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Perv [Hardcover]

Jesse Bering
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
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Book Description

13 Feb 2014

In this eye-opening book, psychologist Jesse Bering argues that we are all sexual deviants on one level or another. He introduces us to the young woman who falls madly in love with the Eiffel Tower, a young man addicted to seductive sneezes, and a pair of deeply affectionate identical twins, among others. He challenges us to move beyond our attitudes towards 'deviant' sex and consider the alternative: what would happen if we rise above our fears and revulsions and accept our true natures?

With his signature wit and irreverent style, Bering pulls back the curtains on the history of perversions, the biological reasons behind our distaste for unusual sexual proclivities and the latest research on desire. Armed with reason, science and an insatiable appetite for knowledge, he humanises deviants while asking some provocative questions about the nature of hypocrisy, prejudice and when sexual desire can lead to harm.

A groundbreaking look at our complex relationship with our carnal urges and the ways in which we disguise, deny and shame the sexual deviant in all of us, Perv brings hidden desires into the spotlight.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (13 Feb 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0857520407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857520401
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jesse Bering, PhD, began his career as a psychology professor at the University of Arkansas and is the former director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen's University Belfast. In 2011, he left his academic post and returned to the U.S. to write full time, settling in Ithaca, New York with his partner, Juan Quiles, along with their kindly, obese cat and two pathologically friendly border terriers. Notable for his frank and humorous handling of controversial issues, especially those dealing with sex, evolution, religion, and morality, Bering is a regular contributor to Scientific American and Slate, and has written for many other outlets, including New York Magazine, The Guardian, The New Republic, The New York Times, and Discover. The Sunday Times has referred to his work as "deeply thought-provoking as well as shallowly provocative," whilst the New York Observer calls it "equal parts sedulous and silly." Bering's latest book is Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us (Doubleday). For more, go to

Product Description


"An entertaining catalogue of the erotic carnival and a plea for tolerance" (Bryan Appleyard The Sunday Times)

"As mind-boggling as it is informative" (Independent on Sunday)

"It's hard to disagree with Bering's generous liberalism" (The Times)

"A serious and humane book" (Guardian)

"A whirlwind journey through the kinks of the human personality... In entertaining fashion, this psychologist aims to show that normal is just a number; that many of us have strange quirks so quite the moralising" (The Times, Summer Books)

Book Description

The surprising science of sexual deviance

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think you are open minded? 10 Oct 2013
You might imagine that a potted history of the social and religious precedents for ostracising those who were outside the sexual `norm', the medicalisation of perceived deviant sexuality, a review of key psycho-sexual research findings and exposing the hypocrisy of the press-fuelled hysteria around extreme sexual deviants, despite contradictory scientific evidence, might be challenging topics through which to maintain a reader's interest. Jesse Bering, however, achieves a cheeky. mischievous and playful narration with a smattering of exhibitionistic self-revelation. If you can retain a thoroughly open mind and would love to know the latin name for a paraphilia centred on gravel, look no further - you won't regret it!
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book interesting and amusing in places. However, as someone with a scientific background, I found it frustrating because much of the content is at the level of description - rather like nineteenth century books by explorers, botanists and zoologists describing what they saw in the world. Modern science has used the theory of evolution and molecular biology to make sense of the natural world and this is more or less missing from this book. It would be harsh to say that this book is 'psychobabble' but I found it strange that Dr Bering didn't, for example, discuss the possible origins of his own homosexuality and speculate on whether other paraphilias might have similar origins. A lot of work by Dean Hamer, Simon Le Vay and many others has suggested that variations in gene sequences, and levels of hormones in the maternal blood during gestation, etc. etc. have produced changes in regions of the brain (e.g. in the sexually dimorphic nucleus) that result in the observed variation in sexual preferences and behaviour. (Possibly by epigenetic mechanisms?) I agree with Bering that sexual behaviour should be judged by whether or not it is harmful rather than by religious prejudice or by the fashion of the day, but until we understand the origin of sexual behaviour it will not be possible to prevent (or possibly reverse?) sexual activities generally agreed to be harmful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perv - there's one in all of us (apparently) 6 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book - Bering discusses sexuality in a way that is easy to read, humourous, and yet never loses sight of his argument.

I didn't necessarily agree with all of his points, but it was interesting to hear his argument. It definitely leaves you thinking (or debating, if you happen to lend it to a friend as I did).

I will be looking at Bering's other books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it. 3 Jun 2014
By Jade
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jesse Bering manages to make a weird and often uncomfortable topic relatable. Suggesting that there's a little perv in all of us with a few home examples. Witty and charmingly scientific!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 25 July 2014
By Neil
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Amazing book. Should be required reading in every psychology department.
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