14 Nauseating and Outrageous Sex Acts from Marquis De Sade's '120 Days of Sodom'

SPOILER ALERT: You're not ready for this collection of nauseating acts from the Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom. Maybe stop now if you value decency or have any faith in humanity. Perhaps you dismiss the Marquis as a relic of history, a tame thinker who gave birth to forms of sexual discourse that have become fundamentally more depraved in recent years. Yet to underestimate his nimble, villainous mind would be a grave mistake. Unless your home library contains snuff films, the violating menagerie of perversion on display in the Marquis's work might well penetrate to your core, and plant seditious seeds in the moral center of your being. 

If you're not sure whether reading the sexual fantasies of a Frenchman who puts the SM in BDSM is right for you, here's your trigger warning. If you keep reading, you'll encounter things that will make you want to give your brain an acid bath. These outrageous acts and depraved passages of nauseating barbarity from 120 Days of Sodom involve amateur surgery without anesthetic, terminating babies, relations with corpses, and so much feces and forced intercourse you may become completely numb or puke your guts out. 

All the passages below come from 120 Days of Sodom, a book seemingly conceived solely for the sake of stringing together as many gut-churningly graphic descriptions of brutalism as possible. The narrative revolves around a group of noblemen who, along with eight "f*ckers" (empty-headed studs with giant pricks, one "endowed with a member eight and one-quarter inches round by thirteen long. Nothing more beautiful nor more majestic has ever been seen") subject the enslaved to relentless psychological and physical harm over the course of 120 days. The book is the basis for one of the most notorious movies ever made, Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò.

  • 200 Lashes And Ordure For Dessert

    200 Lashes And Ordure For Dessert
    Photo: Quills / Fox Searchlight

    Much of 120 Days of Sodom is told as stories within stories, a device that creates a phenomenally confusing narrative framework wherein it's often hard to tell which pronoun is referring to which character. Some of it is numbered journal entries; other times, characters tell stories they were told by other characters. But narrative cohesion isn't what the Marquis de Sade is famous for. 

    One story-within-a-story tells of a man who made two unusual requests before intimate encounters, which he premeditated by a week: those he slept with were required to soak three cat-o-nine tail whips in a bucket of excrement and urine, and they were also prohibited from bathing for an entire week prior to the engagement. When the man arrived for his encounter, he went about sniffing all his partner's unwashed holes, then licked them clean, between bouts of being whipped rotten with the soaked whips. The encounter climaxes thus:

    I unleashed my [stool]. It shot squarely into his face, he fell back, exclaimed that I was an insolent creature, and discharged while frigging himself [...] he had received at least two hundred lashes.

  • A Litany Of Brutality Wrought On Pregnant Women And Newborn Babies

    A Litany Of Brutality Wrought On Pregnant Women And Newborn Babies
    Photo: Quills / Fox Searchlight

    A portion of 120 Days of Sodom, called "The 150 Criminal Passions," is a numbered, annotated list essentially detailing a litany of aggressive acts against women. The list contains multiple notorious acts toward pregnant women, not uncommon for a writer who litters his tales with scenes of men executing self-pleasure to images of expectant mothers. Item 98 on the list reads: "He opens the veins in one arm and bleeds her until she faints." This item is annotated thus: "Curval suggests they bleed Constance because of her pregnancy; and she is bled, until she collapses."

    Another passage describes a pregnant woman tied to a wheel, ready to be beaten, and her mother forced to sit beneath the wheel, mouth open, to eat anything that flows from the body of the beaten woman, be it blood, urine, feces, or a miscarried fetus. In another tableau, women have their babies taken away, and if they cannot pick them out of a group of newborns, the children are sliced up with a sword. This is after the women have their newborns tied around their necks by the umbilical cord and are left without food for days, to see whether they will eat their own children to survive. 

    Item 93 is short and to the point: "He likes to trample on a pregnant woman until she aborts. Prior to this, he whips her." Far more detailed, Item 143 describes a pregnant woman nailed to a table, with nails driven through her eyes and mouth, before having her nipples and genitals burned and a giant spike driven through her stomach: "it undoes mother and child."

  • The Ghastly Demise Of The Angel Augustine

    The Ghastly Demise Of The Angel Augustine
    Photo: Quills / Fox Searchlight

    You know you're in for something genuinely horrible when the Marquis de Sade writes that "Augustine's agonies are unheard of." Augustine's agonies stem from the sadists of 120 Days performing "surgery" on her; or, slicing her to pieces in a vomitous fashion (after, by the way, she's been forced to endure months of forced relations, both on her and on others). Her throat is cut open and her tongue pulled out the hole, which the men have a good laugh about. Her one remaining breast (a story for another day) is broiled, and then the truly unspeakable stuff happens.

    You might want to stop reading. Or grab a barf bag or religious totem and say a prayer. Wielding a scalpel, the Duc de Blangis shoves his hand into Augustine's genital cavity and slices through the partition between her birth canal and anus. Then, "he throws aside the scalpel, reintroduces his hand, and rummaging about in her entrails, forces her to [empty her bowels] through [the opening], another amusing stunt."

    To finish Augustine off, the men cut off her ears, burn her nostrils, pour burning wax in her eyes, hang her by the hair, tie stones to her feet, and drop her. The top of her head rips off, and the Duc de Blangis assaults her one final time before cutting her stomach open and lighting her guts on fire:

    Twas only then her soul fled her body; at the age of fifteen years and eight months thus perished one of the most heavenly creatures ever formed by Nature's skillful hand. Etc. Her eulogy.

  • The Beatific Septuagenarian And His Cherished Bucket

    The Beatific Septuagenarian And His Cherished Bucket
    Photo: Quills / Fox Searchlight

    For some levity, how 'bout the story of an old man who caressed a massive pot of excrement while trying in vain to get some blood flowing in his fetid, limp citadel? The tale, called "The Ninth Day," starts with "a chamber pot we had been busy filling for four days and in which there must have been at least a dozen large [stools]." An old man of 70 closes himself in the room with the poop bucket while those who filled the bucket watch through a hole in the wall. He snatches up the chamber pot, which he knows to "be brimming with the goodies he has ordered for his sport." 

    After "gazing lovingly" into the bucket for an hour, during which time he carefully removes each individual [stool] and inspects it as though it's a precious object, the septuagenarian "pulls a nasty old black rag" from his fly and furiously services himself with one hand, while stirring the contents of his bucket gingerly with the other.

    The tale ends with a tragic reminder of the frailty of the human condition. Despite such tender affection for his (perhaps overly) generous portion of human feces, the man cannot get hard, let alone finish. 

  • The Milk Enema Eucharist

    The Milk Enema Eucharist
    Photo: Quills / Fox Searchlight

    One of 120 Days of Sodom's many stories-within-stories relates the anal perversions of the abbot, or head monk, at Fierville. He summons a 14-year-old girl from a nearby convent to him, and intones, "Come hither, come hither, and show me your behind."

    The girl, shy and coy, pretends she doesn't know the score. "Well, by the Saviour, get your damned skirts up!" demands the abbot. After some back and forth, she fully exposes her backside to him, which he pokes and prods with his engorged prick. 

    'Have you been [defecating] recently?'

    'Just a little while ago, Father...'

    'Why, that's nice... and so there's nothing left in your bowels,' says the lecher. 'Well, we're going to see.'

    In order to ensure there's no fecal matter in the girl, the abbot injects milk into her anus. He then lays on a bed and furiously services himself while she sits on his face and delivers a milk enema Eucharist:

    [H]is mouth, sealed hermetically to her [...] catches every drop of the precious liquid that leaps out of it. He swallows it all [...] and just when he swills down the final mouthful, his f*ck escapes, and he is hurled into a delerium.

  • Male Genitalia Burned Into Simulacra Of Female Orifices

    Male Genitalia Burned Into Simulacra Of Female Orifices
    Photo: Quills / Fox Searchlight

    Unsatisfied with accosting a male victim, a loathsome brute snips off his prey's testicles and penis, then, "using a red-hot iron he hollows out [an opening] in the place formerly occupied by his genitals; the iron makes the hole and cauterizes simultaneously." 

    The assailant proceeds to penetrate the new hole while strangling the hollowed man. He finishes into the wound as the victim perishes.