Deleuze and Sex

Deleuze and Sex

Edited by Frida Beckman
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and Sex
    Book Description:

    Exploring central aspects of the role of sexuality in Deleuze's philosophyFor Deleuze, sexuality is a force that can capture as well as liberate life. Its flows tend to be repressed and contained in specific forms at the same time as they retain revolutionary potential. There is immense power in the thousand sexes of desiring-machines and sexuality is seen as a source of becoming. This book gathers prominent Deleuze scholars to explore the restricting and liberating forces of sexuality in relation to a spread of central themes in Deleuze's philosophy, including politics, psychoanalysis, and friendship as well as specific topics such as the body-machine, disability, feminism, and erotics.Key features* the first and only book-length study on sex in Deleuze

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4751-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: What is Sex? An Introduction to the Sexual Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze
    (pp. 1-29)
    Frida Beckman

    If sex has become ‘the explanation for everything’, as Michel Foucault asserts in the first volume of his seminal work on sexuality (Foucault 1990: 78), then why are we not more interested in what Gilles Deleuze has to say on the topic? If our bodies, minds, individuality and history are understood through a ‘Logic of Sex’, as Foucault maintains, then why have so few commentators been tempted to examine Deleuze’s philosophy of desire with reference to that logic? I would like to suggest four main reasons for this relative silence on the subject. To begin with, Deleuze’s friend and contemporary...

  5. Chapter 1 Alien Sex: Octavia Butler and Deleuze and Guattari’s Polysexuality
    (pp. 30-49)
    Ronald Bogue

    In Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze and Guattari claim that sexuality involves ‘not one or even two sexes, but n sexes’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1983: 296), a thesis they reiterate in A Thousand Plateaus. This concept of polysexuality is provocative, but Deleuze and Guattari offer only limited indications of what it might entail. One means of exploring the implications of the concept would be to imagine a world in which human sexuality literally involves more than two, and possibly an unlimited number of sexes. Such a world, it happens, is what Octavia Butler offers in her masterpiece, The Xenogenesis Trilogy (1987–89). Butler...

  6. Chapter 2 Heterotica: The 1000 Tiny Sexes of Anaïs Nin
    (pp. 50-68)
    Anna Powell

    Ambivalently described as ‘feminist smut’ (Carter n.d.: 97), Anaïs Nin’s erotic writings have been contentious ever since the publication of Delta of Venus (Nin 1981). These privately commissioned tales were written at a dollar a page for a male client in the 1940s and include some ideas from male authors. Yet, in a milieu where feminists were celebrating gynocentric literature, many women readers (myself included) found pleasures in their ‘ambulant and bohemian’ style and in an erotic expression different from masculinist material (Nin 1981: 117). A male literary assemblage can obviously be mapped between Nin and Deleuze and Guattari via...

  7. Chapter 3 Haemosexuality
    (pp. 69-88)
    Gretchen Riordan

    This chapter proposes becoming-haemosexual as a line of flight from facialised subjectivity and the grid of social relations prescribed for facialised subjects. As Deleuze and Guattari argue, the abstract machine of faciality deterritorialises and stratifies the multidimensional, polyvocal code of the body until a ‘single substance of expression is produced’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 181). Closed up and closed off from one another, positioned in opposition to one another, what passes between facialised bodies, across the void between them, are commodities: products, signs, women. Sometimes the abstract machine of faciality ‘performs a veritable “defacialization,” it frees something like probe heads...

  8. Chapter 4 Disability, Deleuze and Sex
    (pp. 89-105)
    Daniel Goodley and Rebecca Lawthom

    This chapter seeks to evaluate the potentiality that Deleuze offers to our understandings of sexuality and disability. Such an encounter is at the heart of what we might term critical disability studies where disability links together other identities, politics and cultural agitations as a moment of reflection for which Davis coins the term ‘dismodernism’ (Davis 2006). With specific reference to sexuality and the concepts of Deleuze and Guattari¹ – and in particular to the ideas of the Deleuzian disability theorist Margrit Shildrick – we will here take up the dismodernist challenge in our applied social scientific research in order to think affirmatively...

  9. Chapter 5 Tongue and Trigger: Deleuze’s Erotics of the Uncanny
    (pp. 106-116)
    Cara Judea Alhadeff

    Joseph Bristow, in his book, Sexuality: The New Critical Idiom, challenges scholars to form a political project rooted in Deleuze’s rhizomatic and schizoanalytic lines (Bristow 1997). My pedagogical and art-based project explores the possibilities of radical citizenship by actively cultivating vulnerability through corporeal inquiries. As a visual artist, my exhibitions have been repeatedly censored as a result of ambiguous representations and interpretations. Intended as strategies for social action, my work explores Deleuzian corporeal topologies. The creative and critical focus is on corporeal politics – in particular, vulnerability and the seemingly unfamiliar. Images and writings illuminate a call and response between anxiety...

  10. Chapter 6 (Hetero)sexing the Child: Hans, Alice and the Repressive Hypothesis
    (pp. 117-134)
    Catherine Driscoll, Carina Garland and Anna Hickey-Moody

    Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality is widely read as a trenchant critique of psychoanalysis and as thus critically and politically linked to Gilles Deleuze’s opposition to psychoanalysis, especially in his work with Félix Guattari. This connection is supported by Foucault’s well-known preface to Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, in which he praises the text as a corrective to ‘The poor technicians of desire – psychoanalysts and semiologists of every sign and symptom – who would subjugate the multiplicity of desire to the twofold law of structure and lack’ (Foucault 1983: xii–xiii). But the many important connections between Foucault and Deleuze, unfolded...

  11. Chapter 7 The ‘Non-Human Sex’ in Sexuality: ‘What are Your Special Desiring-machines?’
    (pp. 135-152)
    Gregg Lambert

    In a short review on Pierre Bénichou’s study of masochism from the early 1970s, Deleuze writes:

    Your particular desiring-machines: what are they? In a difficult and beautiful text, Marx called for the necessity to think human sexuality not only as a relation between human sexes, masculine and feminine, but as a relation between ‘the human sex and the non-human sex.’ He was clearly not thinking of animals, but of what is non-human in human sexuality: the machines of desire. (Deleuze 2004: 243)

    What does Deleuze mean when he names the ‘other sex’, not in anthropomorphic terms, but, following Marx, as...

  12. Chapter 8 Deleuze and Selfless Sex: Undoing Kant’s Copernican Revolution
    (pp. 153-173)
    Jeffrey A. Bell

    In his study of the eighteenth-century Britain, Roy Porter argues that between roughly the end of the seventeenth century and the early years of the nineteenth century there was a ‘relaxation of strict protocols [that] gave greater breathing space to personal relations’ (Porter 1990: 259). This was especially true of sexual relations. ‘The libido’, Porter argues, ‘was liberated, and erotic gratification increasingly dissociated from sin and shame’ (Porter 1990: 260). Dror Wahrman comes to a very similar conclusion concerning the eighteenth century. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, as has been noted by many scholars, there was a decline...

  13. Chapter 9 A Preface to Pornotheology: Spinoza, Deleuze and the Sexing of Angels
    (pp. 174-199)
    Charlie Blake

    To come and to become. Two infinitives whose underlying sense in English is conventionally connected but differentiated, in that becoming, at least outside the meticulous play of philosophical argument, is invariably transitive. To become is to become something or someone, or to gain or lose in some quality such as strength or ambition or affection or disillusion or sexual excitation. To come, on the other hand, may well be used transitively in certain contexts, but also has a very specific and intransitive quality when describing the experience of orgasm. To come, then, or more actively, to express the rich and...

  14. Chapter 10 Encounters of Ecstasy
    (pp. 200-216)
    Patricia MacCormack

    One of Deleuze and Guattari’s great contributions to the philosophy of post-metaphysical humanist subjectivity is premised on the shift from sexuality to desire, incorporating the inflections which catalyse subjectivity to connective intensifications, opposition to relation, individuation to becoming part of a pack. Projects of becoming, while not posited as oppositional to the non-becoming of a being, are underpinned with a certain jubilance, a vitalism in the liberatory nature of creative alliances with the unlike, a genesis mythical and non-restorable, which is configured instead as the immanent larval, and a future based on the opening of thought to the outside. The...

  15. Chapter 11 Beyond Sexuality: Of Love, Failure and Revolutions
    (pp. 217-237)
    Aislinn O’Donnell

    Sometimes people complain that too many philosophers say they are talking about sex, but then say little or nothing about the important issues that one might expect them to address. If such is the expectation, this chapter will be another cause for disappointment. Discussions of sexuality and desire in the work of Deleuze are not what ‘common sense’ might lead us to expect. The erotic is demystified, less ecstatic than a dimension of everyday encounters, habits, practices and even infrastructures. Intimacy is ‘de-sexualised’ and non-appropriative, creative of in-between spaces and interstices; the intimate distances of ‘becomings’, of trust and its...

  16. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 238-242)
  17. Index
    (pp. 243-248)