Combining psychoanalytic emphasis on the unconscious with a respect for the historical variability of sexual identities, this work of queer theory makes the case for vewing erotic desire as fundamentally impersonal. Dean develops a reading of Jacques Lacan that - rather than straightening out this notoriously difficult French psychoanalyst - brings out the queer tensions and productive incoherencies in his account of desire. Dean shows that Lacanian unconscious "deheterosexualizes" desire, and along the way he reveals how psychoanalytic thinkers as well as queer theorists have failed to exploit the full potential of this conception of desire. The book elaborates this by investigating social fantasies about homosexuality and AIDS, including gay men's own fantasies about sex and promiscuity, in an attempt to illuminate the challenges facing safe-sex education. Ill.