If you’re looking for a good read, check out Robert Stoller’s Perversion: The Erotic form of Hatred. It was published in 1975, and it’s dated in a lot of ways (particularly in the ways it discusses people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender). But, in spite of that, it’s pretty fucking sensitive on those issues, given when it was written, and… man does it give a boy a lot to ponder. (It’s available in its entirety here.) Stoller was a psychoanalyst, and it may be a bit dense for folks who have a bartender other than Freud. But Freud is my bartender, and I enjoyed reading the book.
Here, in a nut shell, is Stoller’s argument: perversion is a strategy for converting lifelong psychic stress and its resultant rage/aggression/hatred into triumphant sexual expression. Example: a transvestite straight cis man might fantasize about being humiliated by dominant women because the fantasy allows him to revisit his childhood humiliations (say he was humiliated, emasculated, by his mother, or another female figure) and revise them to include him jerking off his hard, straight, penis, and thus, demonstrate conclusively that he is a man, and not the emasculated de-sexed being he was told he was.
So I reread this book. I first read it ten or so years ago. But I read it with older eyes. Eyes that require reading glasses, occasionally. Or at least, that require me to take off the glasses I wear for my myopia. And I thought. And thought. And thought.
And here’s what I thought: I was raised primarily by my father, a gay man. I longed to live with my mother, but, because reasons, that wasn’t an option available to me. And, because other reasons, I wasn’t aloud to speak aloud that longing.
Two of my core sexual behaviors – lying on a massage table hoping against hope to have precisely the form of touch I crave, but feeling powerless to request it, historically; and, more recently, exercising dominance in the way you can read about in this blog – are perverse attempts to triumph over my rage at my childhood deprivation of and by my mother.
In the first instance, I am longing to get what I want without having to speak aloud what it is I want. I’m reenacting the scene of my childhood. Sometimes, I get precisely what I want in that scenario. Triumph! But, even when I don’t, I still get to come, to have a stiff cock that ejaculates, and that, of course, is a pretty triumphant consolation prize in the face of not getting precisely what I want.
And in the second instance, the dominance I’ve been practicing with greater and less frequency since I began this blog, I manage to organize things so it’s safe for me to say what I want, and to know that, by saying it, I will get it. The blog, my e-mail communications, the structure of the dominance I establish, all serve to inoculate me against the possibility of the punishment I fear in the first scenario, even as they ensure (or at least make reasonably certain) that I’ll get the outcome I want.
The second version is healthier, of course – it’s cheaper, for one, but also, it’s more… actualized. It feels like a less maladaptive way of working through in a sexual sphere the rage I felt at my parents for creating a situation in which what I wanted was not just unavailable, but unspeakable. And, both have the virtue of allowing me to cast my parents in vanquished roles. My mother, by compelling the woman, whether with money or domination, to give me what I want; my father, either by getting what I want without speaking, or, better, by speaking aloud what I want.
Pretty interesting. To me, at least.