Sensing new possibilities for homo passional assemblages
 Frequently, representations about passional encounters – literally being swept away by the heat of the moment – describe intense bodily affects as being "on the edge of pleasure (where)...the rational self, the subject who might know and assess risks and opportunities through careful reflection, disintegrates."  These representations of ineffable bodily pleasures pose a limit to health promotion strategies concerned with risky sexual practices as they become dumb matter, represented as unmediated experiences or negative unconscious material that limits rational risk management or ethical reflexivity. After the event of HIV/AIDS, the guilt-free pleasures of unprotected sex between men are re-territorialised as being anachronistic, out of place and time (unless these pleasures are re-constituted using rational criteria for risk management that deploy reflexive scientific knowledge). Safe sex campaigns are narrowly premised on modernist temporalities where rationality, responsibility, ethics, sensibility, and intentionality come before passion to insure a better 'after'. These campaigns sustain heteronormative temporalities about longevity and the time of "what if", an anticipatory temporality concerned with the good life and longevity, which demands self-responsibility in health care and death avoidance.
 The biopolitics of safe sex inevitably falls back on models of subjectivity involving bodily position and body-reflexive practices. They deploy concepts of "responsibility" or "sexual ethics" modelled on a self who uses either instrumental reason or a sexual ethic that is either self-interested or that incorporates the Other (by means of altruism, mutual interest or mutual obligation).  These models incorporate the notion of an autonomous individual subject who possesses a reflexive capacity to rationally "stand back and assess experience through a detached, unencumbered way of knowing."  This rational person is both "socially unencumbered" and "corporeally unencumbered" being able to master emotional states and bodily experiences in order to make ethical, healthy and reasoned choices. By relying exclusively on the rationality of body-reflexive practices and its techniques for achieving equilibria in discursive positioning, technologies of safe sex remain imprisoned within a freeze-frame that limits new possibilities for joyful ethical responses to the problem of homo passion.
 This essay begins a line of movement focused on the question of "what can a body do?" to investigate the conditions of possibility for the construction of a collective homo sexual ethics that does not fall back on state regimes concerned with risk rationalities. Instead, I will investigate how intensification in bodily states might bring about qualitative changes in homo passional assemblages whereby new bodily movements and affects might be sensed into being. This essay refuses to accept its grounding within the conservative politics of stasis with its over-reliance on discourse dependent ethical practices that seek to position the passional subject. When we focus on a point of arrival or a desired future destination we run the risk of over-coding the subject from the perspective of "positionality,"  losing vision of the subjects' dynamic processes of not only emergence, but also of mutation and transformation.
 Deleuzo-Guattarian diagrams can help us to map how bodies become composite bodies that belong to a particular collective unconscious which is composed as a multiplicity with preverbal intensities and affects that are open-ended rather than delimited in nature. Subjectivity is as a rhizome of machinic syntheses that are non-unitary, materialist and dynamic, capable of "multiple, non-linear and outward-bound inter-connections with...external forces and others,"  including those articulated by strategic discourse/power formations that territorialise the body. Schizoanalysis maps the complex "ground" from which particular "endpoints" contingently emerge and come to be recognised and known - a line of becoming in which process occurs before signification and where "passage precedes construction." 
The pick-up machine
 In another paper I have mapped the lines of desiring movement of latex-free homo passional assemblages as well as the ways in which these de-territorialised lines have become problematised after the event of HIV/AIDS.  These passional assemblages can be traced to a network of discursive and non-discursive force relations that interconnect around modernist gay identity politics, queer work about sexuality that seeks to work the limits of transgression, and collateral statements from governmental apparatuses concerned with the repeated appearance of unsafe sex, in particular amongst gay men. As a collective a-signifying sign machine, latex-free passional encounters express both conscious lines of desire and a collective unconscious of the pleasured body that was originally described by Guy Hocquenghem as the "pick-up machine": " the drift where all encounters become possible is the moment in which desire produces and feels no guilt...(such as that expressed in the) regular homosexual pick-up haunt...(a kind of) homosexual 'scattering' ...a multitude of love affairs, each of which may only last a moment..." 
 The pick-up machine is a diagram of virtual affectivity for de-territorialised fluxes of homosex in a line of flight from the normative sexual apparatus. It is indexical of material fluxes that elude the authority of signifying semiology "by displaying a kind of reserve in relation to their referents, forging polysemy and eschewing lateral signifying effects."  As a line of intensity, it is a "point or particle that may veer off along a three-dimensional vector"  being a corporeal experimental strategy that unleashes mutating desire. It "works flush with the real"  as its fluxes are harnessed and actualised. Hocquenghem is hopeful of the pick-up machine's capacity to re-work gendered cultural limits. He charts its mode of desiring production is "an annular one, a circle which is open to an infinity of directions and possibilities for plugging in with no set places."  As a "molecular revolution", he understands its collective libidinal investment in the anus as having the capability of de-territorialising the despotic phallic signifier by de-sublimating and de-privatising it, re-figuring it within a polyvocal system of desire that is horizontal rather than vertical, providing a line of movement that helps to destroy phallic society's jealousy-competition system. This effectively inscribes it with a queer "political unconscious"  that advocates the tactical need to de-personalise the identified self outside of phallocentric culture by means of the pleasured body and its passions.  Without mapping the multiple forms and functions of the mutating pick-up machine, this political unconscious can elevate 'passion' as a transcendental force, eclipsing the socio-cultural forces that combine and re-territorialise the a-signifying pick-up machine. 
 The desiring movements of the pick-up machine are a rhizomatic multiplicity that oscillates in between representative mediation and a-signification with varying dosages of micopolitical antagonisms. One of the tasks of schizoanalysis is to plot the effects of blockages in desiring production where lines of flight become re-territorialised by the "micro-fascisms" of subjective investment of unconscious desire in the social field. Deleuze and Guattari remind us that microfascisms can co-exist or emerge as a component of the de-territorialised movements of 'revolutionary' individuals or groups as a pre-conscious reactionary investment produced by determinant whole attractors in the social body. Pre-conscious investments can be reactionary when the molecular movements of those in a line of flight retain a reactionary libidinal investment that pre-determines modes of desire in stratified ways that don't coincide with its de-stratified molecular revolution.  At the social level the libido risks being entangled by molarised flows and their domains of reference, images and objects that produce dualities, hierarchies, discourses and power strategies that induce an exclusive sense of superiority in subjects in their relations with others (strong/weak, rich/poor, clean/dirty...). Molecular desiring movement can be re-territorialised by exclusive disjunctions that identify with a subjugated figure deploying a reversal discourse of superiority.  Becoming-gay involves a double movement where the subject withdraws from the molarised apparatuses of compulsory heterosexuality and where minoritarian identity acts as a medium of becoming-otherwise.  This de-territorialises the subject from molar male identity, however its assemblages can be easily re-territorialised (for example, possessing potent phallocratic mixes such as the exclusive active personage who wants to fuck his partner raw – or- the reverse position of wanting to be fucked senseless).
Mapping passion's dumb matter
"Me and him snuck to the can and I fucked him in the can bareback. That was so weird...we were both like animals – we wanted it so bad...I was thinking 'fuck this feels so good. This was one of the most exciting moments ever'...Wow I can't believe we are doing this right here." 
 This interview transcript was published by Russell Westhaver from his research into the gay circuit party scene in Canada. Westhever asserts: "The pleasured body became a barrier to an otherwise rational mind and leads to a place where unsafe sex became inevitable". Nevertheless "Peter" acknowledges the conscious choice to move into a passional assemblage in spite of mitigating forces such as being drug-fucked: "It's just a conscious decision that I'm making," and, "It's the first time I've ever gotten fucked without a condom. I did that with definitely a lot more thought than fucking (as a top) without a condom." Westhever understands this as "a limit point" where Peter's "reflexive efforts reach their analytical limit," not because passion overrides reason, but because pleasure momentarily disturbs the self: "the pleasured body presents itself as an ineffable facticity that leaves experience strange or incomprehensible."
 Westhaver's codification of Peter's passion as "ineffable" leaves too much out about the "dissymmetrical and concrete mixes...the mucky compositions of the molar and the molecular"  as the pick-up machine conjoins with attractors in the social field: "Interests are always found and articulated at points predetermined by desire" necessitating a mapping of the modes of production of its unconscious and pre-conscious formations.  The "ineffable" can be mapped as involving machinic conjunctions that swing between the pick-up machine's a-signifying molecular movements and their negotiation, translation and transduction in regimes of signification involving the recognisable infolds of clichéd attractors (images, ideas and so on) linked to the "hypermasculine homo male."  Westhever's research subjects described quite conscious lines of desire expressing stereotyped object choices and life paths: an identified gay masculinity that embodies "conventional notions of masculinity", being part of the party scene, consuming drugs, cruising, and a masculine performativity that seeks recognition as being able to make the grade sexually and being able to handle drug consumption. "Drew", talking about his first circuit party experience, says: "...it was that night that I finally saw something that I could see myself being...I saw what I understood to be gay, that was what I wanted, what I knew what I wanted to be...My gayness was not holding me back from experiencing the intense emotions and feelings that being gay has to offer. Over time, I have found myself more relaxed about the possibilities, more eager to let my other guards down, allow my masculinity to emerge in a Neanderthal-like way." 
 As a (consumptive) lifestyle, desiring movement in the circuit scene can also be re-territorialised by the transcendent body-with-an-image of the gay porn star. This clichéd image invokes expressions of living for the moment, outside of striated work and other heteronormative timeframes.  Queer temporalities "emerge within postmodernism once one leaves the temporal frames of bourgeois reproduction and family, longevity, risk/safety and inheritance."  Living in the present is felt intensely by those living with HIV and facing "a future which constantly diminishes but never vanishes", however the same temporality faces those lives "lived in the shadow of the epidemic...[those] who partake of this temporal shift is less obvious ways." 
 These re-territorialisations constitute a form of (homo) cultural capital in late capitalism that "fuel(s) the actions, powers, pleasures and possibilities of so many actual homo bodies' as a (white) image of the butched-up lean muscular and masculine body is imposed onto others."  These recognisable infolds are iconic of fluid modernity's flexible economy where economic security requires "a never ending program of image building and self improvement...(where) leisure time becomes productive time...(and) the wage and commodity relation completely converge" as they become structured by both capital expansion and ontological insecurity. The pick-up machine's de-territorialisations may also be a strain of those lines of movement that seek to punctuate the flow, intensifying experience by means of (fairly gendered) "edge work" activities – incorporating a "flow experience" that is completely absorbing and outside of ordinary life - that has been documented under the conditions of ontological insecurity in late modernity. 
 Westhaver ends his account of the ineffable using a second-order hermeneutic that interprets it as "a socially embedded and corporally embodied desire for recognition – articulated through pleasures."  Desire becomes a need for recognition within a social field structured by lack, given heteronormative constraints.  When desire is represented as lack, it is placed "on the side of acquisition" as an idealised object that is missing "in this world" which, in turn, produces a psychic fantasised object, which then becomes a "need" that intensifies desire.  The familiar subject position described by Westhaver emerges after immersion in these intense party experiences. It is desiring movement's retrospective conjunctive synthesis of consumption-consummation: "So that's what it was!...So its me!...So its mine!"  The clarity experienced by the subject is a retrospective consummation of the after-affects produced by the distribution of exclusive disjunctive syntheses of the pick-up machine recorded on the body as a "fallacy of the imaginary."  The subject confuses the self with these affects, experienced as an autoerotic/automatic "radiant ecstasy...liberated from other unlimited forces."  This auto-affection is a form of "mirror-vision" that provides only a partial insight into subjectivity as identity is superimposed by a single axis of sight that only allows for recognition from one angle at a time and never in movement.  This imposes a sovereignty that "reproduc(es) in miniature the affections, the affectations of the rigid" which can "crystallise into a macrofascism" that restricts desiring movement within a repetitive freeze-frame.  As Hocquenghem suggests this image-machine is perverse in that it 'contains a complex knot of desire and dread...(that expresses)...some aspect of desire which appears nowhere else, and that is not merely the accomplishment of the sexual act with a person of the same sex." 
 A considerable amount of what constitutes a particular experience is non-conscious, as much of what is perceived or sensed in any particular affective experience is either too small to be consciously registered or it is too large to fit a perception as it is enveloped in virtual field offering a multiplicity of potential variations. The body registers sensations viscerally as intensity, as an infolded tactile encounter midway between stimulus and response, this being a receptive state involving an ability to affect and a susceptibility to be affected that precedes action or reflection. It is this space of "between-ness" that jolts the body "into action-reaction by recognition."  The bounded, conscious 'self' of HIV prevention leaves out so much of the self's relationality - the 'self' is an open-system which Brian Massumi suggests would be better sign-posted as the "self-" where "the hyphen is retained as a reminder that the 'self' is not a substantive but rather a relation."  When the self- is understood to be in constant motion, we need to appreciate the "corporeal between-ness" of bodily events and passages to begin describing the indeterminate unfolding of the "nextness" of experience. Massumi puts it this way:
The vague is the newness, the 'nextness' of what will be again – but already, as it is under way. It is the difference in the process of repetition. It is the perception of continuation. It is what relation looks like in action...It is being on the way to identity (again). Every experience, as it happens, carries a fringe of active indetermination. Experience under way is a constitutively vague 'something doing' in the world. 
Intermezzo - Homo sexual ecology
 In his controversial book, Sexual ecology, Gabriel Rotello argues that gay men need to change their sexual culture in a 'more balanced way' as a cultural adaptation to the epidemiology of HIV, the greatest stumbling blocks to this being an investment in "the brotherhood of promiscuity" on which gay liberation was founded.  He understands the epidemic as an "ecological disturbance that resulted when human behaviours created a niche for a particular microbe."  Rotello advocates "holistic prevention" including negotiated safety for seroconcordant men in stable relationships, "a curtailment of the number of casual partners for those not in relationships", and "an end to our facilitation and encouragement of unsafe core group behaviour" to "reduce each individual's risk of infection to the point where cumulative risk drops below the epidemic's tipping point."  Rotello characterizes evolution as a "natural means" for change, misrepresenting its fabricated character along the nature-culture continuum. He advocates for a "re-imagining" of gay culture by means of a "conscious evolution" that constructs a cultural system for achieving a steady drop in the rate of HIV seroconversion.  He then falls back on the regulatory apparatuses of education and institutionalised incentive building to re-structure a system of rewards and punishments into his pre-determined objectives.
 Dean argues that Rotello "is able to discuss gay subculture's role in the emergence of AIDS without blaming gay men for the epidemic" because sexual ecology operates at the broader socio-cultural level, thus avoiding a politics of blame by considering "our mutual responsibilities."  However, because he focuses on challenging collective investment in multipartnerism by valorising quasi-monogamy, his approach is moral rather than ethical as he superimposes norms of conduct before any ethical work is undertake to co-create changes in homo sexual ecology. His manifesto has been criticised by many commentators for its attacks on a public homo sexual culture and its homonormativity.  Rotello's language of sustainability and its emphasis on the restoration to a healthy equilibrium expresses a political conservatism. Sexual ecology would be better served by orienting itself towards a joyful ethics of becoming common in homo cultural practices that is co-produced through networks – the "productive flesh of the multitude (that) can organise itself otherwise", described by Hardt and Negri as involving a spiralling assemblage of movement involving a passage "from the production of subjectivity to the production of the common." 
 Nonetheless, as Dean suggests, Sexual ecology must be acknowledged for "broaden(ing) the perspective on unsafe sex in such a way that the function of the Other in this problem can be taken into account."  Sexual ecology, at least at the level of the imagination, also enables us to appreciate the mutability of sexual practices in terms of a web of complex and shifting relations along the nature-culture continuum. Rotello demonstrates the relations between the epidemiology of HIV and historical contingencies of gay culture and its wider social relations with dominant conceptions of masculinity, discourses of competitive individualism, and emancipatory politics, demonstrating the non-equivalence between individual and collective risk.
 At this point I'd like to depart from Rotello's biopolitical educative strategies, while retaining his interest in sexual ecologies, minus its biopolitical fascination with equilibria. Sexual ecologies are better understood as processes of becoming involving a multiplicity of elements open to infinte variations that Luciana Parisi describes as "hypernature."  Hypernature is diagrammatic of lines of becoming involving the "destratification of sex...intersecting the biological, biocultural and bio-digital organizations of a body-sex."  Parisi continues: "Hypernature unfolds an ecosystem of micro-relations between bodies that defines the potential of a body-sex to become".
 I'd like to begin a line of movement that considers the construction of a collective sexual ethics that does not necessarily seek to eradicate lines of desire connected to the pick-up machine but that begins to re-configure and re-assemble its virtual powers in new ways that cannot be known in advance. This line of becoming comes up through the middle of a web of lines involving transversal relations, being irreducible to any particular element within its composite relations. By exploring the microdynamics of homosex culture, we can begin to pull potentials that might exist from the middle of existing forms and relations while retaining an open-ended stance that doesn't devote an exclusive focus on a particular relation or series. Becoming emerges within a process of differentiation as an effect of new tendencies, thresholds and bifurcations.
Becoming-otherwise: What can a body do?
 For the remainder of this essay I would like to explore how a Spinozist ethics could be used to help us move beyond the present politico-discursive limits that problematise unsafe passional homosex. Spinozist philosophy is concerned with "...showing that the body surpasses the knowledge that we have of it, and that thought likewise surpasses the consciousness that we have of it."  The 'body' is not a substance or a subject but, rather, a state of being that can be "...an animal, a body of sounds, a mind or an idea...a linguistic corpus, a social body, a collectivity."  Ethology provides a horizon of hope of a more joyous being involving "a long affair of experimentation, requiring lasting prudence" that is actively and impersonally produced. 
 Becoming involves an affirmative pragmatism concerned with actualising bodily "potential to increasingly higher degrees."  It tries to construct immanent modes of being without recourse to transcendent values.  The substitution of ethics for morality involves a parallelism of body and thought whereby the actions and passions of the body are also the actions and passions of the mind. That is, modes of being are also modes of knowing and vice versa. This equivalence avoids morality's eminence of the mind, not by devaluing thought, but by devaluing consciousness relative to thought.  Responsibilities and pre-determined ends are secondary relative to the affirmation of our bodily capacities. By thinking first of bodily capacities we can begin to formulate an ethical vision of how we can bring about active affections: what are the modal composite relations that express the body's potential to be affected and exercise that capacity? Using this method we can consider the body's "natural rights" in terms of its extensive relations and whether they produce affects that increase its potential without rendering it too passive and causing it to suffer. Spinozist ethics "entails a pragmatics of relation – the agreement and disagreement between bodies-minds that leads to the construction of a common notion – a common plane of collective action where there are only collective individuations rather than individual choices or determinations." 
 The distinction between active and passive affections is crucial for Spinoza. Any particular mode of existence is constituted on the plane of immanence by a complex set of composite relations under which a multiplicity of parts is synthesised and which can be potentially combined in an infinity of ways. A body kinaesthetically senses its affections at particular moments as it combines with another body to form a composite relation. At the same time it registers its bodily affects – its intensive capabilities to affect or be affected by other bodies that either augment or diminish its powers. Active affections are defined as an "adequate cause" in that they can be attributed to the body's actions whereas passive affections – or, passions – are passively synthesised through external forces (where the body is only a partial cause).  Passions are suffered as they are intensive forces that modulate and compose the body within a particular mode of being, they happen to it by means of passive conjunctions or affections. The feelings and ideas that flow from passions involve "inadequate ideas", contrasted with adequate ideas that arise from the "feeling of which we are the adequate cause of action."  Bodily capacity is a doubling of acting and suffering, where the degree of active force is registered by its passive forces – the inducements and obstacles – that it encounters.  However, it is only active forces that are "affirmative" as passive affections possess something that is imaginary that produce suffering and limit the body's powers of action.
 When the pick-up machine's lines of movement become striated as a result of sovereign auto-affections, they are passively experienced as sad passions that the subject imagines determines his actions and thoughts, and consequently, attempts to preserve.  These auto-affections don't decompose our power to act altogether, but the capacity to act becomes fixated and therefore limited. These passive affections involve "something imaginary" that causes the subject to suffer "through what he does not have."  It follows that the production of more active affections, will result in a reduction of passions as the powers of suffering and acting are open to variations in inverse proportion one to the other. It also follows that what increases the power of action of the body also increases the power of action of the mind.
 We cannot eliminate passive affections or bad encounters, however we can strive to organise the body's extensive relations within a "totality of compatible relations" that agree with our bodies that maximise joyful affections and attempt to avoid bad encounters.  When this "mysterious passage" is achieved the body's active affections are organised on the plane of consistency in terms of what is felt, thought and done.  Emergent reason is then guided by the affections of adequate ideas involving an avoidance of being determined by personal affections and personal judgements about what is right and wrong that are guided by the passions. When a body connects with and attunes to another body, the two bodies become a composite body that may possess a greater power that is characterised by composite relations that are agreeable, involving extensive relations that don't diminishing a body's powers to affect and be affected. This circulating affectivity becomes a common notion circulating between bodies and only secondarily common to minds.  It is in this state of becoming that individuals are more likely to become committed to common collective affections. 
 For Spinoza, imagination is a form of bodily awareness involving the coming together of mind and body as an idea of the body. It is constituted by an inter-linking of inadequate ideas and passive affections.  The effects of random encounters are perceived as signs in the imagination, experienced as a sign post that tells us what we must do to obtain a given result.  The passions of the mind cause the subject to think 'this' rather than 'that' as the mind affirms its body or part of it, with greater or less force. As bodies enter into new compositions with other bodies, the mind, as an idea of the body, incorporates the ideas of other bodies involving congenial and rival forces that generate affects that can intensify the subject's awareness of its desires, joys, passions, loves and hates, fears and anxieties.  The more open that a body is to the affectivity of other bodies/modal relations that communicate and join together, the more it is capable of perceiving.  However the mind seeks to imagine things that increase its power to act, those things it loves, driven by the struggle to persist in being (conatus). This is limitative on the imagination and the formulation of adequate ideas as they are determined by desires that come from passive affections or passions. It is by organising our affections - by being in the possession of a power of action comprised of adequate ideas and active affections - that an ethical difference can be cultivated that is not determined by conatus but that "determines our conatus." 
 If Rotello's call for new imaginaries for homo culture is to be taken seriously, then ethical pragmatism suggests that we need to increase our active passions to begin re-configuring our collective imagination. While Rotello believes that change can be facilitated, in the first instance, consciously, a Spinozist explanation of the development of common notions tells us that "common notions find in imagination the very conditions of their formation."  The introduction of new intensive affects provides us with a variability of signs that do not belong to reason and understanding, but rather to imagination, and which "can be likened to images." An emerging finite mode, especially at the beginning of existence, is unlikely to possess anything but inadequate ideas as perception and the imagination begin to re-configure along new communicating planes of motion and affect. Adequate ideas, which draw us out of a world of inadequate signs, will emerge when the communicative sociality of bodies co-produces common notions organised by active affections of the mind and body.
 Common notions "allow us to understand the necessity of the agreements and disagreements between bodies."  Reason benefits from the realisation that the intensity of passions is rooted in the imagination. Deleuze explains: The process of imagining an object contains a principle of its own dissipation – the imagination asserts the necessity of something with intense passion, but over time, it is affected by causes that exclude it, coming to imagine the object of desire as contingent. By taking time into account, we are able to appreciate "the active feelings born of reason or of common notions are in themselves stronger than any of the passive feelings born of imagination". That is, affects arising from the common property of "things...which we always regard as present...and which we always imagine in the same way" are more powerful "than those related to singular things we regard as absent."  Active feelings are born of reason that profits from the understanding that the more we understand things as being necessary, the less we feel the intensity of passions rooted in the imagination. Because common notions refer to multiple things and their associative images, the intensities of feelings and imagination are diminished as the mind becomes more active as it considers several objects synchronously.
 With this in mind I will consider how molecular movements, proximal to the pick-up machine, might be invoked for becoming-otherwise as described by Deleuze and Guattari. The image of the sacred whore is used to experiment with modes of desiring production that seek to move along a line where the centre of gravity maintains "the relative advantage of the nonlimitative body without organs over the limitative one, the relative strength of inclusive disjunction over exclusive disjunction (the superposition of states, the adding together of potentials from normally segregated states): Nietzsche's will to power."  A Spinozist ethics gears this experimentation towards actualising joyous affects at higher degrees of intensity. Successive plateaus are reached where composite relations establish a "continuous, self-vibrating region of intensities whose development avoids any orientation toward a culmination point or external end."  In this suspended state, a "kind of afterimage of its dynamism (is produced) that can be reactivated or injected into other activities, creating a fabric of intensive states between which any number of connecting routes could exist."  Intensified actions of the body are also actions of the mind, stimulating new sensibilities.
 Brian Massumi describes how images involve a double movement involving molar abstraction (on the plane of transcendence) and movements by subjects as they seek to apply that (general, abstract) image as a conductor of becoming. He warns that these movements of application run the risk of imposing a conformity to the image's apparatus, demanding the subject to live up to its abstraction, its glory, with the effect that "bodies fall prey to transcendence" that strips them of their corporeality resulting in an "infolding" of a "forcibly regularised outside."  This doubles the image inside as a recognisable subjectivity, recapturing and blocking molecular movement and re-assigning it to positions on the grid, to repetitions of movement cut into habitual segments. In spite of this warning, I'd like to argue, as does Elspeth Probyn, that becoming-otherwise is often supported by machinic conjunctions involving coded images of strong intensity.  Becoming is a double movement involving "a certain dissolution of the body-image as known, as my body, in favour of another image: becoming-otherwise." 
 What I am considering here is a pragmatic strategy for the self- in relation with others that does not adopt an entirely undifferentiated trajectory of becoming that might be completely outside the present homo cultural milieu and so rejected for some reason, or, too de-stratified to plunge the subject into a black hole. Deleuze and Guattari advise: "The art of dosages, since overdose is a danger."  I'm suggesting a "cautious" strategy for responding to life problems. My strategy is cautious in that it "lodges itself on a stratum" proximal to homo cultural practices that offer opportunities for experimentation with new intensities "causing conjugated flows to pass and escape and bringing forth continuous intensities."  Rosi Bradotti describes this as a hybridised principle that marks a space of becoming as serialised, "sensitive matter."  Successive anchorage points are charted out to free the self—from organised bodily affects, existing significations and representations to experience new sensations and perceptions located on another plane of organisation ("lodge yourself on a stratum...connect, conjugate, continue...descend from the strata to the deeper assemblage from which we are held" ). Ethical work is a "slow empirical education."  Over time, a diagram for becoming is constructed that continuously unplugs-plugs to "try out continuums of intensities segment by segment". At particular moments of stratification logical stopping points emerge as desiring production exhausts itself, providing a trajectory for new connections and movements.
 The idea/image of the sacred whore in Platonic ancient Greece has been reclaimed by some prostitutes in a line of flight from territorialisations that map the prostitute body as a marginalised social-sexual identity.  The sacred whore suspends negative representations of the prostitute and invokes new becomings: becoming safe sex educator, becoming tantric, becoming sex goddess. Given the existence of male sex workers in the queer community who position themselves as sacred prostitutes and the scattering of Tantric and Taoist workshops for queer men, I feel that this image is proximal to homo passional encounters, but is nonetheless a differentiated flux to that of the pick-up machine.
Denise Taylor writes: "As a sacred whore, Mary Magdalene teaches the feminine aspect of infinity, initiating her followers through the experience of karuna. Karuna is the power behind loving behaviour and all kinds of voluntary giving, including the mutual giving of erotic pleasure...Sex is her communion. Joy and creativity are her blessings." 
An esoteric, Taylor offers a mode of desiring production informed by ancient discourses in the tarot. Sacred desire is represented by three cards in the Thoth Tarot deck - the high priestess, lust and the seven of cups.  The blessings of the high priestess emanate from a position of personal strength, passion and light. Coming into the power of lust involves taming fears and insecurities in order to have a faith in oneself as divine through fully experiencing everything. The seven of cups, 'debauch', represents the astrological positioning of venus in scorpio - consumption as 'whore', the feeling of decay, the loss of creative potential through emotional excess and addiction.
For Taylor this card is also an invitation where "the everyday slut" moves towards becoming "sacred whore". She comments:
"When I express...Venus in Scorpio, the prostitute as slut, my relationships are really power struggles. I am selling or trading pieces of myself for some measure of temporary security. I am relating through a sense of loss or separation and I am looking for someone or something to fill me...However, Venus in Scorpio is potential - a process of transformation...It reflects the search for communion and is associated with inspiration and the tantric way of the Muses. For me, it is the way to find the strength of my lust and the path of the sacred whore. When I express this aspect of Venus in Scorpio, I begin to feel fulfilled...When I receive the full expression of the sacrament of sex, I radiate. I am a high Priestess, and I know in the deepest part that the 'self is a sea boundless and measureless".
Lucy Tatman describes the immanent, uncertain, yet hopeful constitution of the whore:
The whore. She whose knowledge comes through touch. She who learns, in that first instant, in that rushing, flooding, burning commingling of touches, that to touch is to risk immense change, is to make a claim upon an another, is to name a world in which the other is...Seeking answers, the whore comes to know, first of all, that 'this is required: to allow oneself to be questioned during one's inquiry of the [other]...and to listen to its claims'. Touch me, says the whore, as I am touching you. Question, speak, name my body into the whole with your hands. Interpret my flesh with your fingers, lips. Lay your claim upon me and listen as my skin and muscle and bone respond. Ask me to acknowledge your demands, confront me with your needs. Reply with arms and thighs and arching back as I answer, seek claims and queries of my own. As I discover, within the confines of my body, the expanse of this new world. We are here to give meaning, each to the other. Claim the response I owe you for affirming the immediacy, and the otherness, of this world, of my being, my body, the flesh and blood of me. Accept my touches as affirmation of your own uniqueness, your otherness, the borders of your singular being. 
 The immanence of passion is an encounter with Otherness, a sacred encounter: "a tremblingpoundingpresent between two lovers."  It is abundant, a fluid multiplicity that operates at an open threshold having the capacity to slip, to slide, to spread over all of the body and over every body.  Tatman asks: what might it mean, what might change if...(we) were loved, imagined, thought, known in accordance with the abundant logic of the sacred?  Becoming is a conjunction of transcendence and immanence where the image of the sacred whore is present as "potentiality, possibility, as that stirring insistence towards the otherwise – transcendence as a condition of all movement."  The sacred whore's message is an imperceptible offering for a natal experience to act differently and realise the previously unimagined – a passage of the "becoming-spiritual of embodiment." 
 The sacred whore offers a sense-drenched eroticism that gears lovemaking towards an uncertain, ethical encounter with others as the flesh bears witness to the silent command to affirm plurality and abundance. Homo sexuality can remain territorialised by a molarised masculine sexuality that is based on the build up of tension and a release that can remain inattentive and lacking attunement with the Other. In this new line of becoming, lovemaking transmutes the subject as he becomes more attuned with his lover so that he "reconstructs his...own body as a result of engendering the body of the other."  This passage can be cultivated by alternative sexual practices, such as those practised in Eastern traditions, that harmonise body and mind and promote energy regeneration rather than energetic discharge. While the ancient Taoist sexual treatises are heteronormative in their intent to circulate and multiply circuits of intensity between male and female sexual energy on the condition that the male does not ejaculate, the model can be appropriated and re-worked for homo sexual culture. Deleuze and Guattari regard this mode of desiring production as being like the body-without-organs as desire is not experienced as lack but as intensive bodily affects that can be channelled and transmuted into inclusive de-territorialised flows that circulates in-between bodies. 
 Tatman relays the whore's message: "Subjects in abundance know ourselves as one, and as other, and as always as yet one more."  Alternatively, Deleuze and Guattari's molecular heterotopia: "everywhere a microscopic transexuality...making love is not just about becoming as one, or even as two, but becoming as a hundred thousand...not just one or even two sexes, but n sexes...The schizoanalytic slogan of the desiring-revolution will be first of all: to each its own sexes." 
 Becoming sacred whore is an ethical becoming as lovemaking reaches a plateau that is an open-ended and unpredictable response to another as desiring movement mutates from moment to moment. It involves a co-existence that is given substance and made knowable within immanent composite relations involving active passions that emerge as agreeable to composite, modulating, alchemical bodies. Affects exceed any one body in ways that can't be fully comprehended but which begin to offer meanings and further possibilities for change.
 The sacred whore offers us imperceptible messages that Luce Irigaray describes as the "sensible transcendental", offering "here-right-now possibilities for the same kind of sympathy between two bodies capable of mutually decoding each other that occurred in the harmonious and nourishing interaction in the womb."  These bodily relations occur at a level beyond schemas that stabilise recognisable social subjects, becoming "a locus for the lovers' revival and becoming" whereby the sexual act gives birth to new forms.  As Lorraine suggests, this model not only offers possibilities for self- transformation but also for a transformation of the cultural symbolic imaginary. While the feeling-sensation of this experience is not easily articulable in any clear or straightforward way, sexual cultures can develop ways of symbolising the subtle and complex interactions of embodied subjects that foster "increased recognition and respect for the interdependence of subjectivity." 
Conclusion – Inventiveness at the limit
 Safe sex campaigns are premised on the conditioning of passional assemblages 'before' they occur using instrumental reasoning. They assume that this will ensure a better 'after' whereby future possibilities unfold as a result of possible alternatives laid out before the subject who operates in a linear fashion from past particulars through a generality of present alternatives to the next particular future.  However, echoing Brian Massumi's argument about the invention of sensible concepts, this essay asserts that new possibilities for homo passional assemblages will emerge at its limits "from the series rather than the conditioning of it...after the movement it concerns has exhausted itself". These new possibilities will only arrive retroactively after immersion in new bodily experiences that connect and experiment with new connections for the pick-up machine. It will be sensed into being in between the "extremes of thought-perception, from the actual to the possible, dipping at every connection into the vortex of the virtual." 
 When the flows of the pick-up machine infold the image of the sacred whore a hyphenated passage may become possible in between these differential segments/fluxes. As a threshold experience, bodies may reach a bifurcation point, where the sensed "impulse of virtuality from one actualisation (is transmitted) to another."  The sacred whore provides a prosthetic for the self- for a passage from the bounded self and its auto-affections towards transpersonal relations that are communicative, as sensibilities circulate between partners. Sensation registers a multiplicity of connections while they are under way generating perceptions that aren't necessarily conscious but that generate bodily longings. Actualised affects are "produced through differential conjunction in between the perceiver and perceived."  As ethical pragmatism, becoming-sacred whore offers a self- project, which is at the same time a collective project, where the implications of the series of events are felt before being thought-out. Becoming-sacred whore approaches reason's problem of unsafe sex at its discursive limit. It doesn't try to master a problematic with the authoritative knowledge of super-sensible interventions. Rather, it seeks to "tweak it" by "prod(ing) it', recognising it to be finally indomitable and respecting its autonomy."  This experimentation uses "operative reason" as "purposive analysis-in-action in an extended situation". Ethical work enters into relations of proximity with the pick-up machine, attempting to sense forces/matter not yet perceived to be relevant to change (and so had been ignored) to trigger a new self-ordering to achieve "the practically impossible."
 Russell Westhaver, " 'Coming Out of Your Skin': Circuit Parties, Pleasure and the Subject," Sexualities, 8, no. 3 (2005): 347-374.
 See Ross Duffin, Serostatus, Risk and Responsibility (Sydney: National Centre in HIV Social Research, 2004).
 Westhaver, Coming out of your skin, 348.
 Massumi, Parables of the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Durham: Duke University, 2002), 6-12.
 Rosie Braidotti, "Affirming the Affirmative: On Nomadic Affectivity", Rhizomes 11/12 (Fall, 2005/Spring 2006) http: //www.rhizomes.net/issue11/braidotti.html (accessed 3rd December 2007).
 Massumi, Parables of the Virtual, 7-8.
 Craig Osmond, Passion's Re-territorialisations: A Schizoanalysis of unsafe homo passional assemblages, Submitted to Social Semiotics for consideration for publication (2008).
 Guy Hocquenghem, Homosexual Desire, trans. Daniella Dangoor (Durham: Duke University Press, 1978), 131.
 Gary Genosko, Felix Guattari: An Aberrant Introduction (New York: Continuum, 2002), 179.
 Bernardo Alexander Attias, "To Each its Own Sexes?: Toward a rhetorical understanding of molecular revolution", in Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy, and Culture, Eleanor Kaufman and Jon Heller eds. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 101.
 Genosko, Felix Guattari, 166.
 Hocquenghem, Homosexual desire, 111.
 This phrase was originally used by Stallybrass and White in their discussion of Foucault's account of passion as a transgressive movement "at the limit of our understanding of our body" (see Michel Foucault, "Passion according to Werner Schroeter", in Foucault Live: Collected Interviews, 1961-1984, ed. Sylvere Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 1996), 313;and, Michel Foucault, "A Preface to Transgression", in Michel Foucault: Aesthetics, Method and Epistemology, ed. James Faubion (London: Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 1998)). They accuse Foucault of expressing a "residual, but active nostalgia for the body...(that stages) a festival of the political unconscious... (revealing) the repressions and social rejections that formed it" (Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986), 192, 200.
 See Leo Bersani, "Is the rectum a grave?", in AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism, ed. Douglas Crimp (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988), 197-222; Michel Foucault, "An ethics of pleasure", in Lotringer, Foucault Live, 382-390; David Halperin, Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); Tim Dean, "Sex and syncope", Raritan 15, no. 3 (1996): 64-86; Tim Dean, Beyond sexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000). These authors, in different ways, understand passion as being a de-territorialising force capable of dismantling the self as part of the conditions of possibility for re-working cultural boundaries.
 Hocquenghem briefly acknowledges how the gay movement risks remaining a subjugated group by affirming itself and conjoining with the state apparatus in a game of pride (Homosexual desire, 142-144). He warns that 'there is always a trap waiting for desire, inscribing law into the heart of the dispute" (Homosexual desire,142)
 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1983), 343-351.
 Eugene Holland, Deleze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis (London: Routledge), 117-118.
 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 291.
 Westhaver, Coming out of your skin, 360-361.
 Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 222-224; 480-481.
 Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations, 1972-1990, Trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 19.
 Sasho Alexander Lambevski, "Habitus, Attitude, Boredom and the End of Enjoyment: A Profile of an 'A' List Homo," Borderland E-Journal (2003), «http://www.borderlandsejournal.adelaide.edu.au/vol2no3_2003/lambevski_enjoyment.htm» (accessed November 6, 2005).
 Westhaver, Coming out of your skin, 364.
 Referring to a porn star acquaintance 'Peter' comments: "...I look up to his life and all the guy does is go to circuit parties. His whole life is sex and drugs, doesn't work, he doesn't have any schedule. All he gets to do is have fun. And I guess I thought, 'Gee I wouldn't mind that'. Just for a minute. Or a day...I don't know – maybe even pretend to be what it was like to be him sort of" (Westhaver, Coming out of your skin, 362.
 Judith Halberstam, In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (New York: New York University Press, 2005), 6.
 Halberstam, In a queer time and place, 2-3. "Sex is not, cannot be and should not be 'safe'...". (Scott O'Hara, " Safety first?", Advocate, 737 7th August 1997: 9). Swept along in the wave of queer time, O'Hara goes on to say: "I may die younger than my gay brothers who are more cautious, who limit the number of their sexual contacts...Life...is a banquet and I preferred to get stuffed".
 Lambevski, Habitus, Attitude, Boredom and the End of Enjoyment.
 See M. Csikszentmihayli, Beyond Boredom and Anxiety (San Franciso, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1975); Stephen Lyng, "Edgework: A Social Psychological Analysis of Voluntary Risk-Taking," American Journal of Sociology 96 (1990): 1534-1539; Pat O'Malley and Stephen Mugford, "Crime, Excitement and Modernity," in Varieties of Criminology: Readings from a Dynamic Discipline, ed. Greg Barak (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994).
 Westhaver, Coming out of your skin, 366.
 Westhaver, Coming out of your skin, 358-359, 362-365.
 Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-oedipus, 25-26.
 Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-oedipus, 16-22.
 Hocquenghem, Homosexual desire, 49-50.
 Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-oedipus,18.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 48, 50.
 Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 227-228.
 Hocquenghem, Homosexual desire, 49-50.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 60-61; see also 231-233; 266 n16; 284 n 9.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 14.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 232.
 Gabriel Rotello, Sexual Ecology: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men (New York: Dutton), 215; 219.
 Rotello, Sexual ecology, 1. Rotello argues that HIV's mode of transmission strikes at key elements of gay men's cultural practices: "an emerging gay male culture (of) bars and bathhouses...sex clubs, peep shows, movie theatres and bars with dark back rooms" – a public sexual culture - where a core group of gay men who practiced anal sex with a very large number of partners (53, 57, 60). Rotello identifies 'versatility' and insertive/receptive anal sex, as a historico-cultural contingent sexual practice that maximize HIV transmission (76-78).
 Rotello, Sexual ecology, 206. See M. Morris and L. Dean, "Effect of Sexual Behavior Change on Long-Term Human Immunodeficiency Virus Prevalence Among Homosexual Men," American Journal of Epidemiology, 140, no. 3 (1994): 217-232.
 Rotello, Sexual ecology, 189, 211.
 Dean, Beyond Sexuality,( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 156.
 Lisa Duggan, "The New Homonormativity: The Sexual Politics of Neoliberalism" in Materialising Democracy: Toward a Revitalized Cultural Politics, eds. Rus Castronovo and Dana Nelson (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998), 179. Duggan defines the new homonormativity as "a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions but upholds and sustains them while promising the possibility of a demobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption." See Michael Warner, "Media Gays: A New Stone Wall", Nation, July (1997); Joshua Oppenheimer, "'Sexual Ecology' = Sexual Apartheid", Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, 5, no. 2 (1988): 15-18.
 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 189-191. The multitude is "an open and plural composition and never...a unitary whole divided by hierarchical organs."
 Dean, Beyond sexuality, 141.
 Luciana Parisi, Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Bio-technology and the Mutations of Desire (New York: Continuum, 2004), 171-193.
 Parisi, Abstract sex, 189.
 Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988: 18).
 Gilles Deleuze, "Ethology: Spinoza and Us," in Incorporations, eds. Jonathon Carey and Sanford Kwinter (New York: Zone, 1992), 629.
 Deleuze, Ethology, 627.
 Brian Massumi, A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Cambridge: Massachusets: MIT Press, 1992), 82. Spinoza comments: "No one has yet determined what a body can do" (Benedict De Spinoza, Ethics, ed./trans. Edward Curley (London: Penguin, 1996), Part III, Proposition 2, 71.
 Gilles Deleuze, Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Zone Books, 1992), 269.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 257.
 Luciana Parisi, "For a Schizogenesis of Sexual Difference," Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, 3, no. 1 (2004), 83.
 Spinoza, Ethics, Part III, Definitions 1-3, 69-70.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 221.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 223.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 231.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 224.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 261-262.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 269.
 Deleuze, Spinoza, 54-55.
 See Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 265-268.
 Spinoza, Ethics, Part II, Proposition 41, 57.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 289.
 Moira Gatens and Genevieve Lloyd, Collective Imaginings: Spinoza, Past and Present (London: Routledge, 1999), 14.
 Spinoza, Ethics, Part II, Proposition 14, 44.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 261.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy,294. Deleuze writes: "The application of common notions implies, in general, a strange harmony between reason and imagination, between the laws of reason and those of imagination."
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 295.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 295; Spinoza, Ethics, Part 5, Proposition 7, 165.
 Massumi, A user's guide to capitalism and schizophrenia, 82. The "body-without-organs" (BwO) is a motif used to suspend the body's habitual, preferred lines of desire, its "organisation of the organs called the organism" (Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 158. It is iconic of the body outside of any determinate state, its potential for action being virtual, the degree of intensity of thought/matter as it passes through a threshold state from one determinate state to another: intensity = 0 (Massumi, A user's guide to capitalism and schizophrenia, 70).
 Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 22.
 Massumi, A user's guide to capitalism and schizophrenia, 7.
 Massumi, A user's guide to capitalism and schizophrenia, 111-112.
 Elspeth Probyn, Outside Belongings (New York: Routledge, 1996), 50-53.
 Probyn, Outside belongings, 51.
 Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 161.
 Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 161.
 Rosi Braidoti, "Meta(1)morphoses," Theory, Culture and Society 14, no. 2 (1997), 69.
 Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 161.
 Deleuze, Expressionism in philosophy, 265.
 See Shannon Bell, Reading, Writing, and Rewriting the Prostitute Body (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994), 40-72; 99-136; 137-184.
 Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth: Egyptian Tarot (Berlin: Ordo Templis Orientis, 1944).
 Lucy Tatman, Numinous Subjects: Engendering the Sacred in Western Culture, An Essay (Canberra: ANU E Press, 2007), 67-68. «http://epress.anu.edu.au/numinous_citation.html» (Accessed April 21 2008).
 Tatman, Numinous subjects, 58.
 Tatman, Numinous subjects, 55.
 Tatman, Numinous subjects 65 (italicized we is my reframing of Tatman's feminist project).
 Lucy Tatman, Numinous Subjects, 54.
 Tasmin Lorraine, Irigaray and Deleuze: Experiments in Visceral Philosophy (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1999),, 86. See also Tatman, Luminous subjects, 51-64.
 Lorraine, Irigaray and Deleuze, (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1999), 35.
 Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 157. Lambevski describes how homo passional encounters involving multiple partners de-stratify organised pleasures of bounded bodies, becoming a BwO where affects circulate in a sea of "body-parts of the machine" that can begin lines of movement away from "narcissistic' and habitual modes of desire (Bodies, schizovibes and hallucinatory desires, 574-575).
 Tatman, Numinous subjects, 70.
 Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, 295-296.
 Lorraine, Irigaray and Deleuze, 85. See Luce Irigaray, Sexes and Genealogies Trans. Gillian Gill (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985); and, Luce Irigaray, An Ethics of Sexual Difference Trans. Carolyn Burke and Gillian Gill (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993)..
 Lorraine, Irigaray and Deleuze, 35.
 Lorraine, Irigaray and Deleuze, 37.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 102.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 98.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 42.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 90.
 Massumi, Parables of the virtual, 112.