June 13, 2021

Valerie Tasso: “Describing an orgasm in words is impossible”

Valérie Tasso was born in France. He prepared to develop a diplomatic career but his curiosity soon led him in other directions. In 2003 he published ‘Diary of a nymphomaniac’, the book that changed his life.

-He comes to the Island to participate in a meeting called Literature is female. Do you think that lyrics written by women are being given the importance they deserve?

-I think there is a lot to do. I’ll tell you more, the word written by women will always have to have more visibility. It is not something that is fixed overnight. That is why this event is absolutely essential and necessary and I am delighted to be able to participate. Women have been so silenced for so many centuries – and not only in literature – that we have developed a wonderful symbolic capacity. Of course, literature belongs to everyone, but an event called Literature is female emphasizes this ability even more. I hope that many more will be done.

-He will speak with Dulce Xerach about eroticism in literature. It is an issue as old as the human being himself, don’t you think?

-Of course. Eroticism has always been present in literature but it is true that it has been considered a subgenre. Many purists have seen it as if writing erotic literature was simple and cheap, when deep down it is tremendously difficult to write. It is very difficult to explain eroticism through words because it is something ineffable. Describing an orgasm in words is impossible, for example. That’s why when it is called a subgenre it makes me very sad.

-However, one of the ways in which it is best transmitted is the word, better even than with other disciplines.

-I think so. Through words you appeal to the imagination of each one. Whereas when you have a movie in front of you they present something to you and there is no room for imagination. The words yes, because they belong to each one. When you describe an erotic scene, you allow each reader to imagine it according to their own scale of values. The cinema reduces everything more. Writing is the most difficult but also the most effective.

-He published ‘Diary of a nymphomaniac’ in 2003, almost 20 years ago. Did you feel singled out, judged perhaps?

-Very much. It was a book written to combat the stigma of the sexually active woman who wants to speak openly or euphemisms about her sexuality. Of course, in 2003, no one had come to the media to talk about something so natural and at the same time as controversial as prostitution. I never wanted to speak on behalf of women when it comes to prostitution, that is important to point out. I wanted to talk about my particular case but inevitably, and it is curious, when you write a part of what you experienced many people get upset. I wanted to fight the stigma and yet they stigmatized me even more. I was tired of this hypocrisy around the woman and her body. It was difficult for me to write the book but it was not difficult for me to cope with everything that happened. He thought that the important thing was that the speech was well prepared. I did not write it to be on television, I had many things to tell. At the time it was a scandal but I believed in people’s common sense when they read me, and they did. They still associate me with the nympho but that word was just an ironic way of explaining the way in which women who are liberated and want to live sexuality are crossed out. It was just a way of showing that the model of sexuality – which is male – is still trying to control female desire. All the women who come out of that model are labeled, even today, as nymphomaniacs, whores or whores.

-After these years, several books and working as a sexologist, has that image improved?

-There has been a very curious phenomenon. When I published my first book, biographies of women began to emerge who wanted to talk about their sex lives. From all over the world, and little by little, many other writers joined this phenomenon. I have noticed that now things are easier. On the other hand, however, we are experiencing neo-puritanism. I wonder, to this day, why certain topics are still taboo. I also wonder if they would let me publish Diary of a Nymphomaniac today. Not because of my sexual experience but because of the prostitution issue. I have never made an apology for prostitution, I have always spoken about my case and about prostitution exercised voluntarily. I have never talked about human trafficking, obviously I am absolutely against it. There is a certain tendency to mix voluntary prostitution, which many will say does not exist, with human trafficking. This trafficking covers not only sexual abuse but also, for example, the forced labor of children to make the shirts that are then sold for five euros in Europe. That, however, is not discussed. It seems that a woman who voluntarily engages in prostitution loses her dignity but dignity does not depend on the gaze of the other, it is something personal and non-transferable.

-Is sexual health given enough importance?

-We are in a society that demands total well-being: mental and physical. We all go to the gym, do meditation, and so on. When a sexual difficulty occurs, many people break down and more now in times of Covid. They leave it in the background. Sexuality is absolutely fundamental to well-being. I would put it on the same level as doing sports every day but it seems that sex is always in the background. I take this opportunity to say that if there is a sexual difficulty, do not wait, you have to put yourself in the hands of a professional. Sexual problems are better fixed than people imagine. I also see that I have many young patients, which was not the case in years ago. Before there was more shame. The problems in younger and younger people are due, I think, to what is called the imperative of joy: we have to be enjoying all the time. That is terrible, just like living in a very repressive society. Opposites are bad and people have to live sexuality as they please, not following an imperative of number of orgasms, for example. We are in a society that forces us to enjoy more and more. In the end it is counterproductive because it generates more unhappiness. You can not put measures to pleasure.

-Do more men read to you than you might imagine?

-I’m sure more men read me than I think. It’s going to sound cliché but I don’t write for men or women. I write for people. If we want to evolve and find visibility, it is a question of both genders. We can fight for our rights through many activities but if there is no awareness on the part of men we will not achieve anything. We have to go hand in hand, there is no other way to evolve.

-Are you preparing a new play? His last book came out in 2017.

-I write a lot in the press, I am an ambassador for a wonderful brand of luxury erotic toys –Lelo– and I have my practice as a sexologist in Barcelona. As you can see I have a lot of work and very diversified. I suppose a book that I’m working on is going to be published starting in the fall, but I can’t tell you anything else, although I’d love to.


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