Currently living in France, a French friend recently informed me that Fifty Shades of Grey was child’s play compared to French novels, and that if I wanted to better understand BDSM, novels that try and involve romance alongside it, and the reasons people enter into such relationships, I should read classic French tale ‘The Story of O,’ (L’Histoire d’O).She also gave me Emmanuelle, which I confess, have not yet dared to open.
Second confession – I haven’t actually finished The Story of O. Nor can I honestly say I intend to. O is a successful, attractive young woman, in love with a man named Rene. She agrees to be taken to a chateau on the outskirts of Paris, where she is aware she will be subjected to the fetishes of Rene’s friends. And of fetishes, they have many. Within moments of arriving there, she is blindfolded, and as far as I can make out, raped, every which way possible. She is kept there, before Rene eventually takes her away, and gives her to his friend, Sir Stephen.
I genuinely think I could be down with this sort of thing, if it wasn’t for the constant reminder that O only did it because she loved Rene. She didn’t express any joy at the things done to her, nor does she consent out of any regard for her own pleasure. I think that was my main barrier here. That, and they kept asking her to consent to something before telling her what it was. This was actually where I stopped reading…a big fat labia piercing with a tag on. It sounded beyond painful, and the squeamish side of me that I try to hide came out in force. No freakin’ way could I read it.
All in all, it was an interesting foray into the world of BDSM. For anyone who thinks they may or may not be inclined that way, it is definitely worth a read, even just to better outline a person’s limits.
As previously said, I must conclude that if at any point O had revealed that she liked, enjoyed or even relished any of the things done to her, I may have gained more from the book. But to me, it seemed clear that these activities are better suited to two people of the same persuasion – both partners should be getting pleasure. It shouldn’t be one, man or woman, doing whatever they deem necessary to make their partner happy, and their partner making demands that don’t consider the feelings of the submissive. In truth, it will be a while before I adequately brace myself for Emmanuelle.