This is not a fleshed-out theory, but rather something I always found intriguing. I'm not asserting it in any serious way. But the idea that she's an ex-BDSMer, someone who had erotic submission go bad in her personal life and that fed into her theories of what sex meant, what intercourse meant, what porn meant, what submission meant, intrigues me. So I thought I'd share.
I was happier when we moved from dolls to canasta, gin rummy, poker, and strip poker. The children on the street developed a collective secret life, a half dozen games of sex and dominance that we played, half in front of our mothers' eyes, half in a conspiracy of hiding. And we played Red Rover and Giant Steps, appropriating the whole block from traffic. And there was always ball, in formal games, or alone to pass the time, against brick walls, against the cement stoops. I liked the sex-and-dominance games, which could be overtly sadomasochistic, because I liked the risk and the intensity; and I liked ordinary games like hide-and-seek.
Also, O [as in, the character in The Story of O] is particularly compelling for me because I once believed it to be what its defenders claim--the mystical revelation of the true, eternal, and sacral destiny of women. The book was absorbed as a pulsating, erotic, secular Christianity (the joy in pure suffering, woman as Christ figure). I experienced O with the same infantile abandon as the NEWSWEEK reviewer who wrote: "What lifts this fascinating book above mere perversity is its movement toward the transcendence of the self through a gift of the self . . . to give the body, to allow it to be ravaged, exploited, and totally possessed can be an act of consequence, if it is done with love for the sake of love."
And these, from a work of fiction... not sure how much they reveal, but they seem consistent with the other two:
I was a person who always had her legs open, whose breast was always warm and accommodating, who derived great pleasure from passion with tenderness, without tenderness, with brutality, with violence, with anything any man had to offer.These few snippets -- and again, I'm not saying they paint a whole picture of a whole person -- suggest to me that maybe AD was particularly fulfilled by a certain sort of submission to men. A fulfillment and a joy that fell apart when her dominant partner turned abusive. Here's the novel again:
I was a person who always had her legs open, who lived entirely from minute to minute, from man to man. I was a person who did not know that there was real malice in the world, or that people were driven--to cruelty, to vengeance, to rage. I had no notion at all of the damage that people sustain and how that damage drives them to do harm to others.
I was a person who was very much a woman, who had internalized certain ways of being and of feeling, ways given to her through books, movies, the full force of media and culture--and through the real demands of real men.
I was a person who was very much a woman, accomodating, adoring of mens bodies, needful, needing above all to be fucked, to be penetrated, loving that moment more than any other.
I was a person who was very much a woman, who loved men, who loved to be fucked, who gloried in cock, who called every sexual act, tender, violent, brutal, the same name, "lovemaking."
....I was happy. I loved you. I was consumed by my love for you. It was as if I breathed you instead of the air. Sometimes I felt a peace so great that I thought it would lift me off the earth. I felt in you and through you and because of you. Later, when you were so much a part of me that I didnt know where you ended and I began, I would still sometimes step back and marvel at yr physical beauty. Sometimes I would think that my life would be complete if I would always be able to look at you.
I dont know exactly when or why yr anger took explicit sexual forms. You began fucking me in the ass, brutally, brutally. I began to have rectal bleeding. I told you, I implored you. You ignored my screams of pain, my whispers begging you to stop. You said, a woman who loves a man stands the pain. I was a woman who loved a man; I submitted, screamed, cried out, submitted. To refuse was, I thought, to lose you, and any pain was smaller than that pain, or even the contemplation of that pain. I wondered even then, how can he take such pleasure when I am in such pain. My pain increased, and so did yr pleasure.All this suggests to me that maybe she was someone who really liked domination and submission, at least as a sexual game or spice, and that someone using that to abuse her destroyed a part of her spirit and she's writing from that hurt: "Don't you other women see where this led me, and will lead you, no matter how good it feels now?"
Once you stopped speaking to me (had I resisted in some way?). When finally (was it a day or two?) you came to me I waited for an explanation. Instead you touched me, wanting to fuck me, as if no explanation were necessary, as if I was yrs to take, no matter what. Had I been strong enough, I would have killed you with my bare hands. As it was, you were weak in yr surprise, and I hurt yr neck badly. I was glad (Im still glad). We fought the whole night long, with long stretches of awful silence and a desperate despair. In the course of that night you told me that we would marry. It was towards morning, and after you had raped me as is the way with men who are locked in a hatred which is bitter, and without mercy, you said, thats all thats left, to get married, isnt that what people do, isnt this the way that married people feel. Bored and dead and utterly bound to each other. Miserable and sick and without freedom or hope. Yr body moving above me during that rape, my body absolutely still in resistance, my eyes wide open staring at you in resistance, and you said, now Ill fuck you the way I fuck a whore, now youll know the difference, how I loved you before and how I hate you now. I said, numb and dead and dying, no, I wont marry you, I cant stand this, its worse than anything. You said, we cant be apart, youll see, it wont be so bad. I remember that then you lay between my legs, both of us on our backs, and we didnt move until dawn. Then you left.
To me that gives a quite plausible explanation for why she'd be so against it the rest of her life: that it IS in fact attractive, but brought her misery, so her role is to warn everyone of the hidden horror.