Throughout my time in Unikum, I have been mocked by the rest of the editorial team for claiming that “sex is perverted”. This mockery hasn’t ended, and since I’m no crybaby, I want to make myself amend. This is my revenge.
I want to make myself clear: by claiming that sex is perverted, I am not by any means saying that sex is inherently a bad thing or anything similar. It doesn’t mean I dislike sex, but it means I have a different relationship to it. This relationship is, in some sense, more conservative. However, I think some actual conservatives could label me as a “liberal sexual activist”. So, allow me to explain myself.
To get at the symptom of the argument, that is where the premises of the argument (re)lies, we have to “decompose” the wording in “Sex IS perverted”. To “decompose” a word means to take the word, or the argument apart piece by piece, defining each piece as you go through it. It is a method introduced by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida and his philosophy of “deconstruction”.
I will just assume you know what sex is. If you don’t, I’m sorry. So, to “decompose”, or rather, to define perverse or perversion, I’ll just use the dictionary. Because the dictionary gives us the official meaning of the word, but! There is another definition: the one we think of when we hear or read the word “perverse”. In linguistics, this is called the signified. Then what is the signified of “perverse”?
Merriam-Webster defines “to pervert” in four ways:
- To cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true or morally right.
- To cause to turn aside or away from what is generally done or accepted.
I want to use the second definition from Merriam-Webster as gunpowder for my argument. The first one is troubling to me because I find it to be too moralistic. And to those of you who are obsessed with morals, I remind you that moralism usually comes with a lack of nuance, and an emphasis on one side of a dichotomy and that, in fact, is not actually a dichotomy at all.
The second definition fits my idea – or my signified – of what I think of when I claim that sex is perverted. I simply claim that sex is something that is turned away from what is generally done or accepted. How can it not be? Sex is a private matter (although the culture industry sure works hard to make it not so). It is not something you talk about publicly, or?
But I think we hit the symptom of the problem when we start conceptualizing about sex in private or public. The people who react shocked at the claim that “sex is perverted”, might not actually have the same relationship to sex that most people do. They don’t necessarily think that sex is something private. Isn’t that the only reasonable conclusion to draw? Because if they did think that sex is something private, I’m not so sure they would have been shocked at the claim I am making.
This is completely understandable. As I mentioned, the culture industry and more parts of society are working strongly to influence us into the consumption of sex – sex becomes commodified. When you’re influenced by this, and there is little to no resistance, other than reactionary conservatives’ outcry, there is no doubt that there are more and more who think of sex as something not so private, or not the most intimate you can do.
If anyone still were to claim that sex is not perverted, then I am going to take them by their word. By that logic, I will make perverted jokes at their expense, and they will have no reason to object or complain because they insist, after all, that “sex is not perverted”. Try me.