UPDATE (4.40pm): I have appended to this post a 2011 lecture by Ms. Dufourmantelle, given at the European Graduate School, on “The Philosophy of Sexuality and Body.”
Philosophy is an art of touching, just as sex is an art of intelligence. Touch is the living experience of the world on the part of what “thinks thought” in us. Philosophy is an art of touching because it experiences what it thinks, because it appears only in and through that act, while sex, for its part, allows us to experience just what is untouchable in the other. That other who can be explored, restrained, enveloped, consoled, hurt, and brought to jouissance unveils in the rawest and most exposed intimacy the fact that some part will always escape not only desire but also even sex (a word that refers both to the sex act and to the associated organs), and that there is something untouchable in the body itself. Spinoza’s genius lay here: transcendence is in the most intimate proximity to the self, and you don’t know it. No one knows what a body can do. The body — its exact resonance, its matter, its history — is located in the blank spot of desire, of speech, of thought.
Sex is not named by philosophy. Or only in such an impoverished, caricatural manner that it’s almost funny: appetites, affections, lasciviousness — sex is found lying in ambush in a blank spot, in a deafening silence. Everywhere except where love is in question. Ignored, demonized, effaced, sex is the first philosophical aporia, the locus of philosophy’s obscure, nocturnal, indiscernible astonishment. Sex is touch unable to express itself; philosophy, which has no tactile surface, no skin or nerve endings, is an art of touching concepts: their imbrications, their meticulous constructions, their silence. A touch other than that of the skin, comparable to a musician’s touch, that is, a touch that sets up a precise virtuosic resonance in which the world is engaged.
Sex experiences itself as a philosophical aporia, a body mingling with another body or with other plural bodies, a world mingling with another world, another skin, another voice, and one that comes undone just where it is resolved. To enter into jouissance is to be nevertheless at that place where the body no longer belongs to the body, where it becomes pure resonance, pure intelligence of the other, and, in that abandonment, “thought.”