There are many questions we could ask about sexuality: about duty and choice, morality and immorality, goodness and evil, health and sickness, truth and falsity. Subtle, and not so subtle, debates around some or all of these dichotomies have dominated the Western discourse on sexuality for more than two thousand years, and in different languages and forms have also shaped the attitudes of many other cultures across the globe. Whatever the range of answers that may be reached, they all have the distinction of carrying a heavy weight of prescription, of telling people – often very coercively – how they must behave in order to attain the good (or moral or hygienic) life. The unifying thread of this book, however, is that the erotic has been heavily loaded with too many assumptions, that it has lumbered under a weight of expectations it cannot, and should not have to, bear. ‘Sex acts’, Gayle Rubin rightly

said, ‘are burdened with an excess of significance’ (Rubin 1984: 285). We should lighten the load.