Avgi SaketopoulouDec 13, 2022
Sexuality Beyond Consent
Risk, Race, Traumatophilia
New York University Press 2023
Arguing that we have become culturally obsessed with healing trauma, Sexuality Beyond Consent: Risk, Race, Traumatophilia (NYU Press, 2023) calls attention to what traumatized subjects do with their pain. The erotics of racism offers a paradigmatic example of how what is proximal to violation may become an unexpected site of flourishing. Central to the transformational possibilities of trauma is a queer form of consent, limit consent, that is not about guarding the self but about risking experience. Saketopoulou thereby shows why sexualities beyond consent may be worth risking-and how risk can solicit the future.
Moving between clinical and cultural case studies, Saketopoulou takes up theatrical and cinematic works such as Slave Play and The Night Porter, to chart how trauma and sexuality join forces to surge through the aesthetic domain. Putting the psychoanalytic theory of Jean Laplanche in conversation with queer of color critique, performance studies, and philosophy, Sexuality Beyond Consent proposes that enduring the strange in ourselves, not to master trauma but to rub up against it, can open us up to encounters with opacity. The book concludes by theorizing currents of sadism that, when pursued ethically, can animate unique forms of interpersonal and social care.