The topic of female pleasure is frequently suppressed in Ovid's Ars amatoria. Yet because pleasure is an unavoidable subject for a teacher who professes techniques of love, the moments in which this topic is broached are marked by a rupture in the teacher's logic or by an overt redirection of the course of his teaching, an overt covering up of female desire and pleasure at the very moment it appears. Drawing on the works of French feminist theorists Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva, as well as Paul B. Preciado's more recent theorization of technologies of female pleasure, this article analyzes the problems that female pleasure poses for a patriarchal discourse on love. It argues that Ovid's praeceptor gestures at female pleasure in his teachings, only to evade or repress it. These moments of rupture—when female pleasure materializes only to be defeated—provoke the reader to consider the contradictions inherent in patriarchal ideologies of gender and sexuality, thereby posing a provocative challenge to the dominant social and political order, represented most saliently by Augustus and his moral legislation.


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pp. 161-189
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