Decaf coffee and safe sex in Žižek
IMO, nowadays only Žižek can get away with decaf coffee and safe sex on the same page.*
While the two might not seem to be correlated in the first place, Žižek places them in the context of hedonism. Instead of the traditional notion to control or constraint your pleasures a.k.a. desires (in Žižek’s words: find the right balance between pleasures and constraint), the contemporary practice is to combine both.
For example, it’s no longer acceptable to preach on sexual practice, so instead of “Thou shalt not have more than one sexual partner,” (to minimize the risk of getting STDs), the adage of today says “Practice safe sex.”
Safe sex, decaf coffee, fat free cream, alcohol free beer and nicotine free smoking, answer the hedonistic cry of our societies,
“Indulge! But play along.”
The main danger no longer lurks in the excess itself but in not-playing-according-to-the-rules (of the game). As products deprived of their substance, they are experienced as reality – in Lacanian sense – without being so. Marijuana is another example par excellence, it is already a kind of opium without opium.
* Žižek, S. (2003). The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity. Cambridge: The MIT Press.