Sex, or the Unbearable

Sex (the fantasy of sex) as an escape from the self. This escape is not necessarily physical, but instead an exchange that threatens the boundaries of the subject, confused and threatened by the presence of the other (at the same time that the other redefines the subject’s relationship to the self). Limits are both a means of definition and an intrusion of the Real—an imposition that pierces our understanding of the self as discontinuous and infinite.

I am not used to feeling threatened by the presence of the other—or perhaps I am too used to it, to the way it comes to seem that the other seems to threaten my constitution of being. I wish for an other who is as impossible to define as I feel, however irrationally, a love object as limitless as my self’s fantasy. I do not wish to be entombed “in the stillness of an image” of happiness, or domesticity, or getting along. For me bliss is an endless reconstitution, reformulation, redrawing of boundaries. A back and forth that is not merely an “encrustation” of a crystallized, originatory object, but a reciprocal mode that does not extinguish the capacity to act, to improvise, to reimagine. In both partners lies a significant subjectivity untouched by the other, perhaps only glimpsed, an electric charge that is the means and location of a potentially boundless attraction.

I don’t wish to inhabit the projection of my beloved, and neither do I want them to be what I imagine. But love conceived as a project in this way seems contrary to conventional notions of intimacy: while it may be true that we can never totally “know” the other, to feel truly alien to them limits our ability to surrender to the experience of falling in love, not to mention to the comfort and support that are perhaps dependent on continuous identification and reciprocity.

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