THE ACTUAL SEDUCTION OF CONSENTING BOYS, U.S.A., 1970S, BY PARKER ROSSMAN
The following is one of the sections of the eleventh chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (USA and London, 1976), which he entitled "The Consenting Boys" since, as he explained in the introduction to it, most of the three hundred boys he interviewed had taken the initiative and most of the rest had already imagined themselves ready and willing. The experiences described would seem all to have been then recent ones in the U.S.A.
The Actual Seduction
Since this chapter is based upon interviews with three hundred boys who were either “hustlers” by choice or were happily involved in a relationship with a man, it is presenting a picture which is out of perspective. We will, therefore, conclude on a more negative point, by reporting on replies to the question: “Have you been seduced? If so, by whom?” Some of the boys gave immediate affirmative answers: “I was seduced by my uncle when I was thirteen, although that really wasn’t the first time.” Or “When I was fourteen my eighteen-year-old friend got a car and he wouldn’t let me drive it until - well, I guess you could say I was really seduced by the car!” The ancient Greeks had a saying that a boy doesn’t get caught unless some man goes fishing, and seduction doesn’t begin necessarily with a verbal proposition or a sexual gesture. For this reason many boys who had a vague feeling that somehow, somewhere, along the way they had been seduced, were unable to pinpoint the precise time and situation.
Seduction, whether of a girl or boy, begins with the creation of a climate in which there can be a positive response to a proposition or gesture, which triggers nature’s chemistry or a boy’s emotion so as to excite him sexually. If many boys seem confused about that process, it is because they had, for the most part, been seduced by society, plus their own prowling and fantasy, in that they were already aroused and ready for the actual seduction. There are two dimensions to the seductive climate of society. On one hand there is the eroticism of advertisements, films, books, popular music, and the influence of older persons - especially the influence of boys a few years older; on the other hand there is his immediate “tribe” which influences a boy the most, with its sex talk and bragging (much of it probably untrue), along with the teasing, dirty jokes, and everything that creates a climate of sexual arousal and readiness. For example, one pederast said: “If I set out to seduce a boy, I’d use the same method boys use on each other. I’d simply start telling dirty jokes, and I’d encourage the boys to tell dirty jokes, until I could tell by the tone of their voice, their emotional reaction, their laughter, their lack of embarrassment, which boy was experienced and available. Within a half hour of watching and listening, I’d know which boy to go after. How would I then seduce him? I’d nod and signal for him to follow me as I left. The pederasts who get arrested are those who make overtures to boys who don’t take such initiative themselves. This country so neglects its young, gives them so few exciting adventures, and so sexually frustrates them, that many an inexperienced boy will follow right after you if you but nod.”
A boy tells of his pederastic seduction - that is, his first sexual experience with a man: “We were clowning around on the tennis courts and I saw this man had an eye on me. I didn’t know who he was, but I saw his Mustang and figured it might be my ticket out of that dull neighborhood; so when he smiled I walked over to his car. I was only thirteen, but I knew what I wanted. He asked me if I’d like to go to his place and listen to some records and when we got there I asked if I could take a shower, because I was hot and sweaty. He said he’d take a shower with me and I said O.K. I enjoyed it all and started going over there to listen to records a couple of times a week or whenever I got horny.” There are, of course, city neighborhoods and small towns where no boy has had such an experience, and others where nearly every boy has been with such a fellator at least once.
Another pederast said: “I consider a boy to be available if he has participated in enough sex play with boys his own age to discover that he enjoys it, and to an extent that he is interested and willing to try it with me or with some other man. Each such pederast has his own game which he plays to find out which boys are interested. One asks boys where they go to school, and then disarms them by saying: ‘Oh, that’s the school where a lot of the boys have been playing around sexually with - uh, who was it? some older boys or one of the teachers?’ Frequently he gets the reply, with a gasp: ‘How did you find that out? It’s supposed to be a secret! ‘ In any case the erotic climate between the two of them immediately changes, since the man has become a co-conspirator by virtue of knowing the boys’ secret. With many boys it takes no more than that. They expect adults to be judgmental and condemnatory, and so a boy may find it highly erotic to discover an adult who approves of the sex play. Most boys immediately jump to the conclusion, aided perhaps by the pederast’s manner, that ‘this is one of those men you hear about’ who gives boys a good time.” This pederast then repeated, and most of those interviewed confirmed, that boys who get sexually involved with strange men are for the most part those who have already been seduced by friends or relatives near their own age. The other boys - who respond to a stare, smile, or invitation to visit a man’s apartment - have perhaps already seduced themselves in their own fantasies and imagination. The experience of seduction begins long before the first sexual invitation by word or gesture.
Up to this point, to keep our data in perspective, it must be remembered that we have not been discussing all adolescents, but only those whom we found to be involved with the pederasts we interviewed - boys who for one reason or another are interested in sex play with an adult. There is, however, one troubling note for society. It is sounded in fact, as reported by a number of pederasts, which may be worth further study. Typically, it runs like this: “I do not get involved much in actual sexual intercourse, but I amuse myself with a game since my work keeps me on the road. I pick up nearly every boy I see hitchhiking and I ask them all if they would like to go to bed with me, just to see what the reaction will be. Twenty years ago, many boys were frightened, angry, or indignant - demanded that I let them out of the car immediately. Nowadays those who say they wouldn’t be interested are more likely to be amused than frightened, annoyed rather than angry, and few are indignant enough to refuse my offer to take them to where they are going. Twenty years ago it was only boys who had been in reform schools, young delinquents, or desperate and hungry runaways who were immediately willing to go to bed with me. The average youngster today seems much more prepared to consider the possibility. He uses such limited negatives as: ‘Thanks, but not this time’ or ‘If I did it someone might find out’ or ‘I’d never do it for money, but maybe for fun.’ Is there a real change of attitude or merely of tolerance? It isn’t just my imagination.”
No matter how consenting and pleasing the sexual experience may be, it is almost inevitable that a boy who engages in sex play with a man will at times be plagued by feelings of guilt and anxiety. If his friends find out, they may accuse him of being “sick” or “queer”; if he is religious he may have a sense of being sinful, and in most cases he is quite aware that the activity is against the law, which may lead him through an emotional crisis to deciding that he is a criminal. All of this is part of his sexual experience. A sense of furtive guilt, of chasing forbidden fruit may in some cases heighten the sexual pleasure. In other cases it may throw cold water upon the affair or at least dampen the enthusiasm in time. If a boy finds the experience so pleasurable that he continues pursuing it, or even if he does so only for money or other advantages, he begins to resolve the conflict over feelings of guilt and anxiety by adopting the life-style of a rebel or delinquent, which makes it possible for him to rationalize or discharge the accusations he has made against himself. As a “rebel” he may give up religion and define himself as someone who believes in “sex freedom.” Better educated boys seem emotionally more likely to accept the label of “gay” or to explore a bisexual or homosexual lifestyle. Lower-class boys are more likely to define themselves as delinquents, freed by their sexual delinquency to turn to other types of crime also. It may well be that many criminals are created by this tendency of society to teach adolescents that they are criminals if they are sexually adventurous or deviant.