The Rapture

Those who have never attempted it usually don't understand that sadism . . . involves . . . an attempt to be good. Tops in S/M land don't do what they do simply for the joy of punishing, but also for the joy of punishing without hurting. . . . In fact, most S/M scenes have no genital contact for the top. If there is an orgasm . . . it is much more likely to be the bottom's.

Again, I found myself questioning this generalization. Maybe she didn't take s/m far enough.

Minkowitz has the talent and courage to be a much better writer, but first she will have to absorb her theoretical armament, get her defenses down into her core, like, say, Joan Didion, who looks passive but can be devastating. Minkowitz may lay claim to meanness, but, as the above passage indicates, she is closet-tender, a cream puff. Study of Didion's essays might teach her how to seduce and violate the reader's point of view.

Heavenly bawdy: Donna Minkowitz fumbles toward ecstasy.
Sylvia Plachy
Heavenly bawdy: Donna Minkowitz fumbles toward ecstasy.

Details

Ferocious Romance: What My Encounters With the Right Taught Me About Sex, God, and Fury
By Donna Minkowitz
Free Press, 175 pp., $24
Buy this book

Minkowitz ends Ferocious Romance like this: "I've had to disarm myself to get inside this land. I took off my weapons, and my incense too. And as my feet dipped in the velvety grass I could see that there was no redeemer. No enslaver. Only other people. I approached them with great joy." Lyrical as these lines are, they're also cryptic and ungrounded, and oddly reminiscent of science fiction. The reader doesn't know whether Minkowitz's velvety grass is in the fields of the lord or in her own backyard or both, and, by God, the question matters.

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