Motto: Sexual relation is non-existent.
We are creatures of language. Unlike anything else in nature we depend on language to exist as a species and to survive as an individual. Most interestingly, we also depend on language to procreate.
We exist and survive as a species because of language.
How have we become so dependent on language? And why? Why do we always look at ourselves as the only viewpoint into the nature and never outwardly toward the possible? There are only partial answers as to why and how.
We live in language, we emit and receive signifiers. We are surrounded by signifiers. We use signifiers to get what we want and the signifiers tell us what we want.
As creatures of language we forget the limits of life. Language is immortal but we are not. Language tells us about our limit and that is why we use language to approach the limit.
There are two clear expressions of the limit of life: death and sex.
Approaching the limit is the jouissance, a Lacanian psychoanalytic concept meaning pleasure beyond pleasure, - and it aims beyond life and its destruction. It aims at what we desire and would die for. We would die for sex - but strangely enough - sex is usually a healthily survived trauma. Sex is like death - except in case of death no life follows. Sex is the rehearsal of death.
Both are approached with appropriate language. Without language they don't really exist - even death does not exist if undocumented by language. The signifiers designate its location in the space of human activity but do not determine its content.
Lacan says that sexual relation is non-existent. This is his perhaps facetious way of presenting the idea that our ordinary world is populated by signifiers - while the field of sex does not contain any. The field of sex is void of signifiers. And same thing goes for the actual death.
The main attraction of sex (as well as of suicide) is that we are giving ourselves to something that exhausts the world of signifiers, that makes the production of signifiers stop, that places us in the void. Our roads, paved with signifiers, end there. We go through the forest to the edge of a placid lake where monsters lurk. This is how sex is an experience of the limit.
Because in the sexual act the signifiers expire, the field of sex is left without any intrinsic defenses in the world where political powers can rise up to restrict it or otherwise encroach on it. The defense of sexual freedom is a very important and indeed a very delicate matter in the political world. Sexuality, as it were, cannot speak for itself - but can only be spoken for by its neighbors, who amply practice techniques of its approach, such as: hedonists, polyamorists, sex workers, sadomasochists. As such characters are hardly respectable in the circles of power, the defense of sexual freedom is a difficult balancing act. And since sex cannot really speak for itself these neighbor allies all speak about it in quite different language.
Quite often a justification of sexuality is attempted through a recourse to love by asserting that sex is an expression of love which is a higher feeling. This argument was used to shore up support for gay marriage. Yet it is weak and unsupported by deeper insight into either love or sex it sounds outright false to me. In my opinion love is not so much a higher feeling, but a force to be reckoned with while sexuality a mysterious enclave of human life that we desperately need to protect from -- and paradoxically -- by the power of the signifier.
I am quite aware to be discussing the topic of sex and the defense of its freedom without referencing the concept of gender. The latter is a social construction, the brick road of signifiers subjectively seen as leading to the fulfillment of sexual aspirations. Similarly, the concept of biological sex and sexual dimorphism of humans is out of scope. Here I am talking about how and where and why the road of signifiers ends.