The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Heaven Help Us -- (Chapter VIII, Part 38)

Since Inge joined the museum in 1986, the number of visitors has more than tripled to nearly 80,000 a year from around the world.

The main hotspot for psychoanalysis now, she says, is Eastern Europe and Russia.

'Present Russian society is very open to any therapeutic help. So we have close connections to Moscow and St. Petersburg, because they have severe issues in terms of family problems, homeless children and alcoholism.'

She also notes that at least one Indian doctor has tried to mesh psychoanalysis with his native culture.

'And I'm no expert on this, but I think one of the very interesting future viewpoints will be if Islamic societies would try to integrate psychoanalytic findings in their culture.'

And I'm thinking: heaven help us.

Time's cover from 1993

Like its namesake, the museum tends to promote the Freudian myth rather than the reality, though maybe it's wrong to expect a place called the Sigmund Freud Museum in the homeland of Hitler to be objective. It might be too much to ask—if this weren't the home of modern self-analysis.

As I'm on my way out, a staff member mentions that contrary to the impression the museum gives, Freud actually had his practice downstairs when he wrote some of his most famous works, including The Interpretation of Dreams.

'So we do some lying up here,' the staffer jokes.

Old Sigmund would feel right at home.

* * *

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- The Prophet of the Second Sexual Revolution? -- (Chapter VIII, Part 37)

In keeping with the demented sci-fi theme, the modern videos on display promoting 'orgone therapy' are cheesily reminiscent of Scientology promos, minus the celebs.

Unlike L. Ron Hubbard, though, the Austrian never lived to see the triumph of his new reich.

As an ex-Commie flogging sex boxes to American gullibles during the Red Scare of the 1950s, it was only a matter of time before Reich attracted the Feds.

In a disturbing parallel to the Nazis' book burnings, the US government ordered all his writings about 'orgone therapy' to be incinerated.

Prosecuted as a fraud and sentenced to two years in jail, Reich died in captivity in 1957, turning him into a martyr of sorts for later free spirits.

In its cover story announcing 'The Second Sexual Revolution' in 1964, Time magazine conceded reluctantly that 'Reich may have been a prophet. For now it sometimes seems that all America is one big Orgone Box.'

And since then, the West's libido has been unleashed to roam the world—and come back and pee on Freud's very own doorstep.

Just down the street from his former home in Vienna is a high-brow erotica shop with a painting of an eighteenth-century woman crouched on a bed, her naked hindquarters quivering in the air.

With a winged penis as its symbol, the store takes its name from de Sade: Die Philosophie im Boudoir

Though its counterpart in London boasts more relics, the Freud Museum in Vienna is obviously hallowed ground, for it's here that psychoanalysis was born—his most famous patients passed through these portals—and it's here that the prophet of a new age was persecuted by the heathens of his own land and forced to flee (Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.)

'It was one of the most privileged emigrations of the Nazi regime, because they allowed him to take everything with him,' says the museum's director, Inge Scholz-Strasser, noting that after Freud left, his home became a 'Jew-collecting apartment:' a temporary residence for poor Jews who were dispatched to concentration camps.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Orgasmatrons and Orgasm Guns -- (Chapter VIII, Part 36)

Whereas old Sigmund tried to support the status quo—not least because the bourgeoisie kept him in cigars—Reich was an avowed Marxist who aimed to free the libidos of the lumpenproles.

Unfortunately, like his fellow Galician, Sacher-Masoch, he also wasn't right in the head.

Early on, the psychiatrist claimed to have discovered a new form of energy.

'Orgone' derived its name—and power—from the orgasm.

What's more, Reich claimed that this magical sex energy could be captured and concentrated to produce earth-moving miracles.

After fleeing to the US in 1939, he set up a research lab called Orgonon in the boondocks of Maine and started advertising 'orgone accumulators.'

The idea was that patients would sit in these special boxes—they look like posh, blonde-wood porta-potties—and wait for orgasmic energy from the atmosphere to build up in their, um, organs.

Unbelievably, Reichian therapy and many of its offshoots are still going strong today.

To my immense disappointment, though, no one's allowed to sit in the specially imported orgasmatron here in Vienna's Jewish Museum.

In fact, it's strictly verboten to take pictures of it, or the equally bizarre invention that Reich cooked up in his later years (God forbid the technology should fall into the wrong hands).

Convinced of the power of sex energy, the increasingly paranoid scientist built orgone 'guns'—basically, big hollow tubes lashed together—that he claimed could repel enemy UFOs.

Nailed it!

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- The Founder of the First Sexual Revolution -- (Chapter VIII, Part 35)

With his electrified shock of hair, hiss fairy stronk accent and screwball hypotheses, Wilhelm Reich (like Freud) would be laughable if so many people still didn't take him seriously.

In fact, one reason I've come to Vienna is to see the Jewish Museum's temporary exhibit in honor of the archetypal mad scientist.

Whereas Freud was a Victorian at heart, arguing that the libido had to be controlled to preserve society, his Galician disciple was a child of the sexed-up fin de siècle—'Willy' had started having sex with one of his family's maids when he was eleven, and both his parents had killed themselves over his mother's affair with one of his teachers.

Unlike his mentor in Vienna, Reich echoed Rousseau's view that humans were fundamentally good; it was society's hang-ups that were bad.

If people's libidos could be let off the leash, Reich argued, the world would be revolutionized: in fact, he coined the term 'Sexual Revolution' way back in 1930.

A couple of years later, the young psychoanalyst committed an unpardonable sin in Freud's eyes.

While the father of psychoanalysis had been exploring masochism with his daughter, he had also developed a new pet theory: the so-called 'death instinct,' the counterpart to the libido that drove humans to destruction.

Sacrilegiously, though, Reich had the audacity to debunk Freud's latest universal discovery, linking it to just one of many particular character traits.

Freud responded with the standard punishment for anyone who wouldn't kowtow to his godlike self-image: he had him excommunicated from the psychoanalytic church, using his masochistic daughter as his enforcer.

When Reich published his article on 'The Masochistic Character' in 1932, Freud tried to claim that he had written it 'in the service' of the Communist Party.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Here's Where It Really Gets Messy -- (Chapter VIII, Part 34)

As a diagnosed masochist (and elementary schoolteacher), then, Anna Freud preached that kids could be taught to control their irrational impulses and conform to society—a notion that sounds far more benevolent than it really was.

In keeping with her father's methods, Anna secretly tested her theories on the children of her lifelong female companion, the heiress Dorothy Burlingham, daughter of artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. Sigmund called her kids 'naughty American children.'

Anna and Sigmund managed to escape the Nazis, 
thanks to the strings pulled by his foreign disciples:
'It was one of the most privileged emigrations of the Nazi regime,' the director of Vienna's Freud museum told me.
'They allowed him to take everything with him.'

Obsessed that the boy was homosexual and therefore in her view abnormal, Anna subjected him and his sister to live-in analysis throughout their childhoods.

At first, her methods seemed to work: the children turned into apparently model citizens who married and had children of their own.

Sure enough, the son didn't become gay—but he did end up drinking himself to death.

His sister committed suicide in the same house in north London where Sigmund had 'died in freedom' and Anna had subjected her to experiments (ironically, the house is now a shrine to Freudianism: the Freud Museum at 20 Maresfield Gardens).

And they're still at it:
The Anna Freud Centre in London

As for Anna herself, her dad's dodgy analysis left her with a father complex so severe she ended up dying a 'vestal' virgin guarding his legacy, huddling in his overcoat as an old, childless spinster on Hampstead Heath.

By that time, unfortunately, Anna's theories had been foisted on a generation of schoolchildren on both sides of the Atlantic.

The tragicomic implication of all this is that when the inevitable backlash came, the rebels of the Sixties wound up kicking against the wrong targets.

Behind the scenes, Freud and his disciples were as much (if not more) to blame for creating the consumerism and conformity of the 1950s as the usual scapegoats: namely, religion, bigotry and the nuclear family.

What's more, when a generation of disillusioned rebels tried to break with the past and create a new future, they looked to another misguided follower of Freud as their savior.

* * *

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Anna Freud, Guinea Pig -- (Chapter VIII, Part 33)

As feted as he was at his death, though, Freud's legacy climaxed after the war.

His nephew taught his clients, namely the White House and major multinationals, to 'engineer consent' by appealing to the irrational sides of consumers.

Politically, this was meant to keep the masses in check and the Commies at bay. (Goebbels, Hitler's propagandist, had also hailed Bernays as an inspiration.)

By constantly stimulating people's irrational sides, though, companies conditioned them to behave more irrationally.

Consumers no longer looked to advertisements mainly for information but for entertainment.

Here we are now
entertain us

And as admen increasingly used sex to sell consumer goods, they created the modern concept of sex as a consumer good.

Meanwhile, Freud's daughter Anna was trying to set the world straight by re-educating the masses in America.

Unfortunately, she was profoundly screwed up herself.

As a young woman, Anna had been psychoanalyzed—not by one of Freud's colleagues—but by her father, whose analysis inevitably focused on sex.

Freud secretly used his favorite daughter as a guinea pig to develop his theories on masochism.

Without acknowledging that she was the subject in question (or her father the analyst), Anna later wrote a paper on 'Beating Fantasies and Daydreams' that told of a girl who'd supposedly fantasized about incest with her father, which then led to fantasies about being beaten when she was five or six years old.

And whenever she dreamt of being beaten, she would masturbate (not for nothing is it called 'beating off').

However, given Freud's dodgy ethics and obsession with sex, it's very likely that he planted these fantasies in the mind of his impressionable young daughter.

Anna admitted as much, noting in her paper that 'the girl never gave any detailed account of any individual scene of beating… which left to the analyst the task of completing and reconstructing a picture of the original situation.'

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Why We're All Freudians Now -- (Chapter VIII, Part 32)

But perhaps the main reason 'we're all Freudians now' is because of the insidious way his doctrines conquered America—and consequently, the rest of the world.

A must-see BBC series called The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis starts off by profiling the man who founded PR. Edward Bernays also happened to be the nephew of Sigmund Freud.

Born in Vienna in 1891, his family emigrated to New York, where Bernays made his name drumming up public support for the US to enter World War One.

When postwar inflation wiped out much of Uncle Sigmund's savings, Freud wrote to his nephew for help, and Bernays arranged for his works to be published in America.


While hyping his uncle and making him palatable to the public, Bernays also capitalized on his theories, advising corporations on how to convince people to buy things they didn't need.

Aptly enough, one of his first big commercial breaks used Freud's misogynistic notion of penis envy to harm women: he convinced them to smoke.

'Today, legally, politically and socially, 
womanhood stands in her true light. 
AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE has cast aside the ancient prejudice that held her to be inferior.
Gone is that ancient prejudice against cigarettes...'

Up until then, smoking was still taboo for American women.

So Bernays consulted one of his uncle's acolytes, who told him—you guessed it—that cigarettes were phallic symbols.

To get women to smoke, Bernays needed to get them to viewing cigarettes as symbols of power—et voila! they would have their very own penis substitutes.

Of course, a cigarette is no more phallic than an ice-cream cone: in fact, it probably has more dis-similarities than similarities to a penis. I, for one, wouldn't want a woman to try and light mine with a match.

Nevertheless, Bernays engineered a maiden 'media event' in 1929: he tipped off the press that some women's rights activists were planning to light up during a New York parade; in reality, the photogenic young flappers were debutantes hired by Bernays.

The scam worked, and the media parroted his line that the 'suffragettes'' smokes were actually 'Torches of Freedom.'

'...Progress has been made.
We removed the prejudice against cigarettes
when we removed from the tobacco harmful corrosive ACRIDS.
Thus "TOASTING" has destroyed that ancient prejudice
against cigarette smoking by men and by women.'

Somewhat ironically—female cancer victims might even say deservedly—it was Uncle Sigmund's own nicotine habit that ultimately killed him.

Freud relied on the steady buzz of at least twenty cigars a day for literary inspiration, eventually contracting cancer of the jaw.

After the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, Freud's high-placed friends and fortune enabled him to escape to London, where he fulfilled his wish to 'die in freedom' at the age of eighty-three.

Or have we?
A cigarette ad, c1971

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Freud's Science Fiction -- (Chapter VIII, Part 31)

Unlike Freud, who said most humans are 'trash,' I think the majority of people strive—consciously and subconsciously—to make sense of the world around them.

So there are good reasons why his theories have saturated the modern psyche.

Freud on the cover of Time, 1924

The most convincing lies contain an element of truth, and Freud was a genius at making the obvious look new and the specious sound true.

Yes, a toddler may be jealous of his father's time with his mother, but that doesn't mean the kid wants to off him and get off with her.

In fact, his 'jealousy' may not be sexual at all.

Anyone with any practical experience of children will tell you that a toddler can be 'jealous' of anything that gets between him and his feeding machine: a sister, a cat—even a book or chores.

In fact, anyone with a puppy will notice similar behavior when you introduce a rival animal into the house—but this canine 'jealousy' doesn't mean the dog wants to commit an unnatural act with its owner.

Not everything's about sex.


Although Freud insisted that what he'd 'discovered' was unassailable fact, much of it was nothing but science fiction.

In the absence of any proof, his followers had to have faith, and psychoanalysis developed all the hallmarks of a secular religion, creating the template for virtually every personality cult and self-help movement to this day.

With Freud's blessing, apostates like Jung were excommunicated and their characters publicly assassinated.

by Phil Selby

Psychoanalysis also coincided with the birth of cinema, embedding 'Freudian symbols' in the minds of the masses while always appealing to people's sense of their own self-importance, giving even the most innocuous dream or slip of the tongue a Deeper Hidden Meaning.

In their defense, many of Freud's followers were fooled because they didn't know better: he tried to destroy incriminating paperwork—ironically, the woman who saved him from the Nazis unwittingly wrecked his posthumous reputation by salvaging his letters to Fliess.

What's more, his associates cynically drip-fed his most damning papers into the public domain over decades—in fact, some archives won't be released until 2057.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Freud's Self-Fulfilling Prophecy -- (Chapter VIII, Part 30)

I could go on about Freud—for instance, about his 'discoveries' like the Id, Ego and Superego being age-old concepts that he merely rebranded—but I don't have the space for it here.

What's fascinating is that Freud's world view, though often profoundly wrong, has effectively become right—simply because Western culture has been remade in his image.

Although many if not most of his ideas were patently false, he and his acolytes managed to dupe so many people into believing them that they actually became de facto truths.

The notion that sex makes the world go round has become a self-fulfilling prophecy because Freudianism conditioned us to see sex in everything, replacing the old rationalist declaration of the Enlightenment with the irrational slogan of mass consumerism:

I lust, therefore I am. 

Take this example, using a product popularized in the early twentieth century: in Freud's day, the majority of people seeing a woman licking an ice cream cone would've seen, well, a female eating a frozen dairy confection.

A few bon vivants (and sexologists) might have fantasized about fellatio—or cunnilingus, for that matter—but they would've been a minority.

Now, though, after decades of sex-injected advertising, any Billy Jim Bob seeing a model licking a Cornetto has been conditioned to perceive it as an allusion to oral sex:

Lookee thar! She can suck the cream off mah horn-etto any day, if ya know whut ah mean! Duh-har. 

Or maybe it's just me.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Freud Sells Out -- (Chapter VIII, Part 29)

The sinister twist that Freudianism put on child sexuality is that it inverted traditional taboos against incest that were almost always targeted against adults.

In fact, there's a convincing argument that Freudian guff about babies being 'anal-sadistic' and wanting to consume and destroy their mother's breasts is nothing more than adults 'projecting' their own hang-ups onto innocent victims.

Thanks to Freud and his disciples, it became possible for pedophiles to claim that the toddlers they abused were gagging for it.

Even worse, Freud's dogmatic view that children fantasized about being seduced by their parents led generations of his followers to dismiss actual cases of sex abuse as mere wishful fantasies.

Freud himself remained convinced to the end.

'If psychoanalysis could boast of no other achievement than the discovery of the repressed Oedipus Complex,' he wrote, 'that alone would give it a claim to be included among the precious new acquisitions of mankind.'

Before his retirement, Krafft-Ebing was kind enough to support Freud's quest for a professorship, though he was markedly ambivalent, noting that it was too early to judge the 'import' of his work: 'It is possible that Freud overrates these (findings) and generalizes his discoveries too far. In any event, his researches are evidence of unusual talent and the ability to direct scientific investigations into new pathways.'

Nevertheless, at forty-five, Freud still wasn't a full-fledged professor.

'So I made up my mind to break with strict virtue and take appropriate steps, as other humans do,' he told Fliess. He persuaded a couple of influential patients to pull strings for him with the Minister of Education, and Freud soon found himself promoted to respectability as a university professor.

'The old world is ruled by authority, as the new is by the dollar,' he concluded. 'I have made my first bow to authority and so may hope to be rewarded.'

Thus Freud's fame and fortune coincided with the beginning of the twentieth century: his selling out began the modern era of 'sex sells.'

* * *

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Concocting the Oedipal Complex -- (Chapter VIII, Part 28)

What was novel about Freud's take on the Unconscious was his contention that people were ruled from infancy by their libidos.

Around the time that he was exculpating himself for having helped one friend to kill himself with cocaine and another to disfigure a patient, he claimed to remember that his own libido had been awakened towards his mother when he was roughly two years old.

Freud reckoned he'd made a journey with his mother to Vienna 'during which we must have spent the night together and there must have been an opportunity of seeing her nudam,' he told Fliess.

As if that weren't speculative enough, Freud then admitted that the inspiration for this was Fliess himself and his remark about his own young son supposedly having an erection after seeing his mother naked.

So Freud cobbled together a pseudo-memory of his own and a disparate anecdote from a colleague to concoct a grand unified theory of child sexuality.

Incredibly, Freud then congratulated himself for his candor.

'Being totally honest with oneself is a good exercise,' he wrote, claiming that he realized he'd been in love with his mother and jealous of his father. 'I now consider it a universal event in early childhood.'


To this day, there's no proof to support Freud's very specific claim that all boys aged two to three literally want to have sex with their mothers (or vice-versa little girls and their fathers).

Ironically, though, one reason that the Oedipus Complex has been accepted into popular mythology is because it ties in neatly with the old Christian view of sex and Original Sin: it's probably no coincidence that Freudianism took off in traditionally—or perhaps formerly—puritanical countries like England and America.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Freud's Scientific Fairy Tale -- (Chapter VIII, Part 27)

Nevertheless, when Freud confidently unveiled his 'seduction theory' to his peers just a few days before his fortieth birthday, he was expecting adulation for having discovered 'the source of the Nile' in neuropathology:

'The expectation of eternal fame was so beautiful, as was that of certain wealth, complete independence, travels and lifting the children above the severe worries that robbed me of my youth,' he recalled.

Instead, he was publicly humiliated.

by Doug Savage

The meeting was chaired by none other than Krafft-Ebing, who had documented cases of actual child abuse—and even come up with the name for the perversion: pedophilia.

The best he could say about the junior lecturer's thesis was: 'It sounds like a scientific fairy tale.'

Unable to accept his own failure, Freud told himself that he was a prophet ahead of his time and set about transforming his 'fairy tale' into a seductive fantasy.

Instead of claiming that his patients had suffered abuse as kids, he decided that all children fantasized about having sex with their parents.

He based this highly dubious 'universal truth' not on any truly empirical scientific research but on his pseudo-mystical ability to interpret dreams.

And it's his exploration of the Unconscious that Freud's apologists like to emphasize nowadays.

However, leaving aside the current doubts in neuroscience about whether such a thing even exists, Freud certainly wasn't the first to realize that people often acted without really understanding why.

As a (Christian) philosopher, Blaise Pascal, had put it two centuries earlier: 'The heart has its reasons of which reason knows not.'

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- 'Habemus Papam!' -- (Chapter VIII, Part 26)

The reason Fliess was able to lead Freud around by the nose, so to speak, was because his friend thought that he, too, was 'on the scent' of a world-changing discovery.

Building on Charcot's cockeyed theories about sex and hysteria, Freud tackled another ambiguous 'disease' that was all the rage at the time.

A doctor in the US had coined the term 'neurasthenia' to describe a general state of nervousness in modern society caused by factors ranging from rapid urbanization to, um, religious freedom.

But Freud declared to Fliess that the one and only cause of this neurosis (nicknamed 'Americanitis') was an abnormal sex life, specifically masturbation and coitus interruptus (predictably, Fliess thought that wanking also caused inflammation of the nose). 

Of course, onanism had long had a bad rap in Judeo-Christian culture—there was even a theory of 'masturbational insanity' at the time—but Freud managed to convince himself he was onto something new.

He began routinely interrogating his patients about their sexual habits and soon jumped to a truly shocking conclusion: all neurotics had been molested as children by their parents.

'Sending a a woman to a Freudian therapist
is not so far distant from sending a Jew to a Nazi.'
--Gloria Steinem

The myth created by Freud—and perpetuated to this day in books and museums—is that he deduced this from what his patients were telling him.

The reality, though, is that he prodded and bullied them into telling him what he wanted to hear, forcing them (in his own words) to focus on 'repressed sexual ideas in spite of all their protestations.'

A case in point involved a woman who supposedly had symptoms of hysteria: namely, a speech impediment, with cracks and eczema around her mouth.


Freud outlined his tortuous thinking, noting that both the patient and her father spoke as if their mouths were full.

'Habemus papam!' he exclaimed.

In what must be an early example of a Freudian slip, the doctor said he 'thrust the explanation at her.'

Much to the patient's surprise, and without any evidence whatsoever, Freud informed her that her dad had forced her to give him fellatio as a girl—and that was why she now had cracked lips and talked funny. 

Unfortunately, he noted, the woman then 'committed the folly of questioning the old man himself,' and her father swore he was innocent.

Most likely he swore a good deal at Freud, too.

The doctor quickly realized that although sex talk with women was good for business (and more pleasurable than he ever admitted), accusing the men who paid their bills of molesting them wasn't.

More importantly, Freud noted that his own siblings were also high-strung, raising inevitable questions about his own papam.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- But Did She Stop Masturbating? -- (Chapter VIII, Part 25)

Now, having already made a charlie of himself a decade earlier, you'd think Freud would have learned his lesson about cocaine.

On the contrary, he had a lingering fascination with the drug, compounded by his lifelong inability to admit mistakes, ruining at least one more life in the process.

In 1895, he diagnosed a female patient as suffering from Fliess' made-up disease, supposedly caused by masturbation.

A myth with legs:
reminiscent of Fliess' theory that the nose contains 'genital spots',
this 'nasal delivery technology' was supposed to boost your sex life --
before the UK authorities banned the ads for being 'crass'
Getty Images

The two doctors decided that Fliess had to come to Vienna to remove a bone in the thirty-year-old's nasal cavity.

The problem was, Fliess didn't have much surgical experience.

So if you're squeamish, look away now…

Considering that Emma Eckstein underwent completely unnecessary, life-threatening surgery at the hands of an inexperienced quack, it's not all that surprising that the patient developed problems soon after Fliess had left Vienna.

She was in severe pain, hemorrhaging repeatedly and secreting a noxious fluid.

Oh—and her head started to emit a 'fetid odor,' as Freud recounted later in a letter to Fliess.

Partners in crime: Freud and Fliess in the 1890s

After she'd already been suffering for two weeks, Freud finally called in another surgeon friend who cleaned the wound, 'removed some sticky blood clots, and suddenly pulled at something like a thread, (and) kept on pulling. Before either of us had time to think, at least half a meter of gauze had been removed from the cavity. The next moment came a flood of blood. The patient turned white, her eyes bulged, and she had no pulse.'

'I felt sick,' Freud continued—no doubt at the sight of his career dying before his eyes—and admitted that he had to leave the room.

While the surgeon battled to stop the hemorrhaging, Freud had a cognac to recover to his default position and blame somebody else: not his dear friend Fliess, who had carelessly left nearly two feet of gauze up the patient's nose, but the subsequent surgeon who'd actually saved the woman's life.

'He should immediately have thought, There is something inside; I shall not pull it out lest there be a hemorrhage,' Freud claimed.

Remarkably, the poor patient had remained conscious during the ordeal.

'When I returned to the room somewhat shaky,' the doctor reported with typical self-regard, 'she greeted me with the condescending remark, "So this is the strong sex."'

The redoubtable woman underwent further surgery and wound up permanently disfigured.

Despite all this, Freud continued to swear by his friend—and claim that in actuality it was the woman's hysteria that caused her to hemorrhage to 'entice' Freud to pay attention to her.

For his part, Fliess went on to publish a monograph on The Relations Between the Nose and the Female Sexual Organs from the Biological Aspect.

One reviewer, noting Fliess' claim that diseased tonsils made children cross-eyed, condemned the book as 'disgusting gobbledygook:'

'In not a few places the reader has the impression that the author is making fun of him.'

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- 'Repeated Doses of a Normal Penis' -- (Chapter VIII, Part 24)

Likewise, most nineteenth-century 'hysterics' were probably suffering from ailments we now know as epilepsy, closed-head injuries, Tourette's syndrome, multiple sclerosis and even syphilis.

In treating his own father for the latter, Charcot suspended him by the neck to 'lengthen' his nerves.

Unfortunately, being hanged also hastened the old man's demise.

Presumably, Charcot's cure for a young woman was far more pleasurable: Freud confessed himself dumbfounded when he heard his mentor declare that the woman's nervousness was due to her husband's poor sexual prowess.

'In cases like this, it's always the genital thing,' he exclaimed. 'Always, always, always.'

In other words: All she needs is a good seeing to.

Likewise, another colleague of Freud's prescribed the following for high-strung women—

'Penis normalis dosim repetatur'


'Repeated doses of a normal penis.' 

Back in Vienna, Freud struck up a long-distance friendship with a younger colleague in Berlin named Wilhelm Fliess.

The two had the sort of intense, platonic bond that men had enjoyed for centuries; ironically, though, it's largely because of the sexed-up theories Freud formulated in his correspondence with Fliess that society now tends to view close male friendships with suspicion.

Freud would tell Fliess how he 'panted' for their next 'congress,' and Wilhelm soon became a sounding board and mentor, with Sigmund waiting on his pronouncements 'as on the Messiah.'

Sadly for the rest of us, Fliess was even more deluded than Freud.

Eager to make his mark, he invented a new disease—the 'nasal reflex neurosis'—as well as its cure: regular applications of cocaine to the nostrils.

What's more, Fliess claimed the inside of the nose contained 'genital spots' that were hardwired to people's privates—especially women's—creating scope for sexual positions that even The Kama Sutra didn't envisage.

Sure enough, like Freud, Fliess found that coke could cure pretty much whatever ailed you—or at least make you feel like it did—especially if you stuffed it up your nose.

Imagine what Fliess would've made of this:
Thomas Wedders, an 18th century Yorkshireman,
had the longest nose in history: 7 inches (19 cm),
according to Ripley's Believe It Or Not in London
(The Daily Telegraph)

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Hysteria Mysteria -- (Chapter VIII, Part 23)

Having struck out with drugs, Sigmund then tried to make it big with sex (as rock and roll had yet to be invented).

Freud went to study in Paris with a famous neurologist who was now well into his quack years.

Jean-Martin Charcot specialized in a very voguish malady that eventually served as the ersatz foundation of Freud's entire career.

'Hysteria' was a catch-all affliction attributed to women (and a few men) who suffered from complaints ranging from anything as minor as a nervous cough to convulsions, partial paralysis, wild gesticulations known as 'clownism,' and, in female patients, the sensation of being suffocated by their wombs rising into their throats.

One of Charcot's 'hysterical' women

In fact, the definition was so broad that a skeptical American dubbed it 'mysteria.'

Charcot, in contrast, touted hysteria as 'the great neurosis' and argued that its main cause was emotional rather than physical trauma, claiming, in effect, that symptoms like paralysis were all in the mind.

So if a barrowboy was run over and subsequently suffered seizures and nosebleeds, Charcot would attribute his afflictions to the emotional impact of the accident rather than the obvious fact that the poor 'hysteric' probably had brain damage from being knocked stone cold by a carriage.

In fairness, neurologists at the time didn't have the technology to detect minor cerebral lesions.

But the truth is that hysteria was all but impossible to treat because it probably never existed in the first place—certainly not on the scale that Freud and his 'great teacher' diagnosed it.

In all likelihood, most of the unfortunate souls branded as 'hysterics' by Charcot and Freud were actually physically—rather than psychologically—ill.

Indeed, years later, Freud blamed a fourteen-year-old girl's 'noisy manifestations of hysteria' for causing him to overlook her genuine complaint: abdominal pains.

Having been 'cured' by Freud of hysteria, the girl later died of what had really been ailing her: stomach cancer.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Freud and the First Speedball -- (Chapter VIII, Part 22)

One of Freud's best friends (and rivals) in Vienna had become addicted to morphine and its cousin, heroin, after having a finger amputated, so Sigmund recommended that his colleague try to cure himself by… switching to cocaine.

For his part, Freud noticed that it helped him work, and sure enough, within weeks, the coked-up doctor had cranked out the first of a series of papers heralding cocaine as a wonder drug, not only as an aphrodisiac but as a cure for morphine and alcohol addiction.

Without having done any proper scientific research himself—a hallmark of Freud's entire career—he claimed that one of his patients had been able to kick the morphine habit after just ten days—and stop taking cocaine, too.

In reality, the 'patient' was his nine-fingered friend, Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow, and he was far from cured.

By April 1885, the man had a full-blown coke habit, and he eventually started mixing it with morphine and heroin.

Fully aware of this, Freud started warning his fiancée in private against getting too fond of the drug.

Nevertheless, in public, he continued to recommend injecting cocaine, refuting claims that it was addictive.

In fact, the American drug company started using his endorsements to trumpet its gear over its German rival's, claiming that its coke was the real thing.

Thanks to Freud's hype, physicians on both sides of the Atlantic started dishing out pharmaceutical-grade cocaine for morphine addicts.

Within months, they reported cases of morphine junkies suffering from cocaine psychosis.

A German psychiatrist denounced Freud for creating a 'scourge of humanity,' and indeed, it was his dodgy research—and a genuine discovery by one of his colleagues (Karl Koller realized it could be used as an anesthetic)—that created the first global market for cocaine.

As the backlash against his own spurious claims grew, Freud did what came naturally: he lied, claiming, for instance, that he'd never advocated injecting cocaine.

As for his former 'patient' and colleague who he'd convinced to swap one addiction for another, well, he died at 45 hooked on coke and morphine, making him possibly the first victim of a 'speedball.'

Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow

Young Sigmund felt really bad about this, though he managed to turn this posthumous remorse to his benefit.

The inspiration for his landmark Interpretation of Dreams was a dream about a syringe that reminded him of his erstwhile rival.

Ironically—demonstrating a remarkable lack of psychological insight—Freud denied his role in his colleague's death and effectively blamed his dead friend for having 'poisoned himself with cocaine.'

Freud: young and old

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Freud's 'Magical Drug' -- (Chapter VIII, Part 21)

No sex history would be complete without Vienna, so inevitably our trip involves shlepping to the capital, where Krafft-Ebing was promoted to head the psychiatric department at its university.

The country doctor arrived during Carnival season in 1889, just after the Crown Prince's suicide-murder.

One of his first outings was an asylum gala that featured lunatics dressed as cannibals, Bluebeards… and Jack the Rippers.

By that time, Krafft-Ebing's work had become required reading for anyone interested in sex, particularly a struggling, fame-hungry neurologist named Sigmund Freud.


It's a shame to have to waste much space on the Father of Everything's Phallic, but Freud's impact on the present day is so pervasive it's unavoidable.

Amid all the hagiography masquerading as fact, the best book I've read on 'Uncle Siggie' is Richard Webster's devastatingly methodical critique, Why Freud Was Wrong, which demolishes the Freudian myth mainly because the author is so generous in trying to explain Freud's mistakes.

Not only is it a wise book in its own right, but it's also a thorough review of the evidence for and against Freud. I've also made cross-checks based on Freud's own writings and at least one title approved for sale in Vienna's Freud Museum.

The black comedy of Freud's career began with spectacular failure.

In fact, to this day, his followers don't like to talk much about the father of psychoanalysis being the godfather of the cocaine industry. Instead, they refer po-facedly to his ill-fated fling with the white stuff as 'the Cocaine Episode.'

At the age of twenty-eight, Freud had very little to show for all his years of studying, let alone his parents' belief that their 'Golden Siggie' would someday be a great man: a medical Moses, if not the Messiah himself.

Stuck in a lowly job as an intern in Vienna's general hospital, he couldn't scrape together enough money to marry his fiancée.

But then he claimed 'a lucky strike:' he found a paper by an army surgeon who noted that Andean marching powder seemed to pep up German soldiers.

Freud then dug up some obscure research published in Detroit claiming that cocaine could be used to wean morphine addicts from the arms of Morpheus.

Unbeknownst to him, this 'research' was sponsored by a (Detroit-based) drug company aiming to create a market for its star product—cocaine.

Judging from Freud's behavior throughout his career, though, it's doubtful that this knowledge would have deterred him.

Convinced of cocaine's potential as a panacea, the young doctor forked out for a sample of the pharmaceutical industry's finest in May 1884 and concluded that it was a 'magical drug:'

'I take very small doses regularly against depression and indigestion, and with the most brilliant success,' he raved to his beloved.

I think we can assume it was the coke talking.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Only With Added Nipples -- (Chapter VIII, Part 20)

'Shhhho… what are you two into?' he slobbers at Lena.

She fends him off effortlessly. 'Um, each other?'

Once all the bluehairs have gone, the backroom turns into an impromptu slideshow starring Grazy and some other regulars at the annual drag-queen extravaganzas in Graz and Vienna.

These 'Tuntenballs'—or 'fag bashes'—are the successors to the exclusive parties hosted by homosexuals in Germany and Austria back in Krafft-Ebing's day.

The official photos feature gorgeous costumes and outrageous peacockery.

Unfortunately, the pics in this slideshow are more like vacation snaps, with dodgy drag queens surrounded by hot girls trying to outglam them by flaunting the only physical advantages they have: some are actually naked.

A more typical sequence, though, shows a woman and a tranny groping a topless woman's boobs, then the topless gal groping the woman back, and finally the topless woman cupping the drag queen's falsies.

It's like having to sit through your parents' holiday slideshow, only with added nipples.

Note to self: when your sex life is the most interesting thing about you, it's time to get a life. 

Just as my eyelids are crusting shut, Grazy's girlfriend shouts at him and storms out, leaving him to totter after her and providing me with the break I need.

Outside, Grazy tells Lena and me they're headed to a joint called No Limits.

But I've already reached mine, and Lena's been gagging to go ever since she got here.

'God, that was dull!' she groans as we walk away. 'I've had more fun at lunch with a nun—at least she was laughing and telling dirty jokes!'

* * *

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- 'Is It Him?' -- (Chapter VIII, Part 19)

Upon hearing this, our SM Youth delegate recoils. 'I could never do that,' Angelika says. 'Just go with a stranger? I'm too shy.'

For Judith, though, it's the spice of life. 'If we set a date, say, in five days' time, I'll spend those five days walking past people on the street and thinking, Is it him—or him? And I find this very exciting.'

On the contrary, Judith says she and Axel come here only once or twice a year.

'I would like to talk about SM, but most people at the Stammtisch just talk about their houses and cars,' she sighs. 'I find it boring.'

So dull, in fact, she announces that they have to go. She's left her children—ages eight and ten—home alone in the hope of swapping S&M tips with other adults.

'My wife's a little nervous about them being alone,' Axel apologizes. 'You never know what they'll do on the computer.'

At this point, if I had any sense, I'd follow their lead.

But I stick it out, mainly because Lena's coming here. And the arrival of the Latin South African is like the miraculous apparition of a model on the Isle of Man: the locals can't help but crave her Genes! Fresh geeeeenes!

Greedy and goggle-eyed, the assembled men (and women) look like they'd like to make goulash of her, or at least have her schnitzel their wieners.

One guy in particular is practically drooling.

'He is the bondage scene in Graz,' Grazy informs me.

Balding of head and bulging of eye, his teeth are too big for his mouth. I reckon he has saliva issues at the best of times.

As for his partner, well, if he tied her up and stuck an apple in her, he'd have the makings of an S&M luau.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Raggedy Ann in Chains -- (Chapter VIII, Part 18)

'There's even an SM Style now,' she continues, citing the pop star Rihanna (SM boyfriend optional).

Our tablemates are a tousle-haired artist and his wife, whose orange pageboy, bright lipstick and striped tights remind me of a Raggedy Ann doll.

Sure enough,
if you Google 'bondage Raggedy Ann,'
this is what you get

Very much to the contrary, she's the model for Axel's new series on Sex and Aggression, which makes me even more appreciative of Max's paintings in the S&M B&B in Venice.

Like most modern artists, Axel can't resist the post-Freudian urge to tell you what his images are trying to say—when of course the truth is, if he could actually paint, the work would speak for itself.

His canvases feature snatches of Krafft-Ebing and Sacher-Masoch plastered above paintings of his wife, who's naked except for bondage straps and pictured in various degrading poses: bending over naked, eating out of a dog bowl and so on.

As in life, her wide eyes are startlingly blank, though in art, she also has a corresponding lack of genitalia: the belt crisscrossing her groin forms a kind of labia.

Flipping through the samples, and sitting next to his apparently mingeless muse, I'm finding it surprisingly hard to make conversation.


The question I really want to ask—is that really what your bits look like?—probably isn't socially acceptable, even in this crowd.

So I opt for the boringly conventional: 'Sooooooo… how did you two meet?'

Judith tells me a tale reminiscent of Schnitzler's Dream Story, the Viennese source of the film, Eyes Wide Shut.

At twenty-five, Judith found herself married with two children when she realized that—Grosser Gott!—she'd never had an orgasm.

So she took up with Axel, who constructs real-life fantasies for her involving his acquaintances.

'Axel might arrange for me to go to a restaurant, and I'll say, "Is there a taxi driver here?" And a stranger will stand up, and I then go with him.'

Presumably they avoid cabbie hangouts.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- The S&M Youth -- (Chapter VIII, Part 17)

For the record, Grazy says he mainly likes girls, but he's also been with men, and he doesn't always camp it up, especially not as his day-job alter-ego: Michael the Computer Guy.

He and his girlfriend have a tempestuous romance, he says.

Apropos of which, the Sturm to his Drag interrupts us to have a smoke, and Grazy gallantly follows her outside. 'I don't like her to stand outside alone,' he says.

Though it's hard to see how his presence would help her. What's she gonna say: 'Don't bother me, or my cross-dressing boyfriend will beat you up with his handbag'?

On my right is Angelika, a university student euphemized as a BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) in online parlance.

'This is my first time here,' she says. 'I usually go to another group—the SM Youth.'

I splutter into my beer. 'The what?' 

'The SM Youth: for people aged sixteen to twenty-six.'

Ah, sweet sixteen and never been whipped. 

Well, this is awkward:
a teen fashion label has the same name

'Gosh,' I wonder. 'If you start with S&M at sixteen, where do you go from there?'

'I dunno. I guess they'll find out as they get older.'

For the most part, she tells me, the monthly SM Youth meetings deal with issues like exams… moving house… how to make a bondage chair that converts into a coffee table… and how to build a torture cage from wood to keep the cost down—y'know, questions we all grapple with at one point or another. 

Angelika's writing her thesis on intergender studies at the University of Graz, where both Sacher-Masoch and Krafft-Ebing taught.

'Did you have to read Psychopathia Sexualis for your paper?'

'No—the university didn't have it in the library. At least, I don't think they did. I think I looked it up. I can't remember. I know one thing, though: if I wrote something on SM, it would definitely get published. SM's huge now. When I was growing up, you hardly saw it. But shows like CSI, Law and Order and NCIS often have SM characters—usually the baddies—but you never saw that on Colombo.'

'Or Hawaii Five-O,' I add. 'Spank 'em, Danno!'

She smiles politely; clearly, I'm too old for the SM Youth.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Austria's Awfully Boring Masochists -- (Chapter VIII, Part 16)

Prior to coming here, I struck up an email correspondence with a transvestite who used to run Graz's (now defunct) club devoted to S&M—or simply 'SM,' in German.

He/she then forwarded my email address to an online forum, and since then, I've received helpful tips about Graz's miniscule SM scene.

In fact, the aficionados have decided to hold one of their special meetings, a Stammtisch, at a local restaurant in honor of my arrival.

So it would be rude not to go, right?

Weirdly, the setting for the BDSM do is a traditional wood-beamed Austrian restaurant, the kind of place that sticks antique farm implements on the walls for decoration and makes its waitresses dress up like wenches for ambience.

The arrival of 'Grazy' and his girlfriend—both in high heels and black fetishwear—elicits a few bemused chuckles from the pensioners dining nearby, but there's no real shock or disgust.

After all, today's bluehairs are yesterday's longhairs: these sexagenarians came of age in the Sixties.

And whether they're able to accept it or not (forever young!), most of Grazy's entourage isn't much younger.

Having met the Terribly Nice Sadists of France, I feel bad being mean to Austria's Awfully Boring Masochists; then again, they probably prefer it that way.


The twenty or so people who show up are typical of the regulars you see on swingers' sites: mainly well-preserved women who serve as sexbait for their balding partners, plus a couple of young guys tagging along in the off-chance an orgy breaks out.

At the top of the long wooden table sits Grazy, all dolled up in a bobbed wig, a black corset and a miniskirt with matching choker and armband.

Judging from his button nose and neatly symmetrical features, he's probably as cute as a guy as he is as a girl—and boy does he know it.

His poor girlfriend, on the other hand, has a face that's curdled round her nose. She's probably a big softie deep down, but her default expression is defensive: she doesn't so much stare daggers at you as an entire fortress, complete with vats of boiling oil.

You have to feel sorry for her: it's bad enough having a better-looking partner, but having a boyfriend who's hotter than you dressed as a woman would drive any girl crazy.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- The Masochists' Paradox -- (Chapter VIII, Part 15)

One manifestation of this trickle-down theory of deviance is the plethora of women now willing to abuse men for money.

Whereas many of Krafft-Ebing's masochists lamented the dearth of real-life Wandas, there's now no shortage of women advertising as dominatrixes.

To my mind, it's no real mystery why a working girl would opt for this particular career path: 'You wanna pay me to humiliate you—and I don't even have to shag your sorry butt? Heck, yeah, I'll do it, suck—I mean, "slave"!'

What mystifies me is that they're able to charge anything at all; given the number of women with 'male issues,' you'd think prices for a good spanking would have hit rock bottom, so to speak.

But the reason they don't is the masochists' paradox.

Just as the supposedly 'weaker sex' often rations intercourse in vanilla couplings, in S&M 'play,' the submissives hold the whip hand.

'The masochists are the real masters because they decide what's going to happen,' Oosterhuis explained, echoing Krafft-Ebing's correspondents.

'And that's also their difficulty because they have to instruct the mistress. And as soon as she does not behave as they want her to, they are disappointed. So masochism is a frustration for these men because they cannot realize their fantasies.'

Taken to its logical extreme, this all gets very angsty, with masochists ending up like their namesake, forever searching for ever-harsher mistresses and 'stimulants.'

Personally, I've never seen the appeal of being abused by a surly woman, much less paying for the privilege; not only does it seem deeply silly, I could get abused in any bar or club for free.

And after Paris, I've seen more than my share of sadomasochism (my eyes! my eyes!).

The point of this Teutonic jaunt is to explore the cerebral aspect of sex, without getting sucked into the seedy side.

Well, not literally, anyway.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- Born This Way? -- (Chapter VIII, Part 14)

While casting around for info about the home of masochism, I found a reference to Graz on a whoremongers' website.

The businessman writing the review said he'd had a few hours to kill en route to Munich, so rather than read a book, go to a museum or do anything productive with his time, he decided to do something anti-reproductive: he went to a whorehouse.

Having ordered himself a Thai, he offered her €200 ($270) 'for fucking and pissing into her mouth… She reluctantly agreed for three hundred. I pissed, she even swallowed some, but was not enthusiastic.'

And rrrrrrrrriipppp!

Off went another layer of innocence from my psyche.

Of course, I knew about 'golden showers' and the like—Lena had a girlfriend aroused by the sight of defecation; she used to a sit under a glass coffee table to watch, raising an obvious question about friends and enemas.

But what kind of cretin expects a complete stranger to swallow his waste with a smile?

Ah, the innocence...

The typical reaction to this is to spout the relativist view that such vices have always existed and always will.

But Krafft-Ebing's work makes you wonder whether the percentage of kinksters has actually increased over the past century.

In other words, are there more 'perverts' now than there used to be? 


To try to find out, I phoned Krafft-Ebing's Dutch biographer before coming here.

'I think it has to do with opportunity,' Professor Harry Oosterhuis told me. 'I don't believe in a kind of essentialist sex drive. Sexual drive and desires are also recognized and realized because you have the opportunity and possibility of developing them. If you have no examples around you, perhaps you wouldn't get the idea.'

'What I know of a lot of people in Amsterdam is that they experiment. People start from heterosexuality to also experiment with bisexuality and homosexuality. They start to develop a fetish. They might be involved in S&M because there are S&M parties. It has to do with lifestyle, with consumerism, with people wanting to do something with their fantasies and having the opportunity because we live in quite a liberal and affluent society in which you can realize lifestyles.'

Notably, almost all of Krafft-Ebing's case histories came from the upper classes.

'You find very few laborers. And this sexual culture that was already there and was very elitist has simply been democratized after the Second World War.'

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- It All Comes Together in the Sacher-Masoch Suite -- (Chapter VIII, Part 13)

So far, that seems premature.

Sacher-Masoch's house in Graz is now a place where people go to treat their ills; apparently, the pharmacy even has a plaque commemorating the author of Venus in Furs, but I'm too distracted by the billboard across the way advertising Der Venus Club, a girlie bar that takes its symbol from another Renaissance masterpiece—Botticelli's Birth of Venus (gold and silver plated)—and charges €75 for half an hour with a 'Top Girl' in themed rooms spanning Hollywood, Africa, Harlem… and, um, Britain. 

If only I'd known…

Instead, I've booked the 'Wanda Sacher-Masoch Suite' at a hotel in the center.

Leopold and Aurora used to dine at the Erzherzog Johann after the opera, so as part of the 2003 festival, the hotel's owners concocted a cake fit for masochists—the Sacher-Masoch Torte, natürlich (with layers of fruit and marzipan)—and dedicated a suite to the unhappy couple.

Its designer is the same Austrian woman who bullied the Pole for performance art, and the centerpiece is a large portrait of her posing as Wanda in the middle of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum, right in front of Titian's Venus in Furs as well as his Ecce Homo/Christ Before Pilate.

Irene Andessner as Wanda

Now, this is all very exciting for me because the photo ties together Titian, his pornographer mate Aretino (as Pilate)...

...and the same saucy model from the Venus of Urbino...

...posing as Venus in Furs (aka The Woman in the Fur Coat)...

—plus an Austrian artist playing Sacher-Masoch's muse.

Irene Andessner's Wanda wears thigh-high boots, a corona and a satin-lined cloak with a massive train: the fake fur in the portrait is actually the bedspread of the four-poster in the Sacher-Masoch Suite.

Though the room's color scheme is predictable—black and white with red velvet features—it's the details that take the room gloriously over the top: the (somewhat disturbing) cameo of the artist as Wanda inside the bed's canopy—gloating over you while you sleep (or not)…

...the quote from Venus in Furs on the glass panels in the bathroom… the life-sized projection of Venus on the shower wall when the lights are dimmed… and the pièce de résistance: a Gideon's Bible next to the telephone.

The History of Sex: Graz and Vienna -- 'The Century of Sacher-Masoch' -- (Chapter VIII, Part 12)

You may have blinked and missed it, but Graz was Europe's Capital of Culture in 2003, the same year its most famous son did his bit for world culture in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Nowadays, though, Schwarzenegger is a former Governator non grata, after Graz's assembly denounced him for sending a convicted killer to his death in California.

(The city hasn't always been so conscientious, however, having produced more than its fair share of Nazis—including Arnie's own police chief father.)

The star of Kindergarten Cop promptly returned a 'ring of honor' to Graz and demanded that it remove his name from the local sports stadium.


As for its other infamous son of a local police chief, Graz has also had a tortuous relationship.

The story goes that Sacher-Masoch's widow tried to have his ashes interred in Graz, but the city fathers refused to let his cinders besmirch their soil.

In the sexed-up twenty-first century, however, the dead writer has become an underground celebrity, with at least one French philosophe bemoaning the fact that masochism 'has suffered from unfair neglect' versus sadism, and Ukrainian and Russian intellectuals bickering over which country is the true home of the perversion: Sacher-Masoch's hometown was actually the city of Lviv in Ukraine, which now boasts a Masochist Café and a life-size bronze statue of him, while some Russians argue that he got his taste for a good whipping from their native sect of khlysty, or flagellants.

According to this fascinating Russian blog post on monuments people rub and kiss, the statue "hides a few 'surprises': in chest was mounted magnifying glass through which erotic pictures can be seen, and by putting a hand into the left pocket you can touch its 'man-dignity' for good luck." 

To justify Graz's EU sop in 2003, a local art gallery hosted a full-blown Sacher-Masoch Festival, including a film festival, a conference featuring a domina friend of the Fanny I met in Paris, lectures with titles like 'The Headaches and Rewards of the Dominatrix in the Relationship with a Submissive/Masochist' and a program of 'Masomania' performances, as well as an installation piece featuring a weedy little Pole being bullied by an Austrian (alas, some things never change).

'The 20th century was the century of de Sade,' the festival declared. 'The 21st century will be the century of Sacher-Masoch.'


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