Desiring touch in sartre and beauvoir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Skin is rarely discussed in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. Encounters he depicts between subjects and others are visual and aural, more than they are tactile. An unusually tactile encounter between self and other is that depicted between sexual partners, when Sartre narrates the strategy that, in his view, motivates the caress. The meeting of two desiring bodies is theorized as a complicated game of entrapment. In this context, Sartre declares that desire is anything but a meeting of two skins. Simone de Beauvoir’s philosophical ability is often seen as being limited to a faithful appropriation of Sartrean existentialism to analyse the condition of women. To touch the skin of the other, to experience one’s own and the other’s desire, is a complex recognition both of similitude and difference. The touch is at once a moment of greatest proximity and greatest distance, and is affirmed as such in Beauvoir’s sexual imaginary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Book of Touch
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781000325362
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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