Michel Foucault talks about ‘ethics’, and it is important to understand that for Foucault this term does not (simply) mean a general moral code; instead, it refers to ‘the self’s relationship to itself’.Ethics describes ‘the kind of relationship you ought to have with yourself’ (Foucault 2000: 263) – the rules one sets for one’s own behaviour.
For example, society says that it is wrong to be unfaithful to your partner, and says that ‘being unfaithful’ is having sex with another person. But an individual’s own ethics might allow them to have sex with someone other than their partner, as long as that partner will not find out,and so cannot (in theory) be hurt by this action. Someone else might deal with this ethical problem in a different way, by shifting their definition of sex – as did Bill Clinton when, as President of the United States, he insisted he had not had ‘sexual relations’ with the young intern Monica Lewinsky, because they had (as it later transpired) engaged in oral but not penetrative sex.
source: David Gauntlett