|Venus in Furs|
I had a student job in a highstreet bookstore. When things were quiet, I'd get a guilty thrill looking up kinky works in Books in Print. (This involved using a microfiche - actual microfilm reference cards you had to consult through a special viewer.)
And, OMG, Venus in Furs turned up in the catalogue! The book by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch who'd given his name to what I was: "a masochist".
I'd read about the book in a history of sexuality, but never really thought of it as something I might own, let alone read. I had to have it.
So I dithered, and obsessed and finally - betting that the nice ladies in the order department wouldn't know what it was - ordered it.
Weeks of guilty waiting... and it arrived.
It was everything I'd hoped for and more, and much less.
Let me explain.
|Femdom as something mythic, |
darkly poetic and primal
As a work of erotica, it's a failure. There are several sensual events, but delivered in summary. Only the whippings and beatings get loving detail.
As an erotic romance, it's both engaging and uncomfortably realistic. The lovers struggle and fail to get the dynamic right. All the classic femdom relationship tragedies are here.
Wanda is a dominant woman. She is at once drawn to what we now call Femdom, and at the same time ambivalent about following somebody else's script.
Meanwhile, Severin is the archetypal pushy sub: Me me me do it this way I want you to spontaneously dominate me but in the way I imagine me me me ME! ME!
|He doesn't know what an empowered |
woman looks like...
He also - and this is a classic thing - thinks of a dominant woman as so very Other that he has to other himself in order to be with her. He doesn't get that a real dominant woman is most likely to want a considerate lover, companionship and a wider life*. So he presents himself as a willing servant with "benefits" and harsh discipline.
*This is one reason why my Femdom erotica generally has the dominant female form a lesbian relationship.
The result is a realistically predictable train wreck of a relationship, except in that Severin gets his homoerotic payoff, which we vaguely suspect is the point of the exercise.
It would have been nice - useful! - if Sacher-Masoch had shown how the romance could work out and had them end up in a stable Female Led Relationship with heaps of Femdom in the bedroom.
But no, the original Masochist was also an emotional masochist. On some level he wanted the disaster at the end. The novel is an articulation of his sexuality, but he doesn't appear to have learned anything in the writing of it. Go read about his life. It's excruciating.
We're left with a picture of a writer and a protagonist for whom women are just a means to an end. He wants his experience, and damn the fallout for other people.
|Wanda remains herself throughout.|
Submission - Femdom - is presented as something mythic, darkly poetic and primal.
We open with a dream vision of the Goddess Venus in furs (duh!) by the fireside. Then there's a mesmerising sequence in snow-covered parkland where Severin discovers the statue of Venus also draped in furs.
Wanda and Severin try to do Femdom for real. Wanda remains herself throughout. She doesn't have recourse to pornodomme speak ("My Divine Will shall be imposed on my Grovelling Worm of a Slave... etc").
It took me a million miles away from the stock 1980s PVC and rubber Personal Services image of BDSM ("have you been a naughty boy?") and gave my sexuality back its dignity.
So I'm glad I read this book when I did, but wish I'd had something a bit more informative to read...
Learn how to how to walk the same Femdom path with your partner!
CLICK HERE to download my Femdom Erotica (all written while chaste!)