There are some people whose desire to write, or at least to see themselves in print, exceeds by far the urgency of anything they might have to say. They are, in essence, attention-seekers, rather than seekers after the truth. For this fraternity or sorority—I hesitate to use the modern cant word “community”—the existence of conventions or taboos is essential, for it is by breaking them that they may obtain the notice that they desire; indeed it is the only method available to them. Oddly enough, however, the last taboo that they or their publishers claim to have broken turns out not to be the last taboo after all. Last taboos are thus rather like the last appearances (positively the last) of aging prima donnas; and future attention-seekers need not fear that mankind will ever run out of taboos for them to break.

The author of The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir is a standard modern taboo-breaker, since her book...