Author(s): Julie Peakman
Reaktion Books | No Category
Homosexuals, transvestites, transsexuals, sado-masochists, necrophiliacs - all of these have been, or still are, considered 'deviants'. Concomitantly there has been almost universal acceptance that unembellished vaginal penetration, performed by one man and one woman, is 'normal' sex. This is now contested. But what is perverse sex and what isn't? The Pleasure's All Mine explores the gamut of sexual activity that has been seen as strange, abnormal or deviant over the last 2,000 years. This first comprehensive history of sexual perversion examines an abundance of original sources - letters, diaries, memoirs, court records, erotic books, medical texts and advice manuals - and shows how, for ordinary people, different kinds of sex have always offered myriad different pleasures. There never was a 'normal'. Almost all sexual behaviours have travelled to and fro along a continuum of proscription and acceptance. Attitudes have changed towards masturbation, leatherwear, 'golden showers' and sado-masochism.
From the specialized cultures of pain, necrophilia and bestiality to the social world of plushies and furries, and lovers of life-sized sex dolls, some previously acceptable behaviour now provokes social outrage, while activities as diverse as sodomy and wife-swapping have moved on the spectrum of acceptance from sin to harmless fun. Each 'perversion' is explored from the time it was first visible in history, to how it is viewed today, and
Julie Peakman is a historian, author and broadcaster. She is author or editor of many books including Mighty Lewd Books: The Development of Pornography in Eighteenth-century England (2003), Lascivious Bodies: A Sexual History of the Eighteenth Century (2004), Sexual Perversions 1650 - 1890 (2009) and A Cultural History of Sexuality (2010).