The culture of modern homosexuality seems to carry utopian aspirations of this kind and as indicated above might be seen as a space in which a Foucauldian sexual aesthetics is practiced: the cultivation of jouissance (within or at the borders of safety) is not concerned with the promotion of relationships, but is rather devoted to the maximisation of intensities, that are not totalised as persons, indeed might precisely shatter such totalities. ((Bersani reads the figure of the man being penetrated as a jouissance which involves the anti-social destruction of the ego and identity.)) Such a sexual refiguration might well enmesh with a new articulation of affect that would be antagonistic to the reduction of the couple and open to a filled-out conception of friendship, now no longer restricted to its gender-patterned idealisations.

Yet clearly this space is also implicated in a new regime of desire currently in production. The heterotopias of the ‘sex clubs’ are configured in terms of the leisure industry of the large metropolis and are also consonant with the cultural incitement of desire that is marked by the ‘pornographisation’ of the image world. The connections here are quite difficult to discern: on the one hand the possibilities of desire are expanded, on the other they may be part of a cultural compulsion. For someone like Žižek, the case is clear: there is now a new superegoic imperative, ‘Enjoy!’ which is tied to consumption, and which marks the successful subsumption of the individual under the universal of capital. This echoes Adorno’s nostalgia for the psychoanalytic subject of repression as he discerns the direct colonisation of the id by mass society, without the mediation of the ego. Yet both positions fail to hold fast to their own primary understanding of psychoanalysis as the site and representation of the failure which their more pessimistic accounts of the social assume to have been overcome, that is the coincidence of universal and particular. What their reflections on post-bourgeois culture indicate is the demand on psychoanalysis to think beyond the conditions of its own emergence, that is beyond the Oedipal forms of desire. Hocquenghem gives a utopian rendition of this thought in terms of homosexuality as infinite conjunction. Perhaps a more grounded and historical account would look at the emerging field of a culture of sexual and affective creativity, its inflexion and capture by other forms of interpellative address–intensity just as consumer choice–but also a collective appropriation of those materials in a dialectical supersession, and the necessary tensions of all this with those affective relations eulogised but also Oedipalised in the cult of love. It is in these tensions and their lived traversal and conceptual reflection that we might find not only the proper object of a psychoanalysis open to homosexuality that is finally removed from the insistent trace of its first pathological theorisations, but also the development of a psychoanalysis proper to its time; in the spirit of Adorno we might call this a negative psychoanalytics, a psychoanalytic critique of psychoanalysis, or a constant historical reflection on the historicity of psychoanalysis, as well as the site for a new exploration of the possibilities of desire and affect beyond identity and the couple.