Sodomy (the term)

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by AlbertCunning, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. AlbertCunning

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    I just saw another thread called 'Pitbull sodomizes toddler', and was reminded that the term 'sodomy' has different meanings around the world.

    Well, in almost all countries it just means 'anal-sex'; but in German, Norwegian and Polish(I think) it actually means the act the English-speaking refers to as zoophilia(or beastiality).
    This, of course, makes the aforementioned thread quite interesting in mere linguistic terms as well, but I found it a bit wiser to create a completely new thread for this one.

    I have pondered lately as to why this difference in meaning has occurred.

    My idea, which(perhaps unfairly) is based on watching too much German porn, is that the Germans would have been reluctant to link an act as, for them, normal as anal-sex(in German porn, anal-sex tends to be the norm, rather than the exception, even in straight porn) to the biblical (and sinful) occurrances of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Germans, please be offended by this, but I'd appreciate if you'd give me a more likely explanation as well -- perhaps even a truthful one?

    On a side note, perhaps the act of zoophilia would be even more frowned upon in Germany than elsewhere because of this?
    The Germans were, after all, no less religious than most other Europeans.

    Norway was greatly influenced by the Germans in the 14th to 18th century, because of the Hanseatic trade; and although I doubt anal-sex played a substantial role in this trade(as this is before the oil, the trade would naturally have more to do with fish), it seems very likely that we inherited the word's definition from them(rather than the other way around -- we were, after all, almost extinct after the plague hit us in the mid-14th century).

    Although, having said this -- if I were to ask Norwegians what the word 'sodomi' means, I think most would answer anal-sex.
    We have, after all, been significantly influenced by anglo-American culture the last 50 years, far more so than German(quite understandably), so it wouldn't seem that strange if we were to assimilate the English definition.

    Aber, was denken sie?
     
  2. kalipygian

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    There is nothing in the old testament story to support the view that it referred to anal or necessarily gay sex, that was not the origonal ancient interpretation, it came about in the medeival period. It is taken by modern creditable educated theologians to refer to the sin of inhospitality.
    It has been used in law in recent centuries to criminalize a variety of sexual acts, other than what is necessary for procreation, even between husband and wife. It does not have a precise meaning.
    It has been used for centuries to persecute gay people, I object to it's being used, for example, in a newspaper headline. That is inflammatory.
     
  3. AlbertCunning

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    The question remains why the Germans chose a different interpretation.

    Of course, this is not the only example where they've decided to be different.

    In music, the note B is called H; whereas Bb(B-flat) is called B.

    Again, this is something we Scandinavians share with our German-speaking friends.
    Confusing, to say the least...
     
  4. dong20

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    Paragraph 175 was adopted in 1871. Beginning in the 1890s, sexual reformers fought against the "disgraceful paragraph," and soon won the support of August Bebel, head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). But a petition in the Reichstag to abolish Paragraph 175 foundered in 1898. In 1907, a Reichstag Committee decided to broaden the paragraph to make lesbian sexual acts punishable as well, but that legislation languished for ten years and was finally dropped in 1917.

    In 1929, another Reichstag Committee decided to repeal Paragraph 175 with the votes of the Social Democrats, the Communist Party (KPD) and the German Democratic Party (DDP); however, the rise of the Nazi Party prevented the implementation of the repeal. Although modified at various times, the paragraph remained part of German law until 1994.

    In 1935, the Nazis broadened the law so that the courts could pursue any "lewd act" whatsoever, even one involving no physical contact, such as masturbating next to each other. Convictions multiplied by a factor of ten to about 8,000 per year. Furthermore, the Gestapo could transport suspected offenders to concentration camps without any legal justification at all (even if they had been acquitted or already served their sentence in jail). Thus, between 5,000 and 15,000 homosexual men were forced into concentration camps, where they were identified by the pink triangle. The majority of them died there.

    While the Nazi persecution of homosexuals is reasonably well-known today, far less attention had been given to the continuation of this persecution in post-war Germany. In 1945, when concentration camps were liberated, homosexual prisoners were not freed but were instead made to serve out their sentence under Paragraph 175. In 1950, East Germany abolished Nazi amendments to Paragraph 175, whereas West Germany kept them and even had them confirmed by its Constitutional Court. About 100,000 men were implicated in legal proceedings from 1945 to 1969, and about 50,000 were convicted (if they had not committed suicide before, as many did).

    In 1969, the government eased Paragraph 175 to an age of consent of 21. It was lowered to 18 in 1973, and finally the paragraph was repealed and the age of consent lowered to 14, the same that is in force for heterosexual acts, in 1994. East Germany had already reformed its more lenient version of the paragraph in 1968, and repealed it in 1988.

    <...>

    Version of May 15, 1871
    &#167; 175 Unnatural fornication
    Unnatural fornication, whether between persons of the male sex or of humans with beasts, is to be punished by imprisonment; a sentence of loss of civil rights may also be passed.



    For more see Paragraph 175 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I don't normally rely on Wikipedia but this seems OK.

    This is interesting too, in a broader perspective.

    yax-350 the map's tale - history of sodomy law
     
  5. earllogjam

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    I was Gomorrahed yesterday. And it hurt!

    Why was one city favored for the term and not the other?
     
  6. AlbertCunning

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    In Norwegian, the pronunciation of Gomorrah(which is the same as in English) is the same as a slanged up version of 'good morning'('go' morra'; 'god morgen!' is the correct way to greet your fellow man, however).

    It may not explain much, as Norwegian is only spoken by just over 4 million people.
     
  7. D_Bob_Crotchitch

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    Awww here put this kermit the frog bandaid on it.
     
  8. AlbertCunning

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    It seems that sodomy/sodomie used to have the same meaning in both English and German; that is basically any sexual act not with the purpose of procreation.

    But somewhere along the line, the Germans chose not to include anal sex(or oral sex for that matter) in the definition, but only sexual contact between man and animal.
    While in English it more or less has become synonymous to anal sex.

    This false friend still puzzles me somewhat.
     
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