Perv by Jesse Bering
The Sexual Deviant in All of Us

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The disappointment is that “Perv” is less than the sum of its provocative parts. ­Bering offers entertaining details and worthwhile history but doesn’t think about the endless complexities with enough depth.
-NY Times

Synopsis


"As a sex writer, Jesse Bering is fearless—and peerless." —Dan Savage

"You are a sexual deviant. A pervert, through and through." We may not want to admit it, but as the award-winning columnist and psychologist Jesse Bering reveals in Perv, there is a spectrum of perversion along which we all sit. Whether it's voyeurism, exhibitionism, or your run-of-the-mill foot fetish, we all possess a suite of sexual tastes as unique as our fingerprints—and as secret as the rest of the skeletons we've hidden in our closets.

Combining cutting-edge studies and critiques of landmark research and conclusions drawn by Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, and the DSM-5, Bering pulls the curtain back on paraphilias, arguing that sexual deviance is commonplace. He explores the countless fetishists of the world, including people who wear a respectable suit during the day and handcuff a willing sexual partner at night. But he also takes us into the lives of "erotic outliers," such as a woman who falls madly in love with the Eiffel Tower; a pair of deeply affectionate identical twins; those with a particular penchant for statues; and others who are enamored of crevices not found on the human body.

Moving from science to politics, psychology, history, and his own reflections on growing up gay in America, Bering confronts hypocrisy, prejudice, and harm as they relate to sexuality on a global scale. Humanizing so-called deviants while at the same time asking serious questions about the differences between thought and action, he presents us with a challenge: to understand that our best hope of solving some of the most troubling problems of our age hinges entirely on the amoral study of sex.

As kinky as it is compassionate, illuminating, and engrossing, Perv is an irresistible and deeply personal book. "I can't promise you an orgasm at the end of our adventure," Bering writes, "but I can promise you a better understanding of why you get the ones you do."

 

About Jesse Bering

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Jesse Bering, Ph.D. is a frequent contributor to Scientific American and Slate. His writing has also appeared in New York magazine, The Guardian, and The New Republic, among others, and has been featured by NPR, Playboy Radio, and more. The author of The Belief Instinct, Bering is the former Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at the Queen's University, Belfast, and began his career as a professor at the University of Arkansas. He lives in Ithaca, New York.
 
Published October 8, 2013 by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 289 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Perv
All: 4 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Daniel Bergner on Oct 04 2013

The disappointment is that “Perv” is less than the sum of its provocative parts. ­Bering offers entertaining details and worthwhile history but doesn’t think about the endless complexities with enough depth.

Read Full Review of Perv: The Sexual Deviant in A... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Zoe Strimpel on Mar 02 2014

...this book throws a good deal of (secondhand) research at its staunchly anti-conservative central argument and makes for an engaging study of the weirdness of human sexuality.

Read Full Review of Perv: The Sexual Deviant in A... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Steven Poole on Feb 12 2014

Despite its wild variations in tone, this is, overall, a serious and humane book. It should, though, come with a warning to the user, given Bering's gleeful propensity for the gross-out example.

Read Full Review of Perv: The Sexual Deviant in A... | See more reviews from Guardian

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jul 29 2013

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.

Read Full Review of Perv: The Sexual Deviant in A... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

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