No Homo #4

Posted: November 7, 2010 in Foucault, Scribbling On Foucault's Walls, Uncategorized, Writing

I forgot he died of AIDS. Of course I didn’t forget. I forgot I’d have to face up to that fact if I was going to write about Foucault.

Anyway my mind is full of questions. And my heart is full of sadness. Coming of age is hard  enough, coming of age in the 1980s had a particular piquancy. Coming of age, homosexual in the 1980s must have been a certain kind of purgatory.

Some of my questions feel ‘unaskable’. Like I should not be that girl, tapping on grown men’s shoulders, asking them to reveal things that go so deep. But since when did that stop me.

In the 1980s AIDS was known as the gay plague. Even if you didn’t say those words that is how it came across. But I never thought till today, this actual day sitting here in 2010. About AIDS and tops and bottoms. If you were a bottom, you would have been (and still are in some contexts) much more likely to contract AIDS than if you were a top wouldn’t you?. What does that say about dynamics between gay men and attitudes towards gay men? I don’t know.

It really made me think. I remember being frightened of having sex for the first time, partly in the context of aids. I was very uptight about condom use until I started having casual sex haha the irony is ridiculous and also became more into being submissive haha more irony.

Sex and power is such a massive massively loaded terrifying subject.

Look at poor Michel. It killed him.

I am frightened.

  1. Papi50 says:

    QRG, when Foucault writes “Sex is worth dying for,” he’s thinking about HIV/AIDS, alongside a literary and cultural tradition in place way before this, one that took lives over all kinds of sexual matters. Dante puts Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta in Hell forever (Inferno V) for getting caught in a quick fuck that got them killed. Thus, begging the question if it was worth it. I think Foucault would say the tradition always answers Yes to this, even if the same tradition tries to suck that affirmation back with the same breath that utters it.

    I know you know this: but to say “it killed him” about Foucault’s AIDS and sexual practices, especially in the early 1980s, when the retrovirus hadn’t been isolated and nobody was sure the cause, may be a bit hyperbolic and strangely out of step with everything we can learn from Foucault himself (about discourses and diseases, for example).

    Foucault taught at Berkeley for nearly ten years because he liked going to the baths in San Francisco. I’m not sure what he would say had killed him, especially at the time he died. I know many of my colleagues at UCB, eager to moralize his sexual practices in ways that solaced them, started saying things like things, “Well, he finally knew it was wrong,” and bullshit like that.

    I think we’re all frightened. I think that’s the good part. Fleur and I like group sex and anonymous sex between men and women. However vanilla or even maie-fantasy-driven that world may be, it is not without its risks and dangers. Never mind the diseases: if anybody knew what we were doing we’d lose our careers in a heartbeat.

    I love reading you because you write with an edge that wants to cut through and examine all the fear issues that impact and impede real sexual self-expression. Thanks for this provocative post.


  2. Hi Papi

    Thanks for your comment which is actually more thought-out and better informed than my original post! The reader is the writer etc…

    (I think you emailed me a while back so thanks for that as welll).

    I know. It is life which kills us in the end and that means the only thing we can do is to live it all the more wholeheartedly.

  3. God I was so frightened of sex when I was young I made my boyfriend wait over 18 months before we actually ‘did it’- PIV sex anyway. I look back and I partly think what was I frightened of? But also at the same time I think why wasn’t I even more frightened? It is fucking terrifying!

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