LEARNING HOW TO LOVE BY PETER YOUNG
The following was recounted as a true story in the July-August 1992 issue of the NAMBLA Bulletin (Volume XIII, No. 6), pp. 47-56. The setting is the USA, beginning in the era of the Vietnam War and Nixon’s presidency, ie. between 1969 and 1973, and ending at the then present.
It is most unusual and therefore significant in that it describes an intense man/boy love affair that began when the boy was six (an age that would normally be strongly suggestive of pedophilic rather than Greek love) and was still sexual when the boy was in his late teens (an age that would normally be suggestive of gay rather than Greek love), which may be held to cancel each other out as reasons for doubting that it was the Greek love of which it is in many respects much more characteristic.
The story was in fact so unusual that it led one David Thorstad to berate the editor of the Bulletin for publishing “fantasy” as fact in a letter published in the November 1992 issue (Volume XIII, No. 9, p. 18), on which the editor commented:
Man/boy eroticism may be a singular oddity in the eyes of the mainstream, but it contains worlds of its own. I am continually struck, as there was occasion to remark here last month, about how uncharitable people at home in one of those boy-love worlds are towards people from others, accusing them of making up stories when they tell about their lives.
I know the impulse. When I first joined NAMBLA and saw the tabloid NAMBLA News, the precursor to the Journal, and read writings of boys openly celebrating their relationships with men, I couldn’t believe it. I was sure the guys at NAMBLA were just making this stuff up. Soon, I was meeting some of those boys. Many came from backgrounds very different from mine and had sexualities oriented in different directions. But they really did exist.
I don’t have documentary proof of the relationship described in “Learning How to Love,” but the manuscript was not delivered by a stork. In the course of preparing the article for press, I had the opportunity to get to know the writer, and together we learned some of the details of each others’ lives. I had no ambivalence presenting the account offered by “Peter Young,” admittedly a pseudonym, as a real chronicle.
Learning How to Love: A Chronicle of a man/boy relationship
I WAS IN LOVE. For the first time in my life, I knew what it felt like to fall head-over-heels in love, but I never expected it to be you. I was 22 years old and expecting a woman, similarly aged, to make me feel that way. Instead, it was you, a six-year-old, blond-haired, blue-eyed boy. From the ﬁrst minute that our eyes met and my nostrils caught your musky, sweaty boy-scent, I knew. When our hands touched, I literally almost passed out. I didn’t understand what was happening. I only knew that I wanted you. I was shocked at the way I felt, but I was more concerned with the way you made me feel than with who you were or how old you were. We had begun the relationship that I will try to capture on paper now both for the members of NAMBLA and for you.
You don’t remember the way it was in the beginning. Who can remember what they did or how they felt when they were six? I'll try to bring back some of the details so that you can relive them as an adult, which you are now. You've turned out to be a kind, thoughtful, well-adjusted man, and I like to think that I had a hand in your being who you are. I know that you had a big hand in making me the way I am today, and for that I am grateful. I hope that by reading this, you will once again enjoy our life together.
* * *
AT THE TIME, I was again living with my parents, after having hitch-hiked across the US twice. I had put off college for a few years, and was enrolled in a state technical school, earning an associate’s degree in electrical engineering. Tough courses were made harder by the fact that I had a job to pay tuition. I worked three nights and Saturdays at a local liquor store, and that’s where we first met.
Another part-timer, Barry, owned a duplex a couple of doors down from the store. He was divorced and missed his daughter. Your family had moved into the upstairs apartment a few weeks before, and he enjoyed the sound of kids around the house again. He was friendly with his tenant’s kids since he was right there and suddenly alone. So when you fell off of your bicycle a block from home and had to pass by the store, you felt comfortable corning in and asking him for some compassion and a band-aid.
You walked in, crying a little (though you tried to hide it), bleeding a little, sweating a lot, and waited for Barry to finish with his customer. I, on the other side of the counter, felt my heart skip a beat as I saw this beautiful child enter (into a place where he shouldn’t be) and stand before me. I asked, nervously, if I could help you, and without hesitation, you came to me with your problem. It was like you had known me all of your life. You approached me with such trust and confidence that I was startled. You offered me your bleeding arm and I reached out and held it with a shaking hand. You looked up, your pain and tears suddenly gone.
The moment is etched in my mind. Barry came into view and laughed. “It looks like you’ve already met. I was about to introduce you two.” He told me your name — Ricky. He explained how he knew you, then washed your scrapes and put on a band-aid. Then, you smiled at me, the way the sun breaks through on a cloudy day, and you were gone.
Let me tell you where I was in my life at this point. I had what I felt was a rotten childhood — the third of four children, I was the first boy in an uptight, repressive family. Sex was never acknowledged, religion was strictly enforced. My father — a heavy drinker, iron worker, and World War II veteran — was pro-Vietnam War, pro-Nixon, and a straight-arrow conservative. By contrast, I was a pot-smoking, long-haired, liberal conscientious objector. I had hopes of making it big in the music business. I certainly did not want to work at my dad’s shop, like he had always hoped. There wasn’t much middle ground, and there hadn’t been for a long time. My mother did what she was expected to do: cook, clean, and, above all, say nothing. That was the way women were expected to behave when she was raised, and that’s just how my father liked it. My sisters were always fighting with each other over clothes, friends, the phone or the car — typical domestic squabbling, but enough to make them pains in the ass to be around. All my life, my kid brother was like an anchor around my neck. He didn't ever seem to have friends of his own, so I had to take him with me wherever I went. He also had a drinking problem since he was 13, but my parents never knew.
By the time this story began, I had pretty much decided not to marry and raise a family. I would hate to start another mess like the one I had come from. I hadn’t talked to a little kid for years, ever since a nephew had kicked me in the nuts at a family picnic, and I was punished for hitting him back. No kids in my life, thank you!
I was uncertain then as to my sexual preferences. I was certainly attracted to girls but had been in and out of a dozen unsatisfying sexual relationships over the last five years. I felt that something was lacking, but I couldn’t begin to think what it could be. I had never seriously considered being gay, having only had a short gay experience as a child (but who doesn’t?). I was avoiding the whole issue by not getting involved with anyone. It was safer and less painful.
Some time passed, and one day Barry invited me over to his house after work for a pizza. I was excited by the thought of possibly seeing you again but scared of meeting your parents. Wouldn’t they see how I was looking at you and immediately know?
After dinner with Barry, just as I was leaving, your car pulled in to the driveway and the whole family got out. There was your little sister, you, your nine-year-old brother, your pregnant (and beautiful) mother, and her live-in boyfriend, Mike, who was black. Your parents had been separated before, but they always got back together. This time, however, your mother finally had enough of the drinking, the beatings, and the cruelty that your father had been dishing out for nearly ten years, and she started divorce proceedings.
Lois, your mother, said hello, introduced Mike and the other kids. She said that she had heard a lot about me and thanked me for my kindness to you. Feel free to drop by anytime, to talk or whatever, she added. Mike echoed the invitation and I left wishing I had enough nerve to take them up on their offer. But the very next day, there you were at the door as I closed the store, waiting to walk me to your house. I felt embarrassed and awkward until I reached your door, but as soon as your mom saw me and welcomed me in, I was relaxed and at home. With the offer of a soda and a tour of the apartment, my life as a member of your family began.
I can see now that your family needed me as much as I needed you. Mike was new to being a father (three ready-made kids, no less, with another on the way) and was getting trouble from his family and friends for living with a white woman. Lois was facing parallel pressures for living with a black man, and was dealing with the breakup of her marriage. I tugged at none of those emotional strings, and as their first mutual friend, was evidence of their acceptance by society.
Lois was home alone with the kids most evenings since Mike worked two jobs and came home about 11. Soon I was helping with the dinner dishes, picking up the toys, giving baths, and tucking all the kids into bed. When Mike arrived, we'd drink a beer or two, smoke some grass, listen to some jazz or watch TV - just the three of us.
That's how I became the official baby-sitter. Your folks hadn’t had a night out alone since they stared to live together. I was only too glad to offer my services as repayment for their friendship. Soon they were on their way out, and then it was bedtime. I put your little sister, Susy, to bed first, then went in with you and your brother, Phil. I was a little surprised to see you strip naked before getting into bed, but you assured me that you always slept that way. I kissed Phil on the cheek and came to do the same to you. You asked me to sit on the edge of your bed for a minute, and I did. You had the covers thrown off to the side, positioned so that Phil couldn’t see your naked body. When I sat down, you quickly and confidently took my hand and placed it squarely on your circumcised cock and tight, hairless balls. Without a word said, your eyes stopped me from shaking and chased away the fear of discovery by your brother. Your deep blue, Paul Newman eyes said to me, “You know we both want this and we won’t be found out, as long as you keep cool and relax.” God, I was jumping out of my skin. Fireworks were going off in my head. My heart was pounding like mad. I’m sure my voice cracked when I spoke, but you were right. We weren't noticed — Phil was half asleep already, and we were safe — my hand pressing against your now hard cock, your hands on top of mine pressing down and guiding it wherever it pleased you.
This went on for half an hour, until your voice trailed off from whatever adventure you were telling me about, and you drifted off to sleep. I sat for a long while just looking at this vision of beauty before me — your long blond curls caressing your cheeks, your full, soft lips slightly smiling in your sleep, your angelic face relaxed, and your strong, tanned body lying frilly exposed. Never before nor since have I seen such perfect human form.
I left your side, reluctantly. God only knows how long I had been there, but my conscience was bothering me and I didn't know what to think or feel about what had happened. Society told me that what I had done and what I was feeling was wrong. But the feeling it gave us both was so good. How could it be wrong? I was torn apart by mixed emotions, and scared by the thought of what could happen if what we had done, or even just my feelings, were discovered. I would lose the love of a family that I had grown to need so badly, lose the respect of my parents, friends, and neighbors. And I would surely go to jail, and face the worst judges of all — fellow inmates whom I knew held “child molesters” with vicious contempt.
When your folks returned from their evening out, I excused myself. I was tired, I told them, and just wanted to head home. But I didn't go home. I walked for hours, reliving the evening’s events and trying to make sense of my emotions and motives. Was I a child molester? Would I end up hurting this beautiful creature who was seeking my affection. You were, after all, going through a hard time, uprooted away from your old home, school, and friends. Did my responding to your desires mean I was a homosexual? Would I have to announce to the world that I was different? Defective? Where would it all lead?
* * *
THE NEXT EVENING at work, I was both relieved and terrified to see you arrive. “Was I coming to visit?” you asked. My brain said no but my heart said yes, loudly. It was a typical evening at your house, happy and harmonious, but now there were occasional glances and knowing smiles between us. When bedtime rolled around, it was business as usual, up to the point of bedtime kisses. You knelt on the bed where I was sitting, fully naked as before. You held my face in both hands, centered your face to mine, and slowly and passionately kissed me full on the lips, parting gently and sensuously. That’s when you first said it. You said: “I love you.” It was no more than a whisper, but your words almost knocked me over with their force.
I was too stunned to reply, too embarrassed to acknowledge the kiss, and wracked with mixed emotions: fear, desire, passion, love. I realized I was no longer in position of authority and control in this strange relationship. If I displeased you in any way, I could be exposed for what I surely must be. My mind swam with the awful possibilities.
Again, I didn't go home for the night. I walked for hours, shattered and confused, exhausted from two nights without sleep. I felt alone and trapped, tricked into an unending nightmare. Was there a way out! I could admit it all and throw myself on your folks, begging for forgiveness. I could check into a mental hospital and keep myself from destroying the lives of those whom I loved. I could just pick up and leave. I could commit suicide, which would mean not having to admit to being homosexual or a child molester, not having to see the pain on the faces of my loved ones or suffer the consequences of defying society’s norms. But what about the pain that I would cause others? My mother, my friends — how could I justify disappointing them all? And what about your family? How could I betray their trust and love? How could I hurt you?
In fact, looking back, it seems that I also wanted to hurt you. You had caused my pain by showing your trust and love to me, who did not understand what these things were. I was at virtually the edge of a cliff, about to throw myself off to escape the awesome responsibility of accepting your love. Couldn’t I get back at you by refusing your offer? Would that hurt you enough for what you were doing to me?
And then, unexpectedly, I was overtaken by the power of love. I suddenly understood what love was about — how two lovers become one, how a mother loves her child, how friends hold each other close. I understood the force and fearlessness of love. I didn’t know the words to say, but I finally had what was missing. I could finally trust my emotions to bring me no harm. And most of all, I could give in, and trust you. You had taken the risk, showing me your desires. I could have exposed you then and there. But you knew to trust your emotions, and you were right. It had taken me 22 years to re-learn what you knew at six. Now it was my turn to take the risk and follow my emotions. I was ready to return your love.
I saw you next in front of my parents’ house, resting on your bike. You had taken the ride just to see where I lived (and maybe because you missed me as I was missing you). I invited you in to meet my folks, which was awkward for me at first because of our vast age difference. But you came to the rescue, relating to my whole family how I was a friend of your mom and step-father, and all the things I had done for them. I gave you a tour of the house, ending in my bedroom. I slept on the top of a bunk bed, which you climbed onto with little hesitation. You asked me to join you, but my parents were not far away. I said maybe another time, and sent you packing. I had to go to work but promised to visit when I got off. Work dragged on forever, but then, there you were, ready to take me away. We walked hand in hand (and would continue to do so in public for many years), laughing and joking with each other. I was relaxed and confident that we could work out whatever problems would arise. I knew that I loved you, and that I would tell you so today. Arriving in your kitchen, where your mom was, I announced that I had something to say to everyone. I told how miserable I had been until meeting you all, and that Ricky had told me he loved me. They were amused at my situation, but I calmed them all and continued. I told how I came to understand love, and how to love, from them, and that I wanted to thank them all. Your mom was touched and she cried. Then she, too, told me that she loved me like a brother, and was happy for me. Phil and Susy joined in with kisses and hugs. I was basking in the glow of love and had you to thank. Then it was bedtime and as usual, I went in to kiss you all goodnight. That’s when I told you that I loved you - that I really didn't know how I had gone so long without loving someone, how I didn’t care what happened to us, that I would love you forever. We kissed passionately and both cried.
All this went a long way toward developing my relationship with your parents. They now looked upon me as an equal, trustworthy and reliable. When they decided to find a larger apartment, they asked for my help. Being familiar with the area, I suggested a new development nearby (also about a mile closer to my house). They were able to get a beautiful place and were grateful for my suggestion.
Soon I was waking up to the doorbell ringing. Before I knew it, you’d be eating breakfast with my mother as I stumbled from my bedroom. Then, you were allowed to wake me, and oh, what an awakening! I’d open my eyes to find you lying by my side, smiling into my face or kissing my lips lightly. I slept naked and used no blankets in summertime, so you must have stared at my body often. One day, you woke me up and said you wanted to touch and hold my penis. I was embarrassed that it had gotten hard, but you said that you understood. You held my cock gently, caressing it, squeezing it softly, lifting it and my balls with both hands. You were absolutely fascinated by my foreskin, which you had never seen before, and played with it like a new toy. You then said, “I want to give you a blowjob.” I very nearly fell from the bed. What did you know of blowjobs? Where had you learned that from? What about the fact that my mother was only a few feet away, on the other side of the door? You calmed me down and told me that you had learned about blowjobs from a 16-year-old baby-sitter that your mom had used before she was divorced. As soon as you learned about them, you and your brother tried it on each other. (What I would have given to see that!)
I was just about exploding with anticipation, and managed to say OK. Then, you slid down my naked body, kissing every inch of skin that you passed. You picked up my quivering cock, pulled back the foreskin, and enveloped my cockhead in your warm, soft mouth. You slowly moved up and down, holding my skin back with one hand, and caressed my balls with the other. After too short a time, I asked you to stop (since I was about to come like I never had before). You understood what I meant (thought I didn't know that you knew) and climbed back up to my face, giving me a big wet kiss and an angelic smile. (If any of the girls I had slept with had gone from my dick to my lips like that, I would have turned away. But with you it seemed only natural.) I thanked you and you said that you had enjoyed it as much as I did. You said that you didn’t trust your brother not to tell, and also, not to piss in your mouth. You said you were glad that you had me to try things with, and that I could try things with you as well. At the time, I didn’t understand that you were asking me to return the favor, but did shortly afterwards, after you had left. We got up. I showered (and jerked off wildly) and went to work, but I couldn’t stop thinking of some way to get to sleep with you for the whole night someday. Then it hit me. We had a tent which we used as kids, and I could set it up in my parents’ backyard. You and Phil had never slept in a tent, and this would be a great experience for you both and for me. I shyly asked your mom, who agreed immediately. Soon we were set up and ready for fun. We talked late into the night, and just as you were about to fall asleep, I was overwhelmed with the desire to kiss your dick. Without a word, I bent over, and softly planted a kiss. You smiled your smug, oh-so-satisfied smile, and drifted quickly off to sleep. Phil had seen the whole thing, and, a little embarrassed, said that he thought there was nothing wrong with what I had done. I had wanted to do it, Ricky liked it, and so, it was OK.
We somehow decided to sleep together in one sleeping bag — both of us naked (and both hard). Phil was overwhelmed by my size (seven inches and thick), by my body hair (all over), and my foreskin. We talked a long while about how people felt about foreskins, and how his parents did what they thought was best for him in having him cut. We also discussed the fact that cock size had little to do with pleasing a partner or with being a man. (He was concerned that your dick was bigger that his - which it was by far — and that you would somehow try to be his superior because of it.) I related to him how the exact same thing had been true with my brother, and that after years of worrying about it, I had finally grown larger and learned that it just didn’t matter. I told him that everyone will find someone with a bigger dick than his own, and that it was only a problem if you thought it was. We decided to agree that good things came in small packages.
Throughout this conversation, we had been pressing our cocks together, and finally I pulled Phil on top of me. He asked if he could stick his cock between my legs, and I said yes. He leisurely pumped for a long while, then changed positions and put my cock between his legs. He continued to pump, all the while talking about anything that came to mind, and occasionally remarking how it felt. We changed positions over and over for hours, and neither one of us felt tired. He said that he would like to try taking my cock into his mouth, but was afraid that it was too big. I didn’t offer to take his in mine — I was still reeling from our adventures and was scared that someone’s feelings would eventually get hurt.
I loved Phil, but somehow not in the same way that I loved you. I hadn’t considered any kind of physical relationship with Phil, because I really had all I could handle trying to balance our little relationship with everything else going on. You were in my every waking thought, in my dreams, in my soul. I ate, drank, and breathed you. We were as close, I thought, as two people could get. But soon we were to get even closer.
* * *
LOOKING BACK now to such a far, distant past, when everything was so new to me, I have difficulty placing a time frame on events. I remember incidents clearly, but can’t always remember what came directly before or after. College ended. I found a job as a computer operator at a printing press. It was not exactly what I had hoped for, but not such a bad job, all in all. As my income rose, I realized that I was no longer comfortable in my parents’ home. I rounded up three friends, and together we rented a large house in a wealthy neighborhood. It was five miles from your home, but promises that I would still come to visit a lot quieted your fears. I kept my promise and showed up at your door three or four times a week.
Your folks and I had a great relationship. We went everywhere (with the kids), and did everything adults could ever want to do (without the kids). They left me to care for you all when they both worked, and we all loved the arrangement.
Now that I was out of my parents’ home, I could have you (and sometimes Phil) spend the night at my house, and you slept over every couple of weeks. My roommates were a little skeptical of the relationship, but I assured them that it was fine — I was the extended family you all needed at this point, I told them, and I was happy for your friendship, even if it took up my spare time.
When it was your turn to stay over, you were ready to leave the minute I arrived at your door. You always were at your peak when you held the spotlight — surrounded by my adult friends you held court and charmed your way into all our hearts. You were quick with your wits (and still are), knew how to tell a joke, and above all, knew how to get what you wanted. I’m sure that when bedtime came, more than one of my roommates wished it were he sharing the bed with you instead of me.
When the door finally closed, it was like heaven. You would throw yourself on the bed and order me to take off your clothes. You were too tired, you would tell me. You must have seen how my hands shook unbuttoning your shirt and pulling off your socks. When I unzipped your pants, your breathing filled my head, and as I pulled down your undershorts, my head spun as my eyes beheld such beauty and my nostrils filled with a wondrous aroma.
Here’s what I saw: A slender, well-muscled child, tanned from the sun (except where your cut-offs covered); golden blond hair of medium length with rings of curls falling across your forehead, ears, and neck; a smooth, rounded face, eternally smiling; luscious lips covering brilliant white teeth; your deep blue eyes and soft smile; your long arms and thin fingers; your solid legs and feet toughened by walking barefoot whenever you could; your navel; your smooth, round buns; your short, hairless cock; and your tight, marble-sized balls. It was almost too much. (The cover of the Led Zeppelin album Houses of the Holy, with the boy with long, blond hair, is the exact image of you at this age.)
Let me concentrate on your cock for a moment. It was much larger than average for your age. At seven or eight, you had the cock of an 11-year-old — thick shaft, large head, and circumcised, with a wide, dark ring marking the spot. When hard, it was twice as thick, and about four inches long. It was always standing straight out. You had such strong erections I thought the skin would burst from the pressure. Your balls fell loosely in their sac when you were warm, but pulled up tightly when you were chilled. (I used to kid with you that it was this cold outside, holding my thumb a half inch from my forefinger.)
When the lights went out and we were both in bed, we somehow folded, wrapped, and entwined ourselves so that neither of us could move. Well, our hands could move and they always did. We were all over each other’s body - caressing, touching, fondling, grasping. Sometimes we kissed for what seemed like hours: your exhaled breath was my inhaled breath, and vice-versa. Our tongues travelled over the length of our bodies. Our orgasms were explosions of joy. (You had dry orgasms at the time, but boy, your body writhed and shook and shuddered, just like mine did.) I know that you were envious of the volume of cum I shot each time — you even scooped some up and placed it on your chest, as if it had come from your cock. You never developed a liking for the taste, saying that it was like sweat. (In fact, that very first time I saw you, bleeding and covered in sweat, the thing that registered was that your sweat smelled like my cum.) I longed to taste your cum, and explained that sooner or later (and sooner, if I knew you), yours would start to flow. Often we would go to bed, have sex, sleep, and then one of us would wake up and start us going again. Then we would sleep until morning, when we would go at it yet again. Then we would shower together, dress, and join my roommates for breakfast. To this day, I don't know how we did it without smiling at each other like fools.
When Phil came to stay nothing much happened. Occasionally we would let our hands wander over each others’ bodies as we talked, but then we would settle down and sleep for the night. At least he would. I was too horny to sleep much, but I also knew I couldn’t afford to get him angry with me — he held the key to my happiness, even though I don’t think he knew it. Phil certainly didn’t know about the extent of our relationship, which leads me to believe that you had guilt feelings, too, otherwise you would have bragged to him of your exploits. I know I was feeling guilty, but when I was with you it all faded away. I guess you could call it a sexual obsession. I thought of little else.
I really have no other strong memories from that period except for one that I’ve never even told you, Rick.
There was a boy in your neighborhood, Bobby. He was about twelve: slim, dark, with straight, longish hair, olive complexion, and big, dark brown eyes. He was also deaf. He lost his hearing as an infant after an illness. He attended a school for the deaf and knew sign language, but was a rebellious student, so preferred writing notes on a notebook he carried. I met him in your living room. He looked at me and wrote: “Father?” You answered no. “Uncle?” No. “What?” You hesitated, then wrote, “Great friend.” He seemed to immediately understand the relationship, smiled knowingly, and said, “Lucky.” He then appeared at your house whenever I was around, just watching and killing time.
I offered to drive him home one day and after getting in my car, he asked me where I lived. I told him and his face lit up. My house was a few blocks from his school. The next day when I arrived home from work, my roommate said there was someone waiting to see me. There he was, sitting in my den, playing a TV video game (I think it was Pong). I was shocked and a little embarrassed. How could I explain this beautiful creature to my friends? Somehow I did, and I showed him around the house. We ended up in my bedroom and he sat on the bed. He looked at me longingly, but not being skilled at conversation due to his handicap, he was at a loss for words.
I sat next to him and asked what was it that he wanted. He looked into my eyes and said, “Blow me.” I was stunned. How did he know? If he knew, who else knew? I was angry with you, thinking you had told him. I was scared that he would tell someone else and my life would go down in flames. I couldn’t think straight. He pointed at his dick, which was hard and visible through his shorts, and said again, “Blow me.” I didn’t know what to say or do. Finally, I heard myself saying, “You blow me first.” Yeah, that was good, I thought. That way, he had to take the risk, too. He made a face and said no, but still looked at me longingly, his cock pulsing through his shorts. I didn’t do anything with him — I thought better of it and didn’t want to make a dangerous situation even more so. I drove him home that day, and we saw a lot of each other over the months and years to follow, but we never came that close again. Knowing all that I know now, if l could do it over again I would have dropped to my knees, pulled down his shorts and given him the blowjob he wanted.
* * *
THERE WERE TIMES when I thought I was going mad from the worry and guilt I was feeling over our relationship. What was happening was illegal and probably immoral, I felt, but it felt so good and it made us both so happy. How could it be bad? How could society condemn us? I was torn apart when I was away from you, and at the same time drawn closer to you by my longings.
I was an amateur photographer, and was getting pretty good. You became the main subject of my photos. You were so photogenic: your lengthy blond hair, your soft tanned skin, your bright, winning smile. I must have shot and developed over a thousand pictures of you: alone, with family, with friends, with me. I photographed you awake and asleep, but I didn’t dare take any shots of you naked since you might think it perverted or cheap. The subject arose one day when we were walking by the river, about an hour’s drive from your home. I had come there often when I wanted to be alone to think, and now I brought you there when I wanted us to be alone. We were walking along the bank and you said you had to piss. You turned from me slightly, unzipped your pants, and pulled out your dick. You shot a magnificent arc of piss soaring ten feet over your head and out into the river. Since I had my camera in my hand, I swung it up and shot. You caught me holding the camera to my face and after a moment’s thought, turned to me with your dick still out and said, “How does this look?” I was embarrassed by the question, but you played with your little cock and said you’d like me to take some pictures of it. I looked around nervously, but we were all alone — no one for miles and miles. I said OK, I wouldn’t mind, and kneeled down to get a better view. You stood, posed with your hips pushed out and your cock, now hard, sticking from your jeans. I shot a few from different angles, and said OK — that was it. You said, “Wait, take some more. Let me get out of my clothes, and take some of me really naked, laying in the grass and maybe climbing a tree.” Who was I to argue? You shed your clothes faster than I could focus my camera and stood before me with a devilish grin. I photographed you from every angle, from near and from far. I did close-ups of your face, your buns, your dick, your lips.
When I changed film you asked me to join you. I had a timer on my camera, so of course I agreed. (You had an uncanny knack of inviting me to do the things that I wanted to do the most, but was too embarrassed, reserved, or scared to ask you myself. This knack continues to this day.) You grabbed the camera, and took several shots of me. Then we set the camera on a rock and used the timer. We posed standing together, lying together side by side, with you lying on top of me, and with us both showing our butts to the camera. Then you asked if I could take pictures of me sucking your dick. I gulped. Your words echoed in my ears for what seemed like hours. I was paralyzed. Every possible emotion was fighting to be heard within my head. Confusion, elation, fear, anxiety, love, revulsion, hatred (of myself for not seizing the moment), self pity, lust. You saw that I hesitated and said, “Well, forget it. It was just an idea.” Finally, I said it was a great idea — I was only trying to decide how to do it. It was also the very first time that I would suck your cock, so I was concerned that all went well. You pointed out a rock that stood less than a foot from the ground we were lying on and said if I propped the camera on it and set the timer, then ran back around to where you were laying on your back, and jammed your dick into my mouth, the timer would go off right about then. We decided to practice the set-up a few times. You counted to ten while I ran the action. It worked barely, but it gave me the opportunity to wet your dick, which I had been wanting to do since I met you. We shot three or four photos like that, and then I was out of film. We agreed that we would look at the photos, then destroy them all, both of us realizing that they were dangerous evidence of our relationship together. My dick was too hard for words. As I laid back onto the grass, you said how much you enjoyed the feeling, and that you hoped we could do it often. You slipped your hand (barely) around my swollen cock and began to pull me off. You could always read my body like a book — slowing down when I was about to come, stopping to let me relax before beginning again, teasing me to the most intense orgasms of my entire life. You were fascinated by the power you could have over my body and were eager to learn the arts of lovemaking. When I came, you would watch intently, still stroking me while counting the spasms and then smearing my cum over my chest with your fingers. You always hugged me afterwards and laid with me awhile. That day you said you wished that you could cum like I did, but that so far all you got was a tingling feeling. I told you to be patient and to enjoy what you had.
* * *
TIME MARCHES ON. I lived in the household with my friends for about a year, during which our relationship flourished and grew. My friends probably felt a little uncomfortable with our relationship. They did not seem displeased, anyway, when I said I was moving out. I had been offered a much better job and was anxious to prove myself. The only hesitation I had was that it meant I had to move 30 miles away. I thought that it was workable, but you felt it was the end of the world. You cried for hours, feeling that I was about to abandon you. Finally, you agreed to help me find an apartment, and when we got there, you knew that it wasn't such a great distance.
The job was great, and I called every night to tell you all about my new life. It was agreed that I would stay at your house on weekends, and so begins my story as your houseguest. I would arrive on Friday and would stay until Sunday evening, acting as a companion for the kids while your parents were home (which gave them time to be alone) and as a baby-sitter when they went to work. Your mom was even able to take a part-time job as a waitress now that I was there to watch the kids.
I shared your bedroom — a decision that you made for us. I slept in your bed while you slept on the floor. But I don’t think you ever spent a whole night there. When I crept into bed, I would gaze lovingly at your sleeping body, sometimes letting my hand roam over you. I would then sleep, and dream almost always of you. At some point in the night, my dream would become reality, as you slipped into bed with me. Many times I woke to the feeling of your hands gently kneading my soft cock. When I woke, you always knew it because I instantly got hard. You even told me that you wished I could stay soft once in a while, since you loved playing with me that way. You would lie on my stomach — at ten, you were very thin, and weighed hardly anything — and we would kiss: deep soul kisses, little, playful kisses all over our faces, necks, ears, chests, arms, and hands. We slept in each other’s arms, right in your own bed, under your parents noses — in fact, before their very eyes. They must have opened the bedroom door from time to time while. But it was obvious to everyone that this was a beautiful friendship so it was accepted.
You spent a few nights in my apartment, but I wasn’t happy there, so after six months looked for another. I found something beyond my wildest expectations. The property had woods, fields, fruit trees, and a lake for swimming, fishing, and boating. Another plus was that it was no longer a long-distance call to your home. You now had the ability to talk to me whenever you wanted, and God knows you made use of that. Before school, you would call, just to say you loved me. After school, you called to tell me what you had done, and ask when I would be able to come see you. (Often, I did drive in once or twice a week.) You called to say goodnight, and to tell me you loved me. You called if you couldn't get to sleep, and you called if you had a bad dream. We talked for hours at a time, and even had phone sex once in a while. Your folks thought it was cute, but always asked to tell them if it became a bother. It wasn’t. I needed it as much as you did. When I heard you say, “I love you,” I could say the same, and know what it really meant.
Summer came and it was only natural for me to invite you to stay with me. Your folks thought it was a good idea to get you out of the city and knew I would take good care of you. Here begins the story of you as my houseguest. You were now 11 years old and could take care of yourself. I worked during the day, while you slept late, fished, swam, made friends, went to the store to buy supplies, and generally had the run of the whole world, just as any 11-year-old boy should. We skinny-dipped in the lake, sat by fires on the shore, showered together, and fell into each other’s arms. We held each other's cocks in bed while we talked of many things. We slept naked in each others’ arms. We danced in each others’ dreams. It was heaven on earth. I had you for three weeks that summer, three of the best weeks of my entire existence.
While you were there you made friends with the local kids. Our rule was that no one could enter the apartment with you when I was away, and being the good kid you always were, you never broke the rule. So, when I came home one day, you were on the steps with three boys your age. They all wanted to meet me and all wished they could live the life you did. We walked in, and they marvelled at my stuff — my stereo and record collection, my photos (of you, and others), and my darkroom. One asked if I was a porno photographer, half-jokingly. You went to a closet, and pulled out some girly books for the guys to see. I was upset that you did this without my permission, but was also very anxious to see what happened next. The boys went wild, scanning over every page with great interest (and all getting hard cocks in the process). Again, one asked if I was a porno photographer, and I said maybe, depending on who the subject was. They all said that they could be the subjects, and playfully started pulling up their shirts and pulling down their shorts. It was too much! You had started a near riot in my apartment — kids were ripping their clothes off to get before my camera, and you sat with that devilish grin on you face, watching to see what I would do. You knew that I really wanted to get all I could from this — shoot a few rolls of film of these fine young studs playing with each other and maybe even playing with me, but I knew (if you didn’t) that this was extremely dangerous. I didn’t know these guys — couldn’t trust them to keep it quiet. I could have a dozen more boys on the steps the next day, or a dozen cops. As much as I wanted to follow my desires, I decided it wasn’t worth the risks and said no. They pleaded, but eventually gave up, and we all said goodbye for the night. They would be back to see you, but the subject never came up again. I told you how I was angry with your stunt, but I never could stay angry with you, so we had a good laugh together. You understood our mutual need for privacy.
It was always a balancing act to keep perspective on our love. I tried to keep a happy medium of work, family, friends, girls (to satisfy society’s needs that I date), and our love. It was hard. Some long-time friends saw me as a homewrecker, thinking I was after your mother. My own family didn’t know what to make of it. Your family saw me as a valuable friend, and a symbol of acceptance of their racially mixed marriage. Girls thought of me (being young, financially independent, good looking) as a definite possibility. I thought of myself as many of those things, too, but also homosexual, child molester, monster, betrayer, black sheep of the family, embarrassment to everyone who knew me, loser. I was plagued by self-doubt and developed insomnia worrying about my future. I had no one to whom to confess my secrets and it was eating me up. I felt entirely alone with my problems and sometimes, once again, considered suicide. I went through a short, intense religious period. It was enlightening, but in the end it wasn’t for me.
* * *
I HAD BEEN DATING a series of girls during our entire friendship, more out of trying to look normal than out of real interest. Some were good looking, others were not. Some were anxious to have sex (and we did, a lot), and others would never even consider it. One wanted nothing more than for me to get her pregnant, so she could finally escape from her family. Another wanted, as an act of rebellion, to show me off to her Jewish parents. One gave me crabs (which your mother helped me get rid of). One let me explore her body for hours, getting my rocks off time after time, while she felt nothing. It seems she had been molested by a male neighbor as a child, and was now frigid towards sex. I worried about you and your future, but could see the obvious differences. She was an unwilling participant. He forced himself upon her. You were a willing partner, and was growing through the experience. Still, I worried.
I decided that I just wasn’t destined to marry and so gave up trying. Of course, that’s when I met my future wife. We had met years earlier on a double date. She was with my roommate, and I was to be with her best friend. As soon as I saw her, I asked if we could switch dates, but of course the answer was no. Still, something clicked within me. They were to remain together (but not serious about each other) for about two years, and then he moved on to a new girl. He (my now ex-room mate) knew I wasn’t dating anyone, and out of concern for me asked if he could fix me up with a date. I was having a holiday party, and said sure, invite her along. We struck up a conversation while ice skating on the lake, and I asked her for her phone number over hot chocolate. I didn’t think I would call (neither did she, she later told me), but the very next night, I did. We went on a date, and I came home, in love. I can’t explain it to this day, but I was suddenly, and hopelessly, in love with another person.
Now, I loved two people, but in completely different ways. I loved you, Ricky, in so many, many ways. I loved our life together, but I also realized that it would always have to be hidden and that, eventually, you would grow up and begin to love others, too. Rita, on the other hand, was someone that society would expect me to love. You taught me how to love, and now I was ready to try my wings. Within a month, we were engaged, and within six months, we were married. I knew from that first moment two years earlier that she was the one, but waited out of respect for my friend. Your family was pleased that I had found someone. You were unsure of the new competition and of how you would fit into my future, but that all disappeared when you two met. It was mutual love at first sight (what woman could resist you?) and all the pieces fell into place. You loved me, you also loved sexy women. She loved me, and loved kids. I loved you both, and was sure we could work out some way to share our love all around.
You and your brother Phil were ushers at our wedding. Your family sat right next to mine at the reception — right where they belonged. It was a joyful event. I don’t think I have ever seen so many people enjoy themselves with such abandon for so long. Our happiness was contagious.
* * *
TIME MARCHES on. I hadn't been happy with my job, and so took a new position just before we got married. Our new home was much closer to yours, so we visited often. Rita and your mom became best friends, shopping companions, and advisors. It was a perfect arrangement. I had all the people I loved around me, and they all loved each other. Rita knew there was a special bond between us, and respected it. She allowed late night phone calls (which sometimes interrupted our sex life. Sometimes, even though I was on the phone with you, the call didn’t interrupt our sex life. Did you know?). She accepted as a given your company on outings. Our families vacationed together. You were a regular overnight guest in our apartment.
Often you could not sleep, or woke from a bad dream. You were allowed into our bed, with me in the middle of the two people I loved most in the world. It was a special feeling — unlike any that I have ever heard described — like I was between fire and ice. Both were good, but both could extinguish the other if I wasn’t careful. But I was extremely careful. Our sexual relations, Ricky, were reserved only for when we could be alone together, which wasn’t very often. Sometimes when you slept over, I would come to you in the night. Other times, we would relax with each other on days that Rita had to leave for work early, or on days I didn’t work. Neither one of us was particularly satisfied, but we agreed that it was a necessary slowdown, and that things would get better.
And they did. We moved again, this time to a larger apartment, which happened to be within walking distance from your new house. Once again, we were able to have meals together, drop in on each other at any time, and Rita and I (or I by myself) could baby-sit when necessary. You could drop in on weekends or days off and we could be alone again. We enjoyed each other’s bodies just as we had before I was married, and now our relationship was safer since I was more accepted in the view of society. You accepted my marriage as a necessity — since you, yourself, were a raging heterosexual, constantly chasing and catching young girls and telling me of your successes. You had more sex at 12 than I had at 18, you bastard! I envied you and your good looks.
Once you were staying the night with us, and I had tucked you in in the guest room. Rita was already asleep when I came to bed. No sooner had I laid down, than you quietly slipped through the door and into bed next to me. Your breathing was heavy, your body was hot. You were naked and very hard. At 12, your dick was roughly the size of mine, fully grown. You had a little pubic hair and balls slightly heavier than last year’s. Your muscles were beginning to develop in your shoulders and arms. Your legs were thin and hard. Your skin was tanned and soft, as only a boy’s can be. It was pretty obvious that you weren’t sleepy, and suddenly, neither was I. We ran our hands over each other, silently and cautiously. You crept down and kissed my chest, licking my nipples. Then, you came back up and slightly pushed me downward. I moved, as if in a dream. Silently and ever so slowly, I moved down your body with my tongue. My tongue felt yours, then moved down your neck, your chest, your nipples, your stomach. I crept ever lower, being careful not to shake the bed. Rita, my loving wife, lay asleep next to me. You, my loving boy, lay awake on the other side. I softly kissed your pubic hairs, your balls, your inner thighs. The air was filled with electricity. I couldn’t hear anything except the pounding of my heart and the blood rushing in my veins. I slid onto my side and rolled your body towards me, slipping the head of your impossibly hard cock into my mouth. I slowly, sensuously, rolled my lips over your glans, over the ridge, down the shaft — up and down, slowly, not even moving the bed. I’d stop to roll my tongue over the back of your cock head, where I knew it drove you crazy. Then I’d slip your glans back into my mouth, and suck slowly again. It went on for an hour. The pounding of your heart sounded loud enough to wake Rita. My own heart had seemed to have stopped some time ago. Time stood still. Then, for the first time in your life, you came. No more dry orgasms! No more longing to have cum! You came, and you came into my mouth, the very first time! You grunted loudly, but Rita didn’t stir. I was surprised, and just as happy as you were. I slowly crept up to your mouth, and kissed you with your cum still on my tongue. You tasted your first cum from my mouth, and we hugged and told each other “I love you.” When Rita woke in the morning, she found us asleep together, as usual, in her bed. She kissed me before getting out of bed, and I knew that all was well. She had slept through the whole thing, and once again, I fell into a deep sleep.
* * *
I REALLY DON’T KNOW how we pulled it off. Looking back at the far distant past —it’s been many years since that first time you came — it seems impossible that we could have ever had this incredible love affair directly under the noses of our families, friends, and now, my wife. The strain of keeping our love secret must have been enormous. I know I spent many sleepless nights worrying over our fates, and I’m sure that you also had your doubts. I remember telling you many times during the early years that I was sorry to put you through the pain and uncertainty of this illicit relationship. I told you that I knew how hard it was to grow up under normal circumstances, and realized that I was adding so much more strain to your young life. You assured me that you enjoyed our strange relationship, that you preferred it to having no one to love, and that you would rather die than live without our love. I felt the same, and considered myself fortunate to have you in my life. Still, we had many conversations like this, and sometimes a little rebellion as well, from both of us.
I remember one time, while I was still a weekend guest at your house, I awoke to find you next to me — well, on me, mostly — stroking my soft cock. I said, as if in a dream, that I resented your taking advantage of me this way, and that it made me feel uncomfortable at times to know that I was not in complete control of my emotions. I honestly felt, lying there with you, that I could no longer tell where I ended and where you began — that we were so much a part of each other, I didn't seem to exist without you, nor you without me. I can still feel that odd sensation. We were so close, we were one. With you lying on me like you did, our hearts would beat together, our breathing would match, our thoughts would be obvious to both of us. It scared me and I was afraid. Yet I was powerless to stop myself from loving you. I soared when I was near you and I crashed when I was away. I looked forward to the next time I saw you, like a drug addict, waiting for his next fix.
You had your ups and downs, too. Even though we were in the midst of a torrid love affair, you would recoil when anyone mentioned homosexuality. You cast insults with words like fag and homo without ever thinking that our love could be called the same names by anyone else. You never once considered yourself to be gay, nor mentioned that you felt I might be gay. Personally, I always felt strongly attracted to boys, yet almost equally strongly attracted to girls. You seemed to feel the same way, and so, you rationalized that you weren’t gay. Yet we never put a name on what it was that we both were.
During our entire relationship, you would tell me of your exploits with the girls in your life. You had girls far older than you kissing you and letting you take liberties with them that they would never allow older boys even think of. They all thought you were cute and sexy. Girls your age would hang around you, and many let you introduce them to sex. You were, indeed, the most beautiful kid I had ever seen, and they must have agreed. At nine, you bragged (to my boss!) that you had fucked many girls. I wasn’t sure I believed you, so you arranged for me to watch as you got it on with your most recent partner. It was really touching, and she seemed to be really excited by my presence. She even offered to let me fuck her, but I thought better of it. At 13, you went through a period where we did not have any sexual contact for nearly a year, only a close physical relationship — hugging and snuggling. Our kissing had pretty much stopped by this time, since you had begun to be self-conscious about it. I knew what you were going through, so I didn’t mind, as long as we still spent quality time together. At 14, you grew to nearly your adult size, nearly six feet tall, with broad shoulders, firm legs, and strong arms. You cock became huge — nearly nine inches hard, and almost twice as thick as mine. It was your most prized possession, and you now wanted to show it off. Girls practically lined up to be able to have sex with you. Many times, I arrived at your house to find you in bed with a different girl. They were always tremendously embarrassed, but you assured them that I was cool. Still, they would put on their clothes and be gone.
Once again, you requested that we shower together, and allowed me to dry your body, carefully and completely. You loved the attention I would give every inch of you and our sex play began once again. You realized that your good looks and the strength and power of youth would not last forever, and asked me to take pictures of you. I took many rolls of you lying naked, indoors and out, of you jerking off, and of you asleep. You had always admired the boys in the magazines I had purchased from Europe and wanted to be in one. I sent some photos of you to Denmark. (I understand that they were published, but I never found in which publication. I do know that somewhere, there are some great photos of you in some magazine for other guys to enjoy.) I also took a few eight-millimeter films of you jerking off, and we enjoyed watching them for many years. (They’re all gone now. It became too risky to keep them, so reluctantly, I destroyed all of the photos and films. I regret having to do it, but it was the only thing to do, what with the changing laws, and my desire to protect you from harm.)
* * *
FIFTEEN CAME and went. You were now a part-time employee of the business I owned, and we could spend more time in each other’s company. You enjoyed earning money, not that you were ever lacking for anything you desired. I guess you might say I spoiled you a little over the years. Still, having your own money was exciting to you, and I was glad to be able to offer you the opportunity. When you turned 16, you wanted to drive, but insurance problems kept your folks from being able to put you on their insurance policy. It was a matter of course that I should put you onto mine, where you remained for about two years. You realized the responsibility that was required of you, and you never once let me down, or even caused me to worry about you.
From 17 to 19, you lived in our house on and off while you worked full time for me. High school was over and college was a distant goal. You wanted to live. I allowed you to come and go as you pleased, and you were no trouble for us at all. We were glad to be able to repay your folks by taking you in for a time while you found your bearings. We worked together during the day, and would have some pretty hot jerk-off sessions late at night a couple of times a week. I even had a TV and VCR set up in my office at work which you would use at any hour of the day. It was a great set-up for both of us. You provided the honest, convenient labor I needed, and I provided room, board, money, and the opportunity to enjoy your youth.
I was proud to be your friend, your mentor, your guardian, your boss, and your hero. I was able to give you advice when you needed it and I was always able to learn from you, too. In many areas, you became my teacher. You were, and still are, like my first-born child. When my wife and I had children of our own, you became a devoted uncle or big brother to them. They loved you like I always loved you, and I was often overwhelmed with joy when I saw you playing together, sprawled out on the rug or splashing in the pool. You had become to them what I was to your family when you were so young: an adult playmate, a peace keeper, a baby sitter, a guardian.
As much as I love my children, and I love them very much, I do not think that I will ever be able to love them as much as I love you. I have never said this before to anyone and it may sound extreme, but I know it to be true. I love you more than just as a friend, or as a child, or as a lover. It's all of these things and so much more that I can't begin to put into words. This does not diminish the love that I have for my kids — it adds to it, since I know what love is capable of. I believe that the power of love can do mighty things, and want for my children everything that it can bring.
Now I’m suddenly middle aged, but I feel the same as I did when I was a teenager. Can that be because of the love I have known in my life? I tend to think so. And what about you? Where are you in your life? You have decided not to pursue college — perhaps you’ll re-think that a little later. You enjoy your job as a self-employed carpenter, which you are really good at. You have a great relationship with your family, and with my family. You are singing in a band, which plays out a few weekends a month, and may just go places. You have a nice apartment and a fine car. You also have a steady girl. There has recently been some talk about the two of you getting married, and last week, you asked me if I would be your best man. Rick, I was overjoyed to have you ask me. I am so honored to serve as your best man. You could have asked your brother, or any number of your good friends, and yet you told me that there was never any question in your mind.
You are a man, ready to take a bride. I can’t believe it. It seems like only yesterday when I first saw you, bleeding and looking up to me with those beautiful, dark blue eyes. Our lives have changed in many ways, yet our love remains the same.
* * *
WILL ANYONE reading this believe all that I have written? How much of it do you remember, Rick? I remember so little of my own childhood that I doubt if you remember ten percent of what I have told. And there was so much more that happened. I wish I could remember every day, and every word we spoke, but I can’t.
The other side of the relationship was terrifying, at least to me. I was in constant fear of discovery. I was always afraid that someone would find out about us and that I would be arrested, imprisoned, ridiculed by society, thought of as a betrayer by your family, and as a failure by mine. I thought I was that which I had been told does these things —a child molester, a monster, a freak. I had no one to ask advice of, and no role model to learn from. This, above all else, is why I have written this history of my experiences. I want to have our relationship documented, and primed in a NAMBLA publication, so that someday, somewhere, it will be read by another man who finds himself in the same situation as I had found myself. I want our experiences to be used as a model; as a counter balance to the negative labels and warnings of our society. I want it to be known that a man/boy relationship can be beneficial to both, to their families, to their personal growth, and to their mental health. I want it to be known that both can find happiness in this world, and that the long term effects of a loving, caring relationship are good, and are worth pursuing, no matter who the participants are, or what their ages are, or what their sexes are. If I had been able to read of this type of relationship at the start, I would have saved myself from endless hours of mental anguish and uncertainty. I would have been able to boldly confront my fears and accept the nature of our love. How I wish I had such a guide.
Now, I have given the world the benefit of our experience. I have shared our love, and in doing so, have opened our lives to thousands of others who are also in need of reassurance, of encouragement, and of spiritual uplift. I can now say that what we have done is good, and I am proud of our accomplishments. And if just one person finds strength in our story, and is able to avoid having to go through these terrible problems, then all of our fears and uncertainty were worth the effort. Rick, my good friend, my soul mate, my love, we have succeeded in showing the world that our kind of love can bring lasting happiness. We are living proof that we can lead normal, well-adjusted lives and can be respected, contributing members of society. Our thoughts go out to all the people who read this history of our love, and our sincerest best wishes to those who may benefit from our experiences. Thanks to NAMBLA, for being there to share the information, and to our families and all our good friends for accepting us as we are. And most of all, thanks to you, Rick, for teaching me how to love.
 A forthcoming essay on this website, On the Distinct Character of Greek Love, will venture to set out these characteristics at the same time as positing this age range of the boy as the limits within which he has been able to experience characteristic Greek love, albeit that the lower and upper extremes have been unusual. What is most relevant in the present case (besides its being hard to reconcile sex between a man and a late teen with pedophilia, or between a man and a boy of six with being gay) is that for both man and boy the love affair was a stage in their lives rather than an expression of inescapable sexual orientation (both being heterosexually active). Also, the relationship was strongly functional, the bonding involved playing an important role in the boy’s development from dependent child to adult.