You Are Not So Smart 010: Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us

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If a world archery champion fell madly in love with the Eiffel Tower, who she considered to be a female, married the monument, and then went on to consummate her union with it, would you consider her a crazy person? How about perverted? Insane? What about a person who can only reach sexual climax by falling down stairs? What about a person who masturbates to wheelchairs or to a recently worn hearing aid?

Well, those people exist. But should we consider those people mentally ill whose sexual desires deviate from the norm? Given what science is telling us about sexuality, how should we adjust our thinking about perversion? That's the topic we explore in this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast.

My guest is:

Jesse Bering's new book is Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us. In it, he explores what is and is not normal, what is and is not perverted, and whether or not we should care about those things from a legal or moral standpoint. A former psychology professor at the University of Arkansas as well as former director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University Belfast, Bering has written for Scientific American, Slate, New York Magazine, The Guardian, The New Republic, and Discover. His other books are Why is the Penis Shaped Like That? and The Belief Instinct. You can learn more about Jesse at his website.

Also, at the end, we eat a cinnamon cardamom snickerdoodle and discuss popcorn's effect on advertising.

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Notable Replies

  1. IMB says:

    I'm guessing David's deviancy involves some baked goods. Just a hunch.

  2. MarjaE says:

    I have heard that the book pushes pseudoscientific bigotry against trans people. Is this true? [From a short preview, the author doesn't seem to endorse the Bailey-Blanchard-Lawrence theory, but does surround the discussion with a good deal of othering and misgendering language.]

  3. I'm pretty sure I would notice if there was a sexual deviant inside me.

    Unless maybe he drugged me first.

  4. IMB says:

    Haven't heard anything about him before this mention here. Did you read a review and have a link?

    I just read some info about him and by him in regard to the transgendered. I think I'll skip this podcast.

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