The latest edition of Games Perverts Play, the anthology I curate/edit, is out and it’s called Paraphilia!
I chose the theme Paraphilia to highlight how many aspects of people’s sexualities are not only considered ‘perverse’ but are also treated as symptoms of mental illness. So paraphilias have a whole section dedicated to them in the psychiatrists’ bible: the DSM. As I say in the introduction:
‘The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines paraphilias as:
recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors generally involving 1) nonhuman objects, 2) the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner, or 3) children or other nonconsenting persons that occur over a period of at least 6 months.
The DSM only specifies nine paraphilias (exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, pedophilia, sexual masochism, sexual sadism, transvestic fetishism, voyeurism, and a final category of “other” paraphilias).
The writers featured here cover many of the paraphilias listed by the DSM, but what they do that the medical establishment fails to do, is to put into question how we draw the line between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ sexuality and psychology. They also manage to make the ‘abnormal’ seem quite beautiful in places.’
I am particularly proud of Games Perverts play, as a whole, not just because it features such great writers as Penny Goring, Elliott Deline, Marc Nash, Dan Holloway and Mark Simpson. But because it throws not only the DSM, but also our preconceptions about defining sexuality out of the window. This is not a ‘gay’ anthology, or an ‘S and M anthology’ or a ‘sex positive’ anthology, or even a ‘sex’ anthology. It is a collection of writings about some of the most base but also most profound aspects of our selves as humans.
I am writing this during the run-up to the announcement of the winner of the Polari First Book Prize, which is supposed to be awarded to a writer who expresses the ‘queer experience’ most effectively. But Polari is billed as a ‘gay and lesbian’ literary salon, and its founder and host, Paul Burston, writes a very gay ‘Gay and Lesbian’ column in London’s Time Out Magazine. He recently blocked me from commenting under his precious gay column. I guess I am just not gay enough. The fact that Mark Anti Gay Simpson will be reading at the Polari Prizegiving just makes me smile a little wanly. I wish he’d actually read from Anti-Gay itself, as I’d love to see the looks on those gay faces if he did.
I don’t think you can get much ‘queerer’ than the pieces here at GPP (one of the writers is in fact in the running for the Polari prize -James Maker- but not for the piece of writing he has included here). Would most of our work be considered ‘queer’ according to a ‘Lesbian and Gay’ literary salon? I very much doubt it. And I am glad about that. Because I think my -and everyone’s- sexuality defies categorisation. Games Perverts Play constitutes a spirited challenge to the sick ‘joke’ of sexual identity itself (Steve Zeeland).
Here is the opening to my story in Paraphilia.
‘There is never a good time to have a breakdown in communication. Some times are worse than others.
I was naked except for his collar and chain, attached to the chrome leg of the small desk in his hallway. It made for an efficient use of space. My arse was stinging from his blows. My head was heavy. The combination of anticipation, wine and a thorough beating was affecting my ability to think clearly. When he spoke to me I answered in monosyllables. It was all I could manage.
‘Do you like it when I hit you, bitch?’ he asked.
You can read the whole story, and the rest of the contributions Here