I recently read through Kristeva's Stabat Mater and the idea of art as perversion that was suggested there was inspiring. It made me want to draw a parallel to the basics of sexual perversion. She writes:
“Many civilizations have subsumed femininity under the Maternal, but Christianity in its own way developed this tendency to the full, the question is whether his was simply an appropriation of the maternal by men and therefore, according to our working hypothesis, just a fantasy hiding the primary narcissism from view, or was it perhaps also the mechanism of enigmatic sublimation? “ 135
-I understand primary narcissism to be a matter of oceanic oneness or at least a non-verbal communication/connection with the world. Kristeva puts forward the interesting idea here that the male returns to this connection by sublimating in art (Davinci) but it would no longer be a real connection, as it was with the sorceress and those with “mystical schizoid” fixations, but a mediated one. It’s interesting to think that Kristeva is linking art to perversion in a way. Just as the phallic-Oedipal produces sexuality that re-cathects old trauma (it takes the skin- in being spanked, it takes the anal autistic objet- in the fetish, it takes mutilation of the body, asphyxiation, etc… ) art in this sense could be an attempt to work through all the early traumas in a social, as opposed to sexual, sense. I think this is clearly the case with horror writers and science fiction writers who re-create the paranoid schizoid world of Klein with its terror and monsters. But, with Davicini’s pictures of the maternal it seems that it's not just fixations of fear and pain that can be revisited but also fixations of affection, longing and idealization. Kristeva relates this to perversion herself when she mentions that:
“no one is spared [“love is an unfurling of anguish at the very moment when the identity of thought and the living body breaks down”]. Except perhaps the saint or the mystic, or the writer who, by force of language, can still manage nothing more than to demolish the fiction of the mother-as-love’s-mainstay and to identify with love as it really is: a fire of tongues, an escape from representation. For the few who practice it, then, modern art is not a realization of maternal love— a veil over death, assuming death’s very place and knowing that it does? A sublimated celebration of incest…145
Nothing is more precise in designating perversion as the absence of love (it’s heartlessness and use of the other as object) as incest with the mother. The lack of spiritualization of sex (by not acknowledging the father possesses the mother and acknowledging his claim by the exercise of courtly love in which dedications, poems, and much work must be put into the woman to deserve her) means that one is only using the object to work through one’s own self-preoccupation (one’s attempts to master one’s own traumas).
Homosexuality in this sense is not a perversion to the extent that love is possible in the relationship.
This sense of perversion must also be contrasted with a previous post in which Freud was shown to consider kissing a perversion. Stoller called things like the kiss polymorphisms. I don't think this designation has caught on but maybe it might be better just to call the individual a pervert instead of talking about his acts as perversions...