Open Sauce: A Critical Conversation

Lasophielle: So actually, re: that, can we discuss masturbation? When reading Open Sauce with all its revisions and edits, I am reminded of mutual masturbation or masturbation performed in company. As a writer or reader, you can - as you say - get into the groove for a while. Then someone's fiddle or edit will turn you off, or the awareness of someone else's gaze will suddenly strike you in the wrong way, and you'll want to shift your face aside impatiently and keep going, or close your eyes, hoping that when you open them again, it'll be your particular kink that is flourishing again.

marisha28: sorry to have interrupted you apologies, but i have to leave now. have a class.

marisha28: you two take care =)

Nor: bye

marisha28: love this room

marisha28: bye

Lasophielle: Bye Marisha - enjoy Open Sauce, and edit it, if you like!

marisha28: okie

marisha28: take care

marisha28 left the room

Nor: ?

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Lasophielle: And basically, I wanted to propose that non-solo masturbation is a better way in, a better way in to the hybridity we're seeing that can be so annoying in Open Sauce, which makes people (or makes me, at least, but I can sense that I'm not the only one) more likely to despise or want to ignore and overwrite other participants, than respect and cater to them.

Sex itself carries the requirement of simultaneous mutual gratification, whereas pleasuring yourself in someone else's company and they can watch or not, enjoy it or not, but they have to be present and bear witness somehow *that*'s the difficult dynamic of erotic interface

Nor: Yes. Although I'm interested in challenging this division between solo/duo that is oven invoked in discussions about masturbation/pornography. I very much agree with those theories of the text which propose that reading is, itself, a collaborative act. Even if you're not a post-structuralist, you have to accept that when you look at porn you are going along with someone else's fantasy. You are interacting with it, mentally and possibly physically too.

Although Open Sauce tries to make this explicit, it happens all the time - who hasn't read an erotic story and, in their mind, tweaked the details to suit them? It's these small changes that interest me. E.g. changing someone's clothes from trousers to a dress, or changing the position that the characters are fucking in.

Open Sauce, I hope, makes explicit the way that even masturbation is never purely solo.

Lasophielle: Yes. And/but whilst you're "going along with it" you're also not, because "it" doesn't have a direction - it only springs into flux through the flesh-endowing factory somewhere between our retinas and our brains. A text especially. But even a moving image only acquires meaning in transmission.

Masturbation not "ever" being solo is a more provocative point, from my point of view.

To solipsistically use myself as a reference, I VERY rarely appeal to others, or to scenarios at all, in my masturbation. I actually considered this an anomaly and possibly a defect of the imagination, for a long time. You see, it is typically with me a semi-spiritual, entirely self-centred matter between my second and third fingers, my clitoris, my closed-eyed smile, and all my nerves.

But everything in 'culture' told me that I ought to be picturing myself - constantly "picturing"! not writing, or being! - and putting things in a frame that would get me off on the idea of myself. I just never managed (or remembered ) to actually do that. I disliked the idea that I was a feminine stereotype in this, though. Because by refusing to enjoy the object of myself - and by emphasising the less "visual" and more tactile and sentimental subject of myself - I had a paranoid idea that I was conforming. Because that's a strong message we get too, about porn.

Nor: It's interesting what you say about masturbation as a kind of self-contained solo meditation. You're right, there is an enourmous pressure to engage with an Other in order to be considered properly sexual. Very much related to the notion, I guess, that masturbation is not actually a legitimate sexual activity (the idea of 'saving oneself', etc).

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Lasophielle: /nods

Nor: ...and i wonder how that relates to Open Sauce?

Lasophielle: With the theorists of "écriture féminine", enjoying oneself as an activity just as legitimate as engaging in free play with others, seemed important as far as I understood it. But that's enjoying your self, not just "enjoying yourself" as the common phrase goes, which usually means involvement from the environment and the Other. I am raising this because there is something about typified, scripted masculine sexuality that is so service-minded. As well as being so stuck in self gratification.