Normophilia and Biophilia in John Money’s Sexology
Authored by Lisa Downing, this chapter focuses in detail on one key aspect of John Money’s work on paraphilia, namely the idea that paraphilia is the dangerous and deadly form of eroticism that compromises the proper, life-giving “nature” of reproductive sexuality and thereby threatens the social order. It argues that, at the fantasy level of Money’s system, paraphilia is understood as leading to individual and social death, in the intellectual historical context of a biological and psychological worldview in which the theory of “biophilia” was proliferating. The chapter explores Money’s wish to attain a “paraphilia-free” society, alongside his paradoxical call for “a pluralistic democracy of sexualism,” showing that his writing on paraphilia reveals one of the tensions at the heart of his “sex-positive” liberalism and libertarianism. For Money, and many who influenced and follow him, the possibility of the figure of the “paraphiliac citizen” is not admitted. Using insights from queer citizenship studies, the anti-social turn in queer theory, and what Judith Jack Halberstam has termed “shadow feminism,” the chapter undertakes a critique of the bio-normativity of this premise and the conservative paradigm of health and harm on which it rests.
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