Foucault's Theory Of Sexuality

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Two major works, The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault and Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality by Sigmund Freud try to piece together sexuality and its meaning to society through analysis and observation. Sexuality isn’t new; it’s been real but has been forced into repression based on the fact that it defies heteronormative standards. Sexuality’s connection to social theory and social relations is one that is defined by the influences of social hierarchies on the definition of sexuality and the way that we view it. In The History of Sexuality, Foucault posits that society’s views on sex and sexuality shifted dramatically over the course of a few centuries. His argument doesn’t neglect the fact that same-sex desires or relationships were new; his findings revealed that sexual desire runs deeper than just sex. Foucault found that our desires reveal some fundamental truth about who we are and that we, as a society and as individuals, have an obligation to explore ourselves, find our truth, and express it. Within Foucault’s framework, sex isn’t just something we do. He instead argues that the kind of sex you have or desire to have become a “symptom” of your sexuality. Foucault focuses on the Victorian era, the time period when people began to move away from confession in the biblical sense to psychiatry as the main means of confession and guidance. Sexuality became scientific when those who dictated what was “normal” moved from priests to psychiatrists.
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