MODERN ITALY IN BOYS FOR SALE
The following is from Boys for Sale. A Sociological Study of Boy Prostitution by Dennis Drew & Jonathan Drake, New York, 1969, pp. 29-32.
One has only to read Exile of Capri by Roger Peyrefitte to learn much of the availability of Italian boys across the centuries — particularly Neapolitan lads. In the Satyricon we learn what Naples was like in Roman times — boy-love was presumably that way before — and, for the most part, has remained much the same ever since. During the hundreds of years of the Spanish rule of Naples, Spanish troops were billeted in Neapolitan homes. Peyrefitte says that it was the custom to train young boys to serve the troops sexually as a means of protecting the purity of Neapolitan girls. Families with a young son and daughter would not only send the son to bed with the soldier in their home, but would encourage him to make as many lascivious advances as possible in hopes that the soldier’s sexual desires would be entirely addressed to the boy.
Peyrefitte also tells of the many English and Northern Europeans who came to Naples and southern Italy for paederasty. This still seems to be the case in the latter 1960’s. Though less prevalent now in Naples, there used to be many boys’ brothels in operation. Local beaches also thrived as centers of prostitution and some still do. The tourist in Naples had only to approach the bell captain of his hotel for the name of the nearest brothel, beach or club where boys were to be had. Until quite recently, one prominent boys’ brothel was thinly disguised as a gymnasium, where men and boys came to learn to box...ostensibly! It had many private rooms where customers could take their boys. The boys sat and watched boxing matches while the men walked among them, choosing partners. Each boy carried his own tube of vaseline, and their price was generally about $1.60 a go. During World War Two, under Nazi overlordship boy prostitution reached a recent zenith in Italy.
Ubiquitous poverty and devastation made prostitution a common necessity for survival. Curzio Malaparte in The Skin describes the place where many Neapolitan mothers brought their 8-to-10-year-old sons to peddle them to Moroccan soldiers. In spite of harsh military punishments designed to restrain the Moroccan soldiers, they were not swerved. The boys were so beautiful that the soldiers refused to see anything wrong with making use of what was openly sold in the public market.
Malaparte describes how patiently the young boys sat on a wall while soldiers felt up inside their skimpy trousers, at the same time negotiating a price with the onlooking mother. He then noted the lascivious gleam in the soldier’s eye as he went off with the mother and child. What was to happen next was obvious!
Despite stories of the brutality of the Moroccans, especially in their anal intercourse with these youngsters, many of the soldiers developed regular “affairs” with the boys — sleeping regularly at their - homes. More than one boy begged to go home with his lover, despite the soldier’s efforts to keep their sexual relations on a strictly commercial basis.
It is still not uncommon for hotel agents to approach single men tourists and to offer a boy with a hotel room in the vicinity of the Naples railroad station. There are certain spots where boy prostitutes are readily available through their agents — in the Galeria, on certain steps and at barber shops. Naples motion picture theatres (and just outside them), especially on the Via Roma, have also been special places of operation.
The novel Wanton Boys tells of a barber shop boy and the way he was regularly approached by customers. It goes on to tell of his exploitation by a pimp and a woman prostitute until he finally falls into the hands of a kindly Swedish tourist. The story gives a good idea of life in Italy just a few years ago.