Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Feb 2015 Story of O/Bared to You > Questions for our 2/24 7pm PST hangout HERE!

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message 1: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (last edited Jan 27, 2015 08:44PM) (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
Please post comments/discussions for us to address during our 2/24 hangout!

WARNING: THIS MONTHS THEME IS BSDM SO THESE BOOKS HAVE MAJOR TRIGGERS AND ARE GRAPHIC. So please be warned for reading along.

The hangout will be 7pm PST here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfH2z...

Yay! Kinda :/


message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Lebron | 1 comments I feel like "love" in this book was about "control" more than the actual emotion. With that being said.. Do you believe that Renee procured O for Sir Stephen, just in the way O procured Jacqueline for Renee in the name of "love"?


message 3: by Janessa (new)

Janessa (labyrinth001) Okay, so I admit I'm not going to finish this book. I tried to have an open mind, but I just can't do it. But I do have a question...we have read quite a few books for this hangout that had dominant males. There were many people who had issues with that displayed dominance, even though in the books, the females tended to be turned on by it. Now, we have O, who is completely (in my opinion) dehumanized, beaten, and told she must completely submit to multiple males. But she accepts it because she "loves" her dominant partner. Why is the dominance in this book okay (to a lot of readers) but the much subtler "you are mine" dominance portrayed by males in other books we read such a problem? The female characters are just as accepting of the dominance and find it romantic, but so many times we complain that the man shouldn't be so aggressive. I almost feel like it's a double standard. Why is BSDM dominance allowed to be...I hesitate to say romantic...but any other dominance showed by male characters is frowned upon? Anyone feel free to disagree with me or explain their thoughts, this is just something I was thinking about when reading part of the book. The pick definitely was not my thing but I wanted to give it a shot.


message 4: by Mariko (new)

Mariko True (MarikoTrue) | 32 comments This is more a question about the author than the story. To be honest, I doubt that I will finish this book. However, even with everything the author wrote, wasn’t she really very old-fashioned? Dominique Aury (aka Pauline Reage) spent most of her adult life in love with one man. She wrote this story for that particular man.

I found a very interesting article which gives a good look at the author's mind:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2004...


message 5: by PointyEars42 (new)

PointyEars42 | 476 comments Hmmm... rather a repeat here, since Kushiel's Dart was S&M-themed even though we read it as high fantasy. Could instead have delved into new territory with a female Domme & male sub pairing or B&D without the S&M. Any chance of that down the line?


message 6: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 26 comments Do you think that the author intentionally didn't give the reader access to O's thoughts and feelings during her domination?

I felt like this was intentional because then we the reader are more easily able to step into her shoes and imagine what it would be like for us to experience this kind of treatment. I also feel that is one of the reasons so many people had such a strong reaction to this book but with Kushiel's Dart people were more comfortable with the S&M.


message 7: by Somethingblue (new)

Somethingblue | 33 comments Jenn wrote: "Do you think that the author intentionally didn't give the reader access to O's thoughts and feelings during her domination?

I felt like this was intentional because then we the reader are more ea..."


Wow, that's a really excellent question. I hope this is talked about at the hangout because I feel like I'm always striving to determine if she felt horrified and tortured or if she loved it (which I guess I think is the latter?)

As for cocktails for our hangout, all I can say is Whiskey. Lots and lots of Whiskey.


message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Crane-rosset | 104 comments Not to turn this into a rehash of the Woman's Lit class I took in college, but I am interested in everyone's opinions on how they feel Story of O has made an impact in culture and writing since it was published. This was pretty much the first book like this published. Without it, we wouldn't have, well, the majority of romance books.


message 9: by Katie (last edited Feb 04, 2015 06:53AM) (new)

Katie (katie_jones) | 348 comments I see your point, but I don't actually agree. We had romance books long before 1954, and one only need to look to Bronte or Austen for quality romance. Smut is something entirely different, which we also had long before this was published. Chaucer wrote Canterbury Tales in the mid 1400's, and many of those stories are full of smut. If you look to modern times, Paramount put out a film in 1925 called "A Woman of the World" featuring BDSM, but there were also countless underground silent porn films featuring BDSM.

Edit** OOps, I thought I was reading the Story of O thread, not the hangout questions, lol. ;) I'll leave that for the ladies to answer!


message 10: by Somethingblue (new)

Somethingblue | 33 comments So we need to discuss some of the logistics from this book because I cannot, for the life of me, understand how these irons are, uh, attached? And ew.


message 11: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne | 43 comments I couldn't finish The Story of O. I was wondering, though, since the book is written in such a detached, clinical style that only the most hardcore BDSM person could find erotic, what do you think the point of the story is? Is it just a "be careful what you wish for" tale like Sylvia Day suggested in her introduction?


message 12: by Tiffany (last edited Feb 08, 2015 11:20AM) (new)

Tiffany Was anybody else worried about what would happen to all of "O's" stuff--like in her apartment--when she was away? Or her job?


message 13: by Tiffany (last edited Feb 08, 2015 08:59AM) (new)

Tiffany Has anybody else looked on the internet for photos of BDSM? Some (most) of them are pretty frightening. But I found this:

description


message 14: by PointyEars42 (last edited Feb 08, 2015 09:21AM) (new)

PointyEars42 | 476 comments Tiffany wrote: "Has anybody else looked on the internet for photos of BDSM? Some (most) of them are pretty frightening. But I found this there: "

Frightening? There be dark scary places on internet :) I love the shibari art shots like the kind of thing you see on a Joey Hill book cover
Natural Law (Nature of Desire, #2) by Joey W. Hill


message 15: by Hunt (new)

Hunt (marveloushunt) | 11 comments Somethingblue wrote: "So we need to discuss some of the logistics from this book because I cannot, for the life of me, understand how these irons are, uh, attached? And ew."

I was a confused about this as well. I imagined it was a piercing like an ear stretcher: a round ring with a hole in the middle. Then a dangly bit with the two interlocking initialed metal discs.

I could be completely wrong, but that's how I imagined it. At first I thought it was like a solid ear stretching disc with the initials engraved (I thought of a Steiff bear's button, haha). Then there was the line about the irons falling out of the swimsuit, so that's when I figured they're connected like a charm.


message 16: by Hunt (new)

Hunt (marveloushunt) | 11 comments Was I the only person who thought it was awesome that O didn't shave her armpits?

Also: I found it interesting that Rene & Sir Stephen wanted O to recruit Jacqueline; getting the slaves to recruit other women was the preferred way to populate the Roissy.

I remember hearing that's how many women enter the modern sex trade. I have to wonder why this is. Why do women trust other women? Er, is trust the right word for this? Bamboozled seems more fitting.


message 17: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Hunt, Somethingblue, here's an image. Don't worry, it's not too traumatic:




description


message 18: by Hunt (last edited Feb 09, 2015 07:18AM) (new)

Hunt (marveloushunt) | 11 comments Tiffany wrote: "Hunt, Somethingblue, here's an image. Don't worry, it's not too traumatic:"

Thanks Tiffany!

I was talking more about the irons that Anne-Marie attached and not so much as the bracelets/collar.

"Grab the hammer!" LoL, okay, I know that's not exactly what was said, but I couldn't stop laughing. Sure: pierce her labia and dangle heavy pieces of metal from the piercing. Oh, wait, the discs aren't attaching the way they're supposed to. That's okay, we'll just SMASH it together with a hammer! Wheee!


message 19: by Hunt (last edited Feb 09, 2015 08:51AM) (new)

Hunt (marveloushunt) | 11 comments I used Google to get some clarification on how the labia irons were attached.

Imagine your average body piercing ring through the labia.

Through the first ring, a second ring is inserted (so a two-link chain).

From the second ring the disc is attached (two-link chain with a charm).

D'awww, it's like a BDSM gift from Pandora <3


message 20: by Anelle (last edited Feb 09, 2015 10:33AM) (new)

Anelle Ammons Tiffany wrote: "Was anybody else worried about what would happen to all of "O's" stuff--like in her apartment--when she was away? Or her job?"

I worried a lot about her job! How could she just up and run off with them whenever they asked and still have a job to come back to? Maybe her photography shooting is far more carve your own hours than I'm imagining. It just seems crazy that she'd wake up, get a call from Rene to sit around the house naked all day, and not have to worry about having to go to work.

But I think it did imply somewhere that she thought she was going on vacation for the first 2 weeks at Roissy, so maybe it was a prearranged vacation sort of thing.

Hunt wrote: "Was I the only person who thought it was awesome that O didn't shave her armpits?

That is, or used to be, a pretty French thing. At least when I used to study French culture in college, they were much less shavers than we are in the US. I suspect even more so back in the 50s, so that is why I figured the author made such a big deal about it being so odd that Jacqueline did shave.


message 21: by Serendi (new)

Serendi As I understand it, shaving armpits at that time in France was just *not* done unless you were a prostitute.


message 22: by Hunt (new)

Hunt (marveloushunt) | 11 comments Serendi wrote: "As I understand it, shaving armpits at that time in France was just *not* done unless you were a prostitute."

I suppose that's why only her pubic area was waxed before the Commander's party.

...then again, Sir Stephen was prostituting O quite a bit...

Once she was completely Sir Stephen's, was keeping the underarm hair more of a statement than just the norm?


message 23: by Orange (new)

Orange | 56 comments Top or bottom?


message 24: by Cas (new)

Cas (elventempest) | 90 comments I'd like to know if it is an actual thing to have someone branded/tattooed and pierced in that ... manner, as a practice of BDSM. I had to stop reading for a minute to process that O was allowing herself to be branded like cattle. If that had happened early on, I'd have set it down for good. And though it wasn't included properly, he left her. So what the hell would O do with a brand on her then?! What a complete scum of earth jerkbag could do such a thing? Getting heated remembering.


message 25: by RJ (new)

RJ Pycroft | 32 comments I'm still reading the book, just under half way through.

What is striking me is not the BDSM in action but her thoughts and reflections upon her 'love' for René. 'Since she loved him, she had no choice but to love the treatment she got from him.'

There are also a few points, so far, where their actions and thoughts represent those of most couples, 'He took her scarf, her bag, and folded her coat over his arm.' And, 'he needed a new pair.' (Her thoughts regarding his slippers).

Another interesting concept is that if the separation between her two lives, 'and the way, also that what had formerly had no reality save in a closed circle, in a sealed- off domain, was all of a sudden getting ready to contaminate all the habits and all the circumstances of her daily life;'

These areas are giving us small glimpses into her mind and the complexity therein. I'm interested to see if how O copes with, compartmentalizes, organizes this new 'life', is dealt with later on.


message 26: by Neohgirl (new)

Neohgirl | 68 comments Was anyone satisfied with the abrupt ending, like maybe the author couldn't figure out how to end it, so left us with just those 2 sentences?


message 27: by RJ (new)

RJ Pycroft | 32 comments From what I remember seeing on Amazon, there is a second book. I can't remember if it is the same author.


message 28: by RJ (new)

RJ Pycroft | 32 comments From what I remember seeing on Amazon, there is a second book. I can't remember if it is the same author.


message 29: by RJ (new)

RJ Pycroft | 32 comments From what I remember seeing on Amazon, there is a second book. I can't remember if it is the same author.


message 30: by Cathal (new)

Cathal Stockdale | 21 comments Neohgirl wrote: "Was anyone satisfied with the abrupt ending, like maybe the author couldn't figure out how to end it, so left us with just those 2 sentences?"

I did find it a very sudden ending too, the kindle edition did mention about the Story of O Part II - not sure if I could read a second installment but I sort of want an ending too


message 31: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Kendall (_pochemuchka_) | 45 comments I just really want to bring up how bullshit the ending is


message 32: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sflanagan19) | 127 comments Regarding the ending, I understand that there are two versions. In the book that I read, it ends with O being used by Sir Stephen and a friend of his after the party. But other versions have her asking for her death and it being granted. What do you think about the two different endings?


message 33: by Novinous (new)

Novinous | 4 comments This book was interestingly written, I found it hard to get through the story but that is mostly because it didn't resonate with me at all. I liked how we didn't know ANYTHING in the beginning except what was going on in the present. And then chapters after chapters we'd know a little bit more about her and René and the world around them. That was pretty interesting but also terrifying in the beginning because I had no idea if we'd ever get to have a big picture or ever know what she was thinking about all of it.
In the end though, my main question is : did she know about René's plans when she was with him all those years before Roissy ? It seems like she had a submissive role in their relationship way before that because she never once even thought about saying no and just got naked in that car without asking questions.
Also she didn't seem to know him that well, she loved him unconditionally but she never gave reasons of why she loved him. We know nothing about him that is not related to her, we know he's kind of a gentleman when they're not in their sub/dom world (and even when their are, he needs Sir Stephen or someone else to be really mean to her) but other than that, who is he ? What does he do ? Where does he live ?


message 34: by Farlander (new)

Farlander | 6 comments If the Story of O was adapted as a very special episode of Sesame Street (also brought to you by the number 12), which muppets would you cast in the main roles? And what would the lesson of the episode be?


message 35: by PointyEars42 (new)

PointyEars42 | 476 comments Farlander wrote: "If the Story of O was adapted as a very special episode of Sesame Street (also brought to you by the number 12), which muppets would you cast in the main roles? And what would the lesson of the ep..."

This should be a standard casting question every month!_


message 36: by Hunt (new)

Hunt (marveloushunt) | 11 comments Farlander wrote: "If the Story of O was adapted as a very special episode of Sesame Street (also brought to you by the number 12), which muppets would you cast in the main roles? And what would the lesson of the ep..."

Hahahaha! Yes! Please answer this one, guys!

I can't help but picture the "Would you like to buy an 'O'?" Sketch XD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml6Yq...

Oh, no, now I'm imagining Ernie using that "O" for purposes other than spelling.


message 37: by Tiffany Thompson (new)

Tiffany Thompson | 2 comments @Cas it is not a standard practice amoung people in the lifestyle but people do brand. For me as a slave, that is something that is more like marriage. It is not taken lightly in my eyes. I've discussed that with my Master and he would have me do a tattoo and not Iron. There are a lot of health concerns that go with old fashion branding that freaks me out and my jaw dropped when that happened in the book.


message 38: by Frakki (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments Orange wrote: "Top or bottom?"

;-). Good question.


message 39: by Frakki (last edited Feb 18, 2015 09:43PM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments On a scale of one to 10, how horrified were you by these sexual perverts?

Kidding. Not kidding. :-/

Lots of sexual shaming going on in this month's threads. (Some of it unintentionally.) Thoughts?


message 40: by Philippa (last edited Feb 20, 2015 10:01AM) (new)

Philippa | 143 comments Frakki wrote:"

Lots of sexual shaming going on in this month's threads. (Some of it unintentionally.) Thoughts?"


Really? I think there were a lot of people reacting to the content of the book, but how does that translate into sexual shaming? Any reactions were related to the character, not to the experience of anyone in the discussion threads.

Following up on Mariko's question, I would ask does knowing a little more about the author and how and why she wrote the book influence your opinion at all? Does it become more or less erotic/effective to in some ways read it as a love letter from the author to her lover?


message 41: by Frakki (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments Maybe I am taking some comments to personally.

It's one thing to say "I didn't find it erotic" or "I did relate to the xyz in the story." It's something else to say "this is not erotic" or "this is degrading to women," or better yet "this is rape."

Posting your opinion as fact implies that anyone who enjoyed the story and/or sex scenes are equivalent to rape/abuse enablers and/or are sick perverts.

I don't enjoy Nascar. If I was to say Nascar is for the simple-minded masses to ignorant to know better, it's offensive. Better just to say "I don't get it." Or, "it's not for me." Which, a lot of people did.


message 42: by Katie (new)

Katie (katie_jones) | 348 comments Some of my comments were strongly-worded in that way, but it wasn't attacking any person. A story is very personal, and can evoke STRONG reactions. I wouldn't compare a story like this to NASCAR, because NASCAR doesn't hurt people without informed consent. There are no victims of NASCAR. Coercion, violence, rape, and abuse victimize.

But again, it's a story that I'm discussing, not real people, so agreeing to disagree is a valid option ;)


message 43: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 143 comments Frakki wrote: "Maybe I am taking some comments to personally.

Posting your opinion as fact implies that anyone who enjoyed the story and/or sex scenes are equivalent to rape/abuse enablers and/or are sick perverts. ..."


No. No, it doesn't. There is an entire logical category of difference between saying, for example, "Lima beans taste terrible," and saying "People who eat Lima beans have three legs and smell of elderberries." If you love Lima beans you are free to infer from the first statement that the person who said it is saying something horrible about you, but there is absolutely nothing in the statement to support that inference.

Saying that this story is not erotic, is degrading to women, and that it depicts rape =/= saying that people who enjoy it are rape/abuse enablers and/or sick perverts. I think the closest the comments have come to saying anything like that was something along the lines of "only the most hard core BDSM proponent would find this erotic." That is actually a a negative statement about the people who enjoy the book, most of the other comments have been about the book itself.


message 44: by Cas (new)

Cas (elventempest) | 90 comments Philippa wrote: "Frakki wrote: "Maybe I am taking some comments to personally.

Posting your opinion as fact implies that anyone who enjoyed the story and/or sex scenes are equivalent to rape/abuse enablers and/or..."


That's happening through a lot of threads for the BDSM books. In fact, I saw some comments, or well one that made me want to go off. And I do NOT get angry easily. But I think the idea is to remember that just because someone doesn't see the same act/scene/book as you, doesn't make them wrong or sick, or someone who condones rape/abuse. THAT is super out of line, and very unreasonable. Totally not a safe place to discuss a touchy subject if that's how people respond. So I agree with you on that. But I do think sometimes people phrase their opinions in vague ways and don't generally mean to come off the way it sounds, and some do, because...quite obvious when someone is just being malicious. With strong reactions, in general, it can be hard to let it simmer and put your opinions/take down after you've stopped... I don't know, like me, being super horrified at certain things. So I always wait, because you know, feelings come out strong and you have to dissect them. Or I do. I don't know if everyone thoughtfully goes over their feelings before sharing them. Or I try to, anyway.
If you enjoyed The Story of O, I'm happy for you because I was pretty unhappy after it to say the least. Someone said in another thread how crazy it is to spend your life apologizing for the things that give you joy, because you have to explain them and be judged harshly for something in this often depressing world, that happens to make you happy between today's latest newscast on a mass shooting, or religious discrimination, or I don't know - your dog dying.

Either way, if someone comments and feels completely opposite to me on this book, or any other book, I don't think it makes them anything but another human being. I probably do not understand their thinking, but it makes their comments no less worthy of consideration. Cause', that's the point of reading them with other people, right? I don't know. I probably could have summed it up with "Different strokes for different folks".


message 45: by Emily (new)

Emily | 266 comments I think it's dangerous to limit discussions of book to statements like "it wasn't for me". That really halts all deep discussion. Of course it should never devolve to personal attacks and there were only a few comments that I read that way - and mostly I think it was unintentional.


message 46: by Frakki (last edited Feb 21, 2015 11:53AM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments So many great responses. Thank you. I was getting worried about what the VF was going to be like, so I wanted to put out my thoughts. I did say unintentional insults. (Though, I think a few might just be intentional.)

I've not even read 50 Shades and I've been annoyed by all the "think pieces" out there. And, frankly, some of the comments in here.

I feel bad for the fans of the story because more time is spent defending the book than talking about the story itself. There has to be a deeper conversation these people want to have. I was feeling that way about Story of O, but the conversation in that thread has expanded and has become awesome.

I reject that NASCAR isn't a good analogy for my comments. It's a culture/lifestyle for many. And, it gets made fun of a lot -- intentionally being used as shorthand to insult a type of person or group of people.

I might have rolled my eyes over all the 50 Shades hype when it started. It was kind of funny how this fanfic became a mega hit. But, the direction some of the conversations I've had in RL have not been good. I've heard and read some sexist crap.

I also reject that these books hurt people. We are going to have to agree to disagree on that or I might end up flaming out.

.


message 47: by Jo (new)

Jo | 69 comments Frakki wrote: "Maybe I am taking some comments to personally.

It's one thing to say "I didn't find it erotic" or "I did relate to the xyz in the story." It's something else to say "this is not erotic" or "this ..."


On the other side of this;
I did not agree there was concent in this book and felt as thouhh my opinion was not valid unless I backef it with my sexual preferances. I do not share what I like easily and not on public forums. Therefore I may or may not understand the subject perectly, but should still be aloud my opinion, without judgement on me. And you may have your opinion and there will be alot more to discuss then is we all agreed.


message 48: by Frakki (last edited Feb 21, 2015 12:00PM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments Philippa wrote: "only the most hard core BDSM proponent would find this erotic"

Actually, that was one of the comments that stuck with me and made me start this conversation. I'm not a hardcore BDSM proponent and I found the Story of O erotic. So, I was like... "what is she saying here."

I didn't relate to the pain elements, but that was only part of the story. OK, a big part. But, they had other sick and twisted things I enjoyed. And, I kind of wanted to talk about them in a safe place.


message 49: by Frakki (last edited Feb 21, 2015 11:55AM) (new)

Frakki Karu | 509 comments Emily wrote: "I think it's dangerous to limit discussions of book to statements like "it wasn't for me". That really halts all deep discussion. Of course it should never devolve to personal attacks and there wer..."
It comes down to what people are really trying to say and say it clearly -- something that I fail to do a lot.

For example, saying "I hated how O was first used by those three men. That did NOT turn me one" or "ew ew ew" or my fav about 'Anal before coffee, no.' Someone on the other side can come back and say "that was one of my favorite parts." or just laugh with the poster for being funny.

I've enjoy hearing how the book made some people's heads explode -- no shade. It's been really interesting and fun.

But when you are put on the defensive about enjoying the book at all, conversation shuts down. IMHO


message 50: by Avidreader (new)

Avidreader (a_nerd_girls_thoughts) | 10 comments This is my first time at Vaginal Fantasy, I read both the primary and secondary books so I will post here on my thoughts for both books, also when reading I like to find one quote that really matters with the books content. :)

Story of O was written in 1954 by Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage. The translation from French to English makes reading a bit rocky at times but I thought that this added to the main character instead of detracting from the stories flow, this might have been smoothed out in newer prints of the book but I read an older print. The Story of O was a good read, well written and direct. It did have some very sensitive material on top of an already sensitive topic. The translation issue and the rape/prostitution material definitely make it clear why this book is not for all readers.
"O was happy that Rene had had her whipped and had prostituted her, because her impassioned submission would furnish her lover with the proof that she belonged to him, but also because the pain and shame of the lash, and the outrage inflicted upon her by those who compelled to pleasure when they took her, and at the same time delighted in their own without paying the slightest heed to hers, seemed to her the very redemption of her sins."

Bared to You- A Crossfire Series Novel written in 2012 by Sylvia Day. This book is a good read, attention keeping, passionate content, nice character development. Seems interesting enough to read the rest of the series. Has some base content similarities to Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, but as far as the first book goes it is not the same in content type.
"The bond between us was fragile just then, both of us apprehensive about the future and the wounds that we could inflict with all of our jagged edges."
Also my favorite lines in this book, "It would be another scar to add his collection, another bitter memory he'd always have, a memory I would share and fear along with him, but it wouldn't rule us. We wouldn't let it."


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