Thursday, 17 June 2010

Bersani Mirabilis

Leo Bersani likes to speak 'gosh!' truths of the 'there is a big secret about sex: most people just don't like it' variety. But sometimes he doesn't take the logic of his shocking truthfulness to its logical conclusion. So:
Psychoanalytically speaking, monogamy is cognitively inconceivable and morally indefensible.
Of course, Bersani is speaking psychoanalytically, not actually. He's saying something forecful about the need for imaginative freedom in the mind's erotic life, of course, that's hard to gainsay. But he underestimates, I think, precisely the erotic appeal of the fantasy of monogamy. We fantasise about having sex with others precisely in order to reinscribe, imaginatively speaking, the erotic power of having sex with our longterm partner.

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