Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The History of Sexuality

As I sat in my office contemplating life (I seem to be doing too much of that lately), the books on the shelf mockingly gazed back at me.

This one caught my eye: 


An excerpt (with my favourite parts underlined):

At the beginning of the seventeenth century a certain frankness was still common, it would seem.  Sexual practices had little need of secrecy; words were said without undue reticence, and things were done without too much concealment...It was a time of direct gestures, shameless discourse, and open transgressions, when anatomies were show and intermingled at will...it was a period when bodies "made a display of themselves".  But twilight soon fell upon this bright day, followed by the monotonous night of the Victorian bourgeoisie.  Sexuality was carefully confined; it moved into the home.  The conjugal family took custody of it and absorbed it into the serious function of reproduction.  On the subject of sex, silence became the rule.  The legitimate and procreative couple laid down the law.  The couple imposed itself as model, enforced the norm, safeguarded the truth, and reserved the right to speak while retraining the principle of secrecy.

Brilliant Foucault, brilliant!

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