“I read Story of O and I think, you know, if you’ve read Story of O you’ve kind of read the ultimate.” —J. K. ROWLING

J. K. Rowling knows a thing or two about “the ultimate” in storytelling and when it comes to the ultimate in erotic, sadomasochistic fiction, Story of O can take its place alongside the Marquis de Sade’s classic erotica, including Justine. In our opinion, not only is it better than Justine, it’s quite possible that the author, Pauline Reage (a pseudonym), mirrored in her writing much of the Marquis’s sexual philosophy, albeit some 150 years later (Justine was published in 1797, Story of O in 1954).

One thing is certain, our fascination with erotica and S&M is as inherent in life as ‘death and taxes’ and across history literature has allowed men and women to pursue their sexual truths, no matter the constraints of religious dogma, social hypocrisy and government censorship.

Today, with more than 80 million visits a day to Internet porn site, PornHub, there is no reason for us to deny our intellectual and sexual curiosity and ignore classic, erotic literature like Justine and Story of O. In fact, these stories can unlock the doors of shame and guilt and let readers into the expansive and light of true human desires, to explore the imagination and fantasies of love and relationships, pleasure and pain, morality and realty.

Erotica and S&M are not rooted in a perverted imagination rather they are buried in guilt and shame and yet, these stories, read with an open mind, can reveal the deep, dark denial that chokes our sexual lives and hollows out our relationships.

Story of O is an exploration, a journey into an unknown land, and one’s discoveries are dependent on one’s capacity to observe, muse, contemplate and understand. To suspend sexual guilt and shame and reflect on the human need to be loved, to love, to belong and to find freedom – through sex.

“Story of O is one of those books which marks the reader, which leaves him not quite, or not at all, the same as he was before he read it.” – Jean Paulhan

Half a century ago, Pauline Reage dared to tell this tale of dark obsession and try to shock us out of our apathy and ignorance of our deep sexual desires and needs. This book will make you think about your own human sexuality without ever having to experience what she does, and that is the good fortune of its contribution.

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