On Boys and Boy-lovers; Jan 01 1997
|Type of Work||Essay|
Amidst the near-holocaust proportion of anti-pedophile hysteria, a number of facts about man-boy love have been ignored.
Consensual sexually expressed friendships between boys and men exist. Age of consent laws and prosecutorial attitudes treat all man-boy contacts as abuse although there is no justification to do so. True pedophile desire is built around the boy's pleasure.
Prohibition of all pedophile acts is unjust and implies the persecution of a minority. Even worse than the hatred expressed towards boylovers is the complete ignorance of the positive aspects of sexually expressed friendships between boys and men.
Religious 'sexual morality' commonly opposed to boylove, as highly questionable as it is on a scholarly basis, cannot be legislated by the state. Current laws violate boys' rights to sexual self-determination. Lawmakers should remove age of consent laws and vigilantly prevent intervention into voluntary relationships.
Many boys possess very natural 'expressed needs' for sexual attention from a person of their own choosing: an adult male friend who instills trust, courage, love and affection through the intimate sexual friendship, a friend who treats the boy as an equal and in doing so boosts the boy's feeling of self-esteem and self-worth.
- The perspective of a loving boy
- Common misconceptions about the 'boy-lover' (i.e. pedophile)
- Positive relationships
- Lasting benefits
- Troublesome mistakes: Fears, misguided morality and self-denial
- Troublesome mistakes: Confusion with abuse and incest
- Troublesome mistakes: Reactionary issues, the media and sensationalism
- Troublesome mistakes: The law's reactions
- Legality and a new moral law
- Supplemental reading
Our experiences as human beings are diverse and complex. To those who have never encountered the phenomenon of pedophilia, more correctly called pederasty, a definition is in order: the word pederasty is derived from Classical Greek words meaning "boylover" *1.
- (*1) "The Ancient Greek practice of boy-love was known as paiderastia, not paidophilia. Paidophilia as a term for boy-love was coined very late by Greek poets as a substitute for paiderastia because of where the accent fell in the given term for boy-love. Paiderastis simply didn't fit the metre the poets used." Corydon, (1997). Paiderastia. Available May 1997, http://www.fpc.net/main/pages/paiderastia
For our discussion purposes, we will take pedophilia to mean emotional, spiritual, and sexual attraction to boys by young adult or adult males. Other forms of adult-child sex are not relevant here *2.
- (*2) Women with similar feelings for boys or girls do not surface frequently (Sandfort 1987, p31). One explanation has been that the difference between girls and women is much less than the difference between men and boys (Brunoz 1960, p28, 33; Paidika Women's Issue). The traits of a boy which are attractive to a pedophile are not present in adult males, but traits of women are present in young females. Adult male contacts with girls are therefore considered more a variant of heterosexuality and not pedophilia.
This separation has been discussed elsewhere in the literature (see Brongersma 1991, p. 151). It is usually only associated with erotic attractions, but this is not fully representative of reality (Jones 1991, p275). As we will see, "boy-love" is more complex.The reader should ask: "Why should I read this?"
There is a good probability that all parents of two or more boys, all teachers and all youth leaders are responsible for dealing with boys who are involved insexually expressed friendships with men (Brongersma 1986, p 15).
It is also a probability that every person knows at least one boylover (Brongersma 1986, p 117-118). The boys involved in them perceive their pedophile friendships to be very important to them (Sandfort 1987, p 61; Brongersma 1986, p 16).
The nature of these relationships has been suppressed and neglected (Sandfort, Brongersma, and van Naerssen 1991, p 6). Contacts between pedophiles and boys are mistakenly assumed always to be negative. Lawmakers must accordingly give the issue of its decriminalization due attention.
Society has taken a negative view on boy-love which is not based on established evidence. Perhaps the first matter of business is to ask the reader to approach these words with an open mind. Every human being realizes that some realities can be hard to face, and this topic is no exception. This is intended to be a well-reasoned argument for why a look at real facts may change our minds.
There are many difficulties regarding effective and timely communication of badly needed information. In any emotionally charged topic, the inadequate education of the public presents a danger. There is great risk among those who are not properly informed and educated that they will make presumptions based on their worst fears.
Human imagination tends to exercise itself in this absence of information, and eventually pre-conceived notions form. After this formation, properly presented and correct information is of little use. Reactions become violent and hostile. Therefore, great effort must be made to properly educate lawmakers early in this process, and to inform them thoroughly. The topic of man-boy love is no exception to this phenomenon.
This is in no way a definitive study of the issue of man-boy love, but is intended to present information in a logical way, as a jumping-off point to the listed references. An effort has been made to avoid making errors in the process of over-simplifying some of the issues presented here.
Lawmakers must reconcile the point of view of a boy whose 'boy-love' *3 relationship
- (i.e. an intimate friendship with an adult male in which sexual contact takes place, enjoyed either by both partners or only by the boy)
is very important to him with the archaic legal code and with the unsubstantiated, all-too-often out of touch views of society which reinforce the laws prohibiting them.
- (*3) The use of the term "boy-lover" in English probably dates from Edward Perry Warren's A Defense of Uranian Love (1928), in which part one was entitled "The Boy-Lover". "The Boy-Lover" has been printed in edited excerpts in Paidika Volume 1 Number 4 (1988), Amsterdam.
The positive nature of pederastic relationships should be publicly understood and admitted, and the current age-of-consent legislation which generally makes such contacts illegal should be abolished.
The most commonly ignored information in 'scientific' literature, in legal code, and in the minds of many people is that there are consensual sexually-expressed friendships between men and boys, and that these relationships can be beneficial to the boy rather than harmful.
The muddled argument by those opposed, that "the boy cannot give willing consent" has been negated, and it can be shown that the most appropriate solution is to abolish the age limit. Any restriction would cruelly deny and endanger many boys who have "expressed needs" for their friendships, including the sexual aspect. These relationships are also developmentally appropriate for boys, and can be perpetuated, if not initiated by the boys themselves.
In legal code, in 'scientific' literature, and in the minds of many people, pedophilia is seen as a perversion or mental illness. This has not been shown to be true.
Furthermore, not all sexual activity between adults and children is appropriately labeled pedophilia. The motives of the adults partly determines whether the involvements will be abusive. The motives of the pedophile must be clearly understood and differentiated from the motives behind substitutive pedosexual involvements.
'Abuse' is not inherently linked with pedophilia any more than it is with heterophilia, yet some writers have made the troublesome mistake of saying that pedophilia implies abuse. Sexually expressed friendships between men and boys are not different from any other forms of erotic bonding between humans and have existed across cultures in different forms.
However, the "age of consent" legislation prohibits these relationships. In America, man-boy sexual contacts are generally illegal, although "age of consent" laws vary by state.
- In Massachusetts the legal age of consent for a sexual relationship is 18 years of age.
- In many states it is younger, as young as 14 in some, and 16 generally (Pinkboard 1997a).
- In many European countries it is younger, i.e. 13 in Spain and 14 in Canada (Pinkboard 1997b).
Furthermore, pedophiles are subject to preferential mistreatment. Man-boy contacts are seen as "abuse" regardless of actual circumstances.
Because sexually expressed friendships between boys and men are often positive, the law should allow them to take place. Lawmakers must read about these friendships if they are to become fully informed *4.
- (*4) See Supplemental Reading for a short list of recommended articles and books.
There should be no preferential mistreatment of pedophiles in society. People in positions of power over boys need to be aware of the positive aspects of these friendships.
The perspective of a loving boy
The boy's need for the friendship is this: to be loved by someone older, someone who treats him like an equal despite the age difference, someone who is willing to take him and his most personal feelings seriously in a world which ignores him.
The intimacy and love can give the boy an affirmation of his own self-worth, an enormous boost to his self-esteem (Sandfort 1987, p 51-62) - especially if he looks up to his older friend. This sense of reassurance is particularly valuable to adolescent boys.
During adolescence, boys shake off parental control and try to exercise their independence from parents (Brongersma 1991, p 162). Meanwhile they undergo great hormonal changes which bring them to a new level of existence - a change accompanied by doubts and confusion. A boy's quick maturation doesn't permit him to do without protection and guidance, but he can no longer accept that protection exclusively from his parents (Brongersma 1991, p 162).
In addition, affection may take on a strongly erotic character. This may cause the boy to be naturally repellent to any affection shown by parents *5.
- (*5) The affection shown by parents may itself be erotic. Parents frequently have erotic feelings for their children (Brongersma 1990, p 48).
Protection and guidance must come from someone else, someone whom the boy can trust and even make go away the moment it may become a burden (Brongersma 1991, p 162). This is the role the boylover wishes to have in the life of a boy (Brongersma 1991, p 162). Perhaps it is no accident that boys can possess great physical beauty - as an incentive for someone to love them when love is needed.
It can mean a lot for a boy to receive love from a firm yet tender older male. The need for tenderness from an older male is not necessarily an expression of homosexuality; the boy rarely has a conscious dominating preference for adult males. Sandfort said,
- "There are no grounds for calling the children involved 'gerontophile', in the sense that attraction to older persons plays a central role in their emotional lives" (Sandfort 1987, p 33).
The boy's motivations involve other sexual and non-sexual aspects (Sandfort 1987, p 33).
The concept of how a boy may easily enjoy sex with a man without having a preference for men and may later switch to girls may baffle some readers, but to show how one can relate to this is difficult. The boys involved may have a concrete grasp of this concept, so one must read the words of the boys themselves to see that this concept is not a stumbling block for some of them in the least.
Theo (13), who was interviewed in the research of Sandfort (1987) anticipated a transition ahead after which he would switch to girls (Sandfort 1987, p155). It is estimated that nine out of ten boys in pedophile friendships gradually switch to girls (Brongersma 1990, p161).
The objection raised that the boy will be "turned into" a homophile is unfounded (Brongersma 1990, p 27-30; Brunoz 1960, p 41-46), if not strangely negative towards androphile homosexual love.
Schmidt (1991) observes that some boys are
- "emotionally deprived, deeply lonely, socially isolated children who seek, as it were, a refuge in the adult's love and for whom, because of their misery, see it as a stroke of luck to have found such an 'enormously nurturant relationship'" (Schmidt 1991, p 4).
This type of relationship is not what the 'age of consent' law attempts to prevent. One must put himself in the shoes of a boy whose older friend has gone to prison for giving him this kind of love. Society is to blame for the suffering that results, although correspondences with boy-lovers have indicated that the boy may blame himself when in this situation. To that boy, the world must seem altogether cruel.
Sometimes the sexual contact that takes place is not perceived by the younger to be 'sex', but simply having 'fun' or just showing 'love.' Nate (14) wrote to his older friend whom he approached for sexual attention,
"Every minute I spend without you ... is like when someone puts their hand over your face and you can't breathe" *8 (from archives).
- (*8) These passages have been selected from ninety-two personal letters of 'Nate' written at the ages of fourteen through seventeen to an adult male with whom he had a loving, intimate friendship. Letters and diaries as sources record a boy's feelings in a way most research cannot hope to do. They are printed here by permission of their author. From reading these sensitive documents, the author observes that he gets a more beautiful, untainted picture of a friendship than from anywhere else.
He stated that "warmth" and "affection" were very important to him. However, affectionate contact may not necessarily characterize all man/boy relationships (Brongersma 1986).
Conversations with boy-lovers and men who had pedophile friendships as boys show that boys possess far stronger feelings of love than adults acknowledge. As the value of the friendship to the boy becomes evident, the prohibition of the boy's rights to be loved by whom he wishes will be seriously questioned for its validity. To state simply that the age-of-consent legislation is a violation of a boy's rights is not strong enough.
Several persons, including Finkelhor (1991), have doubted the intentions of advocacy to repeal boy-love prohibition, because of their unawareness of the boy's feelings.
Perhaps one example would illuminate the how strongly a boy can desire a pedophile friendship. Examination of ninety-two letters *8 [see just here above] of one boy, Nate, to his older friend indicates a strong need for the relationship. The letters do not explicitly mention sexual contact, but Nate's ultimate desired expression of affection was being masturbated by his older friend. Such contacts took place in the beginning of the friendship, but soon ended; his older friend was not a pedophile and turned away his expressed need for love.
In many instances, sexual relations are sought out by the boys - a countless number of the 620 testimonials and quotes in Dr. Edward Brongersma's Loving Boys demonstrate. Boys can be the seducers (Brongersma 1986, p 271-281). The effects on a boy turned away serve to indicate the depth of the boy's need - the disappointment of being near the fulfillment of that need yet turned away can be severe (Brongersma 1986; 1990, p 258).
The existence of cases like Nate's and others, though, does undermine the supposition that condemnation can be made by adults suspicious of pedophile behavior; the boy's feelings, most commonly not admitted, should disqualify any blanket prohibition of pedophile friendships, as the prohibition is a restriction of the boy's rights as well as the pedophile's.
There have been no grounds to conclude that boys who seek pedophile friendships have 'problems' - Sandfort confirmed this and discussed the issue of the home environments of involved boys (Sandfort 1987, p 38, p 56-58). The reasons for enjoying a pedophile friendship, when examined, are quite normal.
The upholders of the law against man-boy love have never been able to provide a boy in need of a pedophile friendship with an explanation of why he cannot pursue one legally.
In Nate's case, the lack of a pedophile friendship led to a nervous breakdown. It is unlikely, though, that the seriousness of some cases like his will be widely recognized and prevented by finding a compatible self-accepting pedophile for every boy like Nate.
Including a factual discussion about pedophile friendships in school sexual education texts might help. Several of the boys studied by Sandfort (1987) knew about pedophiles and were able to approach known pedophiles on their own to initiate a friendship. Such ideal conditions are hardly widespread.
There is no evidence that the law prevents loving, erotic relationships from taking place between boys and men, but the burden of exposure to prosecution of relationships which take place in spite of the law has shown itself to be tragic.
The author has known of cases in which loving boys have been separated from their older friends, generally by the older partner taking the 'blame' and facing prison sentencing. The relationship may break up and the exposure of the boy's sensitive feelings to police and family may cause him to accept society's condemning views of his friend to ease the pain.
There exists no force in government to protect boys in loving relationships with men from this intervention and harm. This lack is appalling for a society which seems on the surface to be concerned with the well-being of boys.
The value of the friendship in the heart of the boy is frequently belittled - this fact cannot be overstated.
American law enforcement hasn't been able to explain boys loving men from a criminological point of view but has made imaginative postulations based on the unrelated phenomenon of Satanic ritual abuse, among other things (Davis, 1994).
Research into pedophilia has been seized by the FBI (Jones 1991, p 283). Discouragement of research has been committed within the profession as well, a "surprising conscious abandonment of scientific integrity" (Jones 1991, p 283; Sonenschein 1987, p 412), thwarting further the removal of laws which violate boys' rights.
This abandonment is a "moral" condemnation of pedophiles on the part of the researchers and the state, but the rights of a boy to be loved by whom he wishes are conspicuously denied. To boys who have done nothing except to show that they want to be loved, this evasion of reality is outrageous. A world of adults perpetrates this denial on these boys.
Common misconceptions about the 'boy-lover' (i.e. pedophile)
Some common misconceptions exist about the personality of the boy-lover. Some psychiatrists proclaim pedophilia to be a mental illness
- (Sandfort 1988, p28; see American Psychiatric Association 1994, p528).
One boy-lover states that this is as misguided as calling Galileo demon-inspired for saying that the sun, not the earth, is the center of the solar system; but sadly, people did so. The application of such negative connotations to pedophiles has never been honestly tested (Brongersma 1986, p 102-108). In recent history, society viewed homophiles as sexual monsters lacking all self-control in the same way that society views pedophiles today.
A boy-lover feels intense emotional and spiritual love for boys, and may feel sexual attraction to greater or lesser degrees. He feels longings to experience physical affection and a close friendship with boys. For most boy-lovers, the sexual aspect is present but not of utmost importance. Boy-lovers can behave strikingly gently with boys, showing utmost tenderness and care for their feelings. The boy-lover's greatest pleasure is derived by watching his friend's enjoyment, especially watching his body in orgasm (Brongersma 1986, p113).
Sometimes the pedophile may feel as if he is giving his boyfriend what he himself wanted as a boy. Sometimes this creates a very strong emotional and spiritual bond between partners of a sort that is highly unique to pedophile friendships. On average, boy-lovers show more concern for the feelings of their partners than any other people
- (see Brongersma, Califia, Blake, Saint-Ours, Davidson, Eglinton, Reeves and Jouhandeau in Brongersma 1986, p 112-113).
Sonenschein (1987, p 413) remarks that prosecutors and police use the phrase "predisposed to crime" in their "forensic inventory" of pedophiles. The typical assumption made by non-pedophiles is that the ultimate acting-out of pedophilic desire is rape; this is not only unsubstantiated and opposite from true pedophilic desire, but is, as a sweeping generalization, unscientific. This assumption also denies any existence of consensual contacts and ubiquitously labels all contacts inappropriately as "crime" - this despite the fact that in some parts of the world consensual man-boy sex is not considered a crime in the legal sense.
By the same 'logic', all other forms of love should be labeled "crime" as well. There can be no stereotyping of 'the pedophile' (Sandfort 1987, p 32 and 1988 p 29; Brongersma 1986, p 108), and Brongersma (1991) notes that samples of pedophiles are usually drawn from pedophile organizations. A high proportion of boy-lovers who are 'out' and participating in reform movements have previously encountered police intervention (Brongersma 1991, p 150-151). Despite the biased samples of men who are more likely to distrust authority, the picture of self-accepting boy-lovers often painted in the informed literature is remarkably positive in contrast to the common stereotype.
There have been many famous boylovers, including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Britten, Walt Whitman, Horatio Alger, Lord Byron, Shakespeare, James M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan), Allan Ginsburg, and Goethe to name a few *6.
- (*6) An expanded list of famous boylovers: Michelangelo (Brongersma 1990, p 204), Leonardo da Vinci (Brongersma 1990, p 204), Ludwig van Beethoven (Lohauser 1977, Brongersma 1990, p 161), Benjamin Britten (Mitchell and Reed 1991, Carpenter 1992), Walt Whitman, Horatio Alger, Lord Byron (Crompton 1985, Thorstad 1991 p 268), Shakespeare, James M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan) (Brongersma 1990, p 156), Allan Ginsburg, Goethe (Brongersma 1986, 1990), Lord Baden Powell (founder of the Boy Scouts), the Roman Emperor Hadrian, Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato, Greek poets Anacreon, Alcaeus, Meleager, Strato; William S. Burroughs, W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Peter Tchaikovsky.
There are numerous literary examples of boy-love, including Book 12 of the Greek Anthology and other Archaic Greek and Roman poetry, medieval Christian poetry, Hebrew poetry and Arabic poetry to mention only a few. In some societies, sex between boys and men was expected (Brongersma 1991, p 147). So apparently, sexual arousal over boys is quite possibly a normal capability of every man (Sandfort 1988, p 29; Brongersma 1991, p 148).
- "The diversity of sexual behavior in a cross-cultural perspective is amazing to those who assume that their own society's moral standards are somehow laws of nature.(...) Although [man-boy relationships] are roundly condemned by many segments of Western society as inherently abusive and exploitative, there have been (and still are) many societies that do not share this viewpoint." (Bauserman 1989, p28)
The origins of boy-love will probably always be a mystery (Brongersma 1986, p 115-117; Sandfort 1988, p 29) although there have been attempts at explanations of its causes. The same situation holds for other orientations: the unsuccessful research which tried to find a genetic cause for homosexuality may have been intended to find out how to "rid" society of homosexuals. Boy-lovers who have achieved self-acceptance do not wish their love to be oriented in any other way (Sandfort 1988, p 29). Rational and well-reasoned arguments have been presented which show that boy-love is no different from any other form of erotic bonding between humans (Brongersma 1986).
So-called "pathological cases" and cases involving abuse can be found among pedophiles, although rare
- (Brongersma 1986, p 108; Sandfort 1988 p 29; Kincaid 1992, p 207-208).
But more acts of sexual aggression and domination are to be had from parents, other peers, and other heterosexuals including pseudo-pedophiles (Brongersma 1986, p 67-73) than from pedophiles (Brongersma 1986, p 93; 1991, p 153) - this despite the fact that most pedophiles do not have access to a legitimate expression of their desires, a situation that would tend to make them more detached from society. Therefore, any negative views about pedophiles in general should simply be characterized as ignorant and hypocritical.
So-called aversion therapy has widely attempted to change pedophiles' orientation without a single reported 'success' (Brongersma 1986, p 138-142), but a new approach has been suggested (Sandfort 1988) which focuses on studying the pedophile identity in light of the realization that to be a pedophile is 'okay'. Many boy-lovers struggling to find self-acceptance feel they must legitimize their feelings towards society and towards themselves (Sandfort, Brongersma, van Naerrsen 1991, p 6). Underwager pointed out society's misconception:
- "What appears to the public is not the picture of a loving man but rather the picture of the dirty old man lurking in alleys, waiting for nice innocent young lads to come by" (Underwager and Wakefield 1993, p 5).
Boys have very natural "expressed needs" for a loving relationship with an older male in which erotic contact takes place (Brongersma 1986, p 273).
- [* See also "Positive Memories", 2011 - Ipce]
There are a host of commonly conceived negative aspects of pedophile relationships. These are discussed below in a limited sense, with references to writings which delve further into the issues. The discussion shows that it is unjust to prohibit pedophile relationships.
The most striking evidence of positively experienced man/boy relationships publicly available is in the research of Theo Sandfort, as published in his 1987 book "Boys on their Contacts with Men: a Study of Sexually Expressed Friendships" *7.
- (*7) This book is a summary of Sandfort's 1982 report, The Sexual Aspect of Pedophile Relations, with emphasis on the words of the boys themselves rather than on the scientific methodology.
The investigations were done in connection with the [State - no] University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where the social and political climate is more conducive to objective discussion than here in America.
In the investigation, Sandfort studied the experiential world of twenty-five Dutch boys aged 10-16 involved in sexual relationships with pedophile men. The question Sandfort posed when beginning his investigation was whether some boys in some pedosexual relationships could experience their sexual contacts positively.
Interviews were conducted using the 'Self-Confrontation Method', a method which aims to comprehensively describe the subject's experiential world. The answer was yes; an emphatic yes, all in the words of the boys themselves.
The reader may wonder what exactly happens in pedophile friendships. All of these types of details are discussed in Sandfort's book. Circumstances vary, but partners spend time together, learning about things, sharing hobbies and common interests, talking about whatever problems the boy might be having at school or at home, etc.; their relationship may become sexual as showing love and close physical contact becomes desired or just happens unexpectedly, usually by exchanging signals of some sort.
Among the other important information included in Sandfort's book was how partners began their friendships, what the boys thought about them, how the boys felt in connection with the opinions of others, what sexual acts occurred in these friendships, and what were the issues of power difference. The older partner is frequently assumed to dominate the boy, but power turns out to be more complex, sometimes dominated by the younger (Brongersma 1991, p165-167).
The boys had a sense of freedom and support (Sandfort 1987, p 134). The sexual aspect of the relationship was "self-evidently" pleasurable to the boys (Sandfort 1987, p 79). The most common forms of sexual contact that occurred were mutual masturbation and the man performing fellatio on the boy. Sandfort speaks in detail about the sexual contacts:
- "...it seemed that wherever there was a lack of reciprocity in the sexual contact, the man always did more for the boy than he himself really wanted. Whenever the boy masturbated the man to orgasm, the man always did the same to the boy. In oral-genital contacts, the man always took into his mouth the penis of the boy, although the other way around occurred less often. Of the 21 boys who had oral-genital experiences, 13 of them ejaculated into the mouths of the men. None of the men ejaculated into the mouths of the boys; some even said they didn't want to." (Sandfort 1987, p 71)
Sandfort also observes the pattern of the boys determining what sexual contact will take place and how the men may avoid confronting the boy with their own "adult sexuality." He also offers reasons for why this is inherent in pedophile relationships:
This tendency of pedophiles to leave the boy free to make such determinations has been suggested in other investigations (Straver 1976, Sandfort 1979). Therein we can read that it is he who decides what is going to happen in a sexual contact, that his wishes are respected and it is he who decides how far he and his partner are going to go.
When Brongersma (Over pedofielen en 'kinderlokkers', 1975) writes that an important element of the man's sexual enjoyment is the lust which the boy experiences, this restraint on the part of the older partner is more understandable. (Sandfort 1987, p72)
Sandfort's discussion includes eye-opening information on how crude power abuse did not occur in the relationships, given the considerateness of both partners.
- "Kees (15) went on to say about his sexual contact with Max (57): 'What's important to me is that Max never insists that we have to do something: he always lets me decide. If he has some special desire he asks me if I want to do it too, and if I don't for some reason, he says "okay", that's fine by him. And if I do want to do it we go ahead'." (Sandfort 1987, p95)
There is a noticeable absence of the negative aspects commonly proclaimed to exist such as
- "the boy will be harmed,"
- "the boy will be turned into a homophile,"
- "the partners are so unequal," and
- "the boy is not old enough to give consent."
From the boy's point of view, these issues do not even arise. In fact, the unpleasant things mentioned by the boys were insignificant. About the unpleasant sides, Theo (13) said of his older friend, "he shaves and he prickles so bad" (Sandfort 1987, p82).
Also, social disapproval seemed not to be of the slightest importance to the boys.
A few researchers in reactionary mode have sought to discredit Sandfort's work. As discussed by Bauserman (1991), criticisms have been elicited by
- Finkelhor (1991),
- Mrazek (1985, 1991), and
- Masters, Johnson and Kolodny (editors of the textbook Human Sexuality),
but many people are quite aware that relationships beneficial to both partners do exist everywhere in the world and have throughout all periods of history. Society does not seem to acknowledge the positive aspects of pedophile friendships (Brongersma 1991, p 163).
Schmidt says of the question of what constitutes 'consent,' "That is a typical American question" (Schmidt 1989, p6). About the position taken by lawmakers and police, that the boy in a nurturing relationship can no longer say 'no' to the man's sexual advances, Schmidt says in the Paidika interview:
- "That is not my opinion. (...) what is happening between partners in a sexual relationship is so emotional and so difficult, the relationship has complications and conflicts that are so complex that you cannot march in with legal thinking and make things clear" (Schmidt 1989, p6).
Some researchers think that the question of age should not be considered at all (Schmidt 1989, p 7). Brunoz (1960, p 49) states that
- "most boys, particularly younger ones, find it fascinating to observe an adult's sexual activities".
Apparently Ben (10), a subject of Sandfort, was easy-going about sex, far from being "traumatized" in any way by the contacts that took place in his friendship. He cheered on his partner Hermann (55) in the following way:
- "Oh, when he wants to come I say, "Come! Come!"(Bursts out laughing.)
Does it make you laugh, or is it also serious?
Yes, I always start laughing (Again laughs.)" (Sandfort 1987, p 96)
It can be either partner who introduces sex into the relationship (Sandfort 1987 p 68). Some of the boys knew about pedophiles and were able to approach them on their own initiative. Jan (11) was asked if he remembered how his friendship with Sander (41) began: "No, in the meantime I've had so much fun" (Sandfort 1987, p 67).
In addition to the relationships being positive while they occur, such relationships also have lasting benefits. It has been documented that both partners can continue a long, trusting relationship for life, well past the end of its erotic aspect (Brongersma 1991, p 158). Grown married men who had such contacts as boys have spoken of their boyhood sexually expressed friendships with men with such great happiness (Brongersma 1986, p 267-271; 1991, p 156-161).
In Ancient Greece, aristocratic young men were lovers of adolescent boys (Percy 1996); there were social rules of man-boy courtship (Cantarella 1992, p 17). Love of boys was considered to be the highest form of love by many. A special element of Ancient Greek boylove was the "pedagogical eros"; the boy learned from his lover how to be a citizen, and to become accustomed to adult life.
The "Greek Miracle" occurred because the enormous potential of pedagogical pederasty was understood and exploited: within two centuries (six generations), only 45,000 males had existed in the population of Attica where pederasty was institutionalized with the existence of gymnasia (Cantarella 1992) - and that region produced an amazingly highly educated and highly cultured body of great men who laid the foundations of Western thought and civilization (Percy 1996). Ancient Greece is still considered a model of a rational society.
The sexual experimentations involved in a man-boy relationship are positive in yet another light: they are the best way to enhance marital love for the boy who may grow up to live a "normal", heterosexual life. When we repress sexual experimentation during adolescent development, we raise children who may be unpracticed and incapable of marital love (Brongersma 1991, p 162-3).
It is then no wonder that divorce and violence are so common (Brongersma 1990, p 175). Repressing sexual enjoyment during adolescence, enjoyment designed to relieve tension, not solely for mere procreation (Brongersma 1986, p 32), can leave males without a necessary outlet to survive daily pressures.
There is evidence that a boy's experiences with a pedophile lover will positively affect his attitude towards the lovers the boy will have as an adult. For example, Brongersma cites a 15-year old boy who had never experienced with girls the tenderness and concern for his feelings that he did with his pedophile lover:
- "After a couple years of making love with this man I'll be too old for his tastes and then I'll certainly go back to girls again. But when that happens I'll treat them completely differently than I did before, when all I cared about was my own physical satisfaction. I've now learned that sex is so much better if you do it with love and consideration for the other person" (Brongersma 1991, p 163).
Dr. Edward Brongersma, founder of the [former] Brongerma Foundation for the study of sexuality in youth, observes that,
- "In a contact with an adult friend the boy learns not only how to use his body as an instrument and a source for lust, but to associate this, quite naturally, with the expressions of love and affection" (Brongersma 1990, p 330).
Among the boys' motives are
- "the man's kindness, willingness to give someone pleasure, friendship, sympathy, gratefulness, and affection"
as well as the
- "sexual curiosity and especially the flattery demonstrated by the intense interest of the adult" (Brunoz 1960, p 58).
Brongersma states that one of the inherent dangers is the tendency of the man to spoil his boyfriend with gifts (Brongersma 1991, p 168).
Brongersma cites Rossman's (1976) observation of
- "social workers achieving miracles with apparently incorrigible young delinquents - not by preaching to them but by sleeping with them" (in Brongersma 1991, p 160).
A modern program was tried in Berlin, in which juvenile delinquents were entrusted to the care of boy-lovers. The program was enormously successful but was shut down due to expected negative public reaction (Brongersma 1991, p 160).
- 1) many boys possess expressed-needs for requesting sexual attention from older male friends,
- 2) that these friendships are beneficial, and
- 3) that there are men whose natural inclinations are built to match exactly what the boys need,
these relationships have a natural place in nature's scheme of life. They should be, at least, as widely accepted and as legal as the perhaps more troublesome institution of marriage. There may be dangerous power differences across genders in today's society (Schmidt 1989, p3). Schmidt says,
- "Potential misuse of the inequality of power cannot be used as a general argument against paedophilia, because power imbalances characterize many other types of human relationships" (Schmidt 1989, p4).
As for the health risks of man-boy contacts, if the sexual acts which took place in the friendships Sandfort and others have studied typify man-boy sex, then of all sexual contacts boys may engage in, they are at least risk for AIDS transmission with a loving pedophile man (GAP in Sandfort 1987, p 12).
The commonly conceived notion that sex should not have a place in the development of boys (Mrazek 1991) is based on the assumption that it is harmful. Dr. John Money pointed out the contrary,
- "We who are today presiding over the demise of the twentieth century are defiantly proud of our ability to deny that sexual health has a developmental history that, like every other aspect of healthy functioning in adolescence and maturity, begins in childhood" (in Sandfort 1987, introduction, p 5).
Many people today complain about the breakdown of family strength and also connect their own solutions to that problem with the idea that boys need to be protected (Sandfort 1987, p 22), in effect isolated, from the "dangers" around them (i.e. sex). The very same people, we can presume, also complain about and scapegoat pedophiles.
The irony of this situation is apparent, because in truth, a boy-lover has much to offer the boy. For our society to even begin an honest discourse on the subject of boy-love, one first has to look at the emotional underpinnings in male development. It is hard to expect people who are just becoming aware of the boy's perspective to make the leap from believing boy-lovers are a danger to believing that boy-lovers are part of a solution.
- misguided morality and
There are several reasons why some individuals have problems admitting the positive nature of pedophile friendships. These reasons have been identified to be
- adults' misguided views of religious 'morality',
- adult fear of anything of an overt sexual nature dealing with boys,
- adults' self-guilt of their own desires for boys, and
- an adult lack of acknowledgment of boyhood needs and wants.
The consequences of these problems are the cruel treatment of boys and pedophiles.
The loneliness a boy can feel in absence of this kind of a pedophile friendship can permanently affect his life. Repressing a boy's natural needs causes nervous troubles, aggression, guilt feelings, and obsessions later in life (Brongersma 1990 p 175-210). Those needs include adequate sexual information, the lack of which is a significant cause of adolescent suicides (Brongersma 1991, p 159).
These problems are far worse than the harm supposedly done by co-called "child-molesters" (Brongermsa 1990, p 175).
In addition to preventing unwanted sexual contacts with boys from occurring, preventing "sexophobia" is extremely pressing because its consequences are far more severe (Brongersma 1991, p 159).
- "Sexual desire has its biological justifications: it creates a need for vital stimulation, to touch and be touched in such a way as to inspire trust and courage, a means of draining off nervous energy" (Brongersma 1990, p177).
Children have been a separate class since the industrial revolution (Brongersma 1990, p 177; Killias 1991). The resulting idealization of childhood 'innocence' has fostered the false notion that children are asexual (Jones 1991, p 276). This false notion needs to be dealt with, especially among parents and teachers. Lucas (27), who has had mutually consensual sex with several boys, said,
- "There are those who cannot even think of a child in a sexual situation, let alone a consensual one, without feeling the child is deceived and betrayed" (personal communication).
Some believe that consensual man-boy sexual relationships are morally indecent. If a boy's relationship with a loving pedophile who limits himself to intimate acts which the boy evidently enjoys is nothing but beneficial, then one must ask how anyone can energetically deny him from benefiting from this.
Brongersma suggests a quite reasoned explanation might be that these outspoken men who oppose boylovers "fear their own unarticulated pedosexual impulses" (Brongersma 1991, p153). The motivation for their anti-pedophile sentiments lies "quite apart from their concern over boys' mental and moral health." Brongersma has also noted that intellectual women appear to be more objective in dealing with boy-love than men. Several feminist writers have spoken in support of boy-love, in part because heterosexual men who have had pedophile friendships as boys possess concern for their partner's feelings.
Many opponents of boy-love are troubled by their religious doctrines which dictate to their followers that boy-love is the 'worst of all evils.' In the Gospels, Jesus Christ was apparently well aware of the erotic relationship between a Roman centurion and his boy, yet he raised no objection - which suggests
- "an attitude of toleration toward a non-exploitative, caring paederastic relationship" (Mader, 1987).
The prolific philosopher Jeremy Bentham argued that Jesus himself had a boyfriend (Crompton 1985).
Religious concepts of morality have been legislated into the sexual code. Some state laws in the US even make certain acts within consensual relationships illegal. For example, anal penetration, sometimes called 'sodomy', is a crime in some locales without regard to whether the act was consensual or not.
The substitution of the words 'anal sex' with 'sodomy' bears witness to the origins of this prohibition. The violation of hospitality rules is the crime committed in the Old Testament's story of Sodom (Boswell 1980, p 93), and was understood as such until well into the middle ages (Boswell 1980, p 97), yet some modern Christian fundamentalists have taken it to mean a supreme statement against homosexuality.
Massachusetts' original laws against pederasty were based on the premise that the actual spot of land on which the activity took place would be destroyed by God with "fire and brimstone", and therefore any such acts put the public in danger (Warner 1994). One does not even have to attempt to show that these popular beliefs may be old wives' tales, but as Roethof (1988) says, government does not exist to enforce these personal beliefs.
Today's society is not very negative about adult sexuality, yet it is very accepting of violent and aggressive behavior.
Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sports in Society found an alarming connection between athletes and male-dominated sexual violence and rape. Society's all-out embrace of athletes as role models serves as a tacit proof of its acceptance of violent behavior.
Although the absence of violence in pedophile friendships has been noted (see Brongersma 1991, p 153-155), the majority of public opinion does not reflect this fact. The same society which does not admit to the absence of violence in the average pedophile friendship does not admit to the presence of violence in the average heterosexual relationship. Denial and hypocrisy of this magnitude are not to be found in most other societies throughout history.
The fear over youth sexuality can be seen in parents who find it difficult to be happy that their son has a sex life; they would prefer to ignore it and forget about the consequences of silence and restriction although these two things are extremely harmful.
Thirteen year old David Bianco questioned Calvin Klein's pulling of advertisements depicting minors which were criticized as suggestive. He wrote with incredible insight,
- "...adults are afraid that children will start having sex before they are ready. To avoid this, the adults may not speak of it, pretending that the issue doesn't exist" (Bianco 1996).
Today's society does not view the sexuality of boys as harmless because it does not see boys as sexual creatures (or at least, does not give them the right to be). This seems like a strange position to take when an eleven year old boy can have 19 orgasms in one hour, a thirteen year old 26 in one day, an average sexually mature boy has 10 orgasms per week and may have the ability to experience double orgasms which fade with age (Brongersma 1986, p 151-152), and sexual drive drops off significantly after adolescence.
- Confusion with abuse and
Another reason why some individuals are reluctant to admit the positive nature of pedophile friendships is that they have predetermined all sexual contacts between adults and children to be abusive. This is an unscientific blur.
The study of adult-child sex commonly treats all involved children as a homogeneous group of "victims". In that group there are definitely children who have been unwillingly forced into sexual contact by adults. Characteristically, these adults are not pedophiles - even research shows this. Curiously also included as "victims" are categories that do not belong:
- adolescent boys who approach older male friends for sexual contact, friendship and protection out of their own initiative,
- boys who were initiated into the contacts by someone else and cherished it after experiencing it, and
- boys whose first contacts occurred by accident and proceeded in a mutual way.
Instances of child sexual abuse seem to raise concerns in people about pedophilia, but pedosexual offenses are not inherently attributable to pedophilia (Brongersma 1986, p 67-73; Brongersma 1991, p 147-150). On the contrary, when American male sexual delinquents were questioned, it was found that most did not actually prefer a boy partner (Brongersma 1991, p 149). The probable reason for these cases is not preference for boys but a lack of discrimination of available boys over women victims, therefore called 'substitutive', 'pseudo-pedophile' contacts (Brongersma 1991, p 147-150).
Boy-lovers are usually repulsed by the idea of sexual abuse; the boy's pleasure gives the boylover great satisfaction, as has been discussed. Using language such as "perpetrator" and "victim" is inappropriate when flatly applied to all man-boy relationships because it already precludes the possibility of a loving, mutual relationship. Some researchers have used this language in an inappropriate context (Sandfort 1988, p 28; Jones 1991, p 275; Brongersma 1991, p 152), empirically biasing the readers of this pseudo-scientific type of research (Rind and Bauserman 1993).
A boy with a healthy sexual upbringing from his intimate friendship with a loving pedophile man would become a better lover as an adult (Brongersma 1991, p 163) and much less likely to become an abuser than a man who had sexual problems as a boy. Thus, boy-lovers tend to reduce the number of abusers in society.
Not only is the confusion between abuse and pedophilia blurred in the minds of the "experts," but also in making abuse statistics; both consensual man-boy relationships and true abuse cases are often lumped into one category.
At the Australian Criminological Institute's (ACI) conference on Pedophilia in April 1997, pedophiles were called "cunning", "devious" and "dangerous", and pedophile friendships were labeled as "exploitative", "cruel" and "perverted" (Cornford 1997). How idiotic this must seem to a boy involved in a loving mutual relationship with a pedophile - an insult! At least one "expert" at the conference went on to say contradictorily, that really, the primary form of abuse that occurs is within the family, with girl victims (Cornford 1997) *9.
- (*9) That it is mainly victims of father-daughter incest who must cope with trauma is supported by research (Sandfort 1989, p 55; Brongersma 1991, p 157-158).
If these "experts" had decided to include in their reality the unspeakable phenomenon of positive relationships, a distinct line between the phenomenon of abuse and the orientation of a pedophile - not even parallel concepts - would have been more clear. A single case of a positive relationship with a pedophile would have undermined the mission of the conference.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation news even reported that the ACI conference was an "effort to devise national policies for the detection and prevention of paedophilia" - this in an article called "Fight against paedophilia steps up" (Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1997). What should be prevented is true abuse, but here that concept has been confused with the non-parallel concept of pedophilia.
- Reactionary issues,
- the media and
The media's hastily produced reactionary stories have primed the public's perceptions about pedophilia. Making unsubstantiated attribution of "predatory" behavior to pedophiles is all too common an occurrence in these stories, fostering the public's fear of pedophiles.
The American media are not nearly as cool and objective as the Dutch media (Schuijer 1991, p 205), and the political process in Holland [No: The Netherlands] is remarkably different from that of the US: it is far more allowing of alternate voices being heard. Suggestions made to Dutch lawmakers concerning problems with their media are even more pressing in [North] America. Jan Schuijer wrote concerning the political process in Holland that the media should be vigilantly prevented from becoming a propaganda instrument which may influence the lawmaking process (Schuijer 1994). Government in the US should do the same.
The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) has been repeatedly misrepresented in the media. NAMBLA's charter has been to uphold the right to sexual self-determination for all human beings, and has advocated the repeal of prohibition of consensual sex between boys and men - its members are boys, boy-lovers and civil rights advocates. KRON TV's Greg Lyon said in a "Target 4" investigative report that NAMBLA is
- "An organization dedicated to helping its members meet children and then molest them without getting caught." Lyon said, "Letters to the editor smolder with (...) advice on how to molest youngsters without getting caught," (KRON)
but a review of the Bulletin would show that this is an erroneous claim.
The media's sweeping assumption that man-boy contacts are inherently abusive and that they qualify as 'molestation' is an unknowing lie. The inclusion of sensationalistic passages in these reports is common. Witness the irrelevant phrases in the KRON TV report:
- "We're talking about children as young as three years old",
and the statement of an unidentified parent,
- "I have a child who is two years old, and I live around the corner."
The average age bracket for attraction among pedophiles is generally ten to sixteen year old boys, with an average age of thirteen. Not only in this distorted report do we see the distinction between gender blurred
- ("children" instead of "boys" despite the remarkable differences in sexuality between girls and boys),
the correct age bracket not even remotely indicated in the entire transcript, but also the substitution of loving, mutual friendships with concepts of 'molestation', coercion, abuse, and advice on how to molest without 'getting caught'. The media does not bother to report that NAMBLA members have been imprisoned for consensual sex with boys. Apparently this is objective reporting?
Pedophilic images appear frequently in advertisements (Kincaid 1992, Mohr 1996). Paradoxically,
- "the social requirement that the pedophile's existence be shadowy helps realize the social requirement that sexy images of children will not be read as such" (Mohr 1996).
The shadowy 'pedophile' stereotype is utilized by society, Mohr argues, to allow "everyone else to view sexy children innocently" (Mohr 1996). The hysteria over pedophilia and child pornography stems from adults' fear of themselves - and this means that "society has met the enemy and he is us" (Kendrick 1993, Kincaid 1992, Mohr 1996).
The media frequently reinforce the public's notion that pedophiles are using the internet to coerce young boys. The Australian 60 Minutes television program (not to be confused with the program by the same name in the US) aired a very negative segment on 'internet pedophiles' in late March of 1997.
The sensationalism over pedophilia and the internet is profitable to the media because of its
- "banking on the parental fear of the unknown, of pedophiles and of a confusing new technology" (Casimir, 1997).
Parents who have never used the internet have the media as their only source of information about it. Casimir suggests that this sensationalism works against the calm, rational discourse needed over real downsides of the internet. On the internet, he said,
- "child pornography occasionally appears, but as in the real world, it's very rare and tends to be circulated among very small groups of people. The Net, of course, is an efficient distribution system for them" (Casimir, 1997).
The presence of boy-love discussion forums on the internet acts to support those having difficulty with their feelings. The many boy-lovers who exist do so in isolation, and feel guilt and shame in light of society's view of them (Sandfort 1988, p29). For boylovers, coming out can be very risky.
Some say pedophiles are using the internet as a place to coerce unwilling boys into casually meeting them for sexual activity (Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia 1995, Meade 1997). This has not been shown to be widespread in the least, although casual consensual meetings may make up an exaggerated percentage of man-boy contacts in America due to the difficulties true boy-lovers have in sustaining a lasting mutual relationship in light of the public's negative views (Brongersma 1991, p 163).
In early 1997, several boy-love sites on the world wide web were deleted by their hosting services - for example, by the service provider Geocities. The premise justifying their removal was that the pages violated the guidelines for page content. It is easy to let repressive actions occur amidst the hysteria over pedophilia on the internet. One plausible argument in support of their removal may have been that the sites were so popular with the public that the provider could not handle the high network traffic.
However, dozens of boy-love sites - including this author's own, intended to house this paper - were terminated by Digiweb in May 1997 because their "content" dealt with "possible endangerment of children," a claim that was spread by anti-pedophile vigilante Anne Cox and a very small group whose stated mission was to deny boy-lovers' free speech on the internet. As some of the pages the group had targeted were written by boys, including the page of a thirteen year old entitled "Stop Protecting Me," *10 the censorship is clearly a moral censorship.
- (*10) Available at alternate site, May 1997, http://altern.org/arlekin;
Shortly thereafter, moved a second time to
[* And here:
< http://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Statements/stop_protecting_me.htm > - Ipce]
The original Autralian 60 Minutes report (see Neville 1997) on internet pedophiles seemed to muddle the issues of access to online pornography with presumed "predatory" contact between pedophiles and boys in chat forums. Putting things in perspective, Casimir said,
- "Given that there are tens of millions of people online, the child abuse rate in the virtual world is amazingly low."
The Australian ran an article on February 28, 1997 saying,
- "International pedophile networks were operating on the Internet and successfully 'brainwashing' Australian children into leaving home," and,
- "one recent case in which a young boy was 'stolen' away from home after pedophiles made contact with him in cyberspace" (Meade, 1997).
This case was proof, many Australians presumed, of the assertion that pedophiles were trying to 'pick up' children on the internet. This is remarkably surprising, because the only 'victim' in question, 16year old Kurt Gunter (hereafter called by his nickname, 'Tygyr'), is himself a boy-lover, a pedophile activist and even identified himself as a 'man-lover' during his boyhood. Tygyr's mother discovered his pedophilia and that it had to do with the internet, and notified local police. Facing persecution from her, he left home. Tygyr spoke against the unsubstantiated connection between abuse and pedophilia at the Australian Institute of Criminology's Conference on Paedophilia in April of 1997. At the conference he was also molested by a vocal member of an anti-pedophile group *11.
- (*11) Tygyr was molested by a vocal member of an anti-pedophile group while attending the ACI conference. He has now documented his experiences at the conference.
In a personal interview with the author, Tygyr, now 17, spoke about the media's error:
- "I was at first quite surprised to discover that the media had gone so far as to make allegations about me being 'led astray' without first even consulting me on the issue! It was never a point of question that I had been 'led astray' - on the contrary, I have hard copy writings, diary entries and the like which prove that I had formed all my views before ever even entering onto the Internet. A brief examination of the facts - even a review of my Web page! - would have clearly revealed the falsity of the allegations, but 60 Minutes never let research come in the path of a good story, and relied instead on unsubstantiated wild stories of pedophile rings." (personal communication, 4/18/97)
- "I felt like hitting the guy - not because he was shoving me into a corner and unzipping himself, but because he was saying he was 'not one of these pedophile people' just after he told me how he had a 15 year old partner a few years back. (personal communication, 4/19/97)
The allegations of Tygyr's being brainwashed by pedophiles stem from his participation in discussions on an internet support group for boy-lovers. The brainwashing accusations, however, land the accuser in logical quicksand. The discussions were similar to those contained in this paper, if not, more allowing of negative views than this paper is. The notion that scholarly intellectual research and discussion can be dismissed on the basis of what its contents are has not surfaced in society since the regime of Hitler in Nazi Germany, where books were burned - or at least one would think it has not.
Troublesome mistakes: The law's reactions
In 1933, the Nazi regime did in fact seize sexological research of Hirschfeld into pedophilia (Sonenschien 1987, p 410). Yet, the FBI monitored Kinsey's research into pedophilia in the 1950's because it was uncomfortable with the realization that some adult-child sexual contacts could be experienced positively; the leaking of such information to the nation would be dangerous, leading to "an increase in 'permissiveness' and 'sexual deviancy'" (Sonenschein 1987, p 409).
Unfortunately it has resurfaced again in the seizure of Sonenschein's own research in 1984 (Sonenschein 1987), Jones' research in 1985 (Sonenschein 1987, p410; Jones 1991, p285) as well as the "ridicule, harassment, job loss, and violence" endured by many others including those which Sonenschein lists. Sonenschein was sentenced to ten years in prison (Sonenschein 1987, p 411), as was Morris in 1986 (Sonenschein 1987, p 410). The seizure of Jones' research has seriously questionable Constitutional validity (Sonenschein 1987, p 410). [...]
The officer who arrested Sonenschein, Sgt. John Russell, said
- "Your research is through. Your research is over. I have finished your research for you. You can research anything but this" (Sonenschein 1987, p 411).
It is tragic that the boy in need is forgotten amidst the back-and-forth discourse; it is tragic that an opportunity to instill love, trust, courage, and lift a boy's esteem to heights which delight him is forcefully prohibited; it is the most sorry situation that this prohibition is being perpetuated by those whose alleged aim is to protect the interests of boys. They disavow harm yet are the creators of harm.
A 1995 Australian parliamentary report is another sample demonstrating the government's unsubstantiated affiliation of pedophilia with abuse
- (see: "Organised Criminal Paedophile Activity - A Report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the National Crime Authority of Australia" in the References).
Use of the terms "perpetrator" and "victim" are constantly associated with "pedophile" contacts, although we have clearly seen the inherent lack of connection between pedosexual acts and pedophile friendships. This muddled confusion of terms does not show any acknowledgment of the existence of the boys who want relationships with pedophiles, and this blur is a severe mistake.
The hysteria is now upon both the researchers who report truth without regard to the social acceptability of the answers and upon the pedophiles themselves. This hysteria in society led by hatred and slander is reminiscent of German public support for the eradication of Jews, unknowing of the horrors which were to come as a result.
- Lengthy imprisonment (GAP in Sandfort 1987, p 16),
- jail rape and beatings (Thatcher 1997),
- stereotaxic brain surgery (Schmidt 1989, p 7),
- chemical and surgical castration (Schmidt 1989, p 7; Andriette 1996a, 1996b),
- anti-androgen drug "therapy" (Schmidt 1989, p 7) and
- other forms of mistreatment and cruelty towards pedophiles
will come to light one day in a more truthfully moralistic society, as horrors of the holocaust have been uncovered today.
The repressive nature of these reactionary movements affects other academics as well. US Customs has committed excesses regarding effective censorship of Paidika: Journal of Paedophilia by intimidating subscribers and distributors of it (Stanley 1988, p 11). Paidika is a scholarly journal which attempts to create a "history of record" about pedophilia.
Legality and a new moral law
The legal age of consent is by no means the same as the natural age of consent at which an individual is capable of choosing for himself what is best for him. There is no more reason to choose a specific "age of consent" than there is to limit availability of driver's licenses based on age rather than achieving a level of skill and proficiency. The common notion that boys need protection from others who are after their own desires, and also that boys need to be protected from their own desires, is not a result of analyzing evidence about pedophile relationships.
Police involvement in voluntary relationships has resulted in traumatic experiences far worse than the alleged harm of the sexual acts. The act of preventing affectionate sexual contact is carried out violently under the guise of protection when the majority of emotional and sexual problems in males arise from the lack of those experiences during development. The prevention of abuse should not infringe upon the rights of the boy who desires such contacts; the age of consent has existed to protect children from abuse, yet the elimination of this law may in reality be more constructive by preventing case of real abuse through giving a legitimate expression of desires for pedophiles. Roethof points out that:
- "Numerous problems arise through attempts to stretch the definitions of offenses; other problems occur because of conflicting views of what does and what does not represent free will, and still other problems arise by linking obscure Christian ideas with those of new outspoken constituencies, as is happening in attacks on paedophilia. The protection of children is made the overriding standard. The supposition that a child has no erotic desires at all, or may not act on them, provokes what I consider to be the worst form of moralizing." (Roethof 1988, p6)
As Roethof also points out,
- "Criminal law serves to combat excesses. It does not settle interpersonal problems and should not interfere in mutually affective relationships" (Roethof 1988, p7).
Paidika (Journal of Paedophilia) carried an article entitled "Two Lesson Plans About Paedophilia" by Haije Stobbe. One prosecutor's mindset is particularly apparent from the article Stobbe chose to include in the lesson plan text intended for high-schoolers, "Paedophiles Should Go Buy French-fries" (Stobbe 1988). The article originally ran in a Dutch national newspaper in it's "Dag in, dag uit" (Day in, day out) column, a satirical news commentary:
- "By what standards should a person judge conduct which is outside his own experience? This is the problem that faced Amsterdam Prosecutor Mr. N. van der Werf last week. He represented the community in a prosecution against a paedophile man who had been in a five year long relationship with a boy, which began when the boy was nine. By this officer's standards, the defendant's situation was like that of a person who has a continuous attraction to blond women, but to whom blondes are not attracted." (Stobbe 1988)
The issue of education becomes most crucial in the courtroom, where an unknowing judge may bring about atrocities. This is a case of the proverbial dog-owner who leashes his dog to the car bumper and drives away not realizing his carelessness.
- "The prosecutor said that if this happened to him, then he would make the best of his situation. 'If you can't satisfy your cravings in normal ways, when you get the urge you should instead go buy french fries or play a slot-machine,' he advised. (...) He didn't want to hear the man's lengthy explanation about how the relationship with the boy gradually grew. 'I can't imagine that any boy would ever say, 'take off your pants, and let's do it,' ' was van der Werf's reaction in his closing statement. (Stobbe 1988)
The prosecutor didn't have an understanding of what a boy's expressed need for a pedophile friendship might be. The prosecutor's ignorance renders the relationship one-sided and non-mutual, and for those reasons, the prosecutor is able to justify sending the pedophile man to prison - which he did do. The prosecutor merely presented society's view.
Current laws seem to be more political, based on the need to seem protective in front of others, rather than truly constructive. Even the practice of harsh prison sentencing for criminals is questionable, says Roethof, because it apparently has no positive effect on crime rates and impedes the re-socialization of the accused into society (Roethof 1988, p3).
Some of the boys studied by Sandfort realized the older partner could go to prison and considered this to be a fault in a "stupid law" (Sandfort 1987, p 88) - the age of consent in Holland [The Netherlands] was 16 at that time. A fifteen year old boy said,
- "We're not hurting each other, are we? If you murder somebody you only sit in jail for a few months; but if you go to bed with somebody you get punished more severely..." (Sandfort 1987, p 88).
The age of consent laws in Holland [The Netherlands] ware changed in 1991 to allow boys between 12 and 16 years old to enter into voluntary relationships (Kruithof, Schuijer 1993), as a result of more objective proceedings than seem possible in the US *12.
- (*12) It nust also be noted at this writing that the situation regarding intergenerational intimacy in The Netherlands has changed dramatically for the worse.
Although pedophile friendships are widespread and frequent (Brongersma 1986), the statements of boys studied by Sandfort (1987) never seemed to phase David Finkelhor of the Family Research Laboratory. He said, "it is impossible to make policy on the basis of such a sample" (Finkelhor 1991, p 313). He likened the man-boy love decriminalization issue to slavery, in a bizarre fashion:
- "The social judgment that slavery is reprehensible would not have been challenged by empirical findings that some slaves felt positively about being a slave (as some undoubtedly did) or even benefited from it. Some types of social relationships violate deeply held values and principles in our culture about equality and self-determination. Sex between adults and children is one of them. Evidence that certain children have positive experiences does not challenge these values, which have deep roots in our worldview." (Finkelhor 1991, p314-315)
- * This re-confirms Brongersma's observation (1990, p 84; 1991, p 153) that the most outspoken opponents of boy-lovers are men who fear their own hidden pedosexual impulses.
How insulting to the boys who have sought out their pedophile friendships on their own! Finkelhor makes mention of the principle of self-determination - but denies this right to the boys! Finkelhor apparently forces upon the boys his own inability to relate to their relationships, assuming they are not mutual but exploitative.
Bauserman (1991, p 305) points out that Finkelhor has implied that the boys interviewed for Sandfort's research may have lied or may have been biased by the interviewers - hardly conceivable! However, one must at least give Finkelhor credit for reading the full text of Sandfort's research, an achievement that Masters, Johnson and Kolodney apparently did not accomplish (Bauserman 1991, p 302-303) before launching severe criticisms of it!
If anyone still feels that age-of-consent legislation actually lessens the number of child abuse incidents, he must be prepared to weigh the hurt
- of one boy (the true abuse victim for whom the age provision is proposed to help) versus the hurt
- of another boy (the beloved of a boylover, or a boy desiring love from such a friend; the boy whose right to receive this love is stripped unjustifiably).
This balance, if even there is one
- (which the evidence demonstrates there is, but it is the opposite, namely that the age provision may increase true abuse incidents),
would have to be supported with very sound research which was not done upon the instatement of the age provision. There are strong ethical problems that would arise from even attempting such a trade-off in public policy, especially without hearing all sides. Only the traditionally conceived abuse victims seem to be sympathized with - hardly proportionate to the need to be heard, given that many boys are not even traumatized by unwanted sexual advances in the way that girls are *9.
- (*9) That it is mainly victims of father-daughter incest who must cope with trauma is supported by research (Sandfort 1989, p 55; Brongersma 1991, p 157-158).
It is appalling that lawmakers have allowed the age provisions in complete ignorance.
Lawmakers must read about these positive relationships if they are to become informed and objective. They will see that there is no reason to prohibit them. The main reason for prohibition, "the boy will be harmed," has been negated, and as it turns out, the relationships can be extremely positive and sometimes miraculously beneficial and of utmost importance to the boys for good reasons.
The high level of attention to prevention of sexual violence and abuse against minors should not lead to prevention or interaction into voluntary and desired sexual relations between boys and men.
There are pedophile friendships in which the boys are neither deceived or coerced as is commonly assumed. Due to the existence of positive sexually expressed friendships between men and boys, legal attitudes should acknowledge them. The age of consent laws should be changed to allow safe existence for those involved. One cannot negate the existence of these friendships nor can anyone provide a valid counter argument for complicating or outlawing their safe existence.
The image of the boylover has been maliciously portrayed through the "perpetrator" label perhaps more applicable to all heterosexuals than to all pedophiles; though, the premise that no such labels and assumptions should be applied to any orientation has been stated here clearly. Lawmakers should protect the civil rights of pedophiles. No animosity towards pedophiles should be expressed nor should there be any preferential mistreatment of pedophiles.
This paper recognizes that all non-consensual, forced sexual contacts are inherently criminal, but it also asserts that all consensual contacts should be legal, not limited on a 'moral' basis by government. Furthermore, the 'moral' basis currently embraced by society has been shown to be more complicated than its proponents assume; sometimes their 'morality' is highly questionable.
Until the perspective of the boy is ready to be admitted and faced in public policy, perhaps these loving boys and their beloved pedophile friends should "hold their breath" or better yet, take a prosecutor's advice: "go buy french-fries."
Furthur reading which contains important details about pedophile friendships listed below.
- Sandfort's Boys on Their Contacts with Men is largely composed of boys' descriptions of their friendships.
- Brongersma's Boy-Lovers and Their Influence on Boys points out mistakes commonly made in research, points out some realities of pedophile friendships and observes that some fiction works portray boylovers more effectively than some studies.
- Geraci's Loving Sander is a recent fictional work which accurately portrays a pedophile friendship, and it serves as a means of relating to these friendships for those not involved in them.
Sandfort, T. (1987). Boys on Their Contacts with Men: A Study of Sexually Expressed Friendships. Elmhurst, N.Y.: Global Academic Publishers
Brongersma, E. (1991). Boy-Lovers and Their Influence on Boys: Distorted Research and Anecdotal Observations. In Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 20 and in Male Intergenerational Intimacy. Binghamton, N.Y.: Harrington Park Press.
Loving Sander (fiction), Joseph Geraci. Gay Men's Press (1997).
American Psychiatric Association, (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth edition, Washington D.C.
Andriette, B. (1996). Barbarism California Style. In NAMBLA Bulletin 17.3, pp5-6.
Andriette, B. (1996). Who Gets Mutilated? In NAMBLA Bulletin 17.3, p6.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997). Available April 1997, http://www.abc.net.au/news/nat/90907.htm
Bauserman, R. (1989). Man-Boy Relationships in a Cross-Cultural Perspective. Paidika 2:1, pp28-40.
Bauserman, R. (1991). Objectivity and Ideology: Criticism of Theo Sandfort's Research on Man-Boy Sexual Relations. In Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 20 and in Male Intergenerational Intimacy. Binghamton, N.Y.: Harrington Park Press.
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Boswell, J. (1980). Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
Brongersma, E. (1986). Loving Boys. Volume 1. Elmhurst, N.Y.: Global Academic Publishers
Brongersma, E. (1990). Loving Boys. Volume 2. Elmhurst, N.Y.: Global Academic Publishers
Brongersma, E. (1991). Boy-Lovers and Their Influence on Boys: Distorted Research and Anecdotal Observations. In Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 20 and in Male Intergenerational Intimacy. Binghamton, N.Y.: Harrington Park Press.
Brunoz, O. (1960). Pedofilie. (Translated into English in On Boy-Love Paedophilia: Historical and Scientific Perspectives) in Paidika 3:4 (1994), pp27-63.
Cantarella, E. (1992). Bisexuality in the Ancient World. New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press
Carpenter, H., (1992). Benjamin Britten - a Biography. London: Faber and Faber.
Casimir, J. (1997). Shame File. Syndey Morning Herald. April 1, 1997
Cornford, P. (1997). A pedophile's victims can "run into the thousands". Syndey Morning Herald. April 15, 1997. Available April 1997, http://www.smh.com.au/daily/content/970415/national/national5.html
Crompton, L. (1985). Byron and Greek Love: Homophobia in 19th-Century England. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
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Lohauser, W. (1977). Beethoven och lille Karl. Revolt 7:54-55.
Mader, D. H. (1987). The Entimos Pais of Matthew 8:13-15 and Luke 7:1-10. Paidika 1:1, pp27-39.
Meade, A. (1997). Paedophiles set nets in cyberspace to catch boys. The Australian. February 28, 1997. Available May 1997, http://www.fpc.net/main/pages/tygyr/paper.html
Mitchell, D., Reed P. (1991). Letters From a Life - selected letters and diaries of Benjamin Britten. 2 vols. London: Faber and Faber.
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Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, (1995). Organised Criminal Paedophile Activity: A Report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the National Crime Authority. Available May 1997, http://senate.aph.gov.au/committee/nca_ctte/ncapedo/ncapedo1.html
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Pinkboard (1997). Legal Age of Consent, Worldwide. Available April 1997: http://www.pinkboard.com.au/consent.html
Rind, B. and Bauserman, R. (1993). Biased Terminology Effects and Biased Information Processing in Research on Adult-Nonadult Sexual Interactions: An Empirical Investigation. Journal of Sex Research 30:3, pp260-269.
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Rossman, P. (1976). Sexual Experience between Men and Boys. New York: Association Press.
Sandfort, T. (1982). The Sexual Aspect of Paedophile Relations: The Experience of Twenty-Five Boys. Amsterdam: Pan/Spartacus.
Sandfort, T. (1987). Boys on Their Contacts with Men: A Study of Sexually Expressed Friendships. Elmhurst, N.Y.: Global Academic Publishers
Sandfort, T. (1988). Constructive Questions Regarding Paedophilia. Paidika 4:28-31
Sandfort, T. (1989). Seksuele ervaringen van kinderen. Translated into English in The Sexual Experiences of Children, Part 1 Paidika 3:1 (1993) and Part 2 3:2 (1994).
Sandfort, T., Brongersma, E., van Naerssen, A. (1991). Man-Boy Relationships: Different Concepts for a Diversity of Phenomena. In Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 20 and in Male Intergenerational Intimacy. Binghamton, N.Y.: Harrington Park Press.
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Stobbe, H. (1988). Two Lesson Plans About Paedophilia. Paidika 4:50-53
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