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three pairs of lovers with space



This is the eleventh chapter of Secret Love: Eros between Boy and Man (2022), an anonymous translation of Wolf Vogel’s  Heimliche Liebe: Eros zwischen Knabe und Mann (Hamburg: John & Ernst, 1997).


Simon is 33 years old, and lives with his wife and three children in a Hessian city. In a conversation, he spoke frankly of his sexual contacts and relationships during his own puberty.         

“I had my first sex with a man when I was twelve years old. At school, we were always whispering amongst each other about how there were men who did it with boys, and boys who did it with men. But at that time, I didn’t know it for certain. At one point on the soccer field, this man smiled at me, and immediately I thought: He definitely wants to make it with me. I need to give off the right vibes.

I followed his signal, and we went into the quite dense underbrush he’d suggested. We did it to each other, then he said a soft goodbye and disappeared. At first I was a little disappointed that nothing more had happened, but later on I thought: This was actually really nice. Above all, I thought: So you can finally join in, when the others talk about men and boys.

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When I was thirteen, I learned from older boys that you could also earn money from sex. The idea appealed to me. I tried for a long time, until I found a man at the train station, who actually wanted to go home after he’d finished work. He followed my signal, we went into the station’s restroom, and afterwards he gave me a little money. It really wasn’t much, but I’d earned some money myself for the very first time.

From that point on, I was a regular street-walker, which is to say, I never actually remained at particular places in the city and waited for men; instead, I got them to come right to wherever I happened to be. When I look at photos of myself from that time, I have to say: I was absolutely gorgeous. It’s no wonder men chased after me.

With some men, I had real, long-lasting relationships. I’m still friends with two of them today, and we see one another occasionally. I’m usually the one who calls them up and invites them out for a coffee or a beer, just because I feel like chatting with them, or, if I need help. One of them—I’ll call him ‘Rolf’—had also taken a bunch of photos of me, when I was 14 or 15. A few years later, he presented them to me as a gift. I truly treasure them, because otherwise, I really would no longer know what I looked like at the time, and how I’d physically changed during puberty. I was content with my erotic assets; I was proud of the fact that I was already nearly a man sexually. At that time, I wanted above all to be photographed when I had an erection. In the process, I felt I was truly grown-up. When I look at these pictures today, I can well understand what men were looking for in me.

I don’t know if I would’ve had so many sexual contacts if my family hadn’t so badly needed the money at the time. My father lost his job as a long-haul truck driver because of his drinking. Maybe he could’ve gotten some money from the unemployment office, but he was ashamed to ask for it. He hung around the house all day and got on my mother’s nerves; she already had her hands full with the kids. Two of my siblings were still living at home at the time—one older and one younger. My oldest brother was already married and had a home of his own, which was more like a hovel, because, when it rained, the water ran down the walls and into each room. Because of that, my brother and his wife’s baby was often sick. The welfare the two got was nowhere near enough. From time to time, I was also able to slip the two of them some money. They knew how I’d earned it, but said nothing.

I believe that my teacher also knew—or at least, suspected—what I was up to in my spare time. Sometimes I skipped classes, when a client only had time available in the morning. But me and my teacher had a great relationship. He often told me: ‘Simon, I’m not worried about you. You know how to make your own way.’ If he could see me today, a respectable father of three children, who does his job and often even works overtime, so that his children might have a better life—he would surely smile, and find confirmation of his trust in me back then. Also, he never went to the youth office to denounce our familial circumstances at the time.

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Nevertheless, one time, we did come to the attention of the youth office. An older female neighbor, whose curiosity had probably been peaked enough to look into our affairs, who wouldn’t see me stroll out of the house until 11 am on school days, alerted the youth office. A social worker came to visit, and kept a very close eye on our home. I don’t think he liked what he saw: dirty coffee cups still sitting on the table, laundry soaking in the washbasin, the dishes from my mother’s birthday party lying in the bathtub, and also the unmade beds. To him, it really seemed like the pits. I presume he suspected there were real orgies taking place in our home. There was really just one thing he did like, and that was me. When I picked up on this, I took him into the children’s room on some pretext or other, named my price, and told him that if he wanted to have me, he should come back as a private citizen and not as a social worker. He never did return, and from that time on, the youth office left us in peace.

My parents never met my adult friends and clients. Only several years later, when I was in my mid- to late-twenties and longmarried, did I encounter Rolf in a bar while I was with my family. I introduced Rolf to my parents, telling them that he’d been my best client and friend back then. Rolf, who is actually no shrinking violet, became as red as a tomato, and was ashamed. I consoled him by saying that I had no problem with anyone knowing what he had done for me at a difficult time in my life. Because, I had every reason to be thankful to him.

One time, I’d taken him to my oldest brother’s ‘hovel.’ When he entered the house, his jaw literally dropped. Over the single hotplate, my sister-in-law was brewing coffee, and the baby’s diapers were soaking in the sink. The home did not have a bed. It rained that day, the water trickling down the walls in thin streaks, and the baby—who had a cold—was crying incessantly. Rolf was so shaken that he turned to the local daily newspaper to portray the situation. Due to the report in the newspaper, my brother got a new, bigger, dry home, with a bath.

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When I was expelled from school (actually, I left on my own account), Rolf helped out with my search for an apprenticeship. He even managed to get me on a television program about unemployed youth, in which I played the part of the poor boy. I got three job offers just during the broadcast itself, one of which I accepted. A girl the same age as me also got a chance to speak during the broadcast; she also lives in the same city.

After the show, Rolf gave us both a ride home; during the trip, I had wild sex with the girl in the back seat of Rolf’s car.

My puberty was a truly adventurous time. My other longstanding friend, whom I still get together with frequently (here I’ll call him Richard ), had a bar. I could always spend the night with him, whenever there was quarreling at the house and I couldn’t deal with it. My father was still drinking all the time, and the family never knew what was going to happen next. Of course I did feel bad for my mother, but I did flee to Richard often, in order to get some peace and quiet. In the meantime, though my somewhat older brother had in fact moved out, my younger brother—who was eleven years old at the time—and I were fighting constantly. Maybe I was playing the part of the substitute father a little bit, since I was the family’s primary breadwinner. Of course, this is not something a little brother is simply going to accept on faith, especially because he’s not allowed to know exactly how I support the family. I was only able to get along with my younger brother once he reached the age of 15 or so. He’d turned into a lovely little guy, and I wanted him to become Rolf’s new friend because, in the meantime, I myself had become too old.

But Rolf said: ‘Simon, I think your little brother is very nice; but let him decide whether he would like an adult friend.’ This attitude annoyed me a bit, but perhaps it was simply jealousy because, one time, I nearly blew my top when I saw Rolf on the street with another boy, a real conceited little snot who—it was plain to see— attended a gymnasium. Should my Rolf have given his heart to a person like that? Of course, he should reel in my brother instead.

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Through me, Richard and Rolf have also become acquainted with one another. To my great surprise, they really were not jealous of each other, and got along marvelously right off the bat. Richard also got a couple of lovely photos from Rolf, in which I’m sprawled out rather erotically. Now and again, when I’m sitting in the bar with Richard nursing a beer, I give Rolf a call and ask if he’d like to join us. A couple of times, he’s immediately jumped into his car and come over to the bar.

I no longer have contact with any of the other men from my puberty. Nor do I long to. That part of my life is over. Today, my family is doing much better than it was back then; my father hardly drinks at all since coming out of rehab, the home has been renovated, the children are out of the house, and my parents get a small income from my father’s job. In the meantime, my little brother has also snagged an adult friend of his own and has moved in with him. My wife knows Richard and Rolf. She knows they are two of my closest friends. However, she does not know how I became acquainted with them both. For example, when she is with us at the bar, I also do not talk about old times with Rolf. And I also do not lean across the table in front of everybody and give him a big, sloppy kiss, like I did one time when my parents were having a drink with us. My goodness, was Rolf ever embarrassed. And yet, the other patrons at the bar really hadn’t taken any notice of it. Still, when my wife is there, I don’t do anything along those lines. My friendships with Rolf and Richard are part of my life. I love my wife, but this part of my life belongs to me.”