WHY SEX ? BY EDWARD BRONGERSMA
“Why Sex?” is the first 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 in two volumes by Global Academic Publishers in New York in 1986.
Chapter 1. Why Sex?
A harried teacher is trying to explain to his pupils something they find very difficult to grasp. Finally one desperate student says, “I think I might understand it if you’d just stop explaining it.”
The reader of this book would probably have the same reaction if we tried to burden him with one more definition or description of what “sexuality” is. He is likely to do as well or better without it.
Rather than give long, meandering answers to “What is it?”, we had better ask ourselves “Why?” What ends does sexuality serve? Why does one behave sexually? We have to distinguish between several possibilities, several ends, and throughout this book we will be dealing with at least four of them. It is often said, for example, that “children aren’t yet mature enough for sexual activity”. It is impossible either to agree or disagree with such a statement as long as it isn’t clear what kind of sex the speaker is talking about. It is possible that a child at a certain age is not mature enough for one kind of sex but quite able to handle another kind. It is easy here to be talking and arguing at cross-purposes.
Such distinctions are also important in making moral judgements about certain sexual activities. What is condemned in many cultures as highly immoral may in another culture be considered quite ethically acceptable – and even exalted in its religion. Western society rejects boy-love, rejects religious prostitution as a sacrifice to the gods, rejects the orgy in honour of a deity. But what modern Greeks call depravity their ancestors held in high esteem. Morality has changed with the times, and shifts in moral outlook bring about alterations in secular laws as well: traditionally legal behaviour may suddenly be criminalized and severely punished. On the other hand recent homosexual history shows how a crime, subject to the death penalty, may at a certain moment quite quickly be removed from our penal codes.
We must now examine four possible answers to the question, “Why sex?” One: The purpose of sex is procreation. Two: Sex is a means of expressing emotions. Three: Sex is simply meant for pleasure. Four: Sex unites us with Nature, is a way of experiencing our link with the Divine.
Let us arbitrarily begin with the concept that the purpose of sexuality is procreation. As puberty is reached the male body starts to produce seed, the female eggs. During intercourse the male member is introduced into the female vagina in order to deposit the seed which, under the proper circumstances, meets the egg and fertilizes it in order to produce a child. Thus the activity is necessary for the conservation of the human race, and the lustful sensations which accompany the sexual act may be seen as a kind of reward for duty accomplished.
Among the Ancient Greeks it was the older Plato especially who elaborated this theory, which appears again in the writings of the Roman Musonius. Procreation is seen as the only moral justification for sexual intercourse; it is the lustful feelings which accompany it that make the activity abominable and an infringement on human dignity. For the Spirit is called upon to raise itself above Matter, above all things of this earth, which, after all, are only a shadow, a reflection of the reality of the all-transcendent Idea. Sensual pleasure, then, presses us down, fixates us upon Matter. Thus, for example, it is noble and good to admire the beauty of a naked boy, to let it inspire one and guide one to the Idea of beauty itself; but it is bad and unworthy to unite oneself in lust with the naked boy. Sexual activity, then, should be strictly limited to the bare minimum sufficient to assure procreation. These teachings had little or no influence during classical Antiquity.
We also find no traces of this pagan doctrine in the words of Jesus and the gospels; nevertheless it came to dominate European culture and its extensions for many centuries. Shorn of its veneration of the boy’s body, it entered history as “Christian sexual morality”, but all its elements were already present in Plato: celibacy is ethically more highly esteemed than marriage; youth should be inured against the temptations of lust by means of exercise and sport. Christian doctrine brought nothing really new; it simply helped the Platonic theories acquire a belated ascendancy.
From the start these teachings conflicted with the common human conviction that sexual lust is far more important than a mere adjunct to procreation. They have led to a profound ambiguity in Western culture and acted as a continuous internal menace, for a good culture should be constructed in harmony with nature, use its properties and laws constructively and not attempt to deny them.
The protagonists of this now-traditional morality make a laughing stock of themselves when they appeal in all seriousness to “nature” without expending even a minimum of effort to study natural realities or take into account the relationship and distinction between nature and culture. They condemn as unnatural (or even anti-natural) all sexual activities which do not have procreation as an objective (e.g. intercourse using contraception) or where procreation is impossible (e.g. homosexual acts). In the former case they overlook the fact that it is characteristic of cultures that they do distinguish between desired and undesired consequences of an activity and take measures to avert the latter. More importantly they overlook the manifold examples where nature itself has taken precautions against its own doings, generously providing means of defence as well as of attack. In-built frustrations of natural processes form an important part of nature. As for the second example, to declare homosexuality unnatural and say that a man engaging in it sinks below the level of the animals would have been an unpardonable error even in Antiquity. The Greeks observed and described homosexual behaviour in animals. Contemporary research has multiplied such examples from the entire animal kingdom many times over: a book is needed just to enumerate them. Nature is full of homosexuality, just as it abounds in seemingly senseless, unproductive sex.
Seemingly unproductive. Nowhere do the protagonists of this traditional view of sex-as-procreation reveal the essentially materialist, rationalist and unspiritual character of their morality more clearly than in their compulsion to see homosexuality and intercourse with contraceptives as unproductive behaviour.
1: To counter this claim I will first quote from a voluminous autobiography given to me in confidence by a highly talented man who is now nearly seventy years old. Onno is a university graduate, exercised important functions in society, has now retired and devotes himself to the study of religion and philosophy. As an adolescent he had a very beautiful and graceful body, as well as extraordinarily strong sexual impulses which were directed exclusively toward adult males. For many years he gave his body to a great many men, eagerly participated in nearly every conceivable kind of sexual activity, posed nude for painters and photographers, gave nude shows and dances before groups of spectators. We will come back to Onno and his autobiography many times in the course of these pages. He writes:
“I am forever grateful to the man who introduced me into these circles. He taught me to reject all taboos and follow freely the course of my true and individual nature. This made my life unbelievably happy and gave me marvellously good health. And I wasn’t the only one to profit from this: the same thing happened to the men with whom I slept. For years I was the source of inspiration for an artist. Another man found in the joy I was able to give him with my body the energy to comply with an unusually large burden of social duties. The butler of one important industrialist told me, ‘You came, and now the boss is singing again!’ Still another man, who had apparently grown cold and austere by being isolated in a high position, suddenly amazed his acquaintances by expressing his feeling much more openly; his relationship with me even inspired him to start writing poetry.” (Personal communication)
“It is certain that by means of a homosexual love many humans have been liberated to a truly spiritual fertility which otherwise would have been impossible.” We might recall the words of the Greek poet Cavafy (1863-1933) who, after a furtive homosexual meeting, wrote: 
But how the life of the artist has gained. Tomorrow, the next day, years later, the vigorous verses will be composed that had their beginning here.
Any person who is not limited in his thinking to the purely biological aspects of sex cannot be blind to the fact that sexual pleasure contributes enormously to happiness, to a sense of well-being, to mental and physical health, and is, therefore, indirectly a source of energy and inspiration. In Hindu literature we find the idea of “creative sensuousness.” What Diotima, the wise woman from (the younger) Plato’s Symposium, says about love between man and boy could be applied to all sexual pleasure: “It’s fruits are more beautiful than children because they never die.”
Limiting sexual activity to procreation is rationalistic and in conflict with nature. There is not a single culture in existence where men and women entirely confine their sex life to procreation. As Father John J. McNeill, S.J. rightly points out, “an overemphasis on procreation can be seen as leading potentially to a seriously immoral and dehumanizing form of sexuality. Procreation cannot be the only reason why children already have a well-developed appetite long before they reach puberty. The bond between sex and procreation is much less strong in the higher primates than in the lower animals. In the animal kingdom there is an evolutionary gradation from the lower levels, where sex hormones predominate, to the higher levels, where the cerebral cortex becomes more and more important. As this happens the sexual activity of animals is freed from the constraints of a rutting season. This is equally applicable to the younger, immature individuals where not only heterosexual intercourse begins, but also self-stimulation and homosexual behaviour. Thus an “infantile” sex life can already be observed in anthropoid monkeys. The sexuality of man, who stands in the top tier of evolution, becomes increasingly independent of procreation.
In matters of sex, nature is incredibly prodigal. The human male produces in one single ejaculation an average 280 million germs of life, of which only one could normally fulfil a fertilizing destiny. If a man or boy emits his semen a few hundred times without depositing it in the organ of a fertile female we can hardly call this contrary to nature’s way. Moreover, nature itself, in the case of about 80% of male youth, provides involuntary nocturnal emissions – biologically speaking, sheer waste.
According to Hotchkiss, a healthy young couple wanting a child and not using any means of contraception will have intercourse, on average, 202 times for every occurrence of pregnancy. And, in the course of nature, many pregnancies are spontaneously aborted.
In fact it is rather exceptional for a man and a woman to have intercourse for the sole purpose of producing a baby. Perhaps this happens within a marriage of convenience, or a royal marriage, or where an unmarried woman wishes to have a child who will be completely her own, or where a husband proves to be sterile and a friend is invited to come and fertilize the wife. The latter practice was common in ancient Sparta with its social ideal of racial up-grading, an elderly husband was praised if he allowed a younger, warrior-like man to lie with his wife occasionally.
Slave-owners didn’t just leave the multiplication of their stock to chance. They often carefully controlled their sexual activities. On Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles) tourists are shown, on a mansion terrace, a little house where a young black servant, carefully selected by his master, used to be locked in with a girl in order to quicken her with child. When the transport of captured slaves from Africa became too risky for the profit derived, some plantations in America specialized in the breeding of blacks. Athletic, well-built young men served as “studs” (whose services were also sometimes rented or loaned out to neighbouring farms); the slaves were forbidden intercourse not commanded and registered by their owners.
A characteristically contemporary example of sexual activity intended solely for procreation is men masturbating for sperm banks. A number of young men currently earn pocket money as donors of seed.
Of all the meanings of sex, exclusive procreation is the most animal-like, and the least human.
2. Sex as Expression of an Emotion
Clearly, even in heterosexual intercourse, procreation as a reason for sex has now given way to a far different justification. In the Gonado investigation only 14.1% of married men stated that they had married primarily because they wanted to have children. It is true that a few religious communities clung for a very long time to the old Platonic-Augustinian ethics and permitted sexual activities only with the intent to procreate, but in the end even they had to submit to quite different standards when Western culture was submerged with the ideals of romantic love: the coupling of two bodies was increasingly viewed as the expression, first and foremost, of the emotion of love.
The sex-for-procreation protagonists, on principal averse to sexual lust, struggled against this evolution as long as possible. And no wonder: the consequences, from their point of view, were disastrous.
For if love justifies sexual intercourse it is no longer clear why this should apply only to married couples. It is no accident that two very different evolutions in social life began at the same time and spread with surprising speed. First of all, within a very short time, premarital sex between lovers was largely accepted, not just by youth but also by parents and religious communities: marriage had lost its monopoly. Second, homosexuality came to be accepted in the western world to a larger degree than ever since Christianity had become dominant. Virginity, once for girls the equivalent of virtue, lost its meaning and the double-standard morality born out of practical need (sex between a woman and a man was considered shameful for the former but condoned in the latter) was rejected for what it had always been: blatant injustice. Of course this view of sexuality as an expression of love tended to loosen marital ties. Why stay together after a formerly intense love had died, or had gone out to another person? Divorce became a mass phenomenon.
Technical developments tend to adapt themselves to human needs. New freedoms arising from the decline of sex-for-procreation-only ethics might have been limited to homosexual contacts had not anti-conception made such rapid progress. Now there were solutions to the heterosexual problem of pregnancy other than the disagreeable and unreliable method of withdrawal before ejaculation; contraception had become cheap and accessible to everyone.
A great deal of recent research into the sexual habits and opinions of young people makes it evident that the vast majority approves of premarital intercourse and feels that it is morally permissible – but only if a real love relationship unites the partners. Kruithof and van Ussel found this to be true in Belgium, Hertoft in Denmark, Schofield (1965) in England, Giese & Schmidt and Sigusch & Schmidt in Germany, Kooy and Nordhoff in The Netherlands, Zetterberg in Sweden, Sorensen and Yankowski in the U.S.A. The most important requirement, said the majority of their subjects, was to make the partner happy. That which was good for the other partner was at the same time considered morally right. One was to find one’s satisfaction in abandoning oneself lovingly to the partner; this would bring the supreme delight. Thus performed, sexual union would become the expression of a personal emotional relationship, a revelation of one’s soul, like a religious confession: “Lovers confess with their bodies and absolve each other in the act of love”.
Let us not forget, however, that the ideal of a unique and all-surpassing love, excluding every vestige of promiscuity, may be characteristic of our Western culture but is certainly not shared by humanity as a whole. Monogamy is rather the exception than the rule. The ancient Greeks saw the dominating force of Eros, against which even the gods were powerless, rather as a menace. A young man belonged to the community in which he lived; that he was lustful and wanted sex was good, but to be monopolized by passion was bad. Like the modern Samoans, a people remarkable for their sexual tolerance and good mental health, the Greeks tended to view romantic love as an illness. If we are to judge the value of an ideal we would do well to recognize its relativity.
Love is not the only emotion which is expressed through sex. While the male member may be the instrument of a positive human contact, man can also put it to destructive use, as a weapon to subdue, inflict pain and humiliation – and in the process derive a great deal of sensual pleasure. It is much to the credit of feminism that the adherents of this movement have placed this aspect of sexuality right in the arena of discussion. It had not gone unnoticed before, however, that with his phallus man can dominate and impose his will. He can exercise a phallocracy which is not limited to the extreme case of rape and indecent assault. Not a few men experience mixed emotions about this: they may find a certain resistance on the part of the beloved, be it man, woman or boy, exciting and provoking; on the other hand they would shrink from having recourse to real violence.
Perhaps the first to deal deeply with this problem was the Danish author Thorkill Vanggaard in his remarkable book Phallós. He tries to find a psychological explanation of why sexual activity can be inspired by hate, by enmity and take the form of torture. In ancient times people were already well aware of this. Priapus, the god with the enormous erection, was the guardian of Greek and Roman gardens; he frightened off fruit and vegetables thieves by threatening punishment by penetrating them orally or anally with his phallus (Priapeia). During the First World War when T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia“) fell into the hands of his Turkish enemies he had to submit to anal rape. In every war women and boys in occupied territory are raped by the victors. As in the cases of rape in prisons and reformatories still so frequently reported, this practice would seem to be inspired more by hatred, desire for revenge and to demonstrate superior power than by lust. Floyd Salas’ reformatory novel, Tattoo the Wicked Cross is wholly devoted to the theme of a boy raped by a gang of inmates. In criminal youth gangs new member candidates often have to submit to anal intercourse by the chief as part of their initiation.
These are extreme cases. But even in apparently normal circumstances the same thing may occur in a more or less disguised form. Prof. Frenken, a Dutch sexologist, delineates three prerequisites for sexual pleasure in different kinds of people: first, there are people who see in a good and satisfactory sexual relationship a measure of the extent to which an emotional connection has been established (if sexual satisfaction diminishes, the bond lessens too); second, there’s an approach more frequently found in women than in men: the strength of the sensations of lust is determined by the extent to which an intimate connection has been established; third, there are people for whom the contrary is true: emotional coldness, contempt, even hate for the partner is a prerequisite for sexual pleasure. This latter kind of man is impotent with the loved and adored woman (the Madonna), but often displays an enormous sexual capacity with the whore whom he holds in contempt. An essential element in the make-up of such a man is that sex itself is seen as something animal, low and dirty, thus one can only have it with a female who has sunk very low herself. We will have more to say about this deformation of the mind in later chapters and show that it is caused by a strict moral up-bringing which includes a very negative evaluation of sexuality. Religions with a positive view of sex and cultures which operate close to nature do not cripple the souls of their people in such a fashion.
There is one common element to the aspects of sex so far discussed: it is the positive emotional (love-) or the negative emotional (subjugation-) relationships between the partners that gives the sexual activity its essential meaning. For a majority of people in our Western culture, young people included, it is love which justifies the sexual act. Without love a sexual contact seems to them to be something morally inferior.
However, the protagonists of a third view of sex ask why. Why should it be necessary to “justify” sex in some way? Isn’t this just a remnant of the Victorian horror of sex? Isn’t sexual activity itself something quite neutral, and thus doesn’t the ethical value which is to be attributed to it depend upon the circumstances in which it takes place? Are procreation and love the only things which can give it a positive value? Do lust, joy, the pleasurable relief to humanity from tension have no positive value? Is recreation less necessary than procreation? And what kind of valid objection could you make if two individuals agree to give each other joy and pleasure with their bodies in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone else? Horror of sex and the negative evaluation of lust have distorted our culture long enough and caused enormous destruction. We will return to this theme in Chapter Five.
Borneman, the foremost Austrian sexologist, sees relief of tension rather than procreation as the biological purpose of sex. Sex exists to regenerate the body, to give it energy and health. Its principal function is individualistic; only indirectly is it social. And even its social function is not restricted to the perpetuation of the human race, for it serves humanity in quite another way, as was shown by the American child psychologist James Prescott.
Prescott compared a great number of different cultures from all over the world and found a direct relationship between, on the one hand, repression of sexuality and deprecation of lust feelings and, on the other hand, cruelty and criminality. Children who grew up in sexual freedom were not only far happier and healthier, they were also gentler and more peaceful. Those brought up in sexual abstinence were harder and more cruel, more quickly provoked to violence and crime. Prescott was convinced that (sexual) pleasure was society’s best prevention against violence.
The ethical value of an activity does not depend upon how much sex is involved but upon its degree of free consent and respect for the partner as a human being. Looked at this way a short, passing episode may also be good and beautiful. A manual for teachers charged with sex instruction published by the Swedish government affirms, quite rightly, that a sexual activity integrated into an intimate relationship between two persons is more meaningful and causes more happiness than a rather impersonal, accidental contact. Thus a closely-knit union is worth striving for. But the manual also, and with equal discernment, adds that the persistence of a relationship over many years does not guarantee real intimacy and love – as witness the married life of all too many couples – and that a casual meeting may well be tender and loving. A one-time-only contact may even achieve great intensity, often by the very realization that it will not be repeated. Many men can never forget the hour of physical communication they had on visit to a distant land with one of its inhabitants. The joy of it was so intense and perfect! There is surely nothing shameful or objectionable in this.
Girls, however, differ from boys in this respect. For boys, love more often ensues from sex rather than precedes it: attachment grows from the keen pleasure experienced in the embrace. We will return to the matter in Chapter Three.
But even if this doesn’t happen and the sexual activity has no other purpose than the delight it produces, it is difficult to see what reproach could be made. Is it immoral to eat sweets because they taste good, even if they don’t contain any nourishment for the body? Or is it immoral to inhale the perfume of a rose simply because you like it? Or is it immoral to enjoy the sight of an abstract painting if it doesn’t teach us any lesson? Is it immoral to enjoy a beautiful piece of music? If not, why then should it be immoral to seek the delight of that other sense, the sense of touch, by caressing an attractive, naked body or to feel a gentle hand on our own? Why should the pleasure we can experience and produce with our sexual organs become suddenly immoral if there is nothing to “justify” it? Why this exception for one of our senses?
The Roman poet Horace was able to confess without shame, “When the indomitable impulse of nature sets me on fire the first naked body on which I can lay my hands is all right for me to satisfy my lust upon by lamp light, just as long as it knows how to wiggle its arse.
In truth, everything that delights the senses – a sweet morsel, a fine perfume, a beautiful sight, good music, the orgasm of sex – all bear fruit in beautifying our existence, in making us happy, in vitalizing our lives.
There is only one valid precondition to sex: one must respect everyone’s right to dispose of his own body as he wishes, to decide freely if, with whom, how, where and when he will have sex. Nothing can be permitted without consent, and in the special context of sex this consent may be withdrawn at any time – even during the act itself. This liberty to decide for himself about himself is a sacred right of every individual regardless of gender and age. Yet the penal codes of the so-called civilized nations do not protect this right very well – and this is truly immoral. In The Netherlands, for instance, a husband cannot be punished if he rapes his own wife, while at the same time the freedom to give his consent to sexual activity is denied a fifteen-year-old (Penal Code, sections 242 & 247).
The theory of this right to sexual self-determination is clear enough: the practice at times is much more difficult. It is compounded by the playful aspect of sex. The courted individual may act as if he were rejecting the approach he really covets. An inexperienced person, somewhat afraid of the unknown, is often grateful for a gentle push across the threshold of consent. In such cases the reaction after the act is much more important than the apparent attitude before. Here tact and psychological intuition are needed in order to avoid making mistakes.
4. Sex in Surrender to the Forces of Nature
We cannot approach the fourth aspect of sexuality without a certain amount of trepidation. Once it was part of our culture. But for many centuries now it has been so strongly condemned that modern man no longer has any understanding of it at all. We have lost the cults of the gods of love and fertility. We have lost the idea of surrender to the primordial forces of nature. It has become strange for us to see intercourse as a sacrifice, and thus something to be performed in a temple. We have forgotten the Dionysian ecstasy and the orgy and the bacchanal. The ancient Greeks knew about this; so did the Romans, and among so-called primitive tribes it is still very much alive today.
High on a mountain above Corinth we can visit the ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Once girls and boys stood for the inspection of pilgrims on its porch, completely naked or covered only by a transparent veil. The pilgrims had made a difficult and tiring ascent. “Not everyone has the good fortune to reach Corinth,” a proverb said. The visitor made his choice, paid a donation and then had intercourse with the girl or boy who pleased him the most. In the orgasmic spasm he abandoned himself to the power of the deity.
There, and in numerous other places in Greece, in Sicily, in Babylon, in Persia, in India, in many African countries, in Mexico, etc., religious prostitution was widespread. Mankind still understood the truth that “sacrifice” was not the same as denial or pain, that it was essentially a surrender of the ego – and that such surrender may be positive and lustful, too.
The Greeks strived for “theolepsy”, direct divine inspiration, communion with the deity. Thus wine and dancing took on religious significance, since they could induce a loss of self, an opening to divine influence. In the Dionysian rapture of the bacchanal sexual appetites were liberated from all inhibitions, every restraint. Participants tore the clothes from their bodies, displayed their nakedness and united themselves freely with the first person at hand. This experience was discussed and written about with reverence, as something noble and exalted.
Sexual intercourse was carried out in accordance with the divine will. The “little death”, the momentary loss of consciousness in orgasm, was seen as a revelation. In it man became an instrument of the god and he experienced in his own body the divine ecstasy of creation.
Many peoples living close to nature still partake in this experience. During certain rituals, liquor, music and rhythmic dancing produce an intoxication which becomes more and more sexually coloured. Males dancing naked support incredibly strong and continuous erections, permitting repeated coital couplings before exhaustion is reached. Human seed is sprinkled in abundance – until not one man or boy can produce another drop. In semi-darkness one unites oneself with persons who in ordinary life are strictly taboo: the son couples with the mother, the brother with his sister. This is possible because the sexual activities have been completely depersonalized, reduced to a pure phenomenon of nature.
Western missionaries and explorers considered such rituals horribly indecent, morally corrupt; only recently has the religious significance of these rites gradually dawned upon us, permitting some thinkers to recognize the cosmic aspect of sexuality. It was a Roman Catholic priest, professor of moral theology, who suggested that our Western ethics, concentrating so one-sidedly upon the personal love relationship between two partners (the union between “I” and “you“) overlooked the cosmic element which is present in every sexual experience. Some day we may again be confronted with these aspects of sexuality which we thought we had long ago put away forever: sex for sheer pleasure and sex as a cosmic force.
Perhaps this day is dawning already. In fact, at any given moment, much of the sexual activity which goes on in the world is done for pleasure and for pleasure alone. As for the cosmic, impersonal form of sex, recent American studies have uncovered some surprising information. In a Playboy research among students (1976) 7% said that they had experimented with group sex and 5% affirmed that they had found it very fine indeed. Not less than 47% said they would like to try it. In 1972 Hunt concluded that 16% of his male respondents had participated in group sex. And in the Gonado enquiry comprising 4066 men of 18 years and over, 11% claimed to prefer this type of sexual activity. On a list of sexual preferences, 14% claimed to long for group sex most of all. It seemed, moreover, that 4.5% of all men fantasized about group sex during intercourse.
A few years earlier, twelve young Danes, men and women, experimented with group sex, afterwards discussed their feelings about it and then published their discussion. They carried it out both with blindfolds (in order to prevent them from knowing who was doing what to whom) and without. Each session lasted some six or seven hours. Most of the participants thought the experience “fantastically beautiful” and claimed to have learned a lot from it.
1: (Continued) Onno had in his youth a very intense and varied sex life. It included meetings with a group of 8 to 10 adult men on a sun-deck where everyone went naked, their tanned bodies carefully oiled. There all sex acts were allowed. Sometimes it was just a mélange of jerking, intertwining limbs and heads and torsos. One kissed and licked indiscriminately, never knowing whose mouth or hand was on one’s genitals. Suddenly Onno felt someone grabbing him and penetrating him. “With a furious passion he hammered away at my body; helpless, I was swept away as if by a raging hurricane. The others drew back from us and watched. When it began our mood had been light and merry: people had laughed and joked. Now they grew silent in deep respect for this outburst of primordial force.” (More details will be given in Chapter 6.)
That word “respect” comes up time and again in accounts of such happenings. One evidently touches the mystery of life, some hidden power. In an essay on Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice Dr. R. J. van Helsdingen notes, “During sexual contact, and especially during orgasm, two people become united in such a manner as to surrender completely their own egos. The ‘I’ becomes absorbed in the ‘we’, and the ‘we’ absorbed in the Cosmos, causing the most intense ecstasy.” Along the same lines, Freud spoke about an “oceanic experience”, characterized by lustful sensations uniting one with one’s environment, transforming it into pure living existence.
2: But this primordial cosmic power may be experienced in a more simple manner, as the following example of Leo shows. Leo is a boy with a fine muscular body of which he is justly proud, and thus he likes to go to a nudist beach where he can show it off. He has become so used to being naked among naked people that this seldom excites him. One day he is on the beach with a group of other youths and makes the acquaintance of a girl he finds very attractive. She also seems interested in him, so they decide to go for a walk in the dunes. Now, this is officially forbidden, and one result is that, once in the dunes, they find themselves virtually alone. As soon as this happens Leo becomes highly aroused and shows it with a strong erection. This he enjoys, the mute language of the body telling the girl what he desires. She looks at it and answers with a smile. When they come at last to a suitable spot she lays down willingly and they become one. To Leo this is one of the most beautiful sexual experiences of his life: “We’re lying on this hot white sand; the sun makes our bodies glow; the sky is blue; the sea seethes; a bird cries flying above us; the wind gently touches our naked skin while nature works in our bodies in their close embrace. You feel yourself one with nature as never before, and never before did lust rise to such an intense climax. You feel your body was made for this; it’s something you have to do.” It is an experience of exaltation Leo will never forget. (Personal communication)
THE ASPECTS OF SEX IN RELATION TO CHILDREN
How, now are these four aspects of sexuality related to our subject: the boy as a sexual partner?
In view of our contemporary culture’s expectations of the father of a family, it is clear that an adolescent boy should not beget children. We are justifiably disturbed by a newspaper story telling of a twelve-year-old French girl having a baby by a twelve-year-old father, and by the report that every year around 800 girls eleven years of age and younger give birth to babies in Cook County, Illinois, USA.
A few centuries ago things were different. Thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds could marry and do what was expected of them as husbands. In many primitive societies this is still so today. In a pastoral culture a boy of fourteen may have learned everything a good shepherd should know and may even be better able to perform his tasks than many adult men. No reason, then, to delay marriage. But that’s not the case in our modern technical world. Before a man is completely educated and trained to become a full-fledged worker, able to earn a livelihood for wife and children, ten or even more years will have passed since he entered puberty. This prolonged period of education keeps the adolescent boy mentally infantilized and so quite unfit to bring up children of his own.
But these are precisely those years when his sexual appetite imposes itself upon him with the greatest intensity. Nature uses many things (spontaneous erections, nocturnal emissions, etc.) to force the newly adolescent boy to make active use of his now easily excitable sex organs.
In postponing more and more the age of marriage, social evolution has created an enormous and obvious conflict between the traditional ethical insistence that sex be used only for procreation (thus that sexual abstinence be maintained until the wedding night) and the demands of nature. One might have expected that the Christian churches, with their belief that nature was created by God and is an expression of his divine will, would have protested and fought against this trend. But exactly the contrary happened: the churches conformed to the social evolution and, instead of protesting, allied themselves to the secular authorities in their drive to repress youthful sexuality or – even worse – deny its existence.
The sexual appetite of unmarried youth was, from the standpoint of state and society, not only superfluous but also quite a nuisance. In the Middle Ages popular wisdom held everywhere that sexual abstinence was most unhealthy for a boy in puberty. As recently as two centuries ago boys were still regarded as sexually “loaded”. But adults of the industrial world sought to free themselves of this embarrassing view of their adolescent offspring by substituting for it a sweet accommodating image created wholly by fantasy – that of the innocent, i.e. asexual, child. This child was called pure. Logic would seem to demand that adults, then, were impure, but again the insulted adults did not protest but eagerly welcomed this newly invented concept which seemed to solve for them so many problems.
The churches, here obedient servants of the world, zealously helped spread this false idea. It became so widely accepted, so deeply imprinted in people’s minds that its unmasking by Freud and his followers, later confirmed by Kinsey’s sociological research, provoked widespread and deeply felt indignation and highly emotional reactions.
Today public opinion has gradually accommodated itself to these facts. Children have regained the paradise of their own sexuality. People now console themselves with the conviction that child sexuality is in any case very different from adult sexuality and, therefore, the twain should never meet. In our third chapter we will see what is true and what is false in this conviction.
The idea that the sole purpose of sex is procreation seems to have lost its hold. According to the Gonado research, only 0.7% of American males still adhere to it. For those few the implications of our theme are clear: sexual activities of boys among peers or with adults must be rejected as immoral. A boy must not be allowed to use his genital organs until he is lawfully married, and even then he should practice the greatest restraint.
We have just cited the Gonado research. Of the males that were questioned, 11.4% thought that sexual intercourse was acceptable only if the couple were united in love. The objection that boys and adolescents are unfit to have children was swept away by the possibilities of contraception. But is a boy capable of loving another person? Or is he still too immature for this, as is frequently suggested?
It cannot be denied that puberty not only changes the body but also causes a mental revolution. After puberty young people have a different outlook on the world and on their fellow men. This influences their capacity to love. As long as a person lives this evolution doesn’t end; changes continue to appear in one’s love feelings which, one might hope, will make them progressively deeper. In general, adolescents clearly possess the capacity to love and to demonstrate this emotion by means of physical tenderness. Tony Duvert is right in affirming that the desire for love and its expressions is actually never more strongly felt than in those who have just matured.
And what about the immature? Isn’t it curious, when children are generally expected to love their mothers and their fathers, to be deemed at the same time incapable of loving a friend? Freud had quite a different impression. In an open letter to Dr. Fürst he claimed to have found in children well below the age of puberty all the psychological symptoms of love-life well developed (tenderness, affection, jealousy), often accompanied by the physical symptoms of sexual excitement. This linking of emotional and physical response is quite clear to the child itself. “At the age of about five the child possesses in relation to its own body and that of others every element of sexual life excepting only the function of procreation,” Freud noted in Die Zukunft einer Illusion. All of which makes the French child psychologist and pedagogue Prof. René Schérer exclaim with justifiable fury, “Why the devil do we deny the child the love it is so capable of experiencing, as the child well knows?”
In the human being, body and mind are so closely united that it is no wonder love can never remain purely on a spiritual level but always demands that the body participate in it, too. Is there really an age below which it should be forbidden to love and to show this love? Is love something which must be “reserved for later”?
Even if we suppose that a child up to a certain age might not be capable of loving, we might still question whether that child is equally incapable of experiencing the acceptance of love. Let us postulate an adult who loves a child dearly and feels the urge to express this emotion in physical tenderness. Would the child really lack the intuition to experience his tender touch as moved by love, and to understand it as such? Can we really seriously contend that this experience of feeling loved will be harmful to the child, will traumatize him? The literature on criminality and mental disturbances abounds in case stories of adolescents and adults whose childhood was deprived of this experience of being loved.
We might make it impossible for a boy to build up a relationship in which he can demonstrate his love by means of sex. In revenge he might well practice sex only for the sensual pleasure in it, and so impoverish his mind.
For with this third aspect of sex, which is directed entirely upon the pleasure of the moment, everything becomes a lot simpler. In the Gonado investigation 4.2% of the male respondents said they had intercourse only for pleasure. This is the most primitive side of sex and therefore is the side children most easily understand. Asked what sex means to him primarily (procreation, love or pleasure), nearly every boy will answer pleasure. Only older adolescents and those having a steady relationship may give priority to love.
We have already discussed the view that sex for pleasure only is immoral or inferior. The decisive question here is whether physical lust, physical pleasure in itself is something good or something bad. He who thinks it is bad because sensual pleasure constitutes a threat to the higher part of the human being, is in the company of great figures like Plato and a number of Christian philosophers. But the opposite view, that lust and delight are marvelous gifts of nature and its creator, given to man to make him happy and therefore to be enjoyed with gratitude, would seem a better approach to one’s deity. For with this view one comes abreast of the mysticism of India and Islam. The Arabian author of a book on the variations of sexual intercourse opens his first chapter with thanks to Allah for the pleasure he put into the sexual organs of men and women. Such a concept is certainly more conformable and harmonious with nature than the condemnation of lust as sin.
For the human body is made for sexual pleasure. Even before birth male foetuses have been shown by the latest scientific equipment to have spontaneous erections about five times a day – that is, as frequently as in adult sleep. At birth the body is quite able to experience sensations of lust which we may consider sensual. “Since the discoveries of psychoanalysis it can no longer be denied, even in our culture, that sexual tensions manifest themselves from the first days of life on. Masturbation, for example, is a general habit early in baby life and in the very young child. Spitz showed that an early commencement of sexual behaviour (auto-eroticism) is indicative of a positive relationship between mother and child and a good intellectual development. Borneman confirms this: “In all cultures in every part of the world, babies and little children try to obtain sensual satisfaction by stimulating the surface of their skin. The genital organs are also one of the preferred zones of the body. This we call masturbation in babies. In flat contradiction to what was thought until recent times, children are quite capable of experiencing orgasm at the earliest age. “Individuals who didn’t masturbate in childhood generally will have considerable difficulty in finding satisfaction in normal intercourse. (…) They will need more time to get used to it.
Van Ussel put it very aptly: “Children are mature for sex at birth; they become mature for procreation only later.
The visible and audible reactions of even the smallest child should tell the people around it that it is able to distinguish certain sensations as agreeable, others as disagreeable.
The experience of lustful, sexual feelings is something a human being cannot easily do without. He most certainly needs them. In the Gonado investigation, 61.2% of the male respondents declared that sex was an extremely important factor in their lives; to another 19.8% it was the most important. Only 1.7% agreed with the statement that there are more important things in life, while 1.4% thought sex was not very important. If adults desire this pleasure so intensely, you must come up with very convincing arguments to advance successfully the idea that it should simply be denied to those who aren’t yet adult.
Not only are such convincing arguments conspicuous by their absence, but no attempt has even been made to come up with a logical reason. On the other hand there are many arguments against enforcing abstinence upon youth. We will meet them again and again in the course of this book, especially in Chapter Five.
In rejecting the sexuality of children and adolescents, our traditional culture is rather exceptional when compared with others – and it isn’t even as traditional as is commonly supposed. The rejection is a distortion of formerly recognised truths, caused by the socioeconomic changes of the last two centuries. The concept of the child as an asexual being quite different from the adult is a recent phenomenon.
Romeo and Juliet, our most famous pair of lovers, were children. Our ancestors used to fondle the genitals of their children in order to please and to pacify them, and the adults were amused if the small boy responded with an erection. Young children were also encouraged to play with the genitals of grown-ups. At the Court of Versailles the young Dauphin was taught to show his “little thing” to the ladies and to let himself be caressed there. King François I (1515-1547) considered every boy over 14 who had not yet had intercourse to be a sad case. The 14-year-old crown prince, later to be Louis XI, captured Château-Landon in 1437 from the English. Having thus proved himself a man, he requested that his parents allow him to sleep with his even younger bride, Margaret of Scotland. In the event he made such brutal use of his male “rights” that the girl had to keep to her bed for some days thereafter.
The Municipal Council of Ulm in Germany had to issue in 1527 an order to prohibit boys under the age of 14 from visiting brothels; it seemed that the sheer number of 12- and 13-year-old clients in these houses was disturbing the adults. The rector of a Dutch school in the fifteenth century likewise put brothels out of bounds for his pupils and had 11-year-olds publicly whipped for breaking the rule. The authorities in London were much more tolerant: as late as 1800 a yearly average 30,000 boys of this age were visiting the town brothels. Erasmus of Rotterdam (1469-1536), the famous humanist, wrote a treatise on sexual pleasure in the form of a conversation between a young man and a whore – and dedicated this to the six-year-old son of a friend (Van den Bergh). William Shakespeare (1564-1616) deplored the fact that youths between 10 and 23 had nothing better to do than importune old people, steal, fight and make girls pregnant (The Winter’s Tale III, 3). A rich English lady, Grace de Saleby, only came to experience properly the joys of sex in her third marriage: she was then 11 years old. Another English aristocrat, Elisabeth Bridge, wasn’t married until she was 13 and stated publicly that she was very disappointed that her 11-year-old husband John hadn’t immediately deflowered her. The Dutch poet and painter Karel van Mander wrote about 1600 that his 12- to 14-year-old pupils were behaving very lewdly; thus he was advising them to have intercourse in order to avoid headaches and so that they could concentrate better on their studies.
Only in the last century (1886 in The Netherlands) did legislation make consensual sexual activities with children criminal. Thus, from a historical perspective, this has been a rather recent addition to our own penal laws; in other cultures it is quite unknown, even inconceivable.
Even if we agree to place a higher value upon sex-only-for-love than upon sex-only-for-lust, we must not lose sight of the fact that a boy can only perfect the physical expression of his tenderness to the degree of freedom he has been allowed in nudity and lust. The body must be trained and exercised in this function as in any other. Only when a boy has had sufficient opportunity to abandon himself uninhibitedly to sexual pleasure and to experiment with sex will he acquire the ability to give, later, the greatest satisfaction to his partner in loving intercourse.
The sex-only-for-love apologist might object that hedonistic sex sometimes leads to a great deal of frustration. This is true. Those who look for more in sex than pleasure, with all the limitations that implies, may even feel repelled by it. Janus quotes a boy, saying: “To me there’s a big difference between making love and fucking someone. I have fucked people and gotten nothing out of it. I mean, I might as well be on the toilet, jerking off.”
3: A boy received no affection from his parents; between his fourteenth and seventeenth years he tried to find the love he missed in very passionate relations with a teacher, and later with other men. He ultimately realized that these men only wanted him for his beautiful adolescent body and didn’t really care for him as a person. He felt disgusted and deceived.
4: The same kind of betrayal was felt by a man who for five happy years had had a happy love relationship with a boy. When the boy’s family migrated to another country they were separated. The man desperately tried to distract himself while he was away on a holiday trip in Spain with boys who bartered their sexual services with him, but he soon discovered that this kind of commercial contact only made him more unhappy and increased his aching feeling of emptiness.
But that needn’t be the final word on casual contacts. In other cases the one-night-stand, sought only out of lust, may turn out to be a big surprise, an unforgettable experience, bring to the participant the most intense joy. Tony Duvert says, “The casual pleasures have their own erotic qualities and may elicit feelings just as intense as the more lasting ones – like the haiku, the short Japanese poem which may tell as much as a long tale. We may be amazed at the extreme, almost crushing power of such an experience. We may be afraid of it or pretend indifference. But the fact remains that to those who attempt to experiment with it the effects are convincing. We shouldn’t maintain that longer lasting friendships are better than the shorter ones, or that the latter have less value, for the two are quite different entities. When we recall these casual contacts they may gain in our minds a perfection, an intrinsic value which proves this beyond doubt. The power of such experiences is inexhaustible, like a painting you’ve seen for just two minutes but, because it moved you then so deeply, lingers evermore in your memory.”
5: It was just such a casual meeting which drew from André Gide one of his finest passages. Gide had suppressed his erotic feelings for boys for many years. He had even tried to deny them, until one night in an Algerian oasis when Oscar Wilde brought him together with a young Arabian flute-player: “Now, at last, I discovered what was normal for me. No longer was anything forced, hurried, uncertain; nothing clouds the memory I retain of that night. My happiness knew no bounds. It couldn’t have been more perfect if it had been an expression of love. But how could there have been love? How could desire have disposed of my heart? My lust was completely without reflection. It knew no fear of being bitten by conscience. But what name could I give to the delight I felt as I held this perfect, wild, hot, lascivious, ambiguous little body in my arms?… Long after Mohammed had left me I remained in a condition of trembling bliss, and although I had already reached a climax of lust five times when coupled with him I renewed this ecstasy repeatedly. After I returned to my hotel room I extended its echoes until the return of daylight…
6 Likewise, such a casual meeting may prove to be an incomparable and unique experience to the younger partner. Nils, a Swedish school boy, met, during his summer vacation, a nice man sunning himself on the side of a swimming pool. They started playfully wrestling with each other; both got erections which they could feel inside one another’s trunks. “Wouldn’t it be nicer to do this really naked?” the man asked. Nils agreed eagerly and accompanied the man to his home where they continued their wrestling, now stark naked, on a bed. Suddenly the man hugged the boy very tightly in his arms, thrust with his hips, moaned with pleasure and spurted his seed. “I can still remember,” Nils told me thirty years later, “how I ran home skipping and singing, enormously proud and happy that my little body could provoke such a strong passion in an adult.” (Personal communication)
7: One of the best books I ever read on sexual instruction for adolescents was published in New Zealand – Down Under the Plum Trees, by Felicity Tuohy and Michael Murphy. In it there is the story of a boy who, at the birthday party of one of his teachers, got talking with a very nice man. “He gave me his name and address and said, ‘Ring me’. That was Saturday night. I rang him Sunday night and he told me to come in and meet him at his flat in town. I went in about eleven o’clock in the morning. We got into bed and he screwed me and then let me screw him. He was so good. He treated me so well and he was really good at screwing. It was an incredible thing for me because at home everyone was hostile to each other and at school I had no friends. Here was this guy showing me kindness and gentleness and it was an amazing experience. I went back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and that was the last week of the school holidays. Then I went back to school and never saw him again.
There are boys who long for a love relationship; to them the sexual aspect may be important but it is certainly not the most important element. There are other boys who, for whatever reason, prefer the casual meeting. Sometimes a boy just simply wants to make sure that his body can excite an adult, that it functions alright in sexual activity.
8: So it was with the Austrian boy of fourteen who got to know a boy-lover at a swimming-pool. The boy seduced the man, and they had a number of additional sexual contacts. Slowly the man began to develop love feelings for the boy, so he invited him to see a movie with him and then go to a good restaurant afterwards. But the boy flatly refused. “Oh, no, I don’t want any of that,” he said. “I come here to get fucked and for nothing else!” (Personal communication)
4. Sex in Surrender to the Forces of Nature
Finally there is the fourth aspect of sex: a bonding with nature and its expressions; impersonal sexuality. Psychiatrists like Westerman Holstijn and Rümke think that the “oceanic experience” is most easily obtained by someone passing from one phase of life to another, and especially in puberty.
9: Later we will have more to say about the Siwa oasis in Egypt, close to the Libyan border, where boys at puberty used to be “married” to adult men. Robin Maugham witnessed here a festival in which some two dozen zaggalas (workers in the palm groves) took part: “lithe smooth-cheeked boys, stocky Berbers with shaved scalps, gigantic negroes…” They drank fermented palm-wine and began to dance. Their monotonous chanting grew louder and louder. “Ya Haoul Illah” “Oh power of God.” Quicker and quicker beat the drums. The faces of the men flamed with passion. “Tearing off their clothes, dancers flung themselves into wilder movements. A boy would break away to perform a frantic solo belly-dance until pulled back into the jerking circle by his friend. (…) Men’s bodies as well as their eyes soon revealed rising passions. They quivered with the intensity of their excitement. ‘Ya Haoul Illah. Ya Haoul Illah.’ The chant was bellowed now, as if it were a protest against all restrictions, against the need to work and the need to live in bonds of flesh and the need to grow old and to die. It was a plea for release from human bondage. The zaggalas were pouring their virility into the dance as a libation to freedom. Tomorrow might be painful, but tonight they could experience the culmination of joy.” Afterwards they all lay together, utterly relaxed. “But on their faces was an expression which at first I found it hard to decipher. Later in the evening I understood the reason for it. They were devoid of any feeling of guilt, the cross of western civilization, and therefore they were free from our worst worry. They were careless.”
If we were obliged to put age limits to our preceding exposition of the different aspects of sex, we could say that a boy is mature for lust, for hedonistic sex, from his birth on; sex as an expression of love becomes a possibility from about five years of age; puberty is the best time for the “oceanic”, the mystic experience and for using sex to unite one with nature. Procreation should be the privilege of the adult man.
 Buffière, F., Eros adolescent – La pédérastie dans la Grèce antique. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1980, pp. 426, 430-433, 501. [Author’s reference]
 Buffière, F., Eros adolescent–La pédérastie dans la Grèce antique. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1980, pp. 432, 503. [Author’s reference]
 Buffière, F., Eros adolescent – La pédérastie dans la Grèce antique. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1980, pp. 518-519. [Author’s reference]
 Celli, G., L’omosessualità negli animali. Milano: Longanesi, 1972; Hite, Sh., The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. New York: Ballantine, 1981, p. 352. [Author’s reference]
 McNeill, J. J., The Church and the Homosexual. New York: Pocket Books, 1976, p. 117. [Author’s reference]
 Cavafy, C., Poems. in Galloway and Sabisch (Eds.), Calamus. New York: Quill, 1982, p. 91. [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, pp. 589, 645, 659. [Author’s reference]
 Majapuria, T. Ch. & I., Erotic Themes of Nepal. Kathmandu: Devi, 1981, p. 162. [Author’s reference]
 Buffière, F., Eros adolescent–La pédérastie dans la Grèce antique. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1980, p. 418. [Author’s reference]
 Banens, M. De homo-aversie. Groningen: Historische Uitgeverij, 1981, p. 51. [Author’s reference]
 McNeill, J. J., The Church and the Homosexual. New York: Pocket Books, 1976, p. 112. [Author’s reference]
 Freud, S., Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1920, 49, 115; Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, p. 445. [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, p. 399, 1290. [Author’s reference]
 Hotchkiss, R. D., Fertility in Men. London: Lippincott, 1944, p. 112. [Author’s reference]
 Kinsey, A. C. et al, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1948, pp. 517-530. [Author’s reference]
 Hotchkiss, R. D., Fertility in Men. London: Lippincott, 1944, pp. 93-94. [Author’s reference]
 Buffière, F., Eros adolescent – La pédérastie dans la Grèce antique. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1980, p. 66. [Author’s reference] The primary source for this is Xenophon, Constitution of the Lakedaimonians I 7. [Website footnote]
 Pietropinto, A. & Simenauer, J., Gonado (Beyond the Male Myth). Katwijk aan Zee, Servire, 1979, p. 264. [Author’s reference]
 Quite so, but Brongersma has surely here put the cart before the horse, first presenting the abandonment of the expectation that girls should remain virgins until marriage as if it were the result of higher morality, claiming it “was rejected for what it had always been: blatant injustice,” only later to admit the truth that the change was not caused by greater justice, but by the rather sudden appearance of cheap and easy contraception in the early 1960s. Learning to thwart nature does not equate to moral progress or, if it does, Brongersma singularly fails to explain why. [Website footnote]
 Kruithof, J. & Ussel, J. van, Jeugd voor de muur–Vlaamse sludenten over hun seksuele problematiek. Antwerpen: Ontwikkeling, 1963. [Author’s reference]
 Hertoft, P., Unge mænds seksuelle adfæd, viden og holdning. København: Akademisk Forlag, 1968. [Author’s reference]
 It is not at all clear if the reference here “Schofield (1965)” refers to “Schofield, M., The Sexual Behaviour of Young People. London: Longmans, 1965” or “Schofield, M., Sociologische aspecten van de homoseksualiteit. Utrecht: Spectrum, 1965”. [Author’s references]
 Giese, H. & Schmidt, G., Studenten-Sexualität. Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1968. [Author’s reference]
 Schmidt-Relenberg, N., Körner, H. & Pieper, R., Strichjungen Gespräche. 8. Darmstadt: Luchterhand, 1975. [Author’s reference]
 Kooy, G. A., Jongeren en seksualiteit. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus, 1976. [Author’s reference]
 Nordhoff, J. D. et al, Sex in Nederland. Utrecht: Spectrum, 1969. [Author’s reference]
 Zetterberg, H. L., Het seksuele leven in Zweden. Den Haag: NVSH, 1969. [Author’s reference]
 Sorensen, R. C., Adolescent Sexuality in Contemporary America. New York: World Publishing, 1973. [Author’s reference]
 Yankowski, J. S., Sex vor der Ehe. München: Lichtenberg, 1965. [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, p. 21. [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, pp. 18, 53, 235, 339-340, 641. [Author’s reference] As so often with Loving Boys, it is much to be regretted that no attempt was made to cite any primary sources (or even a secondary historical work) for such a bizarre claim [Website footnote]
 Vangaard, Th., Phallós. København: Gyldendal, 1969. [Author’s reference]
 Salas, F., Tatoo the Wicked Cross. New York: Grove Press, 1967. [Author’s reference]
 Buffière, F., Eros adolescent – La pédérastie dans la Grèce antique. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1980, p. 59. [Author’s reference]
 Frenken (Ed.) Seksuologie. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus, 1980, p. 247. [Author’s reference]
 Hite, Sh., The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. New York: Ballantine, 1981, p. 379. [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, pp. 322, 645, 1068. [Author’s reference]
 Prescott, J. W., Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 31, 9: 10-20, p. 1975, [Author’s reference]
 Linnér, E., The New Handbook on Instruction in Sex and Personal Relationships in the Swedish Schools. Stockholm: Svenska Institutet, 1980, [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, p. 779. [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, p. 867. [Author’s reference]
 Scholte, H., Gids voor Griekenland. Amsterdam: Allert de Lange, 1958, p. 383. [Author’s reference]
 Partridge, B., A History of Orgies. London: Spring Books, 1958, pp. 9-37; Licht, H., Sittengeschichte Griechenlands. Zürich: Aretz, 1926, II 97-102. [Author’s references]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, pp. 1410-15. [Author’s reference]
 Edwardes, A. & Masters, R. E. L., The Cradle of Erotica. New York: Julian, 1963, pp. 163-169; Ellis, H., Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Philadelphia: David, 1913, 234 VI 218-221. [Author’s references]
 “Van Lier 1968 ; Ricoeur et al 1960; Schubart 1944“ [none of these identified in the bibliography]. [Author’s reference]
 Beemer, Th., Seksualiteit in een moraaltheologische bezinning. In: Frenken (Ed.), Seksuologie. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus, 1980, p. 69. [Author’s reference]
 Pietropinto, A. & Simenauer, J., Gonado (Beyond the Male Myth). Katwijk aan Zee, Servire, 1979, pp. 65-66. [Author’s reference]
 Reitzel, H., Den der hvaderdetnudenhedder! København: Reitzel, 1969. [Author’s reference]
 Marlet, J. J. C., Van verwondening tot mystiek. In: Gyselen et al, Hoe menselijk is mystiek Baarn: Ambo, 1979, p. 69. [Author’s reference]
 Duvert, T., L’enfant au masculin. Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1980, p. 18. [Author’s reference]
 Hearings Before the Subcommitteee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Sexual Exploitation of Children. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977, p. 9. [Author’s reference]
 Pietropinto, A. & Simenauer, J., Gonado (Beyond the Male Myth). Katwijk aan Zee, Servire, 1979, p. 82. [Author’s reference]
 Pietropinto, A. & Simenauer, J., Gonado (Beyond the Male Myth). Katwijk aan Zee, Servire, 1979, p. 82. [Author’s reference]
 Duvert, T., L’enfant au masculin. Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1980, p. 76. [Author’s reference]
 Quoted by R. Schérer, Emile perverti. Paris: Laffont, 1974, p. 124-127. [Author’s reference]
 Schérer, R., Emile perverti. Paris: Laffont, 1974, p. 130. [Author’s reference]
 Brethmas, J. de, Détournement de majeur. Paris: Perchoir, 1980, p. 14. [Author’s reference]
 Pietropinto, A. & Simenauer, J., Gonado (Beyond the Male Myth). Katwijk aan Zee, Servire, 1979, p. 82. [Author’s reference]
 Burton, R., The Perfumed Garden of the Shaykh Nefzai. London: Spearman, 1963, p. 71. [Author’s reference]
 Calderone, M. S., Fetal Erection and its Message to Us. SIECUS-Report May-July, 1983. [Author’s reference]
 Pacharzina, K. & Albrecht-Désirat, K., Vorwort. Zusammenfassung. In: Pacharzina & Albrecht-Désirat (Eds.), Konfliktfeld Kindersexualität. Frankfurt a.M.: Päd-extra, 1978, p. 7 [Author’s reference]
 Kentler, H., Sexual-erziehung. Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1970, p. 133. [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, p. 92. [Author’s reference]
 Sarphatie, H. R., De seksuele ontwikkeling van het kind. In: Wolters (Ed.), Seksueel misbruik van kinderen en jonge adolescenten. Nijkerk: Intro, 1982, p. 43. [Author’s reference]
 Borneman, E., Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, p. 939. [Author’s reference]
 Ussel, J. M. W. van, Intimiteit. Deventer: Ven Loghum Slaterus, 1975, p. 100. [Author’s reference]
 Pietropinto, A. & Simenauer, J., Gonado (Beyond the Male Myth). Katwijk aan Zee, Servire, 1979, p. 82. [Author’s reference]
 Dasberg, L., Grootbrengen door kleinhouden als historisch verschijnsel. Meppel: Boom, 1975, pp. 35-36; Ussel, J. M. W. van, Geschiedenis van het seksuele probleem. Meppel: Boom, 1968, p. 45. [Author’s references]
 Dasberg, L., Grootbrengen door kleinhouden als historisch verschijnsel. Meppel: Boom, 1975, p. 36; Breton, G., Histoires d’amour de l’histoire de France. Paris: Noir et Blanc, 1956, II 11-13, p. 184. [Author’s references]
 Deschner, K., De kerk en haar kruis. Amsterdam: Arbeiderspers, 1978, p. 397; Kemmerich, M., Kultur-Kuriosa. München: Langen, 1910, I 146. [Author’s references]
 Dasberg, L., Grootbrengen door kleinhouden als historisch verschijnsel. Meppel: Boom, 1975, p. 43. [Author’s reference]
 ˝Fuchs 1911, II Erg. 193˝ [Author’s footnote], which appears to refer to ˝Fuchs, E., Illustrierte Sittengeschichte. 3. München: Langen, 1909-1912˝ in the bibliography, though the exact reference is unclear [website footnote]. [Author’s references]
 All that is known about this case comes from an inheritance dispute 1194-1205 described in Magna Vita S. Hugonis Episcopi Lincolniensis, ed. J. F. Dimock (Rolls Series, 1864), pp. 170-77. Needless to say nothing was recorded about whom Grace had sex with, less still whether it was joyful, though she died childless. [Website footnote]
 Dasberg, L., Grootbrengen door kleinhouden als historisch verschijnsel. Meppel: Boom, 1975, pp. 37-38. [Author’s reference]
 Dasberg, L., Grootbrengen door kleinhouden als historisch verschijnsel. Meppel: Boom, 1975, p. 36. [Author’s reference]
 Killias, M., Jugend und Sexualstrafrecht. Bern: Haupt, 1979. [Author’s reference] The statement that consensual sex with children was not criminal in the Netherlands before 1886 needs qualifying: sex between males of any age certainly was criminal before 1811, and in the 18th century the Netherlands had been more brutal than any other country in enforcing that, with many executions. [Website footnote]
 Janus, S. The Death of Innocence. New York: Morrow & Co., 1981, p. 296. [Author’s reference]
 Schwarz, O., The Psychology of Sex. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1949, p. 50. [Author’s reference]
 Hennig 1971, 156 [Author’s footnote]. It is not clear to which of two books by Hennig listed in the bibliography (neither 1971), this refers [website footnote]. [Author’s references]
 Duvert, T., L’enfant au masculin. Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1980, p. 155. [Author’s reference]
 Gide, A., Si le grain ne meurtSi le grain ne meurt. Paris: Gallimard, 1955, pp. 338-339. [Author’s reference]
 Tuohy, F. & Murphy, M., Down Under the Plum Trees. 20. Waiura (New Zealand): Alister Taylor, 1976, p. 212. [Author’s reference]
 Hennig, J.-L., Thomas, 30 ans: Bruno, 15 ans: le nouveau couple zig-zag. Recherches 37: 1979, p. 165. [Author’s reference]
 Marlet, J. J. C., Van verwondening tot mystiek. In: Gyselen et al, Hoe menselijk is mystiek Baarn: Ambo, 1979, p. 69. [Author’s reference]
 Maugham, R., Journey to SiwaJourney to Siwa. London: Chapman & Hall, 1950, pp. 114-120 [Author’s reference].
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