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Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Usby Jesse Bering
Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking argument that perversions are more common than we think, from everyone's favorite provocateur.
In his eye-opening new book, Perv, the award-winning columnist and psychologist Jesse Bering argues that we are all sexual deviants on one level or another. As Bering takes us into the lives of a woman who falls madly in love with the Eiffel Tower, a young man addicted to seductive sneezes, and a pair of deeply affectionate identical twins, among others, he challenges us to move beyond our judgments and attitudes toward “deviant” sex and consider the alternative: What would happen if we rise above our fears and revulsions and accepted our true natures?
With his signature wit and irreverent style, Bering pulls back the curtains on the history of perversions, the biological reasons behind our distaste for unusual sexual proclivities, and the latest research on desire. Armed with reason, science, and an insatiable appetite for knowledge, he humanizes deviants while asking some very provocative questions about the nature of hypocrisy, prejudice, and when sexual desire can lead to harm.
A groundbreaking look at our complex relationship with our carnal urges and the ways in which we disguise, deny, and shame the sexual deviant in all of us, Perv brings our hidden desires into the light.
"In a book as informative as it is entertaining, Bering (Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?) argues for the efficacy of science and logic over irrational morals when addressing 'sexual deviancy.' Citing numerous studies and historical sources, Bering makes the claim that, deep down, we are all sexual deviants in one form or another — and that sexual deviancy is, in fact, not deviant at all. From the beginning of human history, people have engaged in anti-heteronormative behaviors, from bestiality to pedophilia. Furthermore, Bering shows how most sexual deviancy isn't a choice, but rather is the result of a genetic predisposition over which the individual has no control. Laws and medical diagnoses controlling sexual activity should investigate whether the activities in question cause 'harm' (though harm itself is subjective, and is therefore also a problematic way to assess behavior), rather than whether society is merely grossed out by them. This is clearly a personal topic for Bering, who is gay and, in fact, discusses his experiences of self-loathing and discrimination. Despite the occasional preachy paragraph, Bering's latest is a delightful, intelligent, and thought-provoking addition to the growing body of our sexual knowledge of self. Agent: Peter Tallack, the Science Factory." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A master craftsman at refashioning reproductive biology into provocative composition, Bering nimbly probes ‘the darkest corners of our sexual nature” with no illicit aftertaste.” Kirkus Reviews
“[A] lively exploration of sexual perversion....Bering has a very entertaining writing style, but don't let that distract you from the serious stuff he's talking about: this isn't just a list of so-called perversions but, instead, an exploration of the way the human mind and body work and the way we are all just a little bit unusual.” Booklist
“Like a slightly kinky friend, Perv is sometimes weird, often revelatory, and always enthralling. You'd expect a book about sexual perversions to be at least interesting, but in Jesse Bering's hands its also smart, humorous, and eminently humane.” Florence Williams, author of Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
“Perv is a deeply fascinating and surprisingly insightful peek into the weird world of human sexuality. With his shocking examples and unique evolutionary approach, Jesse Bering provides perhaps the best testament out there to Mark Twain's immortal quip that man is the only animal that blushes — or needs to.” Laurie Santos, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory, Yale University
“Come to gawk, stay to learn. Jesse Bering has written a fascinating, funny, and scientifically literate book about all the aspects of sex you didn't want to think about. Perv will change the way you see yourself and everyone around you.” Art Markman, Ph.D., author of Smart Thinking and Habits of Leadership
“If truth be told — and Jesse Bering urges us to be honest — were all perverts. And if you're not, then most around you are. Bering pulls no punches in this engrossing romp through the history, cultural relativism, politics, and science of sexuality. He brings shadowy taboos out to the front stage for a juicy, humorous, and nonjudgmental outing. Perv is a page-turner that is hard to put down.” Bruce Hood, Chair of Developmental Psychology in Society, University of Bristol, and author of The Self Illusion
“Jesse Bering's Perv is a copiously researched, scientifically solid, fascinating and fun ride through a museum of sexual oddities that makes a strong argument for why we need to ease up on our sneers at the 'erotic outliers' and admit the reality: To perv is human.” Amy Alkon, author of I See Rude People
“In this unusual and wonderful book, Jesse Bering makes a persuasive case that we are all perverts. Bering is funny, brave, and deeply compassionate toward those whose desires cause suffering to themselves and others. This brilliant book will appeal to anyone who wants to learn more about the most unruly and intimate aspects of our lives.” Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University, and author of Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil
About the Author
Jesse Bering is the author of The Belief Instinct and Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? His writing and research have appeared in Slate, Scientific American, New York magazine, Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, and The New Republic, among other publications, and have been featured by NPR, Playboy Radio, and more. Bering is the former director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queens University, Belfast, and began his career as a professor at the University of Arkansas. He lives in Ithaca, New York. Follow him on Twitter at @jessebering. Visit his website at www.jessebering.com.
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