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30 Literary Quotes That Just Might Get You Laid

Wooing is hard work. Inevitably all of us will be crushed by disappointment from time to time when a chosen paramour rejects us with a single, cutting remark. However, we are almost certain here at Flavorpill that having a background in literature will work in your favor, whether you find yourself pining at a bar, a café, or at an awkward house party filled with graduate students clutching red plastic cups — their eyes glazing over as another person enters the throng and attempts to discuss his thesis on Levinas’s idea of irreducible relations. Rally against this stagnation, readers, and use the quotes below to find love… but don’t blame us if you get slapped.

1. Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Best way of cutting to the chase:

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”

2. Complete Works by D.H. Lawrence

When you’re encouraging the flame:

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.”

3. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Infamous heartbreaker, that Henry Valentine:

“What holds the world together, as I have learned from bitter experience, is sexual intercourse.”

4. Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

You could almost pick a line at random with Neruda, really, but here’s a sure thing:

“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

5. Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Get ready to test adulterous waters:

“I used to think marriage was a plate-glass window just begging for a brick.”

6. “Don Juan” by Lord Byron

For the shy ones, sitting in the room downstairs:

“A little she strove, and much repented,
And whispering, ‘I will ne’er consent’ — consented.”

7. “Bright Star” by John Keats

Who is able to resist Keats’ spell? If anyone can, you shouldn’t be interested in them anyway:

“Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,

Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever — or else swoon in death.”

8. Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima

When you suddenly realize your kendo teacher is thinking of molding more of your body than your mind:

“I seemed like a baby bird keeping its truly innocent animal lusts hidden under its wing. I was being tempted, not by the desire of possession, but simply by unadorned temptation itself.”

9. The Lost Poems by Dorothy Parker

To use in any bar, in any city, but probably best with Wall Street guys:

“I require only three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.”

10. Just Kids by Patti Smith

It’s a risk, but it worked when Patti used it on Robert:

“Will you pretend you’re my boyfriend?”

11. Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

For people who insist they enjoy “erotica” and not porn:

“He was now in that state of fire that she loved. She wanted to be burnt.”

12. A Primate’s Memoir by Robert Sapolsky

For scientifically-minded perverts:

“We’re getting along so well; I trust you so much for this one second that I’m going to let you yank on me.”

13. Male Colors by Gary Leupp

This one will work in most gay bars or history departments:

“Excuse me for talking to you this way, master, but isn’t your bottom hard to please?”

14. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

For chrissakes, please do not attempt on anyone under 18:

“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”

15. My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

To the woman in the blue dress:

“Let me first state forthright that contrary to what we’ve often read in books and heard from preachers, when you are a woman, you don’t feel like the Devil. “

16. The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

This man was once married to Padma Lakshmi. He must have done something right:

“For a fellow who’s not to much to look at, you have the instincts of a champion.”

17. Alien Hearts by Guy de Maupassant

To the man or woman who will in no way break your heart:

“You’ll find that my coquetry is quite impartial, which allows me to keep my friends.”

18. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

Let’s be honest here:

“I’m the fortieth ugliest man in this bar. But so what! So what!… Isn’t this how people used to fall in love?”

19. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

When confronted with your first threesome:

“The signore…wishes her to begin at the beginning.”

20. Sula by Toni Morrison

Saying it like it is:

“What do you mean take him away? I didn’t kill him, I just fucked him.”

21. London Fields by Martin Amis

When a clear sense of foreboding conquers all:

“You know how it is when two souls meet in a burst of ecstatic volubility, with hearts tickling to hear and to tell, to know everything, to reveal everything, the shared reverence for the other’s otherness, a feeling of solitude radiantly snapped by full contact — all that?”

22. The Ask by Sam Lipsyte

When it’s time to get fruity:

“Stuff me in a tutu and let’s screen experimental videos all day.”

23. Couples by John Updike

Sometimes you have to be the bait:

“The first breathe of adultery is the freest.”

24. Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver

When you are the last man at a bar, talking to the last sympathetic woman:

“We were so intimate once upon a time I can’t believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can’t imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven’t been.”

25. “First Love” by Isaac Babel

Who enjoys saucy French words? Hopefully, your admirer does:

“She would lift her peignoir above her knees and say to her husband: ‘Give baby a kiss…'”

26. Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates

When you meet your first baby dyke:

“Like they’re pretending not to know who I am: I’m Legs Sadovsky I’m FOXFIRE I don’t fuck around with guys.”

27. “Tonka” by Robert Musil

When you think coming clean about your anxiety will get you through the difficult parts:

“You see how wrong I go, how ridiculous I’m making myself in your eyes by keeping on guessing wrong like this! Doesn’t that help you to come out with it? Come on now!”

28. “Fireworks” by Richard Ford

When you need to switch identities:

“I realized I loved you, and I didn’t want to be married to somebody I didn’t love. I wanted to be married to you. It isn’t all that complicated.”

29. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

When honesty is the best policy:

“Are you happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?” “Of course I am.” “Why?” “Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.”

30. Pussy, King of the Pirates by Kathy Acker

For the post-punk, French critical theory set:

“If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.”

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