“Used to be, my boy,” said the grandfather, “We used to call people who wanted to bugger the creatures of the forests perverts.”
“What’s a pervert, grandpa?” asked Jimmy.
“A pervert? Why, somebody who engages in unnatural sexual acts. Or wishes they could.”
“My teacher says there are no such things as unnatural sexual acts, there are only bigots who want to impose their mortality of the rest of us.”
“That’s morality, Jimmy” said the grandfather, patting his head.
Bestiality is legal in certain Enlightened countries (you know who you are), though the custom is under attack from animal “rights” activists who worry that the four-footed objects of lust are suffering because they cannot give “consent.” Animals also don’t give “consent” to being made into sausages because they are (what used to be called) dumb beasts, but that is a diminishing view.
The continuing legality of barnyard beddings is a battle between factions on the left and it’s not clear which side will win, lust or “rights.” Lust is making great strides in the West and it can’t be counted out, but I’m betting on “rights”, only because they have the edge in going public. Still difficult to admit that you think of your pet armadillo “in that way.”
But not for everybody. Like those (mainly women) who write “Monster Porn”. Heard of this? A genre—also called “crypto-smut”—where women imagine extraordinarily explicit and anatomically challenging encounters with anything from Bigfoot, to tentacled space aliens, to leprechauns, to squishy sea creatures, to satyrs, to lusty canines, to who knows what. Business Week (who else?) did an exposé on the subject. It discovered titles like “Alien Seed”, “Taken By the Monsters 4”, “Boffing Bigfoot”, and “the newly released ‘Bigfoot Did Me … And I Liked It'” [ellipsis added: the text at the link is NSFW and may not be safe for home, either].
Scientific American (a journal of politics), always at the forefront, caught hold of this in John Horgan’s “What ‘Monster Porn’ Says about Science and Sexuality.”
Horgan is anxious to tell us he’s hip: “Prudes have attacked monster porn for promoting sexual violence and bestiality.” Prude is judgmental, a word which acknowledges there are lines between normal and perverse. Horgan thus hints that monster porn is not perverse, though perhaps bestiality is. But monster porn just is literary (to stretch a word) bestiality. There are distinctions between acts and imagination, though surely both can be perverse—if perversion exists.
Here’s what I love about monster porn: It’s a wonderfully wacky reminder that human sexuality is too weird, wild and woolly to be captured by modern science, and especially by theories that reduce our behaviors to genes…
Evolutionary psychology is hard-pressed to explain homosexual lust, let alone lust for Godzilla.
So Horgan is not a “prude” on this wild and woolly matter (Tom Cruise says scientology is the same) but that science can’t explain it, either. Which is not surprising because science is necessarily mute of the subjects of ethics and morality.
Not that long ago man-on-man sexual activities were held perverse by the majority. Yet when backwoodsman Phil Robertson described the nature of these acts in far less detail than the books noted above our notables took dramatically to their fainting couches and pretended to be horrified. Most of the horror was of the idea that anybody could say they found man-on-man sexual activities perverse. There has thus been a reversal: it is now perverse to be disgusted.
An example from our cultural elites, FX’s new show Chozen. Its Facebook page (also NSFW) says it’s “an animated comedy about its title character, ‘Chozen,’ a gay white rapper fresh out of prison.” The pictures and tag lines (one especially raunchy tag-line about prison has been removed recently) prove the emphasis is on “gay.” As Variety says, think “oiled-up teddy bears“. Even Forbes delicately enthuses, “Chozen knows exactly who he is and makes no attempts to hide it. He’s an openly gay, white rapper with a taste for the kinky and possibly illegal” acts. They say the series is “hard to judge.”
Others are wondering at the loss of perversion. Like Elizabeth McCaw, who concludes that if perversion are those acts contrary to natural human male-female mating, then man-on-man sexual activities are perverse. But then so are re-marriage after divorce, pornography, and masturbation. These acts are now celebrated, with elites championing the education of masturbation as early as grade school.
McCaw’s natural law position has the benefit of being understandable and clear, even if you don’t agree with it. Further, it has a sound philosophical basis and workable rules with a long tradition of common assent. Now, if you oppose natural law, you still must draw a line or no line, but based on what? Opinion, mostly, personal disgust or delight. “I don’t feel it’s wrong” is often heard. “As long as it doesn’t harm anybody” is too, but this is always a non sequitur because the opposition (e.g. holders of natural law) claim there is harm. But never mind that here.
The future? The chipping away by the elites will continue and fewer things will be called perverse. It’s already a toss up on which side of the divide polygamy lies. Sexual activities with children, especially infants, is likely to remain a perversion for the foreseeable future, but the age which a person is considered “consenting” will shrink. Like bestiality, necrophilia will come to seem less perverse, mostly because of the “no harm” argument, but considerable social stigmas will remain. Men pretending to be women and vice versa will gain in prominence and privilege; others will be required to play along (as it were).
Sexual activities in public, particularly man-on-man acts, will continue to be “celebrated”; see for example particular festivals in San Francisco, Rose Bowl (same-sex “wedding”) parades, Thanksgiving (Kinky Boots) parades, etc.). In one Enlightened country it is already now not illegal (saying “it’s legal” doesn’t capture the proper tone) to masturbate in public. The judge allowing this employed a “no harm” variant. Look for more open flies in your neighborhood; more nudity of every kind.
As above, it will seem increasingly socially but not sexually perverse to dispute these trends. To remain chaste or virgin is already an excuse for comedy and pity; these states will soon be badges of dishonor, they are already said to be “unhealthy.” People in the spotlight will be expected to name their objects of lust. The nascent movement in Christianity which identifies same-sex lust as a “gift” from God will gain strength (lust for children, animals, the dead and so on is not yet seen as a “gift”). It’s unclear how long until you’re expected to send visitors to your home out into the street so that passersby might have a go at them.
Recommended reading: Anne Hendershott’s The Politics of Deviance.
Update Even before the writing was dry, pixelly speaking, the predictions have proved correct.