Mar 272016

Reti, Irene, and Pat Parker. 1993. Unleashing feminism: critiquing lesbian sadomasochism in the gay nineties. Santa Cruz, CA:HerBooks Amazon link


We must not offer haven
for fascists and pigs
be it real or fantasy
the line is too unclear.

“Bar Conversation”, Pat Parker, Pg. 6

Published roughly a decade after Against Sadomasochism, Unleashing Feminism came into a different world. Lesbians were more visible than ever before, including opening their own sex clubs and making their own porn magazines and videos, but to the lesbian feminist authors in this anthology, that was not a sign of progress. Their interpretation was that lesbians and other queers had lost their revolutionary principles and were being assimilated into mainstream consumer culture. Some of the essays portray the “lesbian sex wars” as a microcosm of a larger, almost apocalyptic conflict, a last chance for justice after the Reagan-Thatcher era and the beginning of the neoliberal Clinton era.

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Nov 082015

Weiss, Margot. Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality. Duke University Press, 2011. Amazon

You can get an idea of how thought-provoking I found Weiss’ book was by the sheer density of post-its as bookmarks.

Side view of Weiss' Techniques of Pleasure, with many post-its

Side view of Weiss’ Techniques of Pleasure, with many post-its

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Aug 122010

Continuing our discussion of A Man Called Horse, consider the Kyle Stone novel The Initiation of PB 500, parts of which were first published in Torso magazine in 1993.

Going by this excerpt and what I recall from skimming it years ago, PB 500 largely follows the first act of Horse: space pilot crashes, gets captured by primitive warrior culture, etc. However, the homoeroticism and sadomasochism that is implicit in Horse is quite explicit in PB 500. It also follows the initiatory structure I talked about (witness the title), but with a twist. Horse follows the hero’s journey plan, while PB 500 manages to have it both ways: the protagonist becomes both sex slave and warrior/assassin.

Micah strode along the silent corridor like a warrior going into battle. He was a warrior, he reminded himself, although the Commander’s guards would see only a naked slave. A painted harlot bought and paid for by an alien chief. Under the long blond hair held in place by a blue band, his back bore the scars of his master’s whip. Proud scars. But they could never understand.

Micah clenched his teeth and thought of his master, the hard dark man who demanded so much of him, who owned him body and soul. Time and time again Micah had demonstrated that he would do anything for Attlad. Surely this was the ultimate test? This evening when he had been forced to go so much against his own nature? What he would do next, was nothing, compared to this.

The Erskan Chronicles series of books by K. McVey is yet another variation on this premise, though in a femdom-malesub setting. This is a great premise for forcing a character into another culture with radically different sexual mores, so naturally it is used repeatedly. Though I think it is more commonly used in science fiction or fantasy settings than in contemporary settings. Still, it is essentially the same kind of story you could find more than 100 years ago.