see any little Toms or Berrys.
Well, as Mith pointed out later, conception seems to be an act of will. However, they've probably lived in the Old Forest long enough for every potential little Tom and Berry to leave the nest - they do have the spare bedroom, and it's not like they could really expect to entertain visitors that often.

Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
I wonder now if it's possible to have a hermaphrodite or androgynous ainu. (Seems from Agan's thread about Sauron's hair colour that the question of homosexuality is already decided on by Tumblr. :-D)
I am afraid Tolkien implied quite clearly in Laws and Customs that at least the Eldar experienced solely opposite sex attraction:
Nonetheless marriage concerns also the far. For the far of the Elves are of their nature male and female, and not their hrondor only. And the beginning of marriage is in the affinity of the far, and in the love arising therefrom. And this love includes in it, from its first awakening, the desire for marriage, and is therefore like to but not in all ways the same as other motions of love and friendship, even those between Elves of male and female nature who do not have this inclination.
However, I must point out that it says nothing about the Elves who are not of the Three Kindreds, or about any other races either.

I think the Ainur's incarnations are too closely knitted with their far to allow sex changes, but I wouldn't rule it out that Arda Marred would occasionally see far born in the wrong body.

Originally Posted by Enw View Post
Of course, the issue then is of the nature of the fa of the child. It depends how new far are created (which would make an interesting discussion in its own right), and whether they come from Eru or are a product of their parents in some way as well.
Tolkien talks about fa acquisition in Laws and Customs:
Now the Eldar hold that to each elf-child a new fa is given, not akin to the far of the parents (save in belonging to the same order and nature); and this fa either did not exist before birth, or is the fa of one that is re-born. The new fa, and therefore in the beginning all far, they believe to come direct from Eru and from beyond E.
There was also an idea about the parents' far affecting and nourishing the child's fa (just like their hrondor, bodies, did). Also as cited in The Lost Road, according to Manw's judgement, Dior was mortal irrespective of the choice of Lthien. This implies that the children of mixed race unions had the far of the 'lesser' parent, and Maia/elf, Maia/eagle, Maia/orc children, such as they were, would effectively have been something else than Maiar.

Originally Posted by Enw
I never thought of them as sexual, but now, after thinking about how they had to actually live in the bodies of Men, I would assume that they were also fully functional in that department.
In the bodies of old Men. That kind of ruins your assumption.

Originally Posted by Enw
As for other incarnates, I think it's more vague. What about about Balrogs? Would they have sexual organs? And if so, why? Or would Morgoth have denied them those to stop them getting 'distracted'?
I don't think Melkor could have denied them the form they chose. Rather, they took it according to a combination of what felt good to them and how they believed they could best serve him. Also, as has been quoted, they had different tempers from the beginning, and if they had sexual desires, it would've shown in their incarnation and Melkor couldn't have done anything to keep them from being distracted anyway.
Speaking of the fire Maiar, Arien didn't show a particular interest in romance either, so it may have been some spirit of fire thing.

Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
In earlier writings Tolkien conceived of the Valar as having children, notably Fionwe (later Eonwe) and Kosomot (>Gothmog) "son of Melko"; but he changed his mind and converted the Children of the Valar into the Maiar.
There were children and children. In the Later Annals of Beleriand Orom is said to be born of Yavanna but he is not Aul's son, but it was later altered:
and Orom was the offspring of Yavanna, who is after named, but not as the Children of the Gods are born in this world, for he came of her thought ere the world was made.
So while this idea may have been abandoned later, it illustrates two concepts: that of the Valar getting children the ordinary, physical way; and the one that focuses on the Valar as spiritual beings.

Originally Posted by Zigr View Post
the marriages of the Valar (and Maiar) were not completely comparable to those of the Children of Ilvatar, which is to say that they were based more on compatibility in the thought of Eru than bearing some physical element of attraction.
I don't necessarily agree. Tilion loved (or desired) Arien, but his feelings were clearly unrequited. It couldn't therefore have been a question of compatibility.

Also, there were some couples that were married from either the creation of the Ainur or the beginning of Arda, depending on what you consider canon, such as Manw and Varda, but there were also those who only got married later, like Tulkas and Nessa. Personally I find it more probable that there was a period of flirting/courting and 'you+me=swoon' before the wedding rather than a sudden discovery that they were just, you know, really compatible in Ilvatar's thought.

Originally Posted by Ardent View Post
I don't think Sauron or the Maia in general would consider sex as leisure. The reason being that, as you say, they already have a much greater level of intimacy which would make sex seem trivial.
This is true, but it doesn't have to exclude sex altogether. You ask what reason they had to have sex when there were other levels of intimacy, but then again, what reason did they have not to? They enjoyed song and dance too, and even though (as Galin pointed out) these were not binding while conceiving and begetting were, they were still pleasures. Enlighten a non-native English speaker here, but do conceiving and begetting mean the act of making love as well as that of actually making babies (and the many other things Lal said).

Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
I think the crucial word in the first quotation is dislocation, literally meaning out of place. I have a feeling Tolkien said in one of his letters that "it was a pity it was ever a sin". In the HoME essay "The laws and customs of the Eldar" he makes it very clear that Elves enjoy sex but it is pretty much a phase in their lives and once they have got it out of their system and had all the children they wanted they devote their creative instincts to other things. Also seems from the same essay that conception is an act of will. Since the sexual act is an essential part of contracting an Elvish marriage and there is often a lengthy spell between marriage and the birth of children it would also seem that Elves had sex for pleasure / pair bonding reasons rather than merely to reproduce.
Good points.
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