Posts tagged ‘Sexuality’

September 10, 2012

Samuel Delany on Sex and Prose

by Biblioklept

From Samuel Delany’s interview with Paris Review last year

INTERVIEWER

You describe learning, as a young teenager, that a sexual fantasy you hadn’t yet written down could be eked out for a number of days or even weeks, whereas putting it on the page—using what you call “the whole narrative excess we think of as realism”—would make it briefly far more exciting, but then leach it of all subsequent erotic charge. Do you still feel that tug between the urge to put something into language and the urge to fend off writing?

DELANY

I still feel that style is important for reading pleasure, and sex is important for pleasure in life. Each appeases a different type of desire. And while I find nothing shameful in taking direct erotic pleasure from reading or writing, I don’t think they entail a necessary relation. The processes you have me describing are contingent psychological processes. Neither marks one end nor the other of any necessary or even philosophical relationship. Do I still feel the tug between the urge to put something into writing and the urge to fend it off? Less so as I get older. I shall always be able to come up with new fantasies. As long as there are people walking around in the street, as long as I have books to read and windows to look out of, I’m not going to use them up. I assume the universe will go on providing me with many more. The man I’ve lived quite happily with for twenty-two years provides me with much of my sexual satisfaction, physical and psychological. But, no, not all—thank Deus sive Natura, to borrow a phrase from Spinoza. Nor do I provide all his. What an unachievable responsibility!

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August 5, 2012

“Brief Interview #30″ — David Foster Wallace

by Biblioklept

 

B.I. #30 03-97 DRURY UT

‘I have to admit it was a big reason for marrying her, thinking I wasn’t likely going to do better than this because of the way she had a good body even after she’d had a kid. Trim and good and good legs—she’d had a kid but wasn’t all blown out and veiny and sagged. It probably sounds shallow, but it’s the truth. I’d always had this major dread of marrying some good-looking woman and then we have a kid and it blows her body out but I still have to have sex with her because this is who I’ve signed on to have sex with the whole rest of my life. This probably sounds awful, but in her case it was like she was pre-tested—the kid didn’t blow her body out, so I knew she’d be a good bet to sign on and have kids with and still try to have sex. Does that sound shallow? Tell me what you think. Or does the real truth about this kind of thing always sound shallow, you know, everybody’s real reasons? What do you think? How does it sound?’

“Brief Interview #30″ by David Foster Wallace. From  Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

 

July 5, 2012

“I Want a Third Pill” — Slavoj Žižek on The Matrix, Fantasy, Sexuality, and Video Games

by Biblioklept
March 6, 2012

Michel Houellebecq: “I Still Haven’t Made Up My Mind Whether Sex Is Good or Not”

by Biblioklept

Michel Houellebecq talks sex, frustration, and prostitution in his 2010 Paris Review interview:

INTERVIEWER

Of course, it was the numerous sex scenes that got you a lot of attention in the media.

HOUELLEBECQ

I’m not sure that there are such an unusual number of sex scenes in my novel.
I don’t think that’s what was shocking. What shocked people was that I
depicted sexual failure. I wrote about sexuality in a nonglorifying way. Most of all I described a basic reality: a person filled with sexual desire who can’t satisfy it. That’s what people don’t like to hear about. Sex is supposed to be positive. Showing frustrated sexual desire is obscene. But it’s also the truth. The real question is, Who is allowed to have sex? I don’t understand, for example, how teachers survive with all these alarming young girls. When women become sexual tourists, that is even more hidden, shameful, and taboo than when men do it. Just as, when a woman professor puts her hand on a student’s thigh, it’s even worse, even more unspeakable.

INTERVIEWER

A constant refrain in your novels is that sex and money are the dominant values of this world.

HOUELLEBECQ

It’s strange, I’m fifty years old and I still haven’t made up my mind whether sex is good or not. I have my doubts about money too. So it’s odd that I’m considered an ideological writer. It seems to me that I am mostly exposing my doubts. I do have certain convictions. For example, the fact that you can pay a girl, that I think is a good thing. Undeniably. An immense sign of progress.

INTERVIEWER

You mean prostitutes?

HOUELLEBECQ

Yes. I’m all for prostitution.

INTERVIEWER

Why?

HOUELLEBECQ

Because everybody wins. It doesn’t interest me personally, but I think it’s a good thing. A lot of British and Americans pay for it. They’re happy. The girls are happy. They make a lot of money.

INTERVIEWER

How do you know that the girls are happy?

HOUELLEBECQ

I talk to them. It’s very difficult because they don’t really speak English, but I talk to them.

INTERVIEWER

What about the more commonly held idea that these women are victims who are forced into these circumstances?

HOUELLEBECQ

It’s not true. Not in Thailand. It’s just stupid to have objections about it.

October 6, 2010

“Things Like Kidnapping the Sex Slave” — William T. Vollmann Speaks of Women

by Biblioklept

More from The Paris Review’s vaults. Highlights from William T. Vollmann’s 2000 interview (the entire thing is precious. Just precious) –

VOLLMANN: One of the things that I had to do occasionally while I was collecting information for that prostitute story, “Ladies and Red Lights” from The Rainbow Stories, was sit in a corner and pull down my pants and masturbate. I would pretend to do this while I was asking the prostitutes questions. Because otherwise, they were utterly afraid of me and utterly miserable, thinking I was a cop.

. . .

I kept thinking when I first began writing that my female characters were very weak and unconvincing. What is the best way to really improve that? I thought, Well, the best way is to have relationships with a lot of different women. What’s the best way to do that? It’s to pick up whores.

. . .

Also, I often feel lonely.

. . .

I almost never sleep with American prostitutes any more, unless they really want me to—if they are going to get hurt if I don’t.

. . .

Anyway, so when I was in Thailand, I went to a town in the south and bought a young girl for the night. This awful brothel—one of these places hidden behind a flowershop with all these tunnels and locked doors and stuff—was like a prison. I tried to help a couple of the girls but you just can’t get them out. I tried and I couldn’t. I made the mistake of going to the police, trying to have the police get them out—all that did was nearly get them arrested and put in jail, because the police are paid off. I managed to get the raid called off by taking all the cops out to dinner and buying them Johnnie Walker. I bought this fourteen-year-old girl and got her in a truck and drove like hell to Bangkok. I was with this other girl at the time—Yhone-Yhone, a street prostitute, a very happy one. She was my interpreter. She put the fourteen-year-old girl at ease and got her to trust me. We got her set up at a school run by a relative of the king of Thailand. I went up north, met her father, gave him some money, and got a receipt for his daughter. He didn’t know she’d been sold to a brothel. When I met him and told him he said, Oh. I didn’t know that, but, well, whatever she wants. He’s not a bad guy, just a total loser. He’s a former Chiang Kai-shek soldier. They’re all squatters there in Thailand. They can’t read or write. He lives on dried dogs and dried snakes.

INTERVIEWER: You own his daughter?

VOLLMANN: That’s right. I own her. She doesn’t particularly like me, but she was really happy to be out of that place. She loves the school. It’s sort of a vocational school. It’s called something like the Center for the Promotion of the Status of Women. Many former prostitutes are in there.

. . .

The common motif is just prostitution and love.

. . .

I want to take some responsibility and act as well as write. I don’t mean to be an actor, but rather to accomplish things . . . do things that will help people somehow . . . things like kidnapping the sex slave. It would be great if I could make my contribution to abolishing the automobile or eliminating television or something like that.

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