Challenging the Normal and the Perverse: Feminist Speculations on Sexual Preference

Linda LeMoncheck

in Loose Women, Lecherous Men

Published in print December 1997 | ISBN: 9780195105568
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852949 | DOI:
Challenging the Normal and the Perverse: Feminist Speculations on Sexual Preference

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The “loose women” described in this book pose a threat to patriarchy by challenging the constraints of monogamy imposed on women by an androcentric heterosexuality. However, women in search of sexual liberation may also challenge patriarchal appropriations of women's sexuality by challenging traditional heterosexuality's dominance over what constitutes “normal” sex. Along these lines, a feminist reclamation of sex for women would mean redefining and rediscovering so-called deviant or perverted sex as a way to subvert the patriarchal subordination of women that “normal” heterosexuality reinforces. This chapter uses the dialectical and contextual perspective of the “view from somewhere different” to negotiate the tensions between conflicting feminist perspectives with respect to sexual perversion. The chapter proposes to replace expressions such as “sexual perversion” and “sexual norm” with the less evaluatively charged expression of “sexual difference.” It then describes and evaluates the debate over three types of sexual difference of particular concern to both cultural feminists and sex radical feminists: man/boy love, butch/femme sexual role-playing, and lesbian sadomasochism.

Keywords: women; sexual perversion; sexuality; sexual norm; sexual difference; sexual role-playing; sadomasochism

Chapter.  23932 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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