You are a sexual deviant.
Talk about opening a book with a zinger! I’m looking forward to hearing Jesse Bering in person – 6pm on Sunday 30 August 2015, a WORD Christchurch event in the Shifting points of view section of the Christchurch Arts Festival. His topic? On Perversion. Get your tickets now yo. This is not a session for kids or the squeamish; it’s definitely adult in nature.
I’ve just read his book Perv: The sexual deviant in all of us. As a librarian, I’m an index checker and this is one that’d make your eyes water: sneeze fetishists, autoplushophiles, formicophilia, Miley Cyrus …
This is a book that asks some great questions:
We’ve become so focused as a society on the question of whether a given sexual behavior is evolutionarily “natural” or unnatural” that we’ve lost sight of the more important question: Is it harmful? (p.21)
Jesse takes us right back to the origins of the term:
For the longest time, in fact, to be a pervert wasn’t to be a sex deviant; it was to be an atheist … So if we applied this original definition to the present iconoclastic world of science, one of the world’s most recognizable perverts would be the famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. (p.9 /10)
The book is a journey into the world of “erotic outliers” (doesn’t that sound much better than pervert). It contains a good dollop of the personal, as well as science, politics, history, literature, and psychology – and, of course, the nature of sexual arousal. There are also plenty of interesting examples of behaviours; you’ll never look at the yoghurt in your office fridge the same way.
Jesse quotes the Roman philosopher Terence (p. 8):
I consider nothing that is human alien to me.
More understanding. Less judginess.