Category Archives: Research Topics

Sexual Desire: Disorder and Excess?

“We cannot reduce sexual desire to that which is agreeable and beneficent. There is in it an element of disorder and excess which goes as far as to endanger the life of whoever indulges in it.” Georges Bataille, Literature and Evil In the past, when accounts of explicit sexual desire were prohibited and, by necessity, Continue Reading

Transgression in the Context of Contemporary Erotica

“Prohibition and transgression are born at once, because the prohibition draws attention to that which it controls” (Roberts-Hughes). It’s hard to imagine a well-structured story without a transgression. In a way, all conflict is transgression to the characters who endure it. That transgression might be obvious and socially recognised or personal and eccentric, but conflict Continue Reading

Writing Jouissance: The limits of language & Cheap Imitations

If desire is the pursuit of pleasure, then compulsion is the pursuit of jouissance. While Lacan’s definition of jouissance evolved over time, he succeeded in describing something that lies, in psychoanalytical terms, beyond the Pleasure Principle; the pursuit of something beyond pleasure, beyond socially acceptable consequences, beyond safety of mind or body (Noys 3). It Continue Reading

Realism vs Reality: the foreshortening of meaning.

There’s an interesting article in the Guardian by Tom Sutcliffe on Gaspar Noé’s most recent film ‘Love’. It brings up the interesting question of whether fiction has the capacity to say more to us than reality and, if so, why? Many women prefer erotica over porn, and they are often painted as prudes. Of course, Continue Reading

The Reader / Writer Conspiracy & the Hackneyed Ellipsis of the Real

How might fictional prose be framed in terms of Lacan’s Three Orders? Lacan described the human psyche as operating on three different ‘orders’ or registers: the Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic. As speaking beings, we live in all three orders simultaneously, but not always consciously. They are experiential modes –  ways of experiencing reality Continue Reading

From Sin to Superficiality: Erotic Narratives

Erotic fiction is often narrated in first person, or third person proximate, attempting to give the reader an experience of the story’s eroticism from inside the mind and the body of the narrator. In this way, it has the capacity to do what image-based pornography (which almost always situates the viewer as voyeur) cannot do; Continue Reading

The Safety of Desire

“desire is a defense, a defense against going beyond a limit in jouissance” Jacques Lacan, Ecrits For Lacan, desire and fantasy are the life- and self-preserving strategies we use to keep us from slipping into a mindless and self-destructive pursuit of jouissance. Desires and the fantasies we construct around them are firmly rooted in language. Continue Reading

What Is Not Shown

In her book, Resisting Nudities: A Study in the Aesthetics of Eroticism, Florence Dee Boodakian points out that when it comes to cultural restrictions on nudity, apparent modesties quite often tend to draw attention to what is being ‘hidden'(13). The thong bikini is a case in point: where tiny pieces of cloth actually serve to call attention Continue Reading

Susan Sontag’s Essay on The Pornographic Imagination

Here is The-Pornographic-Imagination-by-Susan-Sontag From her collection of essays in Styles of Radical Wills. There is also a lovely youtube video of a lecture where she talks about the pornographic comedic interchange.

“I’m Not Fucking, I’m Talking to You”, or I Could be Fucking You.

In Lacan’s Seminar on The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, in his attempt to explain how sublimation of desire works and how closely it is tied to language, he says: Sublimation is nonetheless satisfaction of the drive, without repression. In other words —for the moment, I am not fucking, I am talking to you. Well! I Continue Reading