"the institutions and ideologies of romantic/familial love declare woman/women to be the arbiters, sources, managers, agents, and victims of intimacy: the love plots that saturate the public sphere are central vehicles for reproducing normative or 'generic' femininity."
"these dramas are always formed in relation to a fantasy that desire, in the form of love, will make life simpler, not crazier."
"love plots are marked by a longing for love to have the power to make the loved one transparent, and therefore a safe site on which to place one's own desire without fear of its usual unsettling effects."
"a love plot would, then, represent a desire for a life of unconflictedness, where the aggression inherent in intimacy is not lived as violence and submission to the discipline of institutional propriety or as the disavowals of true love, but as something less congealed into an identity or a promise, perhaps a mix of curiosity, attachment, and passion. but as long as the normative narrative and institutionalized forms of sexual life organize identity for people, these longings mainly get lived as a desire for love to obliterate the wildness of the unconscious, confirm the futurity of a known self, and dissolve the enigmas that mark one's lovers."
"sharon thompson and others argue that there is effectively no difference between pornographic representations of sex and romance conventions. both of these are said to involve the overcoming of people by desires, and both fantasize scenes of sexuality using realist modes of representation. it has been suggested that women use romantic fantasy to experience the rush of these extremes the way men tend to use pornography, and that fantasizing about intensified feeling can be a way of imagining the thrill of sexual or political control or its loss, or, conversely, a way of overwhelming one's sexual ambivalence or insecurity with a frenzy of representation."
"advice columns, self-help pedagogy, didactic short stories, moral exhortations, autobiographies, and case studies have popularized psychoanalysis, muted its discussions of the pervasiveness of perversion, and sought to help people, especially women, adjust their desires and their self-relations to the norms and forms of everyday life. . . generally this ideology is addressed to women, who are deemed responsible for maintaining the emotional comfort of everyone in their sphere."
"what might it do to people to reveal to themselves and each other that their particular desires are unbearable in their contradictions, unknown in their potential contours, and yet demand reliable and confirming recognitions? . . . what does it mean that, unreliable in desire, we nonetheless demand the other to be perfectly attuned to what's out of tune?"