A taste for pain: On masochism and female sexuality

ISBN 10: 0312786190 / ISBN 13: 9780312786199
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Synopsis: Female masochism is a fundamental and disturbing subject. Yet masochism, both sexual and emotional, marks a blind spot in feminist literature.

Maria Marcus, a noted Danish feminist, thought about this problem for years before she could bring herself to write this book. Even when she was finished, she was not sure if she should publish it under her own name.

'A Taste for Pain' describes her struggle to understand and come to terms with the various forms of masochism that have seemed to shape her emotional makeup from earliest childhood. Although her approach starts out as personal, her outlook and conclusions are universal.

Ms. Marcus explores the thought of such eminent psychologists as Freud, Horney, Kinsey, and Reich. She looks at the relationship between pleasure and pain and wonders whether a 'masochist' really needs a 'sadist.' She examines the leading works of important feminists such as Simone de Beauvoir, Germain Greer, and Kate Millett. She looks closely at the classics of sado-mascochistic pornography from de Sade to 'The Story of O.' She does all this in her search for the answer to the basic, nagging question: is masochism, with its elements of passivity and helplessness, pat of woman's essential nature or is it a part of a dangerous process of socialization?

Language Notes: Text: English, Danish (translation)

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