Hatred of Sex

Hatred of Sex links Jacques Rancière’s political philosophy of the constitutive disorder of democracy with Jean Laplanche’s identification of a fundamental perturbation at the heart of human sexuality. Sex is hated as well as desired, Oliver Davis and Tim Dean contend, because sexual intensity impedes coherent selfhood and undermines identity, rendering us all a little more deplorable than we might wish. Davis and Dean explore the consequences of this conflicted dynamic across a range of fields and institutions, including queer studies, attachment theory, the #MeToo movement, and “traumatology,” demonstrating how hatred of sex has been optimized and exploited by neoliberalism.

Advancing strong claims about sex, pleasure, power, intersectionality, therapy, and governance, Davis and Dean shed new light on enduring questions of equality at a historical moment when democracy appears ever more precarious.


“Fascinating, formidable, and timely, this volume probes unexpected links between democracy and sexuality. Hatred of Sex will undoubtedly disturb established ideas that are widely and at times too reflexively adopted in current academic conversations about sexuality. A manifesto grounded in careful scholarship, this book has the makings of a classic.”

—Avgi Saketopoulou, faculty of the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University


Hatred of Sex is a bold critical intervention in current discourses of violence, trauma, affect, attachment, and safety, propagated by queer studies, carceral feminism, the theory of intersectionality, and identity-driven politics. No other book has offered such an unapologetic and persuasive critique of the incursion of anti-democratic and sex-hating discourses in queer theory. Davis and Dean make arguments that few others would dare to wage, given how greatly they diverge from today’s prevailing sacred notions, political platitudes, and piously moralizing stances—found not on the political right but at the center of liberalism.”

—John Paul Ricco, professor of comparative literature at the University of Toronto

About the Author

Oliver Davis is a professor of French studies at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Jacques Rancière and editor of Rancière Now. Tim Dean is James M. Benson Professor in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking and Beyond Sexuality.