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three pairs of lovers with space



The following story was recounted by the eminent Copenhagen sexologist Dr. Preben Hertoft (1928-2017) in his introduction to Forbrydelse uden offer, En bog om paedofili (Denmark, 1986) translated into English by Dr. E. Brongersma in 1992 as Crime without Victims. A book about paedophilia.[1]

Its importance is that Hertoft, who had made extensive professional study of what he inaccurately called “paedophilia” (when he actually meant sexual attraction to children under the Danish age of consent of fifteen), considered it as the most typical example he could give of the phenomenon. In other words, what he was affirming here is that Greek love (love between a man and a willing pubescent boy) was far more common the rape of little girls, which was the popular idea of “paedophilia” (and an example of the word’s accurate meaning).

The only hint given as to the date of Bent’s liaison with his sailor is that he was then 12 and was, at the time of writing, “now an adult and married”, so the 1970s seems most likely.

Introduction to Crime without Victims

As far as older children are concerned, they are usually aware of what is happening, as the following example perhaps may illustrate. Bent, now an adult and married, relates:

"I was twelve when I met G. I had lost a small ring and G. helped me find it. He was about fifty years old and was a seaman. I guessed that his helpfulness might be motivated by sexual interest, for boys perceive such things quickly. All the same, he was a nice fellow and I was glad to have somebody with whom I could gossip."

The relationship between Bent and G. developed into a sexual contact. Bent continues:

"I was always the one who insisted that we do something together. One day when we were out I persuaded him to board an empty boat that lay alongside the quay. As far as sex is concerned, we did a bit of everything. For me he was a comrade. I found it exciting to hear about his life as a seaman, and I could talk with him about everything. I had an outlet for all those things I didn't dare talk about at home. I always looked forward to his ship's return to our town. We had a magnificent time together. But after a few years he signed off and I didn't see him any more. I had, on the whole, a very good relationship with my parents, but I never talked to them about sex and I never told them about G."

Bent's story is not exceptional; on the contrary, it is quite typical, as we know from the many studies now published about paedophile relationships.

I deliberately chose Bent's story as an example, partly because it is the most common kind of paedophile relationship, and partly because in discussing paedophilia one must always be precise and take special care to give the age and sex of the child involved. Relationships with younger children should be approached in a different way than those with children nearing puberty. The sex of the younger partner is also important, as it defines the position one should adopt. However, discussions concerning paedophilia often ramble off into gruesome stories about adult men raping young girls. This tells us more about the fantasies inhabiting the heads of those who tell such stories than it does about paedophilia.

Furthermore, research indicates that adult sexual relationships with children resemble the sexual play that children have with each other more than intercourse between adults.

Most paedophile contacts take place in the home of one of the partners and these partners are usually already acquainted with each other. Although paedophile relations with girls occur more frequently within a rather narrow circle of acquaintances, relations with boys generally have a more casual background. Research shows that the child is often an active participant in the relationship (as described above by Bent), has a positive view of the relationship both sexually and in a wider general sense, and does not feel hurt by it. Boys often continue their contact with the adult for many years after the end of sexual activities. Usually they develop normally, will often later marry and start a family, and will, perhaps, invite their former (paedophile) lover to their home, etc. I don't mention this to idealize paedophile relations, but to counterbalance the tales of horror.


[1] Published by Global Academic Publishers, Amsterdam in 1993.




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