ABSTRACT

Here is Belle’s prototypic daydream; we shall try to understand its origins and functions.

A cruel man, The Director, a Nazi type, is directing the activity. It consists of Belle being raped by a stallion, which has been aroused to a frenzy by a mare held off at a distance beyond where Belle is placed. In a circle around the periphery stand vaguely perceived men, expressionless, masturbating while ignoring each other, the Director, and Belle. She is there for the delectation of these men, including the Director, who, although he has an erection, makes no contact with her: her function is to be forced to unbearable sexual excitement and pleasure, thereby making a fool of herself before these men. She has been enslaved in this obscene exhibition of humiliation because it creates erections in these otherwise feelingless men; they stand there in phallic, brutal indifference. All that, however, is foreplay, setting the scene. What sends her excitement up and almost immediately to orgasm as she masturbates is not this scene alone, for obviously, if it were really happening, she would experience horror, not pleasure. Rather, what excites her is the addition of some detail that exacerbates her humiliation, e.g., the horse is replaced by a disreputable, ugly old man; or her excitement makes her so wild that she is making a dreadful scene; or her palpitating genitals are spotlighted to show that she has lost control of her physiology. And, behind the scenes, a part of herself permits the excitement because it (she) knows that she, who is masturbating in the real world, is not literally the same as “she” who is the suffering woman in the story. In the story, she is humiliated; in reality, she is safe.