I highly recommend the book Perv by Jesse Bering, The Sexual Deviant in All of Us. Bering includes many personal stories of growing up gay in America. He also explains and explores how one’s sexual interests are often formed and how each person’s sexual proclivities are, “as unique as their fingerprints.” I think this is an important perspective because many people feel that they just want to feel “normal” sexually.
I often explain to my patients that there is no normal. I feel that the most important thing is to know yourself sexually and to feel good about who you are and what you like. I think most people feel that one’s sexual experiences fit somewhere into a range of normal and most people want to know that they exist within those frames. I frequently get asked: How often do most married people have sex? How often do people masturbate? Do most women have orgasms from intercourse? How long should penetration last? Of course one can Google all these questions and find answers. I have my own answers based on both research and professional experience but the thing I always come back to which Bering supports is to know yourself and embrace who you are and what you like.
His book is full of interesting research in the fields of sexuality, history, anthropology and psychology. I particularly loved the section on medical misogyny because I think its roots are still impacting us today. In fact, at the Center, the medication we prescribe the most is still not FDA approved for women and I think the reasons for that are largely political. Bering’s book is a fun read. He looks at many aspects of sexuality and I think most will find that they feel better about their own sexuality after reading it and certainly will be more informed about the field of sexuality as a whole.