QotD: Audre Lorde on sadomasochism

The s/m concept of “vanilla” sex is sex devoid of passion. They are saying that there can be no passion without unequal power. That feels very sad and lonely to me, and destructive. The linkage of passion to dominance/subordination is the prototype of the heterosexual image of male-female relationships, one which justifies pornography. Women are supposed to love being brutalized. This is also the prototypical justification of all relationships of oppression — that the subordinate one who is “different” enjoys the inferior position.

Audre Lorde

(Found at the Bewilderness)


7 responses

  1. It’s so weird how the ‘intersectional’ third-wavers like to claim Audre Lorde as one of their own. Anyone who has read any of her work should be able to see that her rigorous interrogation of the political context of the ‘choices’ we make in a sexist, racist, homophobic and capitalist society is utterly antithetical to the libertarian principles espoused by the third-wave. I mean, she was a slut-shaming, sex-negative cis-priviliged lesbian who didn’t respect women’s agency! It’s almost like third-wavers don’t actually bother to read the women whose names they like to drop as proof of their ‘intersectionality’, hmmm…

    I really like this passage, which introduces the same interview that is quoted above (from A Burst of Light: Essays by Audre Lorde). Lorde just demolishes the arguments of the proponents of sadomasochism, exposing in the most profound and eloquent way the patriarchal, white-supremicist and capitalistic heart of BDSM that lies behind all the rebellious posturing:

    “Without a rigorous and consistent evaluation of what kind of a future we wish to create, and a scrupulous examination of the expressions of power we choose to incorporate into all our relationships including our most private ones, we are not progressing, but merely recasting our own characters in the same old weary drama…S/M is not the sharing of power, it is merely a depressing replay of the old and destructive dominant/subordinate mode of human relating and one-sided power, which is even now grinding our earth and our human consciousness into dust.”


  2. Thank you for posting this quote.

  3. It’s a good one isn’t it!

  4. Need to read more Audre Lorde.

  5. Right on!

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