INTRODUCTION TO WHY DO THEY? BY PARKER ROSSMAN
The following is the introduction to “Why Do They?”, the fourth chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (originally published in 1976), one of the only three book-length general studies of Greek love in English.
Following this introduction, Rossman went on to tackle different aspects of the subject of why some men desire boys in twelve sub-chapters:
Genetic Basis for Pederasty?
Physiological Basis of Pederasty
Fixation at Early Adolescence
Socially Produced Neurosis
Seduction by Other Boys
Fantasy Interpretation of Experience: Self-seduction
The Seductive Lure of New Experience
The Lure of Affection
Lure of Erotic Pleasure
Negative Motivation: Who Cares?
Criminal Motivation: Rage
These sub-chapters were followed by “Some Concluding Observations”.
“Why Do They?” is one the chapters in Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys, of relatively great enduring value, since it is based on interviews with men involved in Greek love affairs and can therefore be regarded as a primary source.
However, the character and behaviour of such men is something that has obviously varied considerably according to the cultural beliefs and social circumstances under which they have been brought up. Rossman says in the introduction to his book that 69% of the pederasts he studied were from the U.S.A. or Canada, 25% European, 5% Latin American and 1% from Asia, Africa or Australia, and the content of this chapter further indicates that it should be regarded as international, but not general, reflecting only the then recent situation in countries with a Judaeo-Christian tradition.
Why Do They?
Each pederast’s ladder into the underground consists of different experiences. As we peer down into the chasm of possible arrest, prison, or disgrace, we ask why some people are there, while others with the same inclinations are not. Intelligent, well-educated pederasts sometimes attempt a step-by-step analysis of the sexual experiences and fantasies which seem related to their motivation. Psychologists and social scientists have other, differing perspectives on the drives, instincts, unconscious incentives, and reinforcements involved. They will frequently differ with pederasts over the extent to which there is indeed any sort of biological cause or nature which predetermines such sexual preferences. Our purpose here, however, is to listen to the pederast as he explains why he is in the underground. By the time these human beings are conscious of being pederasts, many of them are convinced that they have a nature which they did not choose and which was bred into them by outside forces, but a majority of these same pederasts say they would not change that basic nature and personality if they could. To do so, many of them say, would be like giving up life itself. It is true that at times of humiliation and repentance following arrest, resolutions are often made to change life-style, habits, and illegal behavior, but for the most part pederasts seek to do so by legal substitute behavior. For example, said one: “I can avoid sex contact with boys by enjoying my pictures, my memories, my fantasies and voyeurism.”
When reflective pederasts discuss their nature, most of them tend to lose interest in causes of pederasty, even when the examination of their own experience suggests that their pederasty is learned and is socially reinforced.
In the last chapter we found some clues as to how practicing pederasts may move from desires and temptations into actual sexual involvement with boys. At the heart of the question of motivation, however, lies a more basic question: What causes some men to experience a strong sexual attraction to, and desire for, young teenage boys?