Foucault's Discourse On Sex

Over the past two centuries, discourse regarding sex has significantly increased. This has led to the formation of an entire “sexual mosaic.” Michel Foucault contends, throughout the chapter, that the science of sex was essentially made up of evasions; a will to ignorance. The proliferating dialogue in respect to sex, in actuality, served as a way to conceal sex rather than to expose its truths. Foucault delves even further into the types of discourse on sex that was used, specifically, during the nineteenth century, in both Western and Eastern civilizations. He examines the similarities and discrepancies between the approaches of these societies, and outlines the way that the supposed truth of sex is produced: through ars erotica and scientia …show more content…
As discourse began to multiply, thus forming a general sexual canvas, society was seeking a veil-discourse. The true nature of sex was therefore disguised through the augmentation of conversations and discussions regarding sex. Until the nineteenth century, and the emergence of Sigmund Freud, discourse on sex never sought to obscure the thing it was talking about. Sex is elusive by nature, and the supposed “dangerous” truth of sex led to extreme precautions regarding analysis of discourse on sex, in efforts to evade the truth. The claim of deliberations on sex, especially during the nineteenth century, began to shift to that of a neutral viewpoint of a science. Discourse on sex involved itself with oddities, perversions, and abnormalities. Issues of morality began to emerge, and they were paired with the facade …show more content…
While scientia sexualis has established itself as the main avenue of discovery in our society, ars erotica has not been completely eliminated. In fact, the Christian confession, and Catholicism of the Counter Reformation, had many similarities to the methods of erotic art. Foucault thus poses the question: has scientia sexualis, to some extent, functioned as an ars erotica in our society? The significant elements of an erotic art as connected to our understanding of sexuality should not be sought in the indefectible, but in the abundance and fervor of pleasures linked to the production of the truth about sex. This “pleasure of analysis” that accompanies the procedures of Western society contains fragments of an erotic art. A new pleasure in the discovery of the truth is seen as a part scientia sexualis in modern society. Foucault states that the repressive hypothesis is inadequate to explain the reinforcements, proliferation of discourses tailored to power, solidification of the sexual mosaic, and the construction of technologies of mandatory confession and knowledge. Essentially what is being dealt with is a undertaking of a “subtle network of discourses, special knowledges, pleasures, and powers” (72). The issue at hand is the process spreading sex all across things and bodies, one that arouses it and summon it to speak, but mainly, one that grounds

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