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CONLANG  January 1999, Week 2

CONLANG January 1999, Week 2

Subject:

CHAT: Re: closet conlanging >> definitions?

From:

JOEL MATTHEW PEARSON <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 12 Jan 1999 16:52:41 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (47 lines)

On Tue, 12 Jan 1999, Steg Belsky wrote:

> I thought that "sodomy" meant _homosexual *rape*_, and not just sex
> between members of the same sex.  Isn't the word based on the Biblical
> story of Lot and the Angels in Sdom, where Lot's evil neighbors told him
> to send out his guests, because they wanted to rape them?

You have the etymology correct, but the actual *definition* of "sodomy"
depends on who you talk to, what part of the country, etc..  I have
heard all of the following as definitions of "sodomy":

(1)  Oral/anal/vaginal sex between people of the same sex (= homosexual
sex).

(2)  Oral/anal/vaginal sex between people of the same sex OR between
a person and an animal (= homosexual sex + bestiality).

(3)  Oral/anal sex, regardless of the gender of the participants, and
sometimes also including various kinds of foreplay (= non-procreative
sex, homosexual or heterosexual).

(4)  Oral/anal sex between two men.

(5)  Anal sex only, regardless of gender.

(6)  Anal sex only, regardless of gender, OR bestiality.

(7)  Anal sex between two men.

As far as I know, nobody uses "sodomy" to refer specifically to acts
of rape.  The intentions of the 'perpretrators' are unimportant.
In my experience, most anti-gay people are referring to (4) or (7)
when they use the term, even though (3) is probably the older sense.
Somewhere along the line, people went from thinking "sodomy" =
"non-procreative sex" to thinking "sodomy" = "gay sex".  My desktop
dictionary adopts definition (6), but this is not the most normal usage.
Most people, I think, regard bestiality as being something separate from
sodomy (though they may feel that both are equally heinous...).

Anti-sodomy statutes may be based on any one of the definitions
above.  Most anti-sodomy statutes do not refer to the gender of the
participants, but a couple refer specifically to homosexual sex.  As far
as I know, only gay men and lesbians have been prosecuted (persecuted)
under anti-sodomy laws in recent times.

Matt.

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