Foucault’s problematizing of the nature and even the existence of sexuality and sex is itself problematic. It should perhaps be seen as an important if somewhat late moment in the modern project of re-defining, or at the very least rearranging the terms of human intimacies. In literature, there is, paradoxically, the anti-sexual polemic of D.H. Lawrence. Even more surprisingly, far from affirming the primacy of sex in human relations, psychoanalysis could be thought of as both questioning traditional assumptions about sexuality and proposing (à la Foucault) a new economy of bodily pleasures and of the relation between soma and psyche.
Leo Bersani is literary theorist and professor emeritus of French at the University of California, Berkeley. He also taught at Wellesley College and Rutgers University and was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992. Out of his numerous book publications, Homos (1995) and Is the Rectum a Grave?: And other Essays (2010) made him well known in the context of queer theory.