On Perversion

Pervert can be noun or verb. When we pervert something, we alter it from its intended course — we distort or corrupt — while a pervert is the thing distorted or corrupted.

As a noun, pervert has both a strong and weak form. The weak is often self-applied. I often refer to myself as a pervert, which is true. The strong form is usually screamed and followed by a hasty exit.

Some people think homosexuality is a perversion. Some people think masturbating to hentai is as well. Or coprophilia.

There are pictures on the internet of people having sex while smeared in each other’s feces. I’ve seen them. I’m not sure it’s the shit in itself that arouses as much as the breaking of a strict taboo. In that sense, coprophilia is no different than erotic asphyxiation, or skydiving: we are excited by illicitness and danger.

Unfortunately, disgust invites bigotry because it neurologically triggers fear. We fear the perverted because they exist out of bounds.

We each live at the center of a circle. Inside that circle is everything we find rational and reasonable. Outside that circle is everything else. When someone admits to being aroused by human excrement, or animals, first there is disgust, then aversion — because if that person can indulge such a thing, if they transgress the boundary, then my God, who knows what else they might do??

That we fear the unknown is cliche because it’s true. Anything outside our circle is not simply unknown. Because it’s unknown, it seems irrational and unpredictable. Hence, bigots often see perverts as subhuman, something closer to a lion or a snake, where you stand wary because you’re never quite sure what the beast will do next.

Disgust also implies contamination and therefore contagion: corruption spread by contact. And then we’re back to fear — that contact with homosexuals will turn a child gay, for example.

What makes bigotry facile is the utter arbitrariness of the circle.

Did you know, for example, that when the pilgrims first came to New England, they were completely disgusted by the giant insects that trawled the beaches? These days, a good Maine lobster will set you back $30 or more.

In my lifetime, sushi has gone from being an object of disgust to one of the most popular foods in the Western world. Incidentally, gay people can now get married.

I am not a homosexual, but I am a pervert. That I am on occasion aroused by the obscene does not make me any less rational. I am no more likely to steal or commit murder or run around with my genitals covered in bullet ants than most people.

In fact, in my experience — and Jung’s — those of us who are aware of our demons, who acknowledge them, who keep them on a short leash, are the only ones genuinely in control of ourselves. It’s all you fools who legitimately pretend to have none that worry me.