Foucault’s introduction to “The History of Sexuality” focuses on the repression of sex and sexuality from the Victorian era to modern day. Foucault emphasizes throughout his introduction that with the start of the 18th century sex moved into the most intimate and secret parts of a household and became solely used for reproduction. He sheds light on how repressive the culture became by referencing the frank and open nature of the 17th century while contrasting that time with references to sex only being accepted in “the brothel and the mental hospital” during the 18th century.
Foucault also uses the introduction to pose interesting questions, for example, “By what spiral did we come to affirm that sex is negated?” or “… ask why sex was associated with sin for such a long time?” By asking these questions he does acknowledge that today people seem to recognize the negative undertone that comes with the discussion of sex but points out that we are still repressed today. He does acknowledge that there are small rebellions against this culture taking place, but that in order to change the culture different questions must be answered. Foucault uses the end of his introduction to question what power drives the repression and look into the institutions that drive people to address sex in the way that they do. Foucault provides very thought provoking questions and ideas that are helping one understand how sex is addressed but also these questions pose a way to change the narrative about sex.