A/N: This story was my first contribution for the Harry Potter "Daily Deviant" community at Insane Journal. Each month, authors and artists are assigned a list of kinks to choose from; from the February list, I chose "sexology: the study of sex; sexual education, counselling, information, etc."
I've always been fascinated by the late 19th-century western sexologists, the ones who first both formally identified (in a medical sense) and thoroughly pathologized same-sex sexual attraction. Harmful and reductive as the resulting categories were, they represented for many people the first public acknowledgement that if you loved a member of your own sex, you were not alone.
The title is adapted from Radclyffe Hall's classic story of "inversion," "Miss Ogilvy Finds Herself." The quotations from Muggle sexologists Havelock Ellis and Richard von Krafft-Ebing are from texts in the public domain. The quotation from wizard sexologist Oxwald Horwood-Ashe is included by kind permission of Kinsey and Hite, Publishers, Diagon Alley.
~ / ~ / ~
"Miss Grubbly-Plank Finds Herself"
By Kelly Chambliss
~ / ~ / ~
One of the first lessons learnt by a student of wizard sexual biology is that, compared to Muggles, wizards experience more intense physiological responses to sexual stimuli, particularly in terms of initial sexual impulse (attraction), and eventually, orgasmic expenditure. This intensity is thought by some to explain the higher incidence of homo-erotic interest among the wizarding population than among the Muggle, though systematic comparative studies have yet to be attempted.
- -Oxwald Horwood-Ashe, Sexualis Wizardiana, 1902
Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank had never been much for books. To be quiet and read when one could be out of doors and moving about, grabbing great lungs-full of fresh, cold air and wood-smoke and the sharp, life-filled smells of animals? To sit still with some namby-pamby story-book like the "little lady" her father wanted her to be, when she could be out in the fields with her grand-dad, tracking the unicorns and birthing the lambs?
Ta, but no. Those silly story-books were all the same, anyway - - the girls were always such twits, and if you did find a jolly, adventurous heroine, she always seemed to end up twisting her spine or hurting her legs and then spending half the book flat on her back learning to knit and be kind.
No, Will hadn't much use for such tales.
Yet over the years, there had been a story or two that she hadn't minded.
Like that Muggle book.
The summer before her last year at Hogwarts, she had spent two weeks visiting her father's sister. Will had envied this aunt, Muggle though she was, because, except for the lack of magic, she had a life that seemed to be everything Wilhelmina wanted for herself.
Aunt Edna was independent, and worked outdoors, and lived alone, and didn't seem to need the "nice man" that Wilhelmina's mother so often evoked. She had her own house and many friends, and she laughed a lot, but never at Will, not even when Will cut her hair man-short and made herself sick trying to learn to smoke a pipe.
It was while visiting this aunt that Will read the Muggle novel about a woman who was giving a party. It was what Auntie liked to do of an evening, have Will read to her, and so they'd taken up this Muggle book about the party.
The woman in the book was married, and she had chosen a husband who was safe and comfortable. But then - - and this is what made the story and the woman stay forever in Will's mind - - she had lived all sorts of other loves in her head, loves that were not always safe and comfortable. In her head, she had loved life, and she'd loved her daughter and the man she married and the man she didn't marry, and perhaps above all (at least as far as Will was concerned), she had loved another woman.
Will couldn't remember whether she and Auntie had actually finished the book in the fortnight of her visit, but there was one line from it that always stayed in her mind - - it was about how sometimes, when the main character looked at the other woman she loved, "she did undoubtedly then feel what men felt."
If men, when looking at women, felt a sudden tightening in their groin; if they felt that they wanted to know the sensation of a woman's lips on their own and wanted to feel a woman's soft breast in their hand; if they wanted to inhale the tantalizing musky scent that sometimes threatened to overwhelm Will in the Quidditch shower room, well, then, Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank did undoubtedly feel what men felt, too.
~ / ~ / ~
Among animals in a domesticated or confined state it is easy to find evidence of homosexual attraction, due merely to the absence of the other sex. . . It is probable, however, that cases of true sexual inversion - - in which gratification is preferably sought in the same sex - - may be found among animals. It has been found . . .among Belgian carrier-pigeons [that] inverted practices may occur, even in the presence of many of the other sex. This seems to be true inversion. . .The birds of this family appear to be specially liable to sexual perversion.
- -Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, 1896
Will was surprised the first time she learnt that some people saw same-sex attraction as unnatural. No one who had been around animals as much as she had could fail to have observed how frequently they had physical relations with members of their own sex. And whatever the animals did was natural, of course - - how could it be otherwise?
Anyway, what difference did it make? she wondered. It didn't interfere with anything important. Her grandfather's two male unicorns, for instance - - they had to be charmed into mating with the females. But once their reproductive duty was done, Grand-dad didn't care if they spent the rest of the year in each other's stalls. And the carrier-pigeons: just as good as owls, they were, in carrying messages, and so what did it matter if the males were mating with the males or females with the females, once their work was done?
But apparently it did make a difference to some people. Will didn't get it, but then, she always admitted that she didn't find people nearly as easy to understand as animals.
It was the girls in her Hufflepuff dormitory who first let her know that her lack of interest in acting like a proper lady was not something that upset only her father.
"Won't you let us try to curl your hair, Wilhelmina?" Margaret Midgen asked one night during their fourth year. "I've learnt a really good curling charm; you don't even need to twist your hair around your wand."
"My hair is too short," Will said, with truth. "And I'd look like a berk if I had curls in my hair." This, too, was true. "Why would I want to, anyway?"
"Well, boys like it," Gwethlyn Dubber said. "It's about time you started to care about that sort of thing. You can't be a tomboy forever, you know. You have to grow up. I mean, you're almost fifteen. And you have to think of House honour, too; we want Hufflepuff girls to be popular, not hulking wallflowers. Look at Margaret - - one of the Gryffindor boys has already asked her to walk to Hogsmeade with him, next visit weekend. "
Will had no objection to walking anywhere with boys; she enjoyed their company. But for the life of her, she couldn't see why she needed curly hair to do it.
~ / ~ / ~
Sexual inversion, as here understood, means sexual instinct turned by inborn constitutional abnormality toward persons of the same sex.
- -Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, 1896
Ten years later, she still enjoyed males' company, but despite her family's and some friends' attempts to interest her in suitable young men, she still had no desire to share anything more with them than camaraderie and a pipe and the occasional glass of whisky.
Women, now. . .well, that was a different story. When she saw certain women - - in fact, one woman in particular - - she was invariably reminded of Aunt Edna's Muggle novel, and the female character who looked at women and felt what men must feel.
The particular woman that Will liked to look at was Irma Pince.
It all happened back at Hogwarts. Will had returned to the school to do a year's animal-husbandry apprenticeship under Professor Kettleburn, and Irma was just starting her first term as the full-time librarian. They were by far the youngest people on the staff and fell into the habit of taking tea together in the staffroom, on those afternoons that they could spare the time.
WIll hadn't known Irma well when they'd been at school - - separate Houses and all - - but now she found that Irma was quite fun; she was witty and incisive and straight-forward and, like Will herself, unimpressed by pomp. And she had a lovely profile, not to mention those nicely-curved hips.
They were good colleagues, but Will hadn't realised that Irma considered her a friend until one Friday, when Irma tucked her arm into Will's as they walked toward the Great Hall and invited her to go into Hogsmeade after dinner for a drink.
Will's heart leapt, but she answered cautiously. She didn't want any misunderstandings. "I'd like to," she said, "but. . .well, if you're hoping to meet young men, Irma, you know, for. . .dates, or what-have-you, I'd just as soon stay home. I'm not interested in dates with young men."
"Of course not," said Irma. "You're an invert."
"An invert. Someone who prefers romantic attachments to their own sex."
"I. . . ." Will was dumfounded. Here was precisely why she normally preferred the company of animals to people; animals never said inexplicable things like this.
Yet at the same time, she was very much enjoying the closeness of Irma's body as they walked arm-in-arm, and at one point, she thought she might even have felt the brush of a soft breast. All in all, Will was in no hurry to exchange Irma for even a favourite Crup.
"Yes, you're a classic case of inversion, I'd say," Irma was going on. "I've read about it."
"Read about it? In. . .books? Wizard books?" Will knew she sounded idiotic, but it had never occurred to her that her own desires might be discussed in books. Well, except for the book she'd read at Aunt Edna's. But that was about Muggles.
"Yes, indeed, in wizard books," said Irma. "There's been quite a bit written about wizard sexology, in fact. Come to the library to see them sometime, if you're interested."
"There are books about sex in the Hogwarts library?"
Irma burst out laughing. "I take it you didn't spend much time there in your schooldays. There's a little hidden section of sex books in the far corner. Each student always thinks they're the only ones ever to have found them, and they sneak them to a table and charm the titles to read Transfiguration Made Easy or some such thing. I felt quite daring and unusual checking out those shelves when I was a fourth-year. But in fact, the books are quite popular; I see children looking at them all the time."
"So then am I the only person in wizarding Britain who doesn't know about these. . .inserts?"
"Inverts. Well, most of the books about inverts aren't in the circulating collection. They're in the Restricted Section."
"The Restrict - - you mean inverts are Dark wizards?"
"No, not at all. It's not just Dark magic that's housed in the Restricted Section, you know. Goodness, Wilhelmina, did you ever go the library at all?"
"Well, sometimes. But I was never much for books,"' Will muttered.
Irma laughed again; Will thought she looked quite deliciously impish when she did. "We keep all the potentially-exciting books in the Restricted Section," she said. "If you want to learn about alternative sexual practices or advanced magical pranks or how to make foolproof magical explosives, that information is restricted. Some of the books on explosives give you actual demonstrations if you don't use the proper spells to open them."
"Do the books on inverts give you demonstrations, too?"
The impish dimples deepened. "Come to the library and find out."
~ / ~ / ~
The masculine soul, heaving in the female bosom, finds pleasure in the pursuit of manly sports, and in manifestations of courage and bravado.
- -Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, 1886
In the end, they didn't go to Hogsmeade that night for a drink. Instead, Irma went to her room for a bottle of elf-made wine, and soon she and Will were seated in the dark quiet of the Restricted Section, a few candles hovering cozily about them, the only sounds the subdued muttering of some of the more vocal magical books. Well, that and the increasingly heavy sound of Will's breathing.
Irma had Summoned a number of books to their table, books that Will had never imagined could exist. Books with titles like Sexualis Wizardiana, Psychopathia Sexualis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female, Same-Sex Witchery, The Joy of Wizarding Inversion. They were books that talked about her, about the way she'd always felt, and they said things that were fascinating and mad and bad, infuriating, illuminating, laughable, amazing, and sometimes even true. Will couldn't stop reading them, not even the ones that tried to tell her she was unnatural.
She still couldn't get over it: apparently being attracted to one's own sex was not something restricted solely to animals, characters in Muggle novels, and one lone Hogwarts magical-creatures apprentice. Apparently Will wasn't the only witch who looked at other women and felt what men felt.
"Did you think you were? Honestly?" Irma asked. She was leaning over Will's shoulder, tapping pages with her wand, and there was no mistaking now the touch of her breasts on Will's back. "No, not at all. It's a very common situation among magical people."
"But I've never met anyone, well, quite like me," Will said.
"You mean someone so nicely manly and womanly all at once?" Irma said, and she let her hand drift from the book to Will's tweed-covered chest.
"The masculine soul, heaving in the female bosom" - - That's what one of those books said. Will wasn't sure if she had a "masculine soul," but she knew that there was very definitely something heaving in her female bosom. She had a sudden intense yearning to feel Irma's hands on her bare skin, and the only thing that kept her from summarily Vanishing the tweeds and her undershirt altogether was an obscure sense that such a move might be a tad precipitous as this stage.
"Do you want. . .?" she asked Irma and was surprised at how hoarse her voice had become, how dry her throat was. Her heart pounded in her chest, and she could say no more.
But Irma understood. "I do," she whispered, nuzzling the skin at the base of Will's ear. "Very much."
"You're not. . ."
Again Irma understood. "Not manly in the same way you are, no. But there are many different ways to be." And she gently turned Will's head and kissed her.
In its own way, this move was a glorious "manifestation of courage and bravado," and Will responded with enthusiasm.
In no time, it seemed, she and Irma were entwined on a small sofa in the corner, and the tweeds were heaped on the floor. Irma's robes had joined them, revealing a lovely garment the likes of which Will had never seen. Certainly the girls in her dormitory hadn't worn anything to compare to Irma's. . .she wasn't sure what to call it. It was like a little playsuit, made of pale-blue satin and lace.
Will had never worn satin, but she had to admit that it felt wonderful when she smoothed it down over Irma's hips, those nicely-curved hips that looked even better when uncovered.
She didn't know how long they lay there, kissing and exploring, Irma's hands soft and then perfectly not-soft on Will's breasts, Irma's chest deliciously rising against Will's as they kissed, Irma showing Will yet another kind of satiny softness, the kind that her thighs opened to reveal.
Will was soon stroking and thrusting and marveling at the idea that Irma, slight as she was, could expand to take in a finger, two, three. She must have used a charm, Will decided hazily.
"Now I definitely know what a man feels," she thought, and was unaware that she'd spoken aloud until Irma said, "Would you like to really feel it? Would you like to fuck me?"
Will's cheeks burned so hot that she wouldn't have been surprised to see smoke come from her ears, as if she'd had a dose of pepper-up. The sound of that word on Irma's lips. . . Will thought she might expire on the spot.
"I. . ." she croaked, and then swallowed and tried again. "Is it possible? How?"
In answer, Irma took her hand and led her back to the library table. "Like this," she said, and levitated one of the sex books to float open in front of them. It was one they hadn't looked at yet, The Joy of Wizarding Inversion, and as Will watched, the pages expanded to show a picture of a very odd contraption indeed. The image circled slowly, giving a view of front, back, side. It was a leather harness, with a thick rod of some sort attached. . . Merlin! could that be a rubber. . .penis?
It looked vaguely like a thestral's, so could it be - - was that what a man looked like? A human man?
Irma, meanwhile, had been whispering a spell. "Here," she said finally, and handed Will the exact article pictured in the book. "It's a dildo."
Will turned the unfamiliar word over in her mind as she turned over the object. The leather was soft, supple, and then there was the. . .dildo. It was ridged and thick and, well, purple, and as Will touched it, it grew warm in her hand, like skin. She squeezed it gently and felt an answering throb in her own body.
"Put it on," said Irma, nodding toward the book. And on the open pages there suddenly appeared an image of Will herself, looking just as she did at that moment, her undershirt pulled down to reveal her breasts, her shorts (which she was as yet too shy to remove) crumpled, her sturdy legs bare.
As she watched, the image of herself strapped on the harness, its buckles tightening magically to fit the woman on the page.
"Do it," Irma urged, and Will did.
No sooner did she adjust the dildo to her body than it felt like a part of her, like a part she'd always had. But before she could quite get used to the notion of it, Irma was in front of her, Summoning a cushion from the sofa and laying it on the table, bending herself forward over the edge.
Now Irma's image had shown up on the book page, too, and Will could see her face, her eyes half-closed, could see her breasts pressed gleaming against the dark wood. And she could also see the back of her, her body spread open invitingly before Will's eyes, her smooth arse begging to be touched.
"Are you sure? Here?" she asked, trying to give Irma one last chance to say it was all impossible, it couldn't happen, but Irma nodded.
"Oh, yes, here," she said, rather breathlessly. "I've always wanted to. . .in the library. . ."
Will stepped forward, and the book showed her what to do, showed her how to slide her dildo - - herself - - into Irma's welcoming wetness, how to thrust deeply, how to take Irma's breasts in her hands.
The book showed her, but she really needed no tuition, for her body took over, doing its own showing.
In far, far too short a time, the combination of watching and experiencing sent Will spiraling into pleasure, into the indescribable feeling of orgasm in two places, in the dildo and in her own core, and she was howling aloud, her manly soul and female bosom joining in a single sensation more intense than anything she could have imagined.
An endless moment later, she slumped forward over Irma, and her book image did the same. Irma's face smiled back at her. "Watch," she whispered, and Will did, as the book showed her now how to use her hand to bring Irma to orgasm, too. Only when they were both sated, their breathing returning to normal, the sweat cooling nicely on their skin, did the pages fade to blankness.
~/ ~ / ~
"You see?" Irma said later, as, clothed once more, they sat on the sofa holding glasses of elf wine, Irma tucked tidily into Will's embrace. "There's something to be said for books after all."
"Aye," Will agreed. "We could write one of our own. Sexualis Invertis Hogwartis."
"It would take a lot of research," Irma said solemnly.
Will nodded, equally solemn. "Yes, it would. A systematic study into orgasmic expenditure."
Irma laughed, and Will touched her lips to the soft cheek so close to her own.
She wasn't sure, any longer, if she knew what men felt, or what women felt.
But she knew what Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank felt. She felt damned good.