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Foss, T. Sletvold, H. (2012). Editorial. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 35(2):79-81.

(2012). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 35(2):79-81


Torberg Foss and Helge Sletvold

40 million copies have already been sold. A Norwegian translation is already available. On the first day of sale, not many books were on display other than Fifty Shades of Grey.

It is all about sex. A woman who enjoys being dominated, a man who finds pleasure in submitting to her. In other words, we hear about a sadomasochistic couple, about various techniques, bondage, odd sex toys, and “a hedonism gone wild,” as the female protagonist puts it.

Another novel published this autumn, is entitled simply A new novel. The author, Bjarne Melgaard, is an internationally known artist, whose celebrated installation focuses on gay sexuality, and especially on its more violent and excessive aspects. His novel is characterized by the same tendency. Here, we are initiated into yet another technique, fist fucking. “He turns Bernhard over, lubes his hand and arm with Crisco, and slowly inserts his fist into Bernhard's arse”.

In both books, sex is portrayed openly; sexual activity with a blatantly sadomasochistic hallmark. Two respectable publishers have spotted their chance and have provided much publicity. And both authors have, of course, been invited to Skavlan, a leading talk-show in Norway and Sweden, making the subject matter even more edible, as it were.

These two events may be seen as highlighting a tendency which has already been pointed out and commented upon in the literature. Whereas sex is being exhibited more and more bluntly around us, the psychoanalyst pays less and less attention to it.

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