LASTING FRIENDSHIPS AND CASUAL MEETINGS
BY EDWARD BRONGERSMA
“Lasting Friendships and Casual Meetings” is the sixth part of “Man/Boy Relationships”, the third section of “Adult Lovers”, the second chapter of Loving Boys, the encyclopaedic study of Greek love by the eminent Dutch lawyer, Edward Brongersma, of which the first volume (including this) was published by Global Academic Publishers in New York in 1986.
According to Loes Rouweler-Wutz, men loving girls have for the most part casual, passing contacts, while those loving boys strive much harder for lasting relationships. Monica Pieterse’s study confirmed this. Most boy-lovers long for a long-lasting friendship, and where they are successful in attaining this the average duration is a strikingly long 33 months.
On the other hand, one-time-only contacts are frequent; under certain conditions they may attain for both partners a striking intensity and depth and in every way take their proper place within the limits of a healthy sex life. Immorality resides in arousing false expectations. But when man and boy agree to offer each other the mutually desired delight and relief of shared sex, laying no other claims upon one another, this is completely justified. Older boys tend to have more understanding of sex practiced purely for pleasure than do younger boys. The French author Jouhandeau wrote a striking apology for the anonymous one-night-stand: be satisfied if you have had sex once in your life with a boy you loved, for such perfection cannot be reached a second time. When you have sex with an unknown individual he is two-fold naked: stripped of his clothes and stripped of his personality. As soon as you know your partner’s identity it immediately becomes more difficult to surrender yourself to blind instinct.
Occasionally a man and boy will hit it off at once so completely and naturally that sexual intimacies occur quite spontaneously within minutes of their first meeting. On the other hand the idea of a lasting friendship in which sexual desire only gradually awakens and the ensuing activities follow after a considerable lapse of time is far from being an over-idealised fantasy.
32: An English youth leader came to know Owen when the boy joined his group at age twelve. Over the next three years their friendship became more and more intimate. Owen often came to the man’s home. Then one night when the boy was fifteen they had a long conversation about sexuality during which the youth leader confessed that his appetite was directed wholly toward boys. Owen’s immediate reaction was rejection; he voiced all the usual prejudices, but just as the man thought it would be best to drop the subject the boy suddenly stood up and said, “Well, let’s have a try,” and proceeded to undress. The man, even though he had had lots of experience in these matters, was now taken completely by surprise. Owen had always seemed a rather reserved, introverted boy, but now he was suddenly caught up in an outburst of the hottest passion and abandoned his body to his older friend time and again until they both were completely exhausted. The intensified friendship which followed lasted for years and included frequent sex. (Personal communication)
In boy-love treatises this sort of gradual evolution of mutual feeling ultimately crowned by sexual union is often given as typical. The psychologist Sandfort may well be correct in attributing this to the attempt to render such relationships more acceptable to outsiders. Thus it must be stressed that a short circuiting of such a process is rather common, and, contrary to what it is feared outsiders might think, this is certainly not always bad.
Questioned about their one-time-only contacts over the preceding five years, 20% of the subjects in Pieterse’s investigation (N: 148) claimed to have had many, or very many while 80% said they had none or very few; 62.8% liked to have such casual contacts concurrently with their steady friendships, while 26.4% didn’t; 49.3% preferred to have only one steady relationship at a time, 35.1% to have several simultaneously, while 14.9% had no opinion.
In any case, it is quite senseless to divide boy-lovers into categories of the morally superior (having steady friendships) and the morally inferior (preferring one night stands). In putting a taboo on boy-love, society itself made it impossible for many men to built a steady relationship based on pedagogical eros without placing themselves and their young friends at great risk from the aggression of their fellow-citizens or the forces of justice. Penal law is almost powerless to prevent the sexual activities it criminalises from taking place: sexual appetite is just too forceful. Not that the legal dispositions are completely ineffective: they actually favour the casual, pedagogically valueless, even objectionable, contacts at the expense of closer relationships with their manifold opportunities. We are therefore justified in concluding that these legal prohibitions actually work against the best interests of society. (Chapter Four will take up this subject in greater detail.)
This being the case, the behaviour of an individual boy-lover doesn’t justify jumping to conclusions about his tendency to promiscuity. Research statistics on this score tell us more about the social conditions in which boy-lovers live than about their real proclivities.
 Rouweler-Wutz, L., Pedofielen, in contact of conflict met de samenleving?. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus, 1976, p. 24. [Author’s reference]
 Pieterse, M., Pedofielen over pedofilie. Zeist: NISSO, 1982, II 13-14. [Author’s reference]
 NISSO, Onderzoek jeugd en sex. Eerste bericht. Zeist: NISSO, 1973, 21. [Author’s reference]
 Jouhandeau, M., Bréviaire – Portrait de Don Juan – Amours. Paris: Gallimard, 1981, 122, 20-21, 79. [Author’s reference]
 Sandfort 1981, 90. [Author’s reference, not identifiable in his bibliography]
 Pieterse, M., Pedofielen over pedofilie. Zeist: NISSO, 1982, II 15- 17. [Author’s reference]
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