In a short review on Pierre Bénichou's study of masochism from the early 1970s, Deleuze writes:
Your particular desiring-machines: what are they? In a difficult and beautiful text, Marx called for the necessity to think human sexuality not only as a relation between human sexes, masculine and feminine, but as a relation between ‘the human sex and the non-human sex.’ He was clearly not thinking of animals, but of what is non-human in human sexuality: the machines of desire.(Deleuze 2004: 243)
What does Deleuze mean when he names the ‘other sex’, not in anthropomorphic terms, but, following Marx, as the machinic dimension within sexuality itself, as the non-human within human sexuality?
In pursuing this reference by Deleuze to Marx's 1843 Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, where the statement concerning the difference between ‘the human sex and the non-human sex’ appears, I will briefly turn to a series of lectures that Deleuze and Guattari were no doubt familiar with in the early 1970s when they conceived of the desiring-machine: Althusser's series of lectures later published in 1978 under the title ‘Marx dans ses limits’. There we find a striking discussion from a treatise of Lenin where the state is characterised as a ‘machine unlike any other social apparatus or assemblage’ (Althusser 1994: 450). Consequently, the state is distinguished from any number of other social forms found in the sphere of civil society: the association, the counsel, the league, the organisation, the political party, the church, and even the ‘organism’.