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Sources Of BDSM Culture: Dominant And Submissive Definitions In Books

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What is the best way to start delving into the world of BDSM? We’ve chosen the variant of studying original sources and inquiring into emotional experience of these books protagonists. This is an unpainful, safe and useful way to better understanding of one’s personal fantasies. Thus the article is coming as a review of cult books that unveil the realm of BDSM: Philosophy in the Boudoir, Venus in Furs and Story of O.

When reading these works, we penetrate into feelings and actions of the characters and their transformations. It feels like walking in their shoes, getting the inner sensing and understanding of the definition of dominant and submissive. A truly practical, not mere theoretical, experience that is complemented by a delighting bonus: finding the books to be replete with refined variants of BDSM-kinks list.

An additional value of these books is implied by non-public character of the BDSM culture that turns the idea of studying it without becoming a part of it into an almost infeasible venture.

Marquis de Sade, Philosophy in the Boudoir, 1795

Dominant—Dolmancé, Madame de Saint-Ange, subEugénie.

“Be certain I’ll spare nothing to pervert her...”

The plot: an experienced and voluptuous Madame de Saint-Ange conceives some piquant amusement: she wants to give erotic lessons to her lover’s young daughter, mademoiselle Eugénie. Madame calls to be assisted by her cousin Le Chevalier de Mirval who accompanies her in their joint debaucheries, and his lover Dolmancé.

The novel unfolds as a sequence of sophisticated sexual experiments that come in totally unexpected combinations (even for Pornhub regular subscribers). They are complemented with characters’ philosophic dialogues in that they discuss pleasure, religion, violence, incest, manipulations, lie and power—the subjects that progressively proceed into the concepts of dominance, submission, sadism and serving.

It takes young Eugénie just one day, filled with sex and philosophy, to totally accept the ideas and lifestyle of her teachers. The story is finished by arrival of Eugénie’s mother and young lady’s getting even. Eugénie takes out for false moralizing and hyped-up ethical notions that mother had been trying to embed into the girl.

The book: The novel’s complex literary stylistic represents the time of its writing. The author describes not only pleasures but also the ways to attain them while omitting the stages of self-dissonance and self-condemnation, and without coming in conflict with social norms. Dominance is manifested in the process of teaching and in showing moral negligence. The book exposes refined forms of domination by both male and female characters. Erotic scenes are heavy with explicit details and diversity of the moments.

Although the signs of sado-maso sexual scenario can be traced in some earlier texts like, for instance, Kamasutra, it was Marquis de Sade whom we owe the emergence of the term “sadism”. However, his characters fail to obey the primary rule of the contemporary BDSM-practice—the rule of consent (voluntary basis).

The original text was written in French. The novel was screened in 1969, in 1970 by Jesus Franco, and in 1989—by Henri Xhonneux. The screen version of 2004 was directed by Aurelio Grimaldi.

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs, 1870

SubmissiveSeverin, dominant—Wanda von Dunajew.

...love you more and more madly the worse you treat me...”

The plot: The main male character shares with his friend a manuscript with a record of his old-time story. Sensitive Severin writes about his infatuation with a park statue of Venus that he sees to be a cruel goddess of love. One day his widow neighbor (Wanda von Dunajew) learns about his weird passion to the sculptured Venus. She starts teasing Severin pretending herself to be a statue.

Severin falls in love with his neighbor. He implores her to take him as a slave. First Wanda rejects the plan fearing the power thrill she might get. But finally she agrees. They travel to Florence. Severin signs the “slavery papers”, while Wanda becomes very ingenious in humiliating her sub. For instance, she orders he serves her and her fellow at dinner. During the trip Wanda falls in love with another man whom she talks into whipping the tied Severin. Wanda escapes with her new lover. Three years later she writes a letter to Severin explaining her motives of the getaway. Severin offers his friend the resume of the game they had with Wnda.

The book: You can render the plot in a couple of sentences, but you definitely cannot do the same with feelings. When reading the description of Severin’s universe, you understand how different it is from the stereotype that today represents a masochist. The book defines and illustrates the role of submissive in a very genuine and sensual manner. It reveals his introspections. Unveils the fine and innermost need of the protagonist to worship, idolize, submit, abandon and die at the feet of the admired object.

It touches on philosophic and moral issues as well as religious prejudices that disallow pleasures. It suggests refined estheticism of BDSM-kinks selected to the taste of the sub: a naked woman in furs whipping her slave and then provoking his jealousy. The male protagonist commands respect and admiration with his willingness to change in compliance with his dominant’s order. While Wanda is portrayed as a cocktail of sensuality, almost maternal tenderness and severity.

“Masochism” as a notion originates from the name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The book, just like the rest of his works, represents the way ecstasy is born from pain and humiliation.

The book was written in German. The novel was filmed by Jesus Franco in 1969 and by Victor Nieuwenhuijs & Maartje Seyferth in 1995, while in 2013 Roman Polansky introduced his screen version of the story.

Dominique Aury, Story of O, 1954

Submissive—О, dominants—Rene, Sir Stephen.

“…so great was his pleasure in extracting, or having the others extract, from her this unquestionable proof of his power…”

The plot: The female protagonist O is in love with Rene who sends his woman to be taught in a secret club–chateau Roissy–in the suburbs of Paris. The chateau is actually a BDSM community in that O is dominated, tormented and planted love for masochism in most various manners. When taken back home by her lover, O is already humble and obedient.

Rene introduces O to Sir Stephen and presents her to him. Now it is Sir Stephen who owns O and continues teaching her the art of being submissive, although O still loves Rene. During the next initiation she is assigned the task of whipping a woman. O enjoys the process.  After a while O seduces Jaqcueline, her model, who agrees to visit chateau Roissy.

The final part alludes O’s eventual transition into dominants. There are two versions of the novel ending: she turns back to the chateau or commits suicide after the permission granted by Sir Stephen. The book has a sequel but its authorship is called into question.

The book: Of all sources that we have found on the subject the book has the richest list of BDSM-kinks. It includes confinement in a cell, self-deprivation, flagellation, taming one’s pride, the power of masochist who has nothing to lose etc; here they hand their lovers to other people as a present, and it is not only body that is dominated over, but will as well.

The plot is almost net of philosophic speculations and is replete with actions and events, turning the book into an easy-read. The characters are original and elaborate. The details of erotic scenes are explicitly sensual.

The book was screened in 1975 by Just Jaeckin, while Eric Rochat did it in 1992. In 1984 Rochat also filmed the second book, Return to the Chateau, Continuing the story of O. The original book was written in French.

Why read books on BDSM and what you do after the reading?

Some books describe feelings that BDSM practitioners get in the process of their experiments, and tell about their follow-up transformations. So when getting to know the BDSM culture through the prism of books you understand this to be rather a philosophic practice than a physical one. BDSM is a philosophy of sensuality that values emotional experience, sensing and perception, the ability to trust and give in. It is something beyond mere whipping: things are much more interesting and exquisite.

In addition to understanding the motives of themed sex adherents, any books describing sexual games help the reader understand their fantasies. If turned on by a book plot and details, maybe you have found your kink?

With every new book on some type of sexual game we reflect whether it leaves us with desire to get a deeper insight into the subject. Thus we get a better idea of our next coveted experiment: what, where and with whom we want things to happen.

Our careful dive into the realm of BDSM shall be continued by a review of BDSM movies. As to description of different types of fantasies, read them in the article  A List Of Kinks To Explore Your Sexual Fantasies.

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