Join the Conversation

Join the Conversation

Sign up today to hear about books and authors from an independent bookstore near you.

Techniques of Pleasure

Techniques of Pleasure Cover

Techniques of Pleasure

BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality

By Margot Weiss

Duke University Press, Paperback, 9780822351597, 315pp.

Publication Date: December 20, 2011

Advertisement
Description
Techniques of Pleasure is a vivid portrayal of the San Francisco Bay Area's pansexual BDSM (SM) community. Margot Weiss conducted ethnographic research at dungeon play parties and at workshops on bondage, role play, and flogging, and she interviewed more than sixty SM practitioners. She describes a scene devoted to a form of erotic play organized around technique, rules and regulations, consumerism, and self-mastery. Challenging the notion that SM is inherently transgressive, Weiss links the development of commodity-oriented sexual communities and the expanding market for sex toys to the eroticization of gendered, racialized, and national inequalities. She analyzes the politics of BDSM's spectacular performances, including those that dramatize heterosexual male dominance, slave auctions, and US imperialism, and contends that the SM scene is not a safe space separate from real-world inequality. It depends, like all sexual desire, on social hierarchies. Based on this analysis, Weiss theorizes late-capitalist sexuality as a circuit one connecting the promise of new emancipatory pleasures to the reproduction of raced and gendered social norms.


About the Author
Margot Weiss is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at Wesleyan University.
Advertisement