Overexposed: Perverting Perversions
Do you ever get aroused by your patient's fantasies? Do you discover through them something about your own sexuality?
--About my sexuality?
You are exposed to a lot of fantasies.
--Oh yes. Quite frankly, I think it has a satiation effect on me. I've been a sex researcher for ten years, and sometimes I get fed up with it, you know. I talk to people about sex all day long, and it does get to be a drag.
-- from Overexposed
The most perverse perversions are not always those one would expect. Originally conceived as an American update to Foucault's History of Sexuality, Overexposed is even more outrageous and thought-provoking today than it was twenty years ago when first published by a commercial publisher. By a strange reversal, rather than being punished, deviant desire now is administrated in specialized clinics under medical supervision. Sexual excess is being turned into a "boredom therapy" claiming to rid patients of their own desires by forcing them to indulge them past the point of satiety. But are perversions still perverse when they are vindicated unconditionally? At once clinical, bewildering, and deeply poignant, Overexposed shows how science can pervert itself by identifying too closely with its object. This insider's exposition of controversial cognitive behavioral methods (carried out with instruments straight out of A Clockwork Orange--penile transducer? pupillometer?) is a hallucinatory document on the manner in which our postmodern society exposes sexuality to the point of overexposure--in order to exterminate it.
Sylvère Lotringer, general editor of Semiotext(e), lives in New York and Baja, California. He is the author of Overexposed: Perverting Perversions (Semiotext(e), 2007).
"The sexualization of postwar American culture has produced results that would astonish Freud, Reich, or even Kinsey. Modern techniques of behavior modification now cast doubt on the sources of individual eroticism. Overexposed is an engrossing description of sexual conditioning condoned by the state. A fascinating book." --William Burroughs
"Overexposed is a most remarkable work ... A brilliant piece of undercover reporting, from the strangest of strange lands." --J.G. Ballard
"Overexposed is a voyage through hell. A gleaming, air-conditioned, sanitary, and polite hell where a triumphant psychotechnology replaces the old-fashioned shackles of the Law and 'cures' the sex-offender by boring to death his desire. Sylvère Lotringer's account of this charnel house of behaviorisim is deft, witty, and precise." --Joel Kovel