The History of Sexuality Vol. 1 by Michel Foucault


Rating: 3.5/5

I have always been a fan of Foucault. I even wrote my senior thesis on his theory of Panopticism in literature. Many of his thoughts on sexuality are just as fascinating as those about surveillance.

One of the things I admired about this work was how Foucault unflinchingly reverses the common belief that sexuality was repressed and states that the attention given to sexuality as early as the 17th century was actually the reason why so much discourse on the subject exists today. Rather than suppressing sexuality, it was brought into the light. Therefore, sexuality was never really repressed as so many have come to believe but rather put into the forefront of everyone’s thoughts.

He goes on to talk about power, and how sexuality has gradually become a more integral part of how power structures function. In the end, we are forced to come to the conclusion that sexuality is more a part of our lives than some would care to admit.

It was a fascinating read,  albeit a little rough at times given Foucault’s habit of writing long and sometimes circular sentences that need to be read multiple times to find the major point. However, if you are willing to give it the time and brain power (which you honestly should) it brings to light some ideas that will change the way you thought of the past and how the power of sexuality can be seen today.


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