S is for Salvador Dali and sex

S for Twitter

Salvador Dali is known for his surreal paintings, as well as his exuberant wild personality.  He was also a man who experienced a lot of sexual torment, with  profound sexual-identity confusion from his bisexuality . He was also a man addicted to masturbation. In his autobiography, he claimed he kept up the practice well into adult life, often in front of a mirror. Masturbation, at the same time, filled Dali with fear because it was at the time believed to cause impotence, homosexuality, and insanity.  Dali’s father also seems to have played a negative part in formulating Dali’s perception of sex, by  leaving out a book which contained explicit photos of people suffering from advanced, untreated venereal diseases.  We can say that Dali had a complex relationship with his father.  Dali on one occasion exhibited a piece in which he had written “Sometimes, I spit for fun on my mother’s portrait.”  When asked to apologize publicly by his father, he declined. Later on, Dali mailed a condom filled with his own semen to his father and a note reading; “This is all I owe you.

The photos of grotesquely diseased genitalia both fascinated and horrified the young Dali. He began to associating sex with putrefaction and decay, themes that would later appear in many of his most famous works.  With “The Great Masturbator,” Dali’s first significant work, we see a woman believed to be Dali’s future wife Gala rising  out of a downward-facing head, which is suspended over a locust swarming with ants. The positioning of the woman’s mouth next to a thinly clad male crotch suggests fellatio, while the trickle of blood on the male figure’s thighs reflects Dali’s castration anxiety.  As a young man, Dali had a strong relationship with Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca,  how far this relationship went is open to question, but the poet apparently was filled with disappointment when Dali, set his heart on and  married Gala, who  was 10 years Dali’s senior and apparently a far more experienced lover than the alleged virgin Dali. It seems that Dali, who felt  totally inadequate sexually chose to marry a woman who apparently  as writer Ian Gibson put it “her appetite for sex…was so overwhelming that it verged on the nymphomaniac.”

salvador painting

Apart from being the great masturbator Dali also was a  passionate voyeur, this  involved holding weekly orgies, which apparently, Dali himself didn’t participate, (he couldn’t bear to be touched) choosing only to watch.  Renowned British Art critic Brian Sewell said Dali once asked him to take off his clothes, lie down in front of a statue of Christ in Dali’s garden, and masturbate while curled into a fetal position.  The art critic surmised he was not the first to be instructed  to follow such bizarre instructions.  He was  a man who revealed his sexuality in his work and shared his obsessions with very few people.

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.


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When a writer needs to add a bit of romance or sex to their story!

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It seems the writing world is crammed full writers whose genre is romance. Romantic novels seem to be a money spinner, as are kinky sex books a la Fifty Shades of Grey. But what if your stories are not of this ilk, but romance and sex play a part in your stories? My stories are dark surreal short stories, that have elements of horror.

There are  some of my stories that contain sexual elements. One story even starts off with… Mercedes Shwartz had just had the most incredible orgasm, but her pleasure was still incomplete.

I would say if you are a horror writer, or a suspense writer, or whatever your genre, the sex parts in your stories, should not seem like they have been pasted in, to add a bit of spice to your story, but should be natural elements that enhance your stories. There has to be the same tension that pervades in the other elements in your stories. It has to be in keeping with the characters of the stories as well the moods.

In my story Cast from Hell, I created a character (previously a middle aged man) who has returned to earth from Hell, in the body of a woman. She becomes a predator, without any scruples, using men to own ends. I had to battle with my editor to make the parts that involved sex, in keeping with my style and how I imagined them. I got the impression my editor’s imagination was running wild at times and he was being far more explicit than I would have ventured, while moving away from the subtlety that is characteristic in other parts of my book.



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