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A Spo-fan recently pointed out I often use the word ‘perverse” in my entries. This is news to me. I wonder if certain Spo-fans remember the word as it ‘sticks out’ more readily than other repeating words in my lexicon.  Perhaps ‘perverse’ is more easy to recall than ‘aardvark’. Perhaps certain Spo-fan have dirty minds…..

Whatever the reason, Spo-fans far and wide are requesting I write about perversion. I am blithe to do so, but I fear this is going to be a disappointment. I am not going to show you kinky photos but discuss what is perversion.

Dictionary. com defines  perversion :

“Any of various means of obtaining sexual gratification that are generally regarded as being abnormal’


“A change to what is unnatural or abnormal”. 

Perversion first came into vogue with Freud.  In Freudian theory of sexual development, human sexuality goes through stages, all in proper order and done by everyone. There is a series of love objects, starting with oral pleasures. It goes next to things anal, and then to heterosexual intercourse via the successful resolution of the Oedipal Complex.  Anything that deviated from this standard path was a ‘perversion’ viz. f you wander off and focus your libido on other objects (shoes, feet, feathers or – gasp -same sex partners) you are a pervert. The goal of analysis for perverts is to get them back on track to the straight and narrow (pun intended) towards the ‘normal’ goal of loving someone of the opposite sex who is a substitute for your opposite sexed parent.

You see where the problem lies. Defining ‘abnormal’ and ‘normal’ is a complicated topic, influenced by personal and cultural standards. What is normal sexual behavior in one culture is perversion in others. For example it was considered normal – nay expected – for aristocratic Athenian men to have a homosexual relationship with a younger man. But, when the man grew up, this relationship/behavior was to stop. The young man was to marry a woman and get his own butt boy to mentor.  There were no ‘homosexuals’ but homosexual acts. It became perverse when sugar daddy wanted to stay with his chew toy. Pervert!

If there are enough “perverts” who like people of their own gender, is it still a perversion?  What if you are into feet – and no harm done?  Classical psychoanalysis doesn’t have much (if any) success at turning fetish fiends and faggots into conventional straights.

As Roberson Davies once said, what was once considered ‘abnormal’ is now ‘an alternative lifestyle”.

I suspect if you put into one group the people who are solely into heterosexual penile/vaginal intercourse, and compare them to the group consisting of gays, bis, and straights who are into leather, feathers, boots etc. the perverts would greatly outnumber the normals. Which makes the definition of ‘perversion’ rather complicated.

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October 2011

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