Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Usby Published 08 Oct 2013
|Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us.pdf|
|Publisher||Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
“As a sex writer, Jesse Bering is fearless—and peerless.” —Dan Savage
“You are a sexual deviant. A pervert, through and through.” We may not want to admit it, but as the award-winning columnist and psychologist Jesse Bering reveals in Perv, there is a spectrum of perversion along which we all sit. Whether it’s voyeurism, exhibitionism, or your run-of-the-mill foot fetish, we all possess a suite of sexual tastes as unique as our fingerprints—and as secret as the rest of the skeletons we’ve hidden in our closets.
Combining cutting-edge studies and critiques of landmark research and conclusions drawn by Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, and the DSM-5, Bering pulls the curtain back on paraphilias, arguing that sexual deviance is commonplace. He explores the countless fetishists of the world, including people who wear a respectable suit during the day and handcuff a willing sexual partner at night. But he also takes us into the lives of “erotic outliers,” such as a woman who falls madly in love with the Eiffel Tower; a pair of deeply affectionate identical twins; those with a particular penchant for statues; and others who are enamored of crevices not found on the human body.
Moving from science to politics, psychology, history, and his own reflections on growing up gay in America, Bering confronts hypocrisy, prejudice, and harm as they relate to sexuality on a global scale. Humanizing so-called deviants while at the same time asking serious questions about the differences between thought and action, he presents us with a challenge: to understand that our best hope of solving some of the most troubling problems of our age hinges entirely on the amoral study of sex.
As kinky as it is compassionate, illuminating, and engrossing, Perv is an irresistible and deeply personal book. “I can’t promise you an orgasm at the end of our adventure,” Bering writes, “but I can promise you a better understanding of why you get the ones you do.”
"Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us" Reviews
*WARNING: DO not read this book if you are the type that is offended by...almost anything. More specifically by things of a frank sexual nature. Don't say I did not warn you. However, if you are perv like me that is disturbed by little and finds humour in negative spaces, then please by all means, proceed.*
This is an interesting book. I mean interesting in multiple ways. While clearly the author is highly educated and knows quite a lot about human sexuality and the forces that drive deviant behaviour, this is not your typical textbook look at said situation.
Instead, this author uses a humorous approach to recounting his own experiences and gives his opinion on the matters at hand. He is very open, honest and I found him entertaining, although it should be noted that his non-religious views may offend some as he does not hold back when speaking of his disbelief in a higher power.
I am not sure there is a single subject in the realm of deviance that this author did not explore. There are moments that will make you blush, a few that might make your stomach turn and many more still that will make you think about civilisation as a whole and how we came to be how we are. One thing I really did enjoy about this book was his nonpartisan attitude. This author does not make harsh judgments against anyone, but simply gives the reader a chance to view things from an objective perspective. He does not try to influence your beliefs, yet feels comfortable enough to offer his own opinion.
While I did not agree with all of the author's views, I did see things his way a good number of times. I was happy to see that he had included the findings of the psychologist Daniel Wegner, as his study has shed light on a number of different fields through the theories he has formed and the evidence he has provided to support those theories.
Overall, this was the interesting type of book that will invade your thoughts (for the good and bad) for a long time after reading it. If you can look at things analytically without feeling too emotionally attached or becoming easily enraged, this would be a good book for you. I would not recommend it to those who offend easily, but the title should have told you that much anyway.
This review is based off of a digital ARC from the publisher and Netgalley.
How could a book on sexual behavior be boring? The author has managed that just fine. There are two severe problems here. First is the lack of science. Either there is very little going on in research about human sexuality, or the author simply failed to bring us up to date. There is very little here that wasn't explored by Kinsey in the 1940's.
The second problem seems to be the laziness of the journalism. The author obviously simply sat in a library perusing material that interested him. He failed to do the hard journalistic work that would have made this thing interesting and up to date. Visit a real laboratory. Interview the researchers. Quote them.
Despite the implied promise of the book, there seems to be no scientific knowledge of the causes of various sexual predilections. Still the author trots out old Freudian speculations, apparently because Freudians will speculate on anything. Aren't researchers available to speculate on their findings?
This is a very small book, but despite this, some portions--particularly the seemingly endless and pointless final chapter--seem long and tedious.
The only take-home point I got was in the first chapter, and repeated often throughout: Any sexual act that doesn't hurt anyone is OK. Not breakthrough thinking.
Jesse Bering, award-winning columnist and psychologist, wants to talk about perversions. We are deviants in one form or another; we may not be paedophiles, or into voyeurism and exhibitionism but there maybe something in our past we rather not discuss. In Perv, Jesse Bering looks at the psychology of having a fetish outside the norm and compares it to the difficulties he faced growing up in the 70s and 80s as a gay man.
This is an interesting book; it doesn’t condone sexual abuse or committing a sex crime. This rather looks at the psychology of paraphilia’s and makes the reader think about it in a different light. Just because someone has a fetish for something unusual doesn’t make them any less human. Bering looks at cultural thought, imprinting, conditioning and compares them to his own struggles as a homosexual.
While he looks at things like zoophiles, paedophiles and bestiality, he also looks at other perversions. Cross dressing, bondage, sadism and tries to get the reader to accept people as human. Just because they have this desire doesn’t mean they are committing crimes, these people are struggling and dealing with the guilt. As Bering states, sometimes they often feel like they have three options in life; depressive sleep, being institutionalised or suicide. Neither of these solutions seems effective at solving the problem.
I thought I had a decent understanding of the GSM (Gender and/or sexual minority or LGBT if you prefer) lifestyle but this just throws so many questions. I’m not comparing GSM with paedophilia, I’m just saying that the psychology of sex is so complicated and how can you treat people with paraphilia without a decent grasp on it. Especially a paraphilia that was so rare that no one bothered to find the Greek name for it.
There wasn’t much about paraphilia’s as I wanted; I was hoping to learn more about these ‘out of the norm’ sexual preferences. Not because I want to make fun of them, the whole thing is just fascinating. My favourite paraphilia discovered from this book is auto-plushophilia (look it up). I think this book looked at paraphilia’s in a new light, I hope this will help me understand them a little better and make it easier to accept them. I now think the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders approach to paraphilia’s are very dated and destructive. If psychologists don’t approach the treatment of these people struggling in a more accepting and human way then these people will never get the help they are seeking.
This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2013/...
This book was written by a gay psychology professor. Entertaining book, but let me stress to everyone that just because someone is gay, it doesn't mean that they are organically qualified to write a serious book about what the modern world would define as sexual perversion. Bering thought that he had a right to write this book because gays are still considered perverted by many people. At the same time, he is a very mainstream gay man--in a committed relationship with another man (married, even) in a socially acceptable career field, living in suburbia.
I expected to learn more about why people had unusual sexual attractions to animals, body parts, particular sensations or experiences, and so forth. Instead Bering provides a scattered history of when these perversions were first noted in literature, medical and legal records, and left me more confused and disgusted than I was before.
Bering barely touched on the big perversions of our time right now, such as pedophilia (although he does address adult attraction to teenagers, which the law still identifies as pedophilia if the teens are under the age of consent). He focused a great deal on bestiality and certain fetishes, but not hair fetishes or BDSM. He provides no reason for why he hopscotched all over the realm of "perversions", so I have to chalk it up to sloppiness.
While not perversions by any means, Bering does nothing to address bisexuality or asexuality, orientations considered perverted by gay and straight people alike in the 21st century. Worst of all, Perv is the most transphobic book that a gay psychologist could ever write and somehow get away with. In quite a few areas of the book, Bering expresses a disgust toward "cross-dressing", "transvestites", and "drag queens". The only "fact" (uncited) that he provides about transgender people is that FtoM transgender people are more likely to identify as homosexual than heterosexual...then he moves on to another topic!
While Perv is entertaining, don't look here for theory or empathy...Bering is no Andrew Solomon.
Boring, too long, and with no structure, this book tried to be open minded but adhered too much to biological and gender essentialism to fulfil that promise. It was very binarist (spoiler alert: there are more genders than male and female) and used offensive language when talking about trans people. I felt like the author wrote on topics he'd randomly decided to research simply to show off his witty prose, without giving much thought to where he was going with the book (what was his point?) or thinking that perhaps he wasn't the best authority on some (or any) of these subjects.
Read as part of the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge - 'A book with a one-word title'.
Also read as the March book for book club.