Columbia University Press
Paul B. Preciado
This pivotal book, in its latest English version, represents one of the crucial efforts in deconstructing the ‘supposedly biological foundations of the heterocentric regime’. Departing from an anecdote about the Marquis de Sade and his use of a dildo both as a sex toy and a case for his writing in prison, Preciado introduces the idea that sexuality is something we can fabricate. This text swings between pop culture and theory to inspire a call to action in rethinking our ways in which sexuality responds to a performativity of our need to emancipate our bodies from the given norms.
The lesson we learn from the survival of Sade’s most challenging text is not only that hollow dildos can be useful pens for hiding secrets or that any dildo can eventually contain a book but also that a book can operate like a dildo by becoming a technique for fabricating sexuality. Like a dildo, a book is a sexual body’s assisted cultural technology of modification. In this sense, this book, too, is a dildo. A dildo-book and a book about dildos that aims to modify the subject who might use it.
The feminist and queer theories of the fin-du-siècle could be described as a coming to terms with the hypermasculinity, white supremacy, and heterocentrism of central European psychoanalytic theories of sexuality. Drawing on the steps that feminist and queer theories took against psychoanalytic norms, the texts and exercises included in this manifesto could be understood as a counterclinic of queer and trans sexualities.