Transgression has a long history amongst upper-class males. In eighteenth-century England gentlemen froclicked in the performance of their versions of sadomasochism in the Hellfire Club. Some morals may have been outraged, but the social structure of hetero-patriarchal England did not quiver. Transgression is a pleasure of the powerful, who can imagine themselves deliciously naughty. It depends upon the maintenance of conventional morality. There would be nothing to outrage, and the delicious naughtiness would vanish, if serious social change took place. The transgressors and the moralists depend mutually upon each other, locked in a binary relationship which defeats rather than enables change. Also, transgression depends upon the existence of subordinate others upon whom the sexual transgression can be acted out, mostly prostituted women and boys. It is not a strategy available to the housewife, the prostituted woman, or the abused child. They are the objects of transgression, rather than its subjects.
Sheila Jeffreys, Unpacking Queer Politics
Found at Trouble Making So and So
(I posted this last year, but it’s so good it bears repeating!)