Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The History of Sexuality 2: The Use of Pleasure” as Want to Read:
The History of Sexuality 2: The Use of Pleasure
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The History of Sexuality 2: The Use of Pleasure (The History of Sexuality #2)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  2,195 ratings  ·  50 reviews
In this sequel to The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction, the brilliantly original French thinker who died in 1984 gives an analysis of how the ancient Greeks perceived sexuality.

Throughout The Uses of Pleasure Foucault analyzes an irresistible array of ancient Greek texts on eroticism as he tries to answer basic questions: How in the West did sexual experienc
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 14th 1990 by Vintage Books (first published 1983)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The History of Sexuality 2, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The History of Sexuality 2

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

تاريخ الجنسانية و احد من أكثر الكتب الفكرية التي استمتعت بقراءته. بالتأكيد يرجع الفضل في ذلك لجدارة الكاتب في طرح و تحليل هذا الموضوع بالإضافة لإهتمامي الشخصية في الموضوع كحالة إنسانية و فكرية.
يقدم هذا الجزء من مجموعة تاريخ الجنسانية المنظور اليوناني لها. حيث يوضح فوكو الفضاء الذي تعامل فيه اليونان (بصفتهم أجداد للثقافة الأوروبية و المسيحية المقبلة) معها، مؤكدا أنهم بالرغم من إقرارهم بالعلاقات المثلية بالإضافة للزواج الشرعي، فإنهم عاملوا الجنسانية كموضوع للمتعة و إنشغلوا بسبل أستعمالها الصحية و
Fahad Alqurain
مجنون هذا الفوكو
بهذا الجزء يطرح فوكو الكثير من الأفكار لدى الاثنيين القدماء وفلسفاتهم ويناقشها ويحللها

استعمال المتع وتدور افكار هذا الجزء نحو ثلاثة أجزاء
الاول الحمية البدنية والرياضية والفكرية
والثانية الجانب التربوي البيتي
والثالثة حب الغلمان

ويناقشها ويحللها ويقارن بين الكثير من حوارات الفلاسفة

ويتعمق حتى يأخذك معه في جانب المؤيد لهذه الأفكار
وبالطبع حين تعرف أن فوكو من المؤيدين للمثلية الجنسية ولكن لا يرغمكعلى موافقته بل يدعك تحلل وتفكر معه هل كانوا محقين ام لا
وبطبيعة الفطرة الانسانية نقول
Foucault's continuation of his impressive History of Human Sexuality looks into the sexual mores and practices of the Ancient Greeks, and attempts to understand the development of sexuality as a moral problematic. Contrary to the conventional wisdom which posits a complete epistemic reversal from the Hellenic world to the Christian world, Foucault poses a more complex network of interconnections between the two paradigms, which lie in a valuation of asceticism. Although The Use of Pleasure is on ...more
ماهرعبد الرحمن
بالإجمال، لكي يسمى فعل ما "أخلاقيا"، لا ينبغي أن ينحل إلى عمل أو مجموعة أعمال مطابقة لقاعدة، أو قانون أو قيمة ما. صحيح أن كل فعل أخلاقي ينطوي على علاقة بالواقع الذي يتم فيه، وعلى علاقة بالقانون الذي يستند إليه؛ لكنه ينطوي أيضا على علاقة معينة مع الذات؛ ليست هذه العلاقة مجرد "إحساس بالذات"، بل هي تكوين للنفس كـ "ذات أخلاقية" فيه يحدد الفرد ذلك الجزء من نفسه الذي يشكل موضوع الممارسة الأخلاقية، وموقفه بالنسبة إلى القاعدة التي يتبعها، ويركز لنفسه نمط عيش معين يصلح كتحقيق أخلاقي لذاته. ولهذا الغرض، ي ...more
This was a lot more interesting than volume one. The subtitle should have been "The Use of Pleasure in Ancient Greece" or "Same-sex Sexuality in Ancient Greece" or something along those lines.

If Foucault had set a broader scope -- let alone settle with modern, and less-obfuscating terminology -- he would have summarily concluded the following:

"It is important to emphasize that people who engage in same-sex sexual practices do not necessarily have a homosexual orientation. The same-sex sexual act
Jasreet Badyal
Apr 14, 2011 Jasreet Badyal rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophy, Political Thought, Ethics
Recommended to Jasreet by: Professor
I read this for a political philosophy course on sexual ethics as the last work after thinkers from the following categories: Greek, Christian, new natural lawyers, and liberalism. It was part of a combined senior undergraduate and graduate seminar.

I really enjoyed how Foucault offers a different way to understand Greek sexual ethics and a different way to understand sexual ethics in our own time. This is one of the last works he wrote before he passed away, so at times it does end up feeling ru
Oliver Bateman
A fine short survey of classical Greek sexual thinking, yet Michel Foucault's work with these primary sources isn't as impressive as it is with materials from the 17th and 18th centuries. A heavy reliance on two major 1970s-era histories by KJ Dover seems to suggest that Foucault isn't so much breaking new ground as sowing seeds in already-fertilized fields. All in all, though, this was a worthwhile and interesting read, even if it wasn't as provocative as Volume 1.
Has some important insights, but Foucault's over-reliance on Attic prose substantially weakens his arguments - note that he doesn't even mention Sappho! And he quotes from the tragedians maybe twice? There are many classicists of the past few decades who have done much better work on ancient Greek sexuality. Foucault is more interested in making a point about the world that he lived in than in actually understanding the way the Greeks lived.
Jan 29, 2013 Daniel added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: LaBuff
I met this guy at a party who wanted to do nothing but talk about Foucault (I didn't like him very much). HIS opinion was that Foucault was awful. I wouldn't say awful, but he is not easy to read. If I met Foucault at a party, I would probably like him as much as I did that guy who insulted him. But he wrote about interesting things.

No rating because I skipped about half the book. Oops!
Zizo Ghoname
يعطيك هذا الكتاب فكره عن مدى مرونة ومطاطية كل شئ متعلق بالنفس البشريه
بداية من الاخلاقيات ونهاية الى الاذواق والتابوهات المجتمعيه
ويتجلى هذا واضحا في توجيه الكاتب نظره تحليليه
لبعض النصوص المتعلقه بالجنسانيه في المجتمع اليوناني القديم بشكل خاص
I could congratulate Michel Foucault on his research and examination of the way in which ancient greeks regulated, viewed and analyzed sexuality. I could talk about how he didn't present a completely distorted view of something that's commonly understood as the unavoidable differences between the greek and the Christian conception, because obviously civilizations had been previously preparing to receive such a message. The people of the Old Testament, though still Jewish, are not the same person ...more
Less theoretical than the first volume, but it's up to other readers to decide whether that's a good or a bad thing. Foucault presents a history of the "problematizations" of sexuality in ancient times, from marriage to health, homosexuality and love. Foucault doesn't promise a complete analysis but a survey of the key issues that had arisen in ancient Greece. As with his look at Victorian values, the question is not how sexuality was viewed in these eras, but how such a thing as "sexuality" was ...more
this book is a bit like a rorschach test: people tend to read their own issues into the work. do you have issues with homosexuality? then you'll probably read this as foucault's justification of homosexuality based on man-boy love in greece. do you have issues with reactionary, 1970s style feminism--by which i mean, is that the kind of feminism you practice? then you'll probably read this as an infuriating book because it doesn't address women as the central focus of the book.
disregard these rev
Jacob Rabas
First I should note that I am not really concerned with the accuracy of Foucault's interpretations of ancient Greek texts or even with sexuality as a topic of study. I'm not a Classicist so I can't comment on the empirical validity of the work. However, I am interested in understanding the truly original aspects of his work, mainly his theory of power, subjectivity, and the concept of discourse. In The History of Sexuality 1: An Introduction Foucault provides us with a sketch of his notion of po ...more
María I.
En este segundo volumen Foucault expone todos los aspectos de la sexualidad y acoge las dimensiones de una antropología general del placer, sin olvidar la dimensión económica de la sexualidad ni su adscripción a un orden jurídico y social; estudia además el estatuto del matrimonio y la organización del hogar. La obra concluye con un tratado de erótica y una reflexión sobre lo que habría de ser el amor verdadero.
In the second volume of his History of Sexuality, Foucault primarily explores the axes along which sexuality was problematized in ancient Greece. He discusses three fields of practice: the regimen of the body, the household management of marriage, and the courtship of young men. He identifies three “techniques of the self” (251) by which sexual conduct was modulated: dietetics, which calls for a “moderation defined by the measured and timely use of the aphrodisia” (251), by which an individual m ...more
David Bird
This book broke the spell of Foucault for me. In works like Discipline and Punish The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault he wove a net from works that were unknown to me. Who was I to question his readings?

Here I finally saw him at work on an author and text I knew, and when I looked at what he did with Xenophon, I found his reading of the Oeconomicus was bizarre and tendentious.

Fully escaping from Foucault would take me until The Greeks & Greek Love A Bold New Exploration of the Ancient World by James Davidson but this was the start.
This book is one of the few books that actually makes me angry. Foucault abandons his life's work and theory of power so he can glorify man-boy sexual relations in Ancient Greece. I don't care that he has that view of it, but he just becomes one more writer who wants to say it is ok that HE is gay because the Greeks were pedaphiles (not the same thing as gay and a very poor argument by the way). Foucault completely ignores the inherent hierarchy in the man-boy relationship and only at the end of ...more
Erik Graff
Jun 15, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foucault fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
It does indeed seem to be the case that many of the ancient Greeks and Romans were oblivious to what we see as the ethical issues pertaining to human sexuality. Of course, given our limited sources, it is difficult to generalize with a high degree of certainty. What we have was written by elites and filtered through elites over centuries when women were regarded as inferior, adulthood started earlier, marriages were frequently arranged and various forms of slavery (often including a sexual compo ...more
Neil Turner
Again, not one of my favorite topics that Foucault wrote about or critiqued.
Excellent historical analysis and tight argumentation on an interesting and important theme in Western culture. The discussion of pederasty is particularly revealing in the way that pleasure is "problematized" when its economy intersects that of a male-dominated state's power structure. I feel that, in its patience and seeming indirection, Foucault's text comes closer to revealing truths apropos the mechanisms of societal and ideological change than any theorization of modern culture could. A ge ...more
OH my goodness. If you like learning as much as you thought possible about a thing--not just getting tastes and teases that make you go "hm" but being forced to read on to more vague generalizations--this is the kind of book for you! There is a real commitment to truth in the way this book is written, and through it I discovered exhaustive texts are much more exciting and thought-provoking for me than grand, short summaries of fields of thought. Can't wait to read the other three volumes!
However tedious this read is, I guess it is important to recognize that Dionysian orgies weren't all the rage in Ancient Greece. Although as I recall, this book is basically focused on the 5th century BC. The birth of Platonism: no spare spuge allowed. But I guess the same probably went for the the Pythagoreans. Oh, who the fuck knows. This book is boring.
Good. Not world-rocking, like volume 1 was, but this examination of what the Greeks really thought about sexuality was useful and cleared some things up. I think the focus on moderation was in line with what I know about ancient Greece from other sources, and the gender issues/domination issues are interesting for thought.
Chris Hearn
Of all of Foucault's "Histories", this is the most straightforwardly historical, and has little or no underlying philosophy. Still, useful, informative, etc. Halfway through Georges Bataille's Eroticism at the moment, which is more critical, though provoking, expansive; comes more highly recommended.

This is much easier to read, comprehend & enjoy than volume 1.
What I see as the best part of the book is the idea that the Ancient Greeks constructed their morality on the principle of moderation as a virile approach towards pleasures. To dominate pleasures was a manly thing to do, since it was an active attitude.
Nov 02, 2007 Aeisele rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes the Greeks
Shelves: philosophy
This is a transition point for Foucault. He looks at Hellenistic greek thought (through the medical literature, and other "practical" literature), and tries to show all the various possibilities open to people for their "aesthetics of existence."
Jason Jensen
Overall a rather dry study of sexuality in antique Greece. Though I appreciate the thoroughness and the aims of the overall project it makes for mostly boring reading. The conclusions sums up the main points but isn't thought-provoking.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Foucault
  • Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics
  • Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex"
  • Epistemology of the Closet
  • Dissemination
  • Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography
  • Michel Foucault
  • Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life
  • This Sex Which Is Not One
  • The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures
  • Deleuze: The Clamor of Being
Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas. He held a chair at the Collège de France with the title "History of Systems of Thought," and lectured at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Berkeley.

Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences and the prison sys
More about Michel Foucault...

Other Books in the Series

The History of Sexuality (3 books)
  • The History of Sexuality 1: An Introduction
  • The History of Sexuality 3: The Care of the Self
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison The History of Sexuality 1: An Introduction Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language

Share This Book

“There are times in
life when the question of knowing if one can think differently
than one thinks, and perceive differently than one sees, is
absolutely necessary if one is to go on looking and reflecting
at all.”
More quotes…