The History of Sexuality, Volume 3: The Care of the Self by Michel Foucault

By Michel Foucault

The Care of the Self is the 3rd and probably ultimate quantity of Michel Foucault's commonly acclaimed exam of "the event of sexuality in Western society." Foucault takes us into the 1st centuries of our personal period, into the Golden Age of Rome, to bare a refined yet decisive holiday from the classical Greek imaginative and prescient of sexual excitement. He skillfully explores the full corpus of ethical mirrored image between philosophers (Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca) and physicians of the period, and uncovers an expanding distrust of delight and starting to be nervousness over sexual intercourse and its results.

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Despite these measures, rates of sexually transmitted disease remained high. Young inexperienced soldiers were thought to have put on the condoms too tight resulting in breakage whereas others preferred to wear the condoms “bo-zu style,”140 making a deliberate tear in the top of the condom to leave the glans exposed so as to heighten sensation. Hence, many young men were introduced to commercial sex as a matter of course long before they were in a position to unite sentiment and desire as was recommended by some intellectual idealists.

61 Yet, although male-male romantic liaisons fell victim to this new system, female-female relations were treated somewhat differently. Prior to Japan’s defeat and occupation, education had been strictly sex-segregated and there were very few circumstances in which male and female young people could mix socially. During the early decades of the twentieth century, the number of high schools and junior colleges for 26 LOVE, SEX, AND DEMOCRACY girls increased dramatically and large numbers of girls and young women were brought together from around Japan and put into close proximity in boarding houses.

142 Over half of the respondents stated that they had had their first experience of intercourse prior to turning 18 and among the men who had entered the workforce after graduating from middle school, almost half had had their first experience with a prostitute. Some of the men revealed that they had been enticed to visit the red-light districts by older colleagues. Significantly only 1 percent of these respondents reported that their first experience of intercourse was with their wives. 143 The survey authors note that respondents who came of age in the prewar and wartime periods commonly reported sexual initiation with prostitutes in their midto-late teens (today’s middle- and high-school age).

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