October 30, 2024

Halloween, 2024


...we must in these acts seek to ascertain the relation in which pain and lust stand to each other. From the statement of a masochist it is as follows--

The relation is not of such a nature that what causes physical pain is here simply perceived as physical pleasure, for the person in a state of masochistic ecstasy feels no pain, either because, by reason of his emotional state (like that of the soldier in battle), the physical effect on his cutaneous nerves is not apperceived, or because (as with religious martyrs and enthusiasts), in the preoccupation of consciousness with lustful emotion, the idea of maltreatment remains merely a symbol, without its quality of pain. -- Richard von Krafft-Ebbing, Psychopathia Sexualis: With Especial Reference to the Antipathic Sexual Instinct (1886)


Little light is thrown upon the genesis of masochism by our discussion of the beating-phantasy. To begin with, there seem to be a confirmation of the view that masochism is not the manifestation of a primary instinct, but originates from sadism which has been turned round and directed upon the self, that is to say, by means of regression from an object to the ego. Instincts with a passive aim must be taken for granted as existing, especially among women. But passivity is not the whole of maschosim. The characteristic of "pains" [Unlust] belongs to it as well,--a bewildering accompaniment to the gratification of an instinct. The transformation of sadism into mascochism appears to be due to the influence of the sense of guilt concerned in the act of repression. -- Sigmund Freud, "A Child Is Being Beaten" (1919)


In the foregoing proposition there is a basic truth: taboos founded on terror are not only there to be obeyed. There is always another side to the matter. It is always a temptation to knock down a barrier; the forbidden action takes on a significance it lacks before fear widens the gap between us and it and invests it with an aura of excitement. "There is nothing," writes de Sade, "that can set bounds to licentiousness...The best way of enlarging and multiplying one's desires is to try to limit them." Georges Bataille, Erotism: Death and Sensuality (1957)


SM opens weird, scary and fantastic places in us, and makes them into erotic fountainheads for us and for the people we love. Many people want those places kept shut. They suspect human nature, that people tend toward corruption, and to get out of touch with reality. These are also the basic ideas of authoritarianism. All authoritarian religions and political systems see tendencies toward corruption and disconnection from reality - often a "higher" reality, defined by themselves, and so abstract as to defy testing. -- Don Miesen, Society of Janus (1982)


Sexuality would not be originally an exchange of intensities between individuals but rather a condition of broken negotiations with the world, a condition in which others merely set off the self-shattering mechanisms of masochistic jouissance. -- Leo Bersani, The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art (1986)

it is primarily the denigration of the sexual into a relationship that condemns sexuality to becoming a struggle for power. -- Leo Bersani, "Is the Rectum a Grave?" (1987)


Posted by jason at October 30, 2024 01:05 PM

I get it--the intellectual quotations make it all less creepy and yucky!

Posted by: glen at October 30, 2024 10:18 PM
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