The political stakes of clean sex

by scholastress

As [Leo] Bersani says, the erotic is an equal opportunity archive; it borrows just as easily, possibly more easily from politically problematic imagery than from politically palatable material. This leaves open the question of the relationship between sex and politics. Bersani, generally speaking, in a move that is later stretched into a theoretical polemic by Lee Edelman, wants to resist and refuse the desire to make sex into the raw material for a rational political position. Instead he sees a tyranny of selfhood and a glorification of one understanding of the political in most claims for democratic plurality, social diversity, or utopian potential that get written into sex: we clean sex up, he seems to imply, by making it about self-fashioning instead of self-shattering.

-Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure, p. 149