|← Afro-Caribbean Culture||Domestic Violence →|
The chapter on Scientia Sexualis in Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality is an attempt to unearth the untold truth concerning sex. Foucault argues that in this age there is so much sexual censorship and repression, claiming that over the past centuries there was an explosion of sexual discourse. Different societies have historically transformed into the current situation of sexual repression. This is explained by the following passage.
“In the erotic art, truth is drawn from pleasure itself, understood as a practice and accumulated in experience; pleasure is not considered in relation to an absolute law of the permitted and forbidden, nor by reference to the criterion of utility, but first and foremost in relation to itself; it is experience as pleasure, evaluated in terms of its intensity, its specific quality, its duration, its reverberations in the body and the soul.” (p.57)
The Arabo-Moslem societies in Japan, India, Rome, and China discovered the truth through finding pleasure in sex. The pleasure itself came to be understood as a practice and through experience, it was accumulated. These communities had little or no regard for sex as a law. This means that sex is not just about the question of being forbidden by the law or general morality. Its quality and duration creates a form of an intensity that reverberates the body and soul.
The western world community, however, learnt about “sexual truths” through their method of confession. According to Foucault, the Western World used the tool of confession to reveal the truth for so many years in history. Usually, this ritual unfolds a distinct power relationship, where the confessor is under some level of authority that demand the truth. Foucault explains further in this passage: “It was a time when the most singular pleasures were called upon to pronounce a discourse of truth concerning themselves, a discourse which had to model itself after that which spoke, not of sin and salvation, but of bodies and life processes-the discourse of science (p.64). As a result of the confession, the confessor benefits from a sort of a purification. This confession would move from the church booth, into the medical and scientific world, and later into the psychiatry world from where the understanding of truth was established. This shows that inasmuch as the society did not openly approve of sex, people would do it anyway. Therefore, even when sex is restricted by the law and general ethics, people will still do it because after all, it is always done in secret. The best way to make sex safe is to be open about it, so as to open avenues to address medical and other solutions to issues surrounding it. Thus, the truth behind sex could not remain uncovered.