In the chapter “We Other Victorians” from his book, Michel Foucault addresses the modern notion that sexuality is a repressed taboo. While this chapter is merely an introduction to the rest of the book, Foucault still manages to introduce several important points and questions. For example, he addresses the greater historical context behind this discussion, most specifically mentioning the Victorian era and how propriety and prudence were very highly valued. He then contrasts this era with the centuries prior to it, and emphasizes that the idea of repressing sexuality is fairly new, as it was not common practice before the seventeenth century.

Foucault also introduces the dynamic between sex and power. Rather than simply addressing modern day sexuality and sexual practices, he chooses to question the manner in which we view sex and ask why we talk about it the way that we do. Why do we look at ourselves as sexually repressed? Furthermore, how did things come to be this way? Foucault insinuates that in order to answer these questions, we must examine who is actually doing the talking. Who is given power over these things, how do they exert their power, and what effect does that have? These are all very preliminary questions and do not evoke answers on their own. However, by bringing up such questions, Foucault effectively challenges modern sexual conventions and opens up the door to greater critical discussion.