Matt Zeitlin should be less surprised by the final sentence of his post (link not suitable for children):
I’m not familiar enough with the safe-sex corpus to really comment on it authoritatively, but in my own experience (health classes and so forth), the near-obsessive focus on the “safe” part of safe sex always struck me as slightly dishonest, and almost puritan in its obsession with hygiene and control. I should note that it’s particularly interesting that Clark-Flory who wrote a piece entitled “In Defense of Casual Sex” is the one recapitulating this all-encompassing focus on health and safety in sexual activity. It’s ethical!
On his way to making this point, Zeitlin quotes Žižek as saying:
Today’s hedonism combines pleasure with constraint — it is no longer the old notion of the “right measure” between pleasure and constraint, but a kind of pseudo-Hegelian immediate coincidence of the opposites: action and reaction should coincide, the very thing which causes damage should already be the medicine. The ultimate example of it is arguably a chocolate laxative, available in the US, with the paradoxical injunction “Do you have constipation? Eat more of this chocolate!”, i.e., of the very thing which causes constipation. Do we not find here a weird version of Wagner’s famous “Only the spear which caused the wound can heal it” from Parsifal? And is not a negative proof of the hegemony of this stance the fact that true unconstrained consumption (in all its main forms: drugs, free sex, smoking…) is emerging as the main danger? The fight against these dangers is one of the main investments of today’s “biopolitics.” Solutions are here desperately sought which would reproduce the paradox of the chocolate laxative. The main contender is “safe sex” — a term which makes one appreciative of the truth of the old saying “Is having sex with a condom not like taking a shower with a raincoat on?”. The ultimate goal would be here, along the lines of decaf coffee, to invent “opium without opium”: no wonder marijuana is so popular among liberals who want to legalize it — it already IS a kind of “opium without opium.”
I have thoughts on this. Many thoughts. They’ll have to come later, though.