textual promiscuity

Montaigne seems to be having some fun redefining terms at the beginning of the essay. Temperance is as much a temptress as volupté, seducing the author away from the necessary excesses of study (56, 58); he's hungry not to eat, but to be recognized, or read, or eaten (62, though he quickly corrects his stated appetite); the Protestant criticism of private confession is made to seem perverse, as Montaigne's public confession worms its way, by means of books, into ladies' bedrooms (62). When he finally gets around to "mon theme," which one might assume, given the title, would be the sustained textual analysis of a poem by Virgil, we are thrust into a discussion of "l'action genitale" (62-3).

So how are we to read Montaigne's claims about sexuality and gender difference, whose key terms are often of appetite, moderation, and propriety, when he's set up the essay by inverting the "proper" meaning of such terms -- temperance is immoderate, he's hungry to be eaten, the most public is the most private, and text is replaced with sex? What does his textual and semantic promiscuity (straying far from his stated subject and mixing a range of classical texts with French folk sayings) have to do with the content of the essay?