Editor's Choice: 'Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us' by Jesse Bering

The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY), October 13, 2013 | Go to article overview

Editor's Choice: 'Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us' by Jesse Bering


"Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us," by Jesse Bering, Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 266 pages, $26. "All of us?" people will say understandably on looking at the title of Jesse Bering's fascinating book. "Are you absolutely sure?" And then, after that, people will certainly say "define 'deviance.' " Which is, in essence, what the whole point of Bering's book is.

Bering introduces all exploration of the infinitude of desire with an apt epigraph from Alfred Kinsey: "Rarely has man been more cruel against man than in the condemnation and punishment of those accused of so-called sexual perversions. The penalties have included imprisonment, torture, the loss of life or limb, banishment, blackmail, social ostracism, the loss of social prestige, renunciation by friends and families, the loss of position in a school or business, severe penalties meted out for conviction of men serving in the armed forces, public condemnation by emotionally insecure and vindictive judges on the bench and the torture endured by those who live in fear that their nonconformist sexual behavior will be exposed to public view. …

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Editor's Choice: 'Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us' by Jesse Bering
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