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2016 Books > Other writing on 'sexual deviance'

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message 1: by Mike (new)

Mike (someone-new) | 3 comments Since this month's book is about 'sexual deviance', I thought people might be interested in this very interesting post by Shana Wolstein, who is generally an interesting writer anyway - you should be able to gather what it's about by the words in the link :-)

Also, really intrigued by this area of sexuality so if anyone else has any recommended reading, might be nice to have a area to put suggestions.

message 2: by Kara (new)

Kara Babcock (tachyondecay) | 51 comments That was a really interesting blog post! Thanks for sharing. I enjoy reading sex worker’s thoughts on sex, sexuality, sex work, etc., because they obviously have a very different and more knowledgeable viewpoint on these issues than I do.

As for books that talk about sexual deviance, I don’t have any non-fiction recommendations, but here’s some fiction that tackles it.

Perhaps controversial: John Irving. In particular I’m thinking of Hotel New Hampshire, which I read when I was probably too young. It portrays (among other things) an incestuous relationship between brother and sister. Irving’s writing in general tends to explore “edge cases” when it comes to the way people relate, both physically and emotionally, and it can be alternatively interesting and squicky.

If you haven’t already, also check out the wonderful words of Samuel Delany. Dhalgren is probably his seminal work, but Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia is a more easily-tackled starting place. Here’s how I describe it in my review:

Triton is the story of Bron Helstrom’s struggle to redefine his identity in order to make his life less miserable. After running into a travelling actor known as the Spike and sparking up a brief affair, Bron’s own checkered and conflicted views on sexuality take front and centre. Bron was once a prostitute on Mars, where, unlike Earth, male prostitution is legal. He had sex with both men and women for business. Now he lives on Triton, where people live in communes or co-ops that are often divided by sex or sexuality. He has chosen to live in an all-male commune. His next-door neighbour is a homosexual man whom Bron views alternatively with respect and derision, for Lawrence refuses the rejuvenation treatments that keep most people healthy and youthful. Bron is much less comfortable with homosexuality, with unconventional gender performance in general, now that this is no longer his profession.

The story and the characters in it very explicitly tackle gender fluidity and sexual fluidity. As a gay black man who was married to a woman and had a kid, Delany writes from a very interesting subjectivity. His sci-fi settings are extremely interesting mirrors of the sexually permissive era of the '60s and '70s. Whereas Heinlein was obsessed with free love but never really dared to imagine anything beyond '50s gender roles “in space”, Delany nukes gender roles and sexual mores from orbit and rebuilds and recombines them in amazing ways. Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand similarly explores the idea of attraction between individuals and what that means in a society where sexuality is extremely different from ours:

Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is primarily a story about attraction and desire. Marq and Korga are supposed to be each other’s “perfect erotic objects”. Delany is careful to differentiate between sexual desire and love here.

I can’t see your profile, so I don’t know if you’re into science fiction or not, but I highly recommend Delany if you want to read about sexuality and deviance. Science fiction in general is an excellent vehicle for exploring subjects that are often considered taboo.

Let me know if you find anything else! Hopefully some others can weigh in with their own recommendations.

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