Throughout the ages two extreme views...have most frequently been voiced- one deifying desire, the other vilifying it. There were those who, overwhelmed by the dark power of passion, believed that they sensed in its raving a manifestation of the gods and celebrated its gratification as a sacred ritual. Dionysian orgies, fertility rites, sacred prostitution are extreme examples of a view that subconsciously has never died out.
The exponents of the other extreme, frightened by the destructive power of unbridled passion, have taught man to see ugliness in desire, Satan in the rapture of the flesh. Their advice was to repress the appetites, and their ideal, self-renunciation and asceticism. Some Greeks said: "Passion is a god, Eros"; Buddhists say: "Desire is evil."
To the Jewish mind, being neither enticed nor horrified by the powers of passion, desires are neither benign nor pernicious but, like fire, they do not agree with straw. They should be neither quenched nor supplied with fuel. Rather than worship fire and be consumed by it, we should let a light come out of the flames. Needs are spiritual opportunities.
~I Asked for Wonder by Abraham Joshua Heschel, pages 56-57