three pairs of lovers with space

VIETNAM AND THAILAND AROUND THE TIME OF THE VIETNAM WAR, CA. 1950-73

 

The following accounts of the sexual dalliance of a European and some American soldiers with boys in Vietnam, Thailand and briefly Australia in the third quarter of the twentieth century is from Chapter 9, “The Impact of Other Cultures” of Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (USA and London, 1976), pp. 112-6. This section of Dr. Rossman’s book is a primary source for the history of Greek love, drawing on his interviews with the pederasts involved.

The footnotes are the author’s.

 

VIETNAM AND SOUTHEAST ASIA

The French Foreign Legion watching boys cross the street in Hanoi, 1954

The culture that most recently has influenced large numbers of Americans is the Vietnamese. Many Frenchmen came back from Indochina with newly acquired pederast tastes earlier in the century.[1] Grant[2] reports on the recruitment of twelve- to fifteen-year olds to serve American troops in Vietnamese brothels. Views of both European and American men are presented here. A European pederast said: "The Thais and Vietnamese accuse the Chinese of pederasty, much as the southern Europeans say that the Germans come down to corrupt their boys. In both cases, as I have experienced it, the sex play is both willing and mutual, for many Buddhist areas are very relaxed about pederasty. The impact of Western society and United Nations standards for protecting women and children have tightened laws against prostitution, but man-boy sex play is nearly everywhere tolerated as an acceptable substitute for the unmarried man or the man away from home—as long as there is no cruelty or vice, by which many of them mean the use of drugs. I first went to Indochina when the area was still under French influence, and many Europeans out there had learned to take life as it comes, including a bit of hanky-panky with willing boys. But when the Americans arrived, everything seemed to turn commercial. I am reminded of what Malaparte[3] said about the corruption of Neapolitan boys when Allied troops arrived there in World War II. The Americans were so open, affectionate, and generous, that it was corrupting to boys who had only their bodies to offer when they wanted to solicit what their families needed. My favorite boys are the Thais, for they are clean, sweet, lovable and sexy. You can talk openly to schoolboys there about sex with no problem, for if they aren't interested, they'll tell you or introduce you to a friend. I got acquainted with a whole Boy Scout troop that way and a friend and I conducted a sort of Junior Kinsey study with them. Only 35 per cent of them would consider sex play with 'a foreigner or teacher,' but over 70 per cent of them said there was nothing wrong with man-boy sexual activity, so long as there was no anal intercourse. Only 10 per cent of them thought it would be right to take money from a man for sex, but most of them said that friends should exchange gifts. They must have told their parents about us, for soon we were politely asked to stay away from the Scouts."

Half-French Eurasian, Vietnam, 1960s

An American thus reports his experience in Vietnam: “When I left for Vietnam my wife said she knew me too well to ask me to stay away from other women for so long, but she really had less to worry about than she thought, for I intended to be faithful. At first I stayed away from places other guys went to for girls. Because I liked the people I made friends with several ‘gooks,' including a sergeant who taught me some Vietnamese and Chinese words. He had been a teacher, but couldn't support his family so he went into the army where he could graft. I'll call him San. San was half Chinese and his children were beautiful. He introduced me to girls and, when I said I wasn't interested, he took me one night to a sort of gay bar-brothel where a half-French boy was dancing. He had long hair and was trying to win the obscenity prize, if you know what I mean. San asked me: ‘Is that what you want?’ I said No and I meant it, but I was curious to meet the kid, as I had never seen anything like him in my whole life—not in Texas, man. San invited the boy whore over to talk to me, although San was anxious to leave because the place had a bad reputation. The boy was wearing a sort of sarong and I put my hand on his bare knee. The boy laughed and in English said: 'That'll be five dollars,' so I left it there, astonished at how great it felt. I guess San saw my expression, for a few days later he took me to visit a cousin of his whose husband had been killed in the war. She was very poor and we took gifts to her children, a boy of thirteen, who was cute as a monkey, and several girls.

South Vietnam,1973. Photo by René Burri

“We visited the family several times to take the children on a jeep ride, and I noticed that the boy, Chonny as I called him, had no shoes. I asked San about buying him a pair and Chonny was thrilled when San told him, saying he would work for me to pay for them. I said that was not necessary, that I would buy him clothes, books, and pay whatever was necessary so he could go back to school. This pleased San, who said he would take Chonny to live with his family in order to go to school, if I would ‘adopt' him in that way. It didn't dawn on me that I was making a sexual contract, but from then on whenever I went to San's house, Chonny waited on me like a personal servant. San saw my dismay and embarrassment, so he asked: ‘What's the matter? He's a sweet boy and wants to love you. Why don't you relax and enjoy him?' So I did. I'd been gone from my wife a long time and I was ready for something. I figured that this kind of jacking-off with a boy was more loyal to my wife than chasing after girls as all my friends were doing.

"From then on, I slept with Chonny a couple of nights a week. It was fun teaching him English and snuggling with him. At first he was very docile, eager to please me. As he grew older—I think he was a late developer—he became more aggressive himself. I grew so fond of him I wouldn't do anything to hurt him for the world. I talked of helping him prepare for the university, but all he wanted was to be a mechanic. He had marvelous hands for repairing anything, or for making me feel good. I'd never been much for massage, and so forth, but I swear he was so good he could give me an orgasm just by massaging me. Chonny was also very religious, and he said the body is holy—by which he meant something different from what I had been taught at Sunday school in Texas. He said that when we enjoyed each other sexually we were worshipping. Sometimes he would sing religious songs to me as we made love, and he would pray each time he came-—which for him was several times a night. I tried to think what my friends in Texas would say about prayers during orgasms. I grew up thinking of myself as a pretty good kid, so I knew it was sinful when I played with myself-—with Chonny, however, it was just the opposite, a gift of the gods or something like that. The sin—in Chonny's eyes—was to fail to please me, and that blew my mind. I was really on the other side of the world where everything was upside down!

“I found I wasn't the only American sleeping with boys, but nobody talked about it, except a friend of Ernie and me. We talked about how much we enjoyed it. He had a boy he was supporting at an orphanage, only it was a sexual arrangement from the start. A pimp had taken him to the orphanage to help him find the boy he wanted. I had scolded Ernie for picking out a kid so young, a regular little doll, but Ernie said he had no intention of using him as a woman, but simply wanted someone to hug, kiss and cuddle. When Ernie and I went to Australia together on R and R [rest and recreation], Ernie was the first to point out to me how beautiful the blond kids were. As fond as I was of Chonny, I had to agree that he whetted my desire to get my hands on one of those Sydney kids who were built like young gods. We talked to some teen-age boys at a Sydney amusement park and found they had been runaways for some days. Just for kicks we told them we slept with boys in Vietnam and asked if they would be interested. They said No, but one of them said that when he was older he might visit Vietnam and try it for himself. Then, on one of the rides at Luna Park, the same boy confided to me that in London, before emigrating to Australia, he had slept with a man and he would consider doing it with me for ten dollars—which he badly needed—if I wouldn't let his friends know. Knowing Sydney was more like Texas than Vietnam, I decided it was too much of a risk, so I gave him the ten dollars for nothing. He must have told his friends, however, for one of them told Ernie he was interested in mutual masturbation for ten dollars. Ernie took off with him, and the third kept telling me he was cold and the cops would pick him up if he slept in the park. So I offered to take him home if he would go. He turned out to be from Malta. His father was very Italian-looking and welcomed us like prodigal sons. The family served me a feast and entertained me—no joking—with stories about a lynch mob that was about to be organized to find a man who had been propositioning boys on the beach. I wondered if it was a warning, but as I left the father said: ‘Don't worry! Those were very small boys who were bothered on the beach. I sometimes slept with boys myself when I was your age. At fifteen my son is an adult now, and quite free to decide such things for himself.’ He was so nice I felt cheap about it.

'Boys splash in a canal', Bangkok: National Geographic 119 (1961) p. 835

“In Thailand Ernie and I met a teen-age boy who wanted to serve as our guide, and right off he told us his life story. At the age of ten he had a job washing the car of a businessman each week, and afterwards the man always used him sexually before paying him. He didn't like that, but thought it was part of the job, so he told no one. Then he made friends with a pederast 'teacher'—a college-age guy, perhaps Peace Corps?—who took him to bed more pleasingly, and ‘taught him that sex didn't have to be dirty.’ He wanted us to swim in the canal with him, but I decided it wasn't clean enough, as they used the same canal for a toilet. The kids are a beautiful golden brown in the water, their skin shining like satin in the sun, and they clown around sexually for their own amusement as well as for spectators like us. I met a dark-eyed wonder of a boy in the canal, and no one at the hotel batted an eye when we took the two boys to our room. Neither Ernie nor I were prepared for the new type of fun they provided, which was to put on a show for us. I‘ve seen pornographic movies, but nothing like that! It was a wild night, and I was surprised how much two kids could teach us that we didn’t know. They really knew how to put on a show to get the studio audience involved.”

This ex-service man told of many other sexual experiences with boys during his time in Asia, especially when on leave. He said: "I know I'm an entirely different person as a result of this experience." He developed a taste not only for casual recreational sex but also for varied types of sexual intercourse, which led him to become a practicing pederast and establish a sexual relationship with a boy when he returned to the United States. He belongs to an angler's club which is comprised of a group of ex-service men who are pederasts and who go fishing together. One of them is Ernie, who adopted and brought home his little orphan.

 

[1] See A. Corre, L’Ethnographie Criminelle, Paris, 1894; Raoul Veze, Baisers d’Orient, Paris, 1921;  (1921), J. Thieuloy, L’Inde des Grands Chemins, Paris, 1974; Wilson (1972), pp. 161 ff.

[2] John Grant, “The Vietnam Veteran,” Penthouse Jan. 1975.

[3] Curzio Malaperte, The Skin, Boston, 1952.