Levels of deviancy...
December 5, 2004 4:49 PM   Subscribe

So I was looking at the dirty ads in the back of the weekly paper, and there was one for "different interests" including "BDSM, golden showers, young/old, and interracial." Are the latter two really on par with the former in terms of perceived deviancy?

And I really mean perceived. Personally, I don't care what gets people off.
posted by dame to Human Relations (22 answers total)

Of course not, assuming the "young/old" dosen't mean 63/10 or something.

But some people offended at the former are probably offended at the latter too(which is strange, because why would easily offended people be reading the dirty ads), so the paper probably bunched them together to avoid offending someone.

Sounds like it backfired.
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on December 5, 2004

It's not the act but the fetish that is perceived as deviant. No-one thinks hooking up with someone older than you or of a different race is as weird as getting beaten or peed on, but being fascinated with those behaviors is about as weird.
posted by nicwolff at 5:16 PM on December 5, 2004

I beg to differ. I think most people don't have a hard time accepting that a young/old or interracial relationship can be a sexual one. But I'd bet most people would not sexualize a relationship with a pain/humiliation/domination/urination component (note: I'm not judging anything or anyone here).

So, nicwolff, I'd guess it's not a question of degree (is one fascinated or not) but really of nature (not Nature; I won't get into that) : the difference being between "Well, it's not my cup of tea" and "Dear Jeebus, someone enjoys this?".

posted by Non Serviam at 5:37 PM on December 5, 2004

It depends where you're coming from. I know people that are perfectly content with BDSM who shiver at the idea of a young man (of legal age) lusting after a woman in her 60s or older.

(I assume most people think young/old means young woman, older man, which is much more common than the opposite.)

In addition, I don't think interacial is perceived as deviant by most, but there most certainly are groups of people who will not accept it. I'd argue that BDSM and golden showers *never* enter that person's mind as a possibility whereas they're "forced" to look at interracial relationships so therefore "consider" them.

For instance, I don't think my parents would ever think my sister or I are into BDSM or urineplay but my father is angered to the rooftops that my sister is dating a Jew. If my sister gave a shit what my parents think of her lovers, and if she had a fetish or just a desire to be with someone of another race, she may have sought out ads like the one you're referring to.
posted by dobbs at 5:38 PM on December 5, 2004

dobbs: and I would argue that a person having problems with an interracial relationship would not consider it "kinky" or "sexually deviant" so much as characterize it as "unnatural" or "not socially proper", which, like all labels, say more about the person than the relationship itself.

As for BSDM, it depends a lot on the intensity and motivation: some BSDM practices are based on stimulation of non-traditional erogenous areas (e.g. spanking) while others are purely psychological (e.g. verbal humiliation). I'd hazard a guess that the former might elicit much less opposition than the latter.
posted by Non Serviam at 5:56 PM on December 5, 2004

I think that some people meet and are attracted to people who happen to be of a different race, or considerably older or younger, and some people have a fetish for people who are of a different race, or considerably older or younger.

Were I looking to meet people through the personals, I would want to know which was which, and more importantly, I would want to be sure that anyone answering my ad was comfortable with how I perceived their race or age. If I were someone who had a race or age fetish, that is. Which I am not.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:11 PM on December 5, 2004

not that there's anything WRONG with that, assuming that everyone involved is of legal age, etc.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:12 PM on December 5, 2004

Isn't it simply a matter of rarity, rather than perceived deviancy? Eg, speaking as a non-American, it's noteworthy how rare interracial couples are in all American media, let alone porn. (Maybe that's a reflection of real life, I wouldn't know). If that's your kink, you'd pay a premium for a collection, I'm sure.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:13 PM on December 5, 2004

off-topic, dobbs, my parents are angered to the rooftops that i'm not dating a jew. maybe your sister and i should trade? (parents, that is.)

judging by porn, all of those seem to be considered fetishes; in other words, none of them show up regularly in the porn classified as "normal" or "mainstream." "young/old" shows up the most frequently, although it depends how extreme an age difference you're talking about, and there are still plenty of sources that specialize in that "fetish." with interracial couplings, for example, i only tend to see them when clicking on a "HOT INTERRACIAL ACTION HERE" link, not a "hardcore" or "softcore" link. i think it's a shame and a result of racism, btw, that couples of different races are considered to be a special fetish.
posted by equipoise at 6:28 PM on December 5, 2004

just to clarify--it seems like almost anything can be a specialty category in porn, including plenty of things that also show up in mainstream porn (e.g. redheads, 18-yr-old girls, well-endowed men, etc.). i think that the porn world considers something to be deviant or a fetish when you can only find those things from specialty sources (e.g. pregnant women, men who can kiss their own elbows, etc.).
posted by equipoise at 6:30 PM on December 5, 2004

To be clear, it was an ad for a personals service, not for porn itself.
posted by dame at 6:35 PM on December 5, 2004

i totally got that, dame. i just meant to say that porn provides some reflection of people's perceptions of deviancy.
posted by equipoise at 6:37 PM on December 5, 2004

ah, thanks for the clarification. In which case I would have said, no, neither interracial nor old/young is that "deviant" if you mean outrageous to people with vanilla sensibilities. Sounds like this category is really just "miscellaneous" to me, and the different kinks listed are casualties of their relative unpopularity.

How annoying, to have your kink lumped in with those other, creepy kinks. (How did that old Usenet routine go? YKINMK...)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:55 PM on December 5, 2004

i_am_joe's_spleen: which is basically a rehash of the old saw, One man's trash is another's treasure.

I mean no disrespect to trash fetishists. Okay, maybe a little.
posted by Non Serviam at 7:36 PM on December 5, 2004

Interracial marriage was illegal in 16 states until Loving vs. Virginia was decided by the Supreme Court in 1967, less than forty years ago.

Many people in the South still consider interracial marriage to be deviant. The amount of hatred for interracial couples in some parts of the US is bewildering. Although people claim the South is more integrated than the North, if you are in an interracial relationship and live in the South (or the Midwest, or the rural West), you will harassed.
posted by rajbot at 8:17 PM on December 5, 2004

rajbo: JEEBUS FUCKING CHRIST, what kind of a country is THAT?

Sorry, didn't mean to pry into your internal affairs. Although, I wonder when the American South will join the 21st century.

So sorry. Didn't mean to get political. It's hard, nowadays, though...
posted by Non Serviam at 8:33 PM on December 5, 2004

Do you live in the South rajbot?
posted by orange clock at 8:55 PM on December 5, 2004

I beg to differ. I think most people don't have a hard time accepting that a young/old or interracial relationship can be a sexual one.

right, but the idea isn't that you happen to have a sexual relationship with someone older or asian or whatever, but that in order to be turned on, that component must be present. So it isn't, I fell in love with maude, but, grannies get me hot.

I see your point, but I think the reason they get thrown together is because they're fetishes - it doesn't matter what the fetish in particular is, but just that there are certain criteria that have nothing to do with personal connection or love or common standards of beauty... anyway, I doubt they're considered the same. I personally wouldn't even consider BDSM and golden showers exactly on par - the former seems generally accepted as sexy (whether or not it's really their thing, people can joke about it, flirt with the idea... visit themed restaurants, etc), while the latter just seems kinda yucky.
posted by mdn at 9:59 PM on December 5, 2004

People who have a fetish only for may/december liaisons or interracial couplings are, from the point of view of the BDSM community, vanilla (or really close to it). As a rule, these folks don't hang around with bdsm groups or in dungeons.

Note to i_am_joe's_spleen: There's nothing creepy about the kinks under discussion. Stalking is creepy. Child molesters are creepy. Golden shower aficionados may be gross, but they're not creepy.


"if you are in an interracial relationship and live in the South... you will harassed."

My sister is white, lives in rural tennessee, and dates mostly men of other races. I'll ask her when she comes home for xmas, but she's never mentioned having a problem in that arena. And I've known a number of interracial couples here in Bama; I can't recall any harassment in those cases either. Don't get me wrong; there's plenty of racism in the South and no shortage of white fathers who don't want their daughters dating black men. I just don't think it's true that harassment is still de rigeur for interracial couples in the south.

Note to mdn: You argue that Golden showers are less socially accepted than BDSM. Not to nitpick, but watersports (to use the term I hear most often) are part of BDSM. I take it that when you said "BDSM," you had in mind primarily activities such as bondage and spanking.
posted by Clay201 at 11:36 PM on December 5, 2004

As a product of said kink, interracial is still somewhat taboo. More overtly among asians, first gneration. Liberal type thought isn't terribly wide spread in the Old Country. On the plus side, I'm born kinky! I have an excuse!

Actually, I'm not. Kinky that is. I'll take any excuse I can take for whatever it is i'm doing wrong atm.
posted by eurasian at 11:04 AM on December 6, 2004

Way back in the '80s my second oldest brother (caucasian) was married to a Korean woman. They lived in Atlanta, Georgia. Bro mentioned that they were frequently subjected to racist harassment.

My white-haired husband is 16 years older than me. I'll be 38 in a few days, but I'm frequently told that I look 10 years younger. We get looks all the time and when I notice them, and I'm feeling ornery, I'll give him a good smooch. The shocked looks amuse me to no end.

I don't think either mixing races or old/young are deviant (let alone BDSM, etc.), but I believe that other people think they are.
posted by deborah at 12:18 PM on December 6, 2004

what nicwolff said. no, not at all to the initial question--but there are subgroups under the heading of "deviant sexuality" that have more to do with obsessing over "the idea of" having sex with someone of race x or age x. check out places like adultfriendfinder; there's groups there like "younger women for older men" and "black men for white women" and "asian women for white men" etc. and the people converse about the subject the way people might converse on orkut about a shared interest in tea or something. it's like feeder culture or those obsessed with fat porn or whatnot. it's the narrowed interest in it that's marked.
posted by ifjuly at 4:29 PM on December 7, 2004

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