Western thinkers made a hypothesis of a sexual repression. In Foucault's view, there is another modern history; this is history of the discourse, power, and knowledge production. To this end, Foucault analyzes the discourse and around the power mechanism. In “the History of Sexuality” volume I, he wants to express its theme that the multiple operation of power mode pushes forward the theory of discourse. Discourse is the most visible manifestation, but also the most difficult to identify. Discourse plays a role to constitute a general cultural, it communicates and represents power. It is an alternative to the form of power in the modern society. He argues that the power does not ultimately lead to the repression of sexual desire, but it is a production of sexual desire.
At the beginning, the author points out the current situation. From the first page, starting the second paragraph, he compares the “sexual practice” between the early 17th century and the 19th century. He elaborates the topic throughout the whole book. Still on the first page, from the third paragraph, Foucault describes the change after the Victorian period from the state, and the questions began. Next, he would naturally begin to explain the phenomenon by using cognitive way. Foucault certainly not stops there, however, he is relying on such analysis, he opens with the "widely accepted view" for us to understand it better.
He is not interested to criticize the current discourse, but points out how to find a way in which criticize the understanding of the various criticism. "In short, I would like to disengage my analysis from the privilege generally accorded the economy of scarcity and the principles of rarefaction, to search instead for instances of discursive production, of the production of power, of the propagation of knowledge.” (Foucault, P 12) Foucault's primary concern is the difference of sexual life between 17th century and 19th century. He uses the comparison in the history, leads to a series of questions and then explores these issues with the contemporary theory. In the process of discourse, Foucault concentrates on the hypothesis that “modern industrial society ushered in an age of increased sexual repression.” (Foucault, P49) In contrast to 17th century, people no longer able to casually discuss sex in 19th Century. One of the assumptions that very often to be thought is because of sexual repression. Foucault’s study intends to overturn this assumption. He immediately raises three questions: (1) From a purely historical point of view, Foucault suspects that if sex really oppressed. (2) The theory of historical perspective, Foucault considers the dimensions during the operation of the power. Can we see power as a form in prohibition, review, and negate? History is the key to the "power" of the concept of understanding. (3) From the political point of view of history, Foucault is concerned against sexual repression discourse. What is the nature of the criticized discourse? Does it challenge the sexual repression and confrontation discourse within the same historical system?
Next Foucault illustrates his research is not just to point out the assumption of sexual repression is wrong, not only the use of language is to be clarify the role and power. This is the use of negative expositions, eliminate misunderstanding, and deepen readers to understand the thrust of research.
Finally, Foucault proposed a conceptual framework into words which is the power to the three areas of knowledge; each one has its own production. Discourse is to study the history and society, it is indispensable.
The naked truth of sexuality sounds difficult for people to accept it, rationalism dominates the way people think, sexuality enters a state of self-disguise, people has to remain silence. Foucault thinks that if we change the thinking perspective, we can realize that sexuality is a tool and the power to implement it: power is not suppressed, but it points out the truth. on the other hand, the discourse of sexuality has been more made increasingly over time. On this issue, as Foucault unlike others concerned if repression truly exists, he actually considers the negative repression and positive stimuli actually linked to be a part of the complex political strategy.
It is often that sex is described as a sexual desire for the procession of power confrontation with a stubborn impulse. Although the power makes every effort to conquer sexual desire, but sexual desire can not be fully controlled. Foucault believes that the situation was exactly the opposite sex through power to show its nature: relationships manifest in men vs. women, Youth aged parents vs. future generations, the teacher vs. student and government vs. the residents and so on. Moreover, in the power relations, sexuality as a factor is not the most difficult to control. Instead, it is the most available, most gentle factors. Sexuality is power implementation of the targets and tools, knowledge of a target, a field generated truth. In short, through a set of techniques used, the power does not ultimately lead to the repression of sexual desire, but it is a production of sexual desire.
Foucault categorizes the sex art in non-Western society; and sexual related sciences are categorized in Western society. Every society -- countless community, the Chinese community, Japanese society, the Indian society, the Roman society, Arab-Muslim society -- all have their own sex arts. On the other hand, our civilization, at least on the surface, there is nothing to speak of sex art. Instead, undoubtedly it is the only scientific practice for the civilization. It is only in the past few centuries to develop the truth about the various procedures of civilization. On the one hand, I feel the situation in China as Foucault said the ancient Greek and Roman society, in that society, love art care about most is not the sex right and wrong for the division, but as the sexual activity as a whole, people are more interested in the enjoyment of pleasure and restraint. China's modern sexual situation versus the modern Western sexual situation is very different. This difference only from the surface it is very clear : in the West, people are talking about, Chinese people feel "terrified talking about sex"; In the West, science (including research, Psychological therapy) can be showed in public, and in China, has basically limited to sexual private bedroom; Western woman would like to see a doctor because they have problem getting sexual orgasm, but women in China would not think it is a big deal. In the West, homosexuality has gone far from being regarded as criminal offenders (the most serious history of the period to the death penalty) of sexual revolution movement; In China, homosexuality has never been illegal but to quietly endure the "normal" discrimination and ridicule; In the West, sex as a political science, sociology, history, philosophy and most talked about one, In contrast, it is still hiding in a dark corner, people think that the topic is unpresentable in China.
From the humanist perspective, human nature and love is not immoral, is very important to show. The reason is sex and love is self-gratifying, sex and love are the most significant relationship. If a society, a culture of high self-esteem, it would make sex and love more important; If a society or a culture of self-neglect, it will be ignored sex and love. It is often thought that the political events, economic development of such things is very important, but the personal desires, happy with the behavior is simply insignificant. This idea especially popular in China because of individuals in our culture has always been insignificant