Anne Desclos [Edit]

Anne Desclos (1907-1998) was a French writer best known for her erotic SM novel Histoire d’O (Story of O), which she wrote under the pen name Pauline Réage. She wrote it to prove wrong her lover and employer Jean Paulhan, as he had said to her that no woman was capable of writing an erotic novel.

The novel, published in 1954, was a great commercial success, and was adapted to film in 1975, in a French-German-Italian film also called Story of O.

Desclos publicly announced that she was the author of The Story of O in 1994, in an interview with The New Yorker.

Personal Life

Desclos was bisexual.


The real town Samois-sur-Seine is mentioned in Story of O as the location of the fictional mansion managed by the fictional Anne-Marie, a lesbian dominatrix. In 1978, the name Samois was adopted by a lesbian-feminist BDSM organization based in San Francisco that existed from 1978 to 1983. It was the first lesbian BDSM group in the United States.

In 2007, the National Leather Association-International created awards for excellence in SM/fetish/leather writing. One of the awards is the Pauline Reage Novel Award.

In 2020 Desclos was inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame, under her pen name Pauline Réage.