three pairs of lovers with space

CONSPIRATORIAL SECRECY IN ADOLESCENT CULTURE BY PARKER ROSSMAN

 

The following is one of the sections of the fifth chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (originally published in 1976), entitled "Support From Adolescent Culture", and introduced here. It appears from both his quotations from interviews of pederasts and the studies he cites that it is based on American society in the decade or so before publication.

 

Conspiratorial Secrecy

Many adolescents have no respect for the law because they feel that its repression of their sex lives makes no sense at all. Some of them get caught up in drugs because of their sexual rebellion, others become involved in criminal activity. Few of them tell the truth about their sexual behavior and experience. One pederast said: “What fascinates me about most young adolescents is the way they know how to live in two worlds at once. Some of them are little angels at home, at school, in Sunday school, at Boy Scout meetings or whenever they are in the presence of the Establishment. Once alone with their tribe they are entirely different kids.” There is, of course, a vast difference from state to state, from city to city, and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Goal-oriented middle-class boys are often more open to parents and teachers. However, the conspiratorial secrecy of adolescents on matters of sex and drugs crops up in the least expected places. Even in close-knit families, by mid-adolescence many youngsters are living in a different world from their parents, and they continually lie about sex. For example: “In a junior high school where both pederasts and police attest to the fact that perhaps as high as 90 per cent of the boys have been involved, at least one or two times, in sex play with a man or high-school boy, a careful study of the school and neighborhood was initiated by police-sponsored social scientists, who interviewed every boy in the school, with every possible safeguard and protection for privacy and anonymity. The social scientists reported at the end of their interviews that, while most of the boys were aware that man-boy sex play was common in the community, few of them had personally been involved. Why did the boys lie? In that school on a typical day truancy runs at 10 per cent, and when the boys are absent from school most of them are stealing, using dope, or are engaged in sexual adventuring. So they all lie to protect one another. Sex, drugs, ripping-off cars are not things one ever admits to adults.”

Speaking of a similar community another pederast said: “The pederast underground is possible because of this secret adolescent world of sex games and dirty jokes, which facilitates boys in sex play. Man-boy pornography circulates in the schools, even among ten- and eleven-year-olds, and much of it is drawn by the kids themselves. Many of their drawings are clever, even amusing, as are some of the pederastic comic books they prepare, such as Batman-Robin pornography. Since all this takes place in a world which is secret from parents and most adults, it feeds the imagination without adequate interpretation, or it is clarified by the dirty jokes of their peers. Do you want an example? The boy who told this joke said it was not really a dirty joke, but could be told in mixed company! He said that a boy who had consented to go on a boat ride with a man had been sexually abused against his will. When he got ashore he ran to find a policeman and told of all the sex acts he had been forced to perform. The policeman appeared to be sympathetic, so the boy finally exclaimed: ‘Well, aren’t you going to do something?’ Whereupon the policeman replied: ‘What else is there to do? You seem to have already done everything in the book.’ “

Another pederast said: “Theologians observed the behavior of kids and found confirming evidence of original sin, for until recently sex play between adults and children was fairly common even in Western society.[1] It was considered only natural that adolescent boys would be involved in sex games: some adultery, pinching, suggestive remarks, evenings with prostitutes when as young as thirteen or fourteen. The honest and serious efforts to uplift society succeeded as far as the middle class was concerned, at least in the smaller towns. However, this moral effort also had the effect of driving the playful side of sex underground, leading to double standards and hypocrisy, or to repression and rebellion. In the secret world of the adolescent there was less change than on the surface. Indeed, as sex play became more secret, it became all the more attractive as forbidden fruit. At one time or another many boys become charmed and fascinated to learn that secret worlds exist, and are charmed by reports of pleasure and excitement found by others who dared explore them. Secrecy is not only always enticing but it also breeds even greater secrecy.”

This man goes on to point out that it is the boy “who loves a game which involves some danger” who is most likely to become a co-conspirator, who is most likely at least once in his young adolescence to get caught up in sex play with an older teenager or a young adult. When a boy takes a step or two down the ladder into an underground things happen in the dark which might never happen in the daylight, and the pederast underground is a very dimly lighted place. It is dimly lighted because adults who should do so “rarely participate in any realistic or effective way in the sex-socialization of youth.”[2] An expert on adolescent sexuality points out that most parents and sex educators “find it emotionally impossible to go beyond providing a few biological and reproductive facts,”[3] leaving everything important for the kids to find out for themselves from their peers and by their own experimentation. Most adolescents are in fact lucky in belonging to good tribes, or to tribes that shape up by late adolescence. By then many of them are already “touched by the fire of mysteries which adults seem not to know.”[4]

 

[1] For example, see Lloyd De Mause, “The Evolution of Childhood,”  History of Childhood Quarterly 1, no. 4 (Spring, 1974), pp. 503-576. [Author’s note]

[2] L. A. Kirkendall, Sex Education and the Teenager (Berkeley: Diablo Press, 1967), p. 125.

[3] L. A. Kirkendall, Sex Education and the Teenager (Berkeley: Diablo Press, 1967), p. 125.

[4] L. A. Kirkendall, Sex Education and the Teenager (Berkeley: Diablo Press, 1967), p. 125.

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