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“Born That Way”: Sade and the Invention of Sexual Identity

Thomas Hubbard

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Biological determination of same-sex attraction has been a key contention of contemporary American apologetics for gay and lesbian sexual rights, assimilating legal claims for equal treatment to the civil rights of other biological classifications. What is little appreciated by contemporary advocates is the intellectual genealogy of this argument, which has its modern roots in Sade’s fictional characters, some of whom argue that all sexual penchants, however unconventional, are implanted in individual “constitutions” by Nature, and for that reason should not be subject to moral condemnation. I demonstrate that Sade found precedent for this view in classical sources, particularly Aristotle.

Keywords: Aristotle, Biology, Sade, Sexual identity


Bibliography: Hubbard, Thomas: “Born That Way”: Sade and the Invention of Sexual Identity, INSEP, Vol. 4, Issue 1-2016, pp. 55-63.