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Tauber, E.S. (1975). Reflections on Sexual Perversions. Contemp. Psychoanal., 11:1-14.

(1975). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 11:1-14

Reflections on Sexual Perversions

Edward S. Tauber, M.D.

THE CHALLENGE TO OUR EFFORTS to understand the nature of sexual perversions or deviations is complicated in its own right; in any case it is a piece of human behavior, and the nature of human behavior is itself extremely complex.

Helpful to our understanding or not, the terms sexual perversion, aberration and deviation are still with us, even though attitudes towards sexual patterning have evoked considerably less condemnation. In fact, the present generation has enjoyed a degree of freedom with regard to sexual matters unknown to its forebears. Aside from whatever cultural and social determinants have mollified moralistic condemnation, modern research into the biological aspects of sex has placed sex into a neutral perspective. We have moved so far in this direction that the substantiveness of sexual perversion has come under close scrutiny. Whether this term should continue to exist has been questioned.

Nevertheless, it is a curious fact that a sexual practice may be regarded as acceptable at one time and place, yet at another time and place that same practice would be regarded as shockingly abnormal. Furthermore, before one even attempts to evaluate a sexual practice in terms of its mental health characteristics, social conventions, even among truly liberal individuals, require verbal probity; that is to say, attitudes towards the body that are now completely acceptable in conditions of shared privacy, can create awkwardness and embarrassment when ventilated in the public domain.

For purposes of reasonable focus, we must confine the inquiry to-night to the here-and-now in our own society.

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