The Interrelation of Sex to Power According to Michel Foucault

According to Foucault, the lack of discussion on the topic of sex characterizes it as a “repressive” topic–one that is viewed as taboo, nonexistent, and is often silenced, (pg. 6, second paragraph). Therefore, talking about sex would be an act of “deliberate transgression”–a way that people would act out against the authority figure (or whomever holds the power of repression). Violators of this repression would be subject to penal law, but only if one allowed him or herself to be, (pg.

4, 2nd paragraph). Foucault treats repression as hypothetical (hence the name the “repressive hypothesis”) because there is no official evidence to support this hypothesis–for example, there are no actual laws that outwardly prohibit the discussion about sex. This is why Foucault deliberately uses the word, “if” on pg. 6, 2nd paragraph. (also on pg. 9, 2nd paragraph). Also, there is no designated repressor; perhaps because the repressor is society.

People silence each other with silence (and cowardice and maybe even embarrassment?).

People will not talk about sex if sex isn’t being talked about, and they are not courageous enough to bring it up (no matter their curiosity). Sexual acts are intimate actions that are meant to only be shared by a partner, not by everyone. Stein’s Three Models of Sexuality include: drives, identities, and practices. Of the three, Foucault’s theories best fit under the practices model. According to Foucault, engaging in sexual practices is a way to exercise power–unto whom or what is not made clear. It could be to exercise one’s own power against the repression of sex, and/or to exercise one’s power over his or her partner in the act of sex.

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This desire of having power over something or someone can be derived from the feeling of being repressed by or being unknown by society. For some, the practice of sex could be their strategy in gaining power in society.

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The Interrelation of Sex to Power According to Michel Foucault. (2022, Jun 30). Retrieved from

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