Foucault agrees with the broader historical perspective of the repressive hypothesis. He agrees that sex has been treated as something shameful in our modern age and he agrees that in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance there was a more open and easy attitude toward sex. He also agrees that the disappearance of this open and easy attitude coincides with the rise of the bourgeoisie. However, Foucault disagrees with the repressive hypothesis in its claim that the bourgeoisie attempted to silence discourse on sex, and did so in the interests of economic productivity. He suggests, on the contrary, that there has been an increase and expansion of the discourse on sex, and suggests that this explosion of discourse, coupled with a certain prudishness about sex itself, has more to do with the association of sex with a wider political context.

Popular pages: The History of Sexuality, Volume 1