A sex-critical reading of the homosexual sex acts depicted in Inxeba

  • Rory du Plessis Department of Visual Arts, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Keywords: Erogenous zones, homosexuality, Inxeba (Trengove 2017), Alphonso Lingis, sexuality, sexual desire


In this paper, I aim to analyse the homosexual sex acts depicted in the film, Inxeba (Trengove 2017). The analysis is informed by Lisa Downing’s ‘sex-critical’ approach that deems that ‘all forms of sexuality should be equally susceptible to critical thinking about the normative or otherwise ideologies they uphold’ (Downing 2013:95). The findings of the analysis underscore that the film displays a phallocentric scripting of the sex act: the
practices and sequence of sexual acts that privilege the erect, penetrating penis. In cognisance of this point, the sex scenes under discussion can be critiqued for perpetuating a narrow phallocentric ideal of sex that runs parallel to hetero-patriarchal norms. To offer an alternative expression of homosexual sex acts, Alphonso Lingis’s writings on sexuality and sexual desire provide a springboard to explore erotic caresses and couplings that
encompass the entire male body. To this end, Lingis’s work is presented as a means to queer homosexual sex from hetero-patriarchal and phallocentric scriptings. The paper concludes by using Lingis’s theories to imagine an alternative sex scene in Inxeba that illuminates queer eroticism and pleasure outside of penile penetrative sex.