Have you noticed lately what a plethora of sexual opportunity exists on the internet? Cell phones, email and social media have made it easier than ever for people to hook up for a hot sexual tryst then never meet again. It’s not that this is a recent phenomenon in human behavior of course. Sexual promiscuity has been a part of civilization since, well, the dawn of civilization. What is it about that innate need (or want?) that drives so many people to hook up, role play, make empty promises they never intend to keep, then go their separate ways? Especially in an era of HIV and many other sexually transmittable diseases, that seems like crazy behaviour, even to people who indulge in it, I’m sure.
Clearly, physical pleasure has a great deal to do with human desire but there is a difference in promiscuity and perhaps, oh I don’t know, remaining faithful to one’s spouse whilst engaging in pornography in one’s spare time, or fantasizing about the neighbor whilst having sex. There’s also the old stand-by masturbation. However, for a fairly significant percentage of the population this just doesn’t cut it anymore. If it ever did. What has increased the amount of illicit sexual contact among people quite arguably is social media and the internet. The fetishes and ravenous sexual desires haven’t increased, just the availability of partners.
Consider the biography of the Marquis de Sade then ask yourself what this sex fiend would have done had he lived today and used social media to lure his victims into his sadistic lair.
Marquis de Sade – (2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814) – born Donatien Alphonse François, the poster boy for S & M, lived only a couple of hundred years ago. Knowing what I know about the Marquis, that’s a little too close for me. de Sade wasn’t a masochist – he was a sadist. Technically, if you’re going to have a true sadomasochistic relationship or encounter with a partner, then at least one of you has to really be into receiving pain and one of you has to really want to give it. You can switch it up of course, so long as this is a mutual relationship. de Sade however wasn’t about mutuality. He victimized people and tortured them cruelly. Creepy dude.
His sexual pathologies may not entirely have been his fault. When he was 4, de Sade was a very spoiled child with a nasty temper. He once beat the French prince so severely that he was sent to the south of France to stay with his uncle. Think about that. When a 4-year-old child beats another kid nearly to death, doesn’t that suggest to you that something is very wrong? Whether genetic, or learned, or what the hell happened, this was one messed up little boy. Fortunately, when he was 6 years old, his uncle taught him all about debauchery (amorality). That was helpful. When he was ten years old he was terribly whipped while attending school for misbehavior. Not surprisingly, this punishment affected him for the rest of his life. Perhaps that’s where the whole S&M thing began.
de Sade was known to be a libertine – the polite word for slut and an undesirable slut at that. de Sade was not only a sadist; in his spare time he wrote books that included fiction and philosophy, and plays and all kinds of literature. Justine and 120 Days of Sodom (about horrific sex orgies) are among his most infamous. Surprisingly, he is known for his erotic work, pornography, sexual fantasies emphasizing criminal violence and lots of blasphemy against (here it comes) the Catholic Church. He loathed morality and all things spiritual. If it had rules attached to it, de Sade had no use for it. Oh did I mention that the uncle he lived with as a child was an abbot in the Catholic church?
A man of disguise, as a young adult de Sade was known to behave like a true aristocrat; he liked theatre, the arts, he was a good reader, and like all aristocratic men of the time, he kept a mistress. I doubt she stuck around when the fun really got going however. He probably went through a few of them.
However it’s all fun and games de Sade style until his sexual perversions got him his last 13 years in an insane asylus. Yep, asylum. And while he was in there, he had some type of relationship with a guard’s 13-year-old daughter. That crafty de Sade. He even completed a manuscript about an inmate who is “persecuted and assassinated under the direction of the Marquis de Sade.”
This man adapted well to his circumstances. de Sade wasn’t truly nuts by the legal definition. There is no such thing as insanity – that is a legal term. Psychiatrists politely term a person with a “break from reality” as psychotic. I haven’t studied de Sade so I can’t attest to whether or not he fit the definition of a psychotic but I doubt it. Sadistic, yes, but he seemed to know what he was doing when he did it; he didn’t experience audial or visual hallucinations, he wasn’t paranoid; he had no delusions of grandeur. He was dangerous, not crazy. What happens when a person’s beliefs and behaviors offend the majority of the populace? They are deemed sick or psychotic and imprisoned.
Now fast forward to the 21st century and social media. Imagine de Sade with a cell phone, a computer, and an internet connection. Yikes. I don’t know how many people he victimized in the 18th century, but I’d bet that number would be a lot higher in the 21st century. Do you think he would have set up a site where he would sell sexual services online? What would he name it I wonder? Perhaps he would offer a webcam for those who like to watch. Or actual in-person meetings for those who wish to take it a step further. The problem is, these people would never be seen alive again. A serial rapist trolled successfully for victims on Match.com named Jeffrey Marsalis (rather similar to Marquis). The Craigslist Killer made international headlines. These were terrible men. Nonetheless, these two social media monsters would have had nothing on de Sade in terms of social media crime, had he been alive today.
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