In the realm of seduction

by marlies|dekkers

The Japanese, more than anyone else, know how to elevate the art of sensuality and seduction to a higher level. There are actually several Japanese movies that changed my (sex-)life. ‘Warm water under a red bridge’ for example, broke the taboo of female ejaculation in the sweetest, most poetic way. Or the luminous ‘Tokyo Decadence’, that showed me how sex can be as much a ritual as the traditional tea ceremony. But the movie that had the biggest impact on me, was ‘In the realm of the senses’.

It is based on a true story: In 1936 a beautiful prostitute named Sada Abe -accidentally?- strangled her lover during a sexual climax. She cut off his penis and carried it around in her handbag for days. “I wanted to take the part of him that brought back the most vivid memories,” she said when they found her, wandering around in a state of bliss. In Japan, her name is still a symbol for the breaking of sexual taboos.

In 1976 Nagisa Oshima made one of the most controversial movies of all time, based on these events: ‘In the realm of the senses’. It caused a huge scandal, and it’s still censored in Japan. Was it art? Was it porn? I remember watching in amazement as I realized the actors were having real sex with each other!

But more than that, I was incredibly moved by the two lovers. They completely devoted their lives to each other, to sensuality. Even scenes that could have turned out rather bizarre -like when Sada’s lover inserts an egg into her- were poetic and meaningful. I decided that I wanted to be where these two were: in the realm of the senses.

I recently watched the movie again. It hasn’t aged a bit. It makes Fifty Shades look wimpy! (and not just because of the egg-scene) Also, I was reminded of my resolution, all those years ago, to devote my life to sensuality. So much I’ve learned since then! About pain, about pleasure, about how one rarely comes without the other. I found out who I am. So go ahead, watch this ‘dangerous’ masterpiece. Just remember, once you’ve entered the realm of the senses, there’s no way back.

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by marlies|dekkers

All my work as a feminist designer is inspired by muses. Powerful female icons from past and present. Although women have been marginalized for centuries, archetypes of female power have always been there. Through my designs, I bring them to you. To help us shape the world of modern-day feminism.