“Perv” by Jesse Bering by Yesica Balderrama
The book sat on the shelf ostentatiously with the word “Perv:” in large thick salmon letters. All else on the cover becomes indiscernible except for the title, including a lone hesitant sheep standing on a grassy hillside. The second line reads, “The sexual deviant in all of us.” A part of me begins to blush, though I’m probably no stranger to what I’m about to read. The inquisitive part of me reaches for it. Jesse Bering starts “Perv” by stating we all are perverts, whether we would like to admit it or not. He shares an account of the anxiety he felt as a ten-year old child thinking he would automatically have AIDS as a punishment for being gay. Bering then questions homophobia and the reactions of people to atypical sexual behavior. He determines the origin of hate stems from disgust, and disgust stems from learned behavior of what is perceived as socially “correct.” According to Bering’s research, the word “pervert” did not acquire its definition
until the Victorian period. That was an era when human beings were encouraged to suppress sexual desire not intended for procreation. But it predates the Victorian. For example, in 17th century France, women were recommended bland meats and baths with cold lettuce heads to cure
with a large age difference, dead people, medical conditions, disabled persons and objects sexually arouse human beings. These are the general categories for paraphilia, a term referring to sexual obsessions and also deemed a mental disorder. Bering covers these
photo courtesy of bostonglobe.com photo courtesy of theaureview.com
their “Nymphomania.” Their male counterparts diagnosed as having excessive sexual behavior were said to have “Satyriasis.” What other sexual taboos are there? Animals, body parts, pain, persons
sexual taboos with quirky stories, such as the woman who is sexually attracted to the Berlin wall, a man tried against a donkey for rape and
the preciousness of semen in Papa New Guinea. The morality and consequences of child sexual abuse are also discussed. Bering tackles sexuality in a frank and open manner, the way one would discuss news at breakfast, or weather with a colleague. He interlaces factual information with his own humorous personal experiences. We are not merely reading another research book about human sexuality, but the evolution of Bering’s, an advocate of sexual openness, tolerance and acceptance in a rapidly changing culture, where people have access to sexual content more than ever before via the Internet. Statistics show an average of forty million Americans watch porn online, and ninety percent of children ages nine to 16 have watched it. Porn can be accessed at any time. How is this easy accessibility affecting human sexuality? Is it changing attitudes towards sexuality and will the word “perv” become antiquated?
Month In Review by Dara Kenigsberg
Recreational Marijuana Finally Legal in Colorado On January 1, 2014, Colorado became the first state to be able to sell marijuana recreationally to anyone over the age of 21, and Washington is on track to become the second sometime this year. This may seem a bit confusing being that it is a federal crime to sell marijuana recreationally; however, in August, the Obama administration allowed Colorado to pass a state law that regulates marijuana from seed to sale and to open recreational pot stores. One thing to keep in mind is that this Colorado state law is separate from medical marijuana dispensaries. According to CNN, “Medicinal weed in Colorado still requires a physician's recommendation, and the dispensaries will be separate outlets from the recreational pot retailers.” With a Colorado ID showing you are over the age of 21, purchases of up to an ounce (approximately $200 worth) of marijuana at a licensed store is allowed and if visiting from out-of-state, up to a quarter ounce. However, this does not mean it may be “lit up” anywhere and many people don’t know this. Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits people from smoking in places that are governed by the policy, such as the establishments selling the
marijuana. Smoking in public places is illegal as well, confining those who choose to light up to their place of residence or other establishments not overseen by the Clean Indoor Air Act and other private properties. According to MPP.org, “This campaign was the culmination of an eight-year effort to build support for marijuana policy reform in the state.” The very first customer to buy weed legally in the U.S. was Sean Azzariti, a 32-year-old Iraq war veteran who, according to The Denver Post, “campaigned for marijuana legalization and said he uses cannabis to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Under a canopy of cameras, Azzariti bought an eighth of an ounce of the marijuana strain Bubba Kush and a package of marijuana-infused candy truffles. ‘We did it!’ a beaming Azzariti said at the end of the purchase. The cost was $59.74, including $10.46 in state tax. At the bottom of the receipt was the message ‘Thank you for your purchase!’" Azzariti may have been the first, but he is just one of the thousands who eagerly wait for those doors to open. 34-year-old Chrissy Robinson arrived at the Evergreen Apothecary at 2 a.m. to wait in line for the doors to open at 8 a.m. and had told The Denver Post, “I have
been waiting 34 years for this moment, I’ve been smoking since I was 14. No more sneaking around.” At the start of 2014, at least 37 stores were fully licensed and opened to sell marijuana. When added together, owners of these stores reported their total sales to be around $5 million. The Huffington Post stated that Colorado, “has projected nearly $600 million in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales annually. The state, which expects to collect nearly $70 million in tax revenue from pot sales this year, won't have its first official glimpse at sales figures until Feb. 20, when businesses are required to file January tax reports, according to Julie Postlethwait of the state Marijuana Enforcement Division.” Denver’s 9News reported that sales exceeded over $1 million on the first day alone. Initially, one would think that business is booming for these store owners; however, the fact is that because of the federal laws, banks won’t give these businesses regular bank accounts nor can they utilize customary tax write-offs. Banks are afraid that they could be implicated as money launderers if they offer the same services they provide to other traditional businesses. Also, because marijuana
retailers cannot take credit cards, everything must be done in cash which business owners say is not only a safety risk, but also a “burden for taxes and payroll” according to The Huffington Post. While this has been a victory for many, there are still kinks that need to be worked out. Rolling Stone calls it “The Great Marijuana Experiment” and in a way, it is. Colorado and soon-to-be legal in Washington, are like guinea pigs- they are being used as test subjects to see if our country could legalize marijuana on a broad federal level. In New York, Gov. Cuomo announced in January that he would legalize medical marijuana. Through an executive fiat, 20 hospitals would be permitted to dispense marijuana for illnesses meeting criteria set by the state Department of Health. Not only has this specific type of legislation not been used since 1980, but also New York is also one of the many states that cannot legally grow marijuana. This makes it is almost impossible for these hospitals to procure it lawfully and for New York to catch up with Colorado and Washington state’s progressive legislation.