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QOTD

'Although [Sade] documented his sexual fantasies with an unequalled diligence, and these fantasies delight in the grisliest tortures (even if, in the context of his fictions, he creates an inverted ethical superstructure to legitimise these cruelties) his own sexual practice in life remains relatively obscure. From the evidence of the two court cases in which he was involved, the affair of Rose Keller in 1768 and the charges made against him by a group of Marseilles prostitutes in 1772, he seems to have enjoyed both giving and receiving whippings; voyeurism; anal intercourse, both active and passive; and the presence of an audience at these activities. These are not particularly unusual sexual preferences, though they are more common as fantasies, and are always very expensive if purchased. When they take place in private, the law usually ignores them even when they are against the law, just as it turns a blind eye to wife beating and recreational bondage. Sade, however, seems to have been incapable of keeping his vices private, as if he was aware of their exemplary nature and, perhaps, since the notion of sin, of transgression, was essential to his idea of pleasure, which is always intellectual, never sensual, he may have needed to invoke the punishment of which he consciously denied the validity before he could feel the act itself had been accomplished.' (Angela Carter, The Sadeian Woman, 1978)

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