Sadomasochism: between fantasies and realities

SEXUALITY – It will be understood, the sadomasochistic fantasy is the most widespread of the world because it conceals all the procrastination of our unconscious construction: to be the pure object of the other, to let oneself completely take charge, to be totally penetrated of its power and to remain forever the master of his soul.

I had the bad surprise on my return from vacation to find affixed to my closet the following plate:

Sexist Charlatan. Specialty phallocracy. Graduate of the Great Patriarchal School of France. Consultation not recommended for women.

This charming epitaph was accompanied by a pamphlet, slipped into all the mailboxes of the building, explaining to whoever wanted to read it what had set fire to the powder: I had been questioned in the newspaper of France Inter on the controversy that surrounded the release of the film of Fran├žois Ozon Young and pretty, controversy on the “fantasies of prostitution”. I then said in substance: “we can have the fantasy of being raped, some women have this fantasy, which makes them enjoy, but that’s not why they want to be raped .. . ”

For the authors of the leaflet, “to maintain the fantasy of rape, is to validate the free access to the bodies of women by making men guilty of any responsibility for their actions”.

Phallocrate sexist, so … Devil! I must admit that for someone who had always accompanied the women’s liberation movements, who had practiced abortions, then outlaws, during her first years of medical study, which was invited the week next, with great fanfare, at the Economic and Social Council, to open the day of Equality, the blow was a little rough. I realized that I probably needed more pedagogy when I tackled the thorny subject of “fantasies”.

Fortunately, the news of the summer was going to bring water to my mill: the magazine Forbes has indeed revealed on August 12 that Mrs. EL James, blessed author of the soft-porn 50 shades of Gray was the writer who had made the most money between June 2012 and June 2013, making millions of housewives dream around the world. This book, 80% bought by women, has seen the e-book format play a decisive role in this success as thunderous as planetary, allowing readers to get this book whose reputation sulphurous very discreet and devour it away from prying eyes.

This novel, as everyone knows, tells the story of the adventures of a submissive woman, beaten, tied up, humiliated, assaulted for her greatest pleasure. Must we deduce that millions of women in the world have REALLY want to be beaten, humiliated, abused? Of course not ! And yet this fantasy conceals, obviously, an incontestable exciting power. In the same way that when you’re going to shiver at werewolf movies, you do not want them to come and lick you at night.

For a psychoanalyst, a fantasy is precisely in most cases, what we dread, what we do not want to see happen but is nevertheless a source of excitement. It is complicated the unconscious, the envy and the fear, the desire and the disgust, the drive of life and the destructivity are conjugated and are constantly questioned.

For the universe of the “sexual” is developed from our birth: it is that of the blessed infant who discovers while sucking and sucking the first fruits of many subsequent pleasures. From the dawn of life, it is through the experience of the body that we discover the world and feel the bonds that bind us to our surroundings. The psyche will be strengthened on these bodily feelings of pleasure and displeasure, of fusion and separation, of excitement and anguish of abandonment. We learn to play with our body and to play the erotic power of the carnal bond with the other.

All adult sexuality leads us to reconnect with these primordial sensations. Fantasies are then imaginary scenarios that are born in the unconscious thought of these children confronted with the great enigmas of the world: if my mother leaves, will she abandon me or die? If my dad scolds me, will he annihilate and destroy me? If it’s too dark it’s going to bring the big bad wolf? What good is this thing between my legs that seems to attract the attention of others? Can I get it off or can it fall? And why do not I have one ?? All the excitations of the first interrogations on the sexual organs, the enigma of the difference of the sexes and what it serves, articulate with primitive anxieties of intrusion, of abandonment, of penetration … and with the quest for love of his parents or those who take their place.

The frame of the fantasy was updated by Freud in the famous scene “a child is beaten”: I am the one who looks (and who enjoys) to see my father beat a child that I hate, I am this child abused by my father, he beats me because he hates me, he beats me because he loves me and wants to enjoy me, I enjoy this love … all these unconscious reversals lead us to occupy on the fantasy scene the roles of all the protagonists: humiliation turns into triumph, passivity into activity, and submission becomes the paradoxical jubilee of domination.

This triumph of reversal has always nourished an abundant literature that fixes men and women in immutable places: Pygmalion in love becomes the toy of his creature, Pretty woman sees himself throw his micheton distraught, and Anastasia Steel, not do not doubt, will reign over the heart of Christian Gray for eternity. We find all the avatars in the nonsense of the Harlequin collection. A feminine fantasy unfolds, that of the sleeping beauty who governs the heart of his prince charming; that, largely dissected by Lacan, of the slave who seeks a master over whom to reign.

It will be understood, the sadomasochistic fantasy is the most widespread in the world because it conceals all the procrastination of our unconscious construction: to be the pure object of the other, to let oneself completely take charge, to be totally penetrated with its power and to remain forever the master of his soul. That this fantasy is largely accredited by a culture that assigns women to this triumphal submission does not change anything, any more than the long march towards gender equality: just as we continue to rush to shiver at the movies of horror, more secretly, millions of women (and men) will devour the 50 shades …

And so, let’s reassure ourselves, no more than the sentimental marshmallow of Gray and her sweetheart, the BDSM fantasy has nothing to do with the reality of sadistic and masochistic practices. It is not feelings that fuel sadistic destructiveness. The true sadist is not at all interested in his victim as such, it is enough for him, precisely, that it is canceled and victim. The true sadist does not like or hate his prey, nor does he hate it – through it or instead of it, and because of a mysterious transfer or truncated association – any other object more or less original. In sadomasochism, there is no place either for the passions of melodrama, no place for tragedies bursting with love, jealousy, power or nostalgia … and I would add, no place for sex.

One thing is certain, fantasies are like dreams or nightmares, they remain confined to our innermost thoughts and they should not under any circumstances serve as a justification for the power of men over women and even less, it will be understood to rape or any violence whatsoever.