Her adult sexuality is elaborated upon this psychic core: she is receptive, she is open, she is giving, and what touches her most powerfully in sexual intimacy is to be commanded, taken, used, even forced to suffer because even in suffering she is loved. She learns the equation of suffering = pleasure in those very early interchanges in which she experienced the flush of pleasure in being of service to her family. The more she had to suffer, the more she had to put aside her own needs in order to “be good”, the greater perhaps is this connection, and the more overtly masochistic the submissive may be.
I remember how much this essay — now twelve years old — completely blew my mind when I was first exploring BDSM. It’s precisely the kind of writing about sexuality in general and BDSM in particular I’d love to see more of, though there isn’t much of it. I was and remain fascinated by how our sexuality is shaped and formed, and how our interactions with the world as adults fit in (or don’t) with our ability to have vibrant, authentic sex lives.