The gadget-Eros [1]

“Only love allows jouissance to condescend to desire.”[2] However, in a universe of sexual consumption, where the sex market is particularly extended and can be accessed in a variety of ways, the love partner is assigned a new status. Along with the spread of the ready-made fantasy, the subject’s relation to jouissance also changes. In this context, the partner is no longer someone to whom I entrust my destitution; s/he is only the one who actuates my arousal.  

When I desire I surrender myself to someone else, but I don’t know why I do so. The partner of my desire enters my world scene as the other and the other is always in the form of a difference that brings me closer to myself. On the other hand, when I indulge in pleasure, I surrender to the awakening of my body. Thanks to the technological achievements of science however, I am able to get around the services of a real partner and experience the pleasure solely bodily, by just being connected to the autistic circuits of jouissance, that is of gadgets from sex toys to implants.

However, a gadget’s use is not limited to that. Apart from being an accessory that is appended to the body in order to offer pleasure, the gadget becomes the material basis for my radical disengagement from space. It is the means that allows me to access the zone of “virtual proximity”. In “virtual proximity” I am present without my body being there; all I need is to be “connected”. A crucial advantage of this kind of contact is that I can always press “delete”. In virtual relationships, as opposed to real ones, getting in and out is an easy thing.

What is the status of my partner then, when his real presence has been effaced? A different pathway is unfolded before me, a pathway leading to the autistic jouissance of the One. But if my body is no longer the meeting point with the other, then whom do I meet when I’m dating my sexual desire? Because, in order for the sexual pleasure to be achieved; the sensual generosity of fantasies is needed.

We are there not necessarily to talk or to get to know each other or to meet up, but simply to turn on one another. My partner’s presence is being filtered through a ready-made fantasy that functions as a hyper stimulating super-drug. In this context, erotic practice flirts more and more with perversion. Anybody is suitable or at least none is excluded. Thus, the cloned others, are limited to assuming the function of a stimulant, whilst, I, myself among them, tend to become yet another nameless and insignificant partner. The partner is transmuted into a gadget-partner. I become familiar with the idea that this particular connection comes with an expiration date and fulfills the destiny of a waste.

The presence of a gadget-partner is not limited solely to the zone of virtual proximity, but extents up to the point where bodies are intersected as mere objects. However, motivating my imagination in order to achieve the sensual awakening of the body during my encounter with the other is altogether different from activating a ready-made fantasy as a precondition for a love affair. Rather than being caught by the spell of Eros, I eventually come across gadget-Eros.

The spread of gadget-Eros in the modern world becomes evident by the way people break up. I send an email or a text message and eliminate my partner’s presence from my life by simply pressing a button. This deletion obviates verbal exchange entirely. There is an apathy that submerges my partner into a foggy anonymity. It is the same foggy anonymity in which I find myself when I receive an email or an SMS that eliminates me from the other’s life through a fast-track separation. It is enough for just one part of the relationship to become the gadget-partner to transmute the passionate relationship into gadget-Eros. If the other really existed, on the other hand, it would be enough to each of us to just talk to the other and only about the other, only this and nothing else, prompted beyond the fantasy principle.

Translated by Panagiotis Bokolis


[1] Bellou, M., The gadget-Eros: Love in the time of technology. Athens, I. Sideris Pub., 2017. The compound word “gadget-Eros” of the headline contains the word “Eros” which in Greek signifies both love and also the word hetero(s) which in this occasion stands for “the Other”.

[2] Lacan, J.,  Seminar X, Anxiety, Polity, Cambridge, 2014, p. 179.