SOME CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS ON SUPPORT FROM ADOLESCENT CULTURE BY PARKER ROSSMAN
The following is the concluding section 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.
Some Concluding Observations
- The pederast underground is a society dominated by and enabled by the conspiratorial secrecy of juveniles on sexual matters. Paul Goodman’s Growing Up Absurd, which influenced an alienated generation of the young, shows how society pushes youngsters into the “sexual underlife.” The book points out that a boy may have a few sexual adventures which he thinks are great, but when he is caught, adults try by explanations and even punishment to convince him that what he found delightful is not good. The boy knows by the evidence of his senses that nothing could be better. So, in Goodman’s view, if the boy gives in to adult pressures he may either lose faith in adults or else decide that he is queer, thus developing a distrust in his own body and feelings. Unable to make sense out of adult attitudes on his sex play, losing faith either in society or in himself and his own sense of reality, a boy become restless in school, rebellious at home, and often becomes compulsively fascinated by sex, since society has made it a problem for him. Goodman quotes Bertrand Russell as saying that it would be better if youngsters were allowed their sex play so they could then give undivided attention to schoolwork like math. But the important point, Goodman insists, is not whether sex play is right or wrong, or whether it should be encouraged or discouraged; the important thing is for youngsters and their sexual experience to be treated seriously. “It is hard to grow up when existing facts are treated as if they do not exist.” This is the climate that enables pederasty to thrive.
- Goodman goes on to point out that if a youngster dares to be man enough to stand up and argue for the validity of his own experience, or persists in the sex play which seems so good, he is declared delinquent and may even be “put away.” The real problem, Goodman insists, is that adults do not really believe the boy has had authentic sexual experience. Because adults feel it should not have happened, thus it isn’t important enough to be taken seriously. Goodman felt that such alienating experience lies behind much juvenile delinquency and is the basis for the rebellion and tribal society of adolescents which enables much deviant sexual behavior. Most adolescent sexual experience under sixteen takes place in a “sexual underlife” not unlike the subvertive underworld of a prison, and often is characterized by the same anger and rebellion against the authorities which forbids even a wronged youngster to “tell.” Many pederasts grew up through such gangs or adolescent tribal groups and still function as “alumni members.”
 Paul Goodman, Growing Up Absurd (New York: Random House, 1960).
 Paul Goodman, Growing Up Absurd (New York: Random House, 1960), p. 38.
 The phrase is from L. and E. Hanson, Verlaine: Fool of God (New York: Random House, 1957) discussing the pederasty of the French poet Verlaine, who in mid-adolescence was “broken to the sexual underlife” of his prep school.