Returning to Roissy:’s The Upper Floor and The Training of O as adaptations of the Story of O | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1753-6421
  • E-ISSN: 1753-643X



The controversial 1954 novel Histoire d’O/Story of O (Réage 1976) and its feminist reception encapsulates the socio-political debates which surround BDSM texts. Questions of objectification, agency and subjectivity are here played out over the female sexually submissive body. Beginning with an overview of the key feminist critiques of the Story of O, this article examines what’s at stake in Réage’s ‘phantasm’ ([1969] 1971: 12) of sexually submissive femininity. Second,’s hardcore pornographic Story of O adaptations – The Training of O and to a lesser extent The Upper Floor – are analysed not only through their relation to the novel, but also through the contradictory negotiations of objectification, agency and subjectivity. This is anchored through’s self-construction as ‘real’, ‘ethical’ and ‘consensual’. Finally, a case study cites one porn performer, Cherry Torn, as one amongst many O’s in’s current content, offering in turn a plurality to Réage’s source text. In so doing, this article seeks to ask what Torn’s performance adds to our understanding of what it might mean to be O beyond the pages of a fictional novel, whether fleetingly, serialized digitally or indeed privately.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): BDSM; feminism; Pauline Réage; performance; pornography; Story of O
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