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Will kinky sex become the new norm?

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Dr. Pranzarone

Dear Dr. P,

“Will Kinky sex ever become as acceptable as a normal way of relating and loving?”

Well, this depends on your definition of “kinky sex.” To most people, this would mean those sexual loves, attractions, and activities that a cultural group or society regards as abnormal, atypical, and bizarre. The slang terms include “perversion,” “sick,” “deviancy,” “weird sex,” and your term, “kinky sex.”  There is often a sense of disgust or outrage felt by the conventionally sexual at those who practice these atypical sexual activities.  Religious and civil legal sanctions declare these activities as immoral, unnatural, sinful and illegal.  Formerly, laws would not mention explicitly the activities involved but declared them as “acts against nature,” or the “love that shall not be named.” More recent legislation was explicitly descriptive and included oral sex (fellatio and cunnilingus) and anal sex, all under the blanket term “sodomy.” There were penalties for those accused of or caught in the act of these illegal activities.

As a sexologist, what I can say is that the legislators haven’t done their homework.  They have created laws regarding a few sexual activities, properly including those that involve predatory and coercive sex such as rape and child molestation, but they seem unaware of the great majority of the nearly 50 sexual activities that are included in the category system comprising the “paraphilias.”  Some paraphilias are beyond imagining. Examples are acrotomophilia (arousal by amputee partners), coprophilia (arousal from feces), formicophilia (arousal from insects placed on the genitals), pedophilia (arousal from pre-pubertal children), stigmatophilia (arousal from tattoos, piercings and body modifications), transvestophilia (arousal from cross-dressing), urophilia (arousal from urine), and zoophilia (arousal from animal partners, i.e., bestiality).  I present a complete listing at http://www.sexuality.org/l/sex/sexdict.html.

Paraphilia is a word meaning literally a love, lust, or desire (-philia) apart/altered (para-) from the norm. The normal forms of attraction, love, arousal and attachment within a cultural group or society is termed normophilia, or normal loves. What is considered normophilic relates to a statistical analysis of what the majority of people do with their erotosexuality. Usually, what is to be normophilic is prescribed by those in the dominant religious or civil legislative power.  Every culture regulates its members’ sexuality in some way.  Some are liberal, and some are very restrictive.  Comparatively, the U.S. is considered restrictive. Even today, there are no universal worldwide standards as to what erotosexual activities should be considered normophilic or paraphilic. Standards vary among and within cultures over time. Oral and anal sex were just decriminalized by the Supreme Court in July, 2003. Oral sex is not even considered real sex by many, as in Clinton’s famous remark “I did not have sex with that woman.”

A true paraphilia is the result of a flaw in the sexuoerotic development of an individual’s normophilic “lovemap.” A normophilic lovemap specifies for the individual the local, socially acceptable standards of to whom to become attracted, to fall in love and copulate. It is a mental and wired-in the brain template that determines who or what is to be considered sexually arousing to facilitate orgasm, and to whom to become love-bonded.  A person may also be normophilic or paraphilic independently of his or her sexual orientation as heterophilic or homophilic.  Being gay or lesbian is not considered a paraphilia by most psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health practitioners. Thus, there can be normophilic as well as paraphilic straights, gays and lesbians.  The childhood development of sexual orientation and/or paraphilia differs in that sexual orientation develops prenatally, or early in childhood, and the normophilic or paraphilic lovemap develops around age eight.  Both sexual orientation and the lovemap express themselves in sexual fantasy, dreams and behavior with the onset of puberty.

Pathological paraphilia is defined by Money (1994) as “A condition…of being compulsively and obligatively fixated on an unusual and personally or socially unacceptable stimulus or scene, which may be experienced perceptually or ideationally and imagistically, as in fantasy or dream, and which is prerequisite to initiation and maintenance of sexuoerotical arousal and the facilitation or attainment of orgasm”(p. 374).  A true paraphilia is compulsive, obligatory, obsessive, fixated and a necessary ritualistic prerequisite to arousal and orgasm. Most paraphilias are often playful and part of experimental, non-harmful, and consensual variations of sexuoeroticism, and for now, are not a concern of the justice system. 

Normophically, yours,

Dr. P