In the Fifties, Alfred Kinsey found out that sexual orientation couldn’t be measured in binary and 15 to 22% of people responded to sadomasochistic erotica. There was no such thing as normal when it came to sex.
Masters and Johnson lifted a similar veil: Not all couples could have orgasms through a vanilla filter. Maybe the libertines were not as odd as we imagined. Maybe there was no normal when it came to sex. Finally we arrived at a new, evolved worldview.
Or maybe not. Their organisation frantically backpedalled on all that evolution by trying to “cure” homosexuality. Why do we always have to devolve over the idea that there’s a normal way to have sex?
Even ducks share sexual commonalities with the Marquis de Sade. They have spiral tentacle-penises that lock into the female so she can’t escape. Honeybees leave their snapped-off dicks inside their mates to prevent them from mating with others, and bonobos use sex to solve disputes. There is no such thing as normal when it comes to sex for god sakes.
Five years back, a crappy pop fiction book about BDSM was released into the vanilla world, and suddenly, an entirely new batch of people started admitting that they were not all that vanilla after all. Maybe we were about to take that final step towards admitting there was no abnormal way to have sex.
Even the DSM recently decided that all kinks are cool as long as we’re not harming others or ourselves. The word “abnormal” has been chased out of the building. Everything that doesn’t harm is normal. If something as narrow-minded about sex as the DSM can stop judging, you’d think the rest of the world would, too; but no.
Somehow, we keep losing our grasp of how wild human sexuality really is. We want to judge, no matter how many times we find out (yet again) that there is no normal. Not with sex. Our collective memory is about as effective as that of a goldfish.
Normal wears a million facades. I’m normal. You’re normal. We are all normal. The concept of abnormality needs to die one final, permanent death.