This Valentine's Day has been dominated by 50 Shades of Grey. In case you have been hiding under a rock for the past few months, the so called "BDSM" book that has caused hysteria around the world, will be released in the cinemas on Friday February 13th. Check the trailer and see for yourself. Spoiler: the best part is Beyoncé's song.
But we are not here to talk about 50 Shades - there are plenty of websites, forums, magazines and fan fiction dedicated to the trilogy in case you've read all three books and still haven't had enough (apparently a 4th book is on its way). No. We are here to give you a few options of books that have artistic merit and historical value. Something you can mention during dinner without feeling embarrassed. So here you go:
The Story of O
The classic 1954 French Erotic novel author was unknown for almost 40 years. Written by Anne Desclos as a collection of love letter, The Story of O is very much about female submission. ‘O’, a young Parisian woman, is constantly gagged, chained, branded and used in every sexual way you can imagine by her lovers. If you are intrigued by BDSM and female submission, this classic is a must read. If you want to know a bit more about it, check this comprehensive review including background information about this progressive writer. There is also a website dedicated to it.
"...You will remember at all times - or as constantly as possible - that you have lost all right to privacy or concealment, and as a reminder of this fact, in our presence you will never close your lips completely, or cross your legs, or press your knees together ... this will serve as a constant reminder, to you as well as to us, that your mouth, your belly, and your backside are open to us."
A film version was released in 1975 – although the reviews are far from good.
Delta of Venus
The 1977 book of 15 short stories was written by Anais Nin in the 1940s as erotica for a private collector. Within Delta of Venus, Nin explores the meaning of patriarchal dominance, homosexual desires, sexual repression, masculinity, paedophilia and incest.
"When she closed her eyes she felt he had many hands, which touched her everywhere, and many mouths, which passed so swiftly over her, and with a wolflike sharpness, his teeth sank into her fleshiest parts. Naked now, he lay his full length over her. She enjoyed his weight on her, enjoyed being crushed under his body. She wanted him soldered to her, from mouth to feet. Shivers passed through her body."
A film version was release in 1995, but wasn’t very well received.
The Story of the eye
Originally published in 1928, this French novella by Georges Bataille has a plot that makes 50 Shades seems like an innocent fairy tale. The Story of the Eye is about a group of teenage lovers and their sexual perversions. It is full of violence and bizarre scenes. Pornographic is an understatement.
"I felt a hot, enchanting liquid run down my legs, and when she was done, I got up and in turn watered her body, which she complaisantly turned to the unchaste and faintly murmuring spurt on her skin. After thus flooding her cunt, I smeared come all over her face. Full of muck, she climaxed in a liberating frenzy"
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
The Italian novel, written by D.H Lawrence in 1928, was considered too saucy to be published in England (hello Victorian morality!). The book shortly became famous for the very explicit narrative of the sexual encounters between a married upper-class woman and a working-class man
"The beautiful, pure freedom of a woman was infinitely more wonderful than any sexual love. The only unfortunate thing was that men lagged so far behind women in the matter. They insisted on sex like dogs. And a woman had to yield. A man was like a child with his appetites".
A film was released in 1981, and again it wasn't very well received.
This list wouldn’t be complete without Marquis de Sade. Published in 1797, the French novel tells the story of Juliette, a nymphomaniac murder who lives a happy and successful life. The novel plays with concepts of morality, religion, love and remorse. Juliette explores and engages in every form of sexual encounters with like-minded folks and enjoys life solely to her own pleasure.
"The past encourages me, the present electrifies me, and I have little fear for the future; and my hope is that the rest of my life shall by far surpass the extravagances of my youth."
We recognise that violence against any human being is a very serious subject that should be approached carefully. Consensual, safe and sane BDSM practices between two (or more) adults have nothing to do with violence. If you believe you or someone you know are in an abusive relationship, please seek help from the many organisations available. In Australia, you can contact: