Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Oedipus Wrecks

It is a huge pleasure to announce the arrival of the latest edition of Games Perverts Play. The theme this time is Oedipus Wrecks. Family and childhood are universal, and universally complex. I knew our writers would come up with something to meet the subject matter and they did.

I have put Marc Nash  ‘s new piece next to an essay by The Daddy of family romance, Sigmund Freud. Because I think Siggy would appreciate Marc’s take on that age-old dilemma parents have about talking to their kids about sex. And because there is something in the density and ‘clinical’ precision of both writers that is worth comparing.

I am delighted to be publishing two pieces of work by the inimitable Slava  Mogutin, who tells of childhood as trauma, and as sexual awakening. And as history on a small or larger scale.

New to GPP, bringing some poignant poems to shift the tone, are Bruce Coker and Danni Antagonist. And Christopher Herz hints at  family problems in an extract from his novel Pharmacology.

Not content with writing a short piece of work, the unstoppable Magda Sullivan has given us an extract of a novel that just flowed out of her, when she was given this theme to get her head round. I can’t wait to read the whole thing judging by this teaser.

What to say about Penny Goring ‘s contribution? It’s another tour de force from one of our (our meaning the world’s) most original voices at the moment.

As for me, unlike the other writers featured here, I was overwhelmed and defeated by the enormity of the subject I chose this time. Maybe I used up all my oedipal energy in my debut novella, Scribbling On Foucault’s Walls, and so I give an extract of that.

They do indeed fuck you up, your mum and dad. But judging from  Oedipus Wrecks, they also provide perverse writers with a hell of a lot of good material.

A special mention goes to Dan Holloway for continuing to bring brilliant writers to my attention.

Your editor,

Quiet Riot Girl



The extraordinary frequent discoveries of apparently abnormal and exceptional sexual manifestations in childhood, as well as the discovery of infantile reminiscences in neurotics, which were hitherto unconscious, allow us to sketch the following picture of the sexual behavior of childhood.[5]

It seems certain that the newborn child brings with it the germs of sexual feelings which continue to develop for some time and then succumb to a progressive suppression, which is in turn broken through by the proper advances of the sexual development and which can be checked by individual idiosyncrasies. Nothing is known concerning the laws and periodicity of this oscillating course of development. It seems, however, that the sexual life of the child mostly manifests itself in the third or fourth year in some form accessible to observation.[6]

The Sexual Inhibition.—It is during this period of total or at least partial latency that the psychic forces develop which later act as inhibitions on the sexual life, and narrow its direction like dams. These psychic forces are loathing, shame, and moral and esthetic ideal demands. We may gain the impression that the erection of these dams in the civilized child is the work of education; and surely education contributes much to it. In reality, however, this development is organically determined and can occasionally be produced without the help of education. Indeed education remains properly within its assigned realm only if it strictly follows the path of the organic determinant and impresses it somewhat cleaner and deeper.

Reaction Formation and Sublimation.—What are the means that accomplish these very important constructions so significant for the later personal culture and normality? They are probably brought about at the cost of the infantile sexuality itself, the influx of which has not stopped even in this latency period—the energy of which indeed has been turned away either wholly or partially from sexual utilization and conducted to other aims. The historians of civilization seem to be unanimous in the opinion that such deviation of sexual motive powers from sexual aims to new aims, a process which merits the name of sublimation, has furnished powerful components for all cultural accomplishments. We will therefore add that the same process acts in the development of every individual, and that it begins to act in the sexual latency period.[7]

We can also venture an opinion about the mechanisms of such sublimation. The sexual feelings of these infantile years on the one hand could not be utilizable, since the procreating functions are postponed,—this is the chief character of the latency period; on the other hand, they would in themselves be perverse, as they would emanate from erogenous zones and would be born of impulses which in the individual’s course of development could only evoke a feeling of displeasure. They therefore awaken contrary forces (feelings of reaction), which in order to suppress such displeasure, build up the above mentioned psychic dams: loathing, shame, and morality.[8]

The Interruptions of the Latency Period.—Without deluding ourselves as to the hypothetical nature and deficient clearness of our understanding regarding the infantile period of latency and delay, we will return to reality and state that such a utilization of the infantile sexuality represents an ideal bringing up from which the development of the individual usually deviates in some measure and often very considerably. A portion of the sexual manifestation which has withdrawn from sublimation occasionally breaks through, or a sexual activity remains throughout the whole duration of the latency period until the reinforced breaking through of the sexual impulse in puberty. In so far as they have paid any attention to infantile sexuality the educators behave as if they shared our views concerning the formation of the moral forces of defence at the cost of sexuality, and as if they knew that sexual activity makes the child uneducable; for the educators consider all sexual manifestations of the child as an “evil” in the face of which little can be accomplished. We have, however, every reason for directing our attention to those phenomena so much feared by the educators, for we expect to find in them the solution of the primitive formation of the sexual impulse.


This is an extract from Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality: II Infantile Sexuality


This is the fourth edition of Games Perverts Play.


I was a bit anxious about this one, because it is such an obvious concept in a way. Isn’t all ‘perverted’ sex and sexuality dirty? I thought it might be a bit ‘weak’ as a theme. But thanks to some talented writers with very dirty minds, it’s amazing.

Dirt includes some aspects of sex that have been considered ‘dirty’ for centuries. The inimitable  Jonathan Kemp  and  Slava Mogutin link homosexuality to sadomasochism and uncover the complex dirt within.

Some of the writers have taken the word quite literally:Sarah Clare Conlon ‘s ‘Dirty Books’ are actually in need of a good clean. And the extract I chose from  Richard Dyer ‘s book White, looks at how whiteness is presented as ‘pure’ in society.


Regular brilliant contributors to GPP,   Penny Goring and Marc Nash   do dirty things with words. Language is the focus of their perversion in many ways.

Magda Sullivan and Dan Holloway leave us wondering if dirt is actually sinister.

And finally I am delighted to introduce a new writer to GPP, Betty Herbert. She shows how dirty talk can be quite romantic.

Photos by Bruce La Bruce, Robert Mapplethorpe,  Pippilotti Rist, Fenner Pearson, @Thewinepoet,  and a mystery photographer (and others).
Your puritanical editor, Quiet Riot Girl (It’s a Dirty Job, but somebody’s got to do it ).


What is absent from white is any thing; in other words, material reality. Cleanliness is the absence of dirt, spiritually the absence of flesh, virtue the absence of sin, chastity the absence of sex and so on. The cleansing  metaphor of baptism is central. Sin is seen as a stain which water washes away. Baptism unites cleanliness and goodness. A more recent, sinister and racially explicit appropriation of the metaphor is to be found in the ‘ethnic-cleansing’ of Bosnia Herzegovina.

Joel Kovel, in his study, White Racism, first published in 1970, makes dirt central to his account of white attitudes towards non-white people, from which we may extrapolate attitudes towards whiteness itself. ‘Dirt’, he argues, ‘is the fate of the sensuousness lost to the world’ in the regime of whiteness (kovel, 1998).  Kovel argues that by the late Middle Ages, the Church, as both the mediator between the individual and God and the source of moral authority and order in Europe, was increasingly fragmented and corrupt; Luther stood against the Church by insisting on the individual’s direct relation to God. ‘His central insight was that a principle of God was within man himself’ (ibid), something involving both abstraction, God as a symbol not a being, and an accentuation of the mind: body split. If God, and all that is of worth, is abstract, then everything that is concrete, and a fortiori the body, is worthless and worse. Kovel stresses the importance of images of dirt in Luther’s work and suggests that out of this emerges a disdain and disgust for the body and everything bodily: ‘the body is dirty; what comes out of the body is especially dirty; the material world corresponds to what comes out of the body, and hence it is also especially dirty (ibid).

It is in this context that Kovel makes his most vivid argument about race. Non-white people are associated in various ways with the dirt that comes out of the body, notably in the repeated racist  perception that they smell (but also, notably in the British context that their food smells,  that they eat dirty foods – offal, dogs, snakes –and that they slaughter it in direct and bloody forms). Obsessive control of faeces and  identification of them as the nadir of human dirt both characterise  Western culture: to be white is to be well potty-trained.

‘the central symbol of dirt throughout the world is faeces, known by that profane word with which the emotion of disgust is expressed: shit… when contrasted with the light colour of the body of the Caucasian person, the dark colour of faeces reinforces, from the infancy of the individual in the culture of the West, the connotation of blackness with badness’ (ibid).

To be white is to have expunged all dirt, faecial or otherwise, from oneself: to look white is to look clean.

Extract from White by  Richard Dyer Photo by Bruce La Bruce

Call Centres

‘I’m just going for a normal one,’ says H decisively.

‘Not Barely 21 or Mature Ladies?’


‘Dominant Mistress?’


‘Are you sure?’


It is, I suppose, slightly unfair to tease him over his choice of live chat line, when it’s my fault he has to choose one at all. I have had, you see, a rather genius idea. Something to ratchet up the sense of jeopardy a little bit, add a little frisson. I have offered to give Herbert a blow job while he rings a sex chat line.

My reasoning runs thus: it’s a monogamous way of almost having a threesome. Also, I have noted Herbert’s enthusiasm for talking dirty, and wonder if this might be just the thing. Actually, scrub that, it’s not entirely honest: I am hoping to put him in a situation where he feels as awkward as I do around all this erotic conversation. There’s a slightly vengeful part of me that wants to put him outside his comfort zone.

It is heartening, therefore, to see that he feels the need to down two beers before he can even open the back pages of Time Out to find a suitable phone number.

‘Dutch courage?’ I say, and he blushes. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen him blush before.

I’m the one losing their nerve now. ‘You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,’ I say. ‘I mean, it’s only worth it if you think it would be fun.’

He sighs. ‘It does sound fun. It’s fine. Just don’t make me call anyone too specialist.’

‘Fine,’ I say, and go upstairs to put on some lipstick. When I come back down again, H is sitting naked in the armchair in my study, phone in hand. He’s thoughtfully placed a cushion at his feet so that I can kneel on it. I am somehow rather touched by this.

He wastes no time in dialling, and so I begin to lick his still-soft penis in haste. H is capable of being overtaken by startling bouts of shyness, and so I’m convinced that we need to achieve an erection before he starts talking, or else there’s no hope. But the opposite happens: as soon as the woman answers, his dick does a little jump for joy. I can hear his voice above me, strangely lost and breathy:

‘Hello? Oh, hello, Erica. . . My name’s Herbert . . . I’m thirty-eight . . . You’re thirty? What colour hair do you have?’

What? I think, Why is that relevant? She’ll be blonde, I guarantee it.

‘Erica,’ he says, ‘I’ve got a naughty confession to make.’ I glance up at him, hoping he will catch my eye and smirk, but it appears that he’s saying this with no irony whatsoever. ‘My wife is with me. She’s sucking my cock.’

Oh yuck, I think. I suppose I couldn’t expect him not to tell her, but now I am wondering what on earth Erica thinks of me. It brings to mind the wife of the vile man in There’s Something About Mary, who merrily fellates her husband while he watches the football.

‘She’s got brown eyes and mousy brown hair.’ Mousy? He might as well tell her about the grey flecks as well.

‘Oh, would you? Mmmm . . . Yes, I’d like to watch that.’ Erica has, of course, now said she’d like to get it on with me. She knows her male fantasies, I’ll give her that. ‘Your favourite fantasy? Yes, tell me then . . . Mmmm . . . Mmmm . . . Mmmm . . . Three cocks . . .’ How would that even work in real life? ‘Yes, that does sound a bit greedy.’ He keeps closing his eyes and groaning. I’m beginning to worry about the state of the phone bill. I suck harder, and start to mentally rehearse my 36p-per-minute times table. This soothes me among the ‘Mmmms’ and ‘Ohs’.

He doesn’t do any of his own dirty talking really; he mainly just listens. So this is what he wants when he requests dirty talk. I just couldn’t bear to spew out that pile of clichés, and in any case, H knows me too well to believe them. Frankly, I am in awe of Erica for making them sound so convincing.

I consider for a moment whether I could learn something from her, but then a much more delightful thought hits me: I’m outsourcing. The wonders of advanced capitalism are making it possible for me to hive off a particularly tiresome element of my sexual duties. Excellent. Worth every penny of the fiver it’s going to put on my phone bill.

The second bonus is that all this female attention moves Herbert to orgasm with unusual speed. He announces it – twice – to both of us, and then thanks Erica politely for her time. I wonder if I should yell a ‘Cheers, Erica!’ towards the handset too, but I prefer to leave her wondering whether Herbert isn’t faking his extremely compliant wife.

This is an extract from The 52 Seductions by Betty Herbert


The next edition of Games Perverts Play has the theme of DIRT.

I chose it because it’s a single word, which seems to be the trend for GPP. And because it has so many meanings.

Dirt evokes its opposite: cleanliness. Its used as a moral judgement or an indication of glorious perversion. I have heard the term ‘filth’ so often to describe porn, sex, etc, and it always stops me short.

Once a man called me ‘filthy’ mid coitus and I argued with him about whether that was actually technically correct. I don’t know if my puritanical background couldn’t handle the moniker, and its associations, or if I am genuinely resistant to this binary between good v bad, clean v dirty, prudish v sexy.

I also like dirt because I like my writing ‘dirty’. Not always in content but definitely in style. I reject clean lines and organised argumentation, for more of a broken, messy, filthy approach to writing.

So send me your dirty stories.

(Deadline sometime in January 2012)



The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines paraphilias as:

recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors generally involving 1) nonhuman objects, 2) the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner, or 3) children or other nonconsenting persons that occur over a period of at least 6 months.

The DSM only specifies nine paraphilias (exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, pedophilia, sexual masochism, sexual sadism, transvestic fetishism, voyeurism, and a final category of “other” paraphilias).

I am delighted to present the third edition of Games Perverts Play, an anthology that is going from strength to perverse strength.

The writers featured here cover many of the paraphilias listed by the DSM, but what they do that the medical establishment fails to do, is to put into question how we draw the line between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ sexuality and psychology. They also manage to make the ‘abnormal’ seem quite beautiful in places.

Paraphilia includes work from some talented writers not previously featured at GPP. The essays by  Natty Soltesz and James Maker remind us that essay writing is an art in itself. I am also excited to introduce new fiction from Elise Moore and Magda Sullivan which does not pull any punches.Élodie Malade has kindly submitted a beguiling tale of love on the Paris metro.

Elliott Deline returns to GPP with a brilliant new story, and  Penny Goring, Dan Holloway and Marc Nash work their usual magic. I do not know what Marc Horne has been up to, but I sense his presence here, somewhere.

Thanks to  Chris Floyd and Steve Sparshott for donating photographs, and special thanks to Dan Hollowayfor introducing me to some of the great writers featured here.

I found Paraphilia a difficult subject to write about, and in the end I submitted an old piece of writing, and an essay by Roland Barthes. I don’t know how or why, but when it comes to the workings of my twisted heart and mind, Roland Barthes manages to express myself better than I ever could. This is dedicated to him.

Quiet Riot Girl