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Thematic Cluster: Love, Sexualities, and Marriage in Literature

Abstract

In his article "Queering Masturbation in Lorde's Life and Writing" Eric Sipyinyu Njeng discusses masturbation in Audre Lorde's life and works to signal an important aspect of her oeuvre often neglected in scholarship. Lorde stands out among prominent queer queens by demonstrating theory corporeally thereby going beyond mere theory and positing her body as a space of complex sexual passions. When Judith Butler speaks of gender as performative rather than embodied, Lorde theorizes and foregrounds this in her works and self and celebrates a sexual matrix that ranges from heterosexuality to homosexuality to auto-sexuality. Lorde places masturbation between the binary hetero/homosexual options which privilege one form over the other suggesting that the hetero/homoerotic dichotomy is not transacted on a level field of emotional and analytical impartiality, but of homophobic pressure intent on devaluing other forms of sexuality. By forcing the third singularly corporeal option between the two, Lorde interpellates generalized homophobia and anti-masturbatory sentiment which remain pervasive in culture and society.