Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume III: The Care of the Self
A “monopolistic” principle: no sexual relations outside marriage. A requirement of “dehedonization”: sexual intercourse between spouses should not be governed by an economy of pleasure. A procreative finalization: its goal should be the birth of offspring. These are three fundamental traits marking the ethics of conjugal existence that certain moralists developed at the beginning of the imperial epoch, an ethics whose elaboration owes a great deal to late Stoicism. But these traits are not peculiar to it. We have found similar exigencies in the rules enjoined by Plato on the citizens of his Republic. We shall find them again in a later period, in what the Church demanded of a good Christian married couple. Much more than an innovation of Stoic rigor, much more than a project specific to the moral philosophy of that epoch, these three principles did not cease, for centuries, to characterize the role that marriage was expected to play as a focus of sexual austerity. But the constancy of these three phenomena should not be taken as evidence of a pure and simply identity. A certain more or less Stoicizing ethics of the imperial epoch did not merely carry forward, from the Platonic utopia to Christianity, the code of a “monopolistic” marriage dedicated to procreation and distrustful of pleasure. It contributed a number of particular inflections that derived from the forms taken at the time by the development of the cultivation of the self.
—Translated by Robert Hurley