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Re: CHAT: closet conlanging >> definitions?

From:JOEL MATTHEW PEARSON <mpearson@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 13, 1999, 0:52
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.