When Sexual Desires Become Dangerous w/ Dr. James Cantor
What makes anybody Into whatever it is they’re into?
This is the question of James Cantor’s study that guides him in his study of a-typical human sexuality. Among the number of tidbits I took from this interview, here are two take aways I woke up thinking of this morning after re-listening to the episode.
Following your curiosity can lead you to a unique and fulfilling career
Full disclosure: Confirmation bias. This is what I already believed. And folks like Dr. Cantor are living it. He is a great example of how you can carve out a niche for yourself by following your curiosity, making connections that lead to opportunities, and trying to answer a question that intrigues you deeply and personally.
It’s not about figuring out what ’s exciting to you, but figuring out that other people don’t find it exciting.
We are talking about sexual interests and holy smokes can I ever see how shame develops around desire. Imagine realizing that what you find hot makes other people’s tummies turn, especially if you’re discovering it at an age where you’re already riddled with self conscious crazy making self-consciousness. Picture this - you’re 14, 15. You’ve got bad skin or weird clothes. Or you’re too tall or too short. Your voice is too high or too low. Your hormones are fucking with you. Peer pressure, school pressure, leaving adolescence pressure, parental pressure. But at least we can all agree that turning a human being into a piece of furniture is the most erotic thing ever. Right? Right, everyone? All aboard the shame elevator, going down.
That’s gonna be a problem. Maybe that paraphilia is harmless, but what if you are so overcome with your sexual desire that it starts to fuck with your life? What if admitting what you want makes you dangerous in the eyes of the people around you? What if admitting it means you will be categorized as mentally ill? What if the only research you can find of other people with the same interests are people who have been charged with sexual offences?