May 28, 2015
I've just posted a new piece for subscribers only, "Anal Sex and Its Discontents: Emma Sulkowicz, Lawrence v. Texas, and the Histories of a Sex Act." If you're a subscriber (with a subscription, not just an authenticated user), please log, then click on the "Subscriber Content" tab to read this and previous subscription pieces.
What both Lawrence v. Texas and the Sulkowicz case show us is that all of our sex is historical, always interpellated into legal queries and documents and public speculation and always, at any point, poised to become part of a larger set of cultural and legal codes. There is no such thing as a "private" sexual act. And there is nothing about sex that is not laden with external meaning defined by the law: Every caress, every single motion, every single gesture is already encapsulated in legal definitions.
Ultimately, anal sex carried with it not only the stigma of revulsion, but that of being a non-procreative act, something that does not support the creation and construction of what the state defines as legitimate estates and property. It’s not that anal sex disrupts capitalism, although some sex-positive theorists might well claim it does, but that it is symbolises the dichotomy between public and private which also characterises the accumulation of capital.1
...in evoking the spectre of anal sex, the anus re-emerges as a site of untarnished and unpenetrated site of non-pleasurable sex, the ultimate zone of privacy literally torn apart.
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