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three pairs of lovers with space



The following is the introduction to “Support From Adolescent Culture”, the fifth chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (originally published in 1976), one of the only three book-length general studies of Greek love in English.

Following this introduction, Rossman went on to discuss in three sub-chapters the different structures in adolescent subcultures which supported “the pederast underground”:

A Tribal Society of Adolescents
Conspiratorial Secrecy
The Hustlers

These sub-chapters were followed by “Some Concluding Observations”.

Quite apart from adolescence being, as Rossman says in the first of these sub-chapters, “a relatively modern phenomenon in history”, adolescent subcultures are something that have obviously varied considerably in character according to the broader cultures to which they belonged. Though Rossman says in the introduction to his book that 31% of the pederasts he studied were not from the USA or Canada, their experiences appear to be absent from this chapter. So far as one can tell from the quoted statements here and his remarks, the context is purely American and then recent (as indeed are all the books he cites), so it would seem safest to consider his findings and conclusions to pertain to the history of pederasty in the USA over a short period preceding publication, however much some of them may have had broader applicability.

Support from Adolescent Culture

What is to be found at the bottom of the ladder? The word underground provokes a “kaleidoscope of images”:[1] secret societies, publications, illegal political groups. In the course of our exploration of this pederast underground, we will rely heavily on the guidance of three individuals whose stories will be told in detail. In the following chapter, our first guide will point out the structures in the adolescent subcultures which support the pederast underground. Psychological factors may account for a wide range of interior experience and fantasy, but one must look for the social forces which support pederasty in a society which forbids it so strongly by law and the sanctions of public opinion. In later chapters we will examine the support a pederast may receive from other persons in his community, along with the impact of other cultures on Western pederastic experience, but first now - since pederasty cannot exist without consenting boys - it is important to examine in broad perspective the view that the pederast underground has little structure of its own, but is almost completely dependent upon adolescent society.


[1] E. F. Abood, Underground Man, (San Francisco: Chandler and Sharp, 1973), pp. 1-2; R. W. Libby, “Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behavior” in  Journal of Clinical Psychology 3, no. 3 (Fall-Winter, 1974) p. 36. [Author’s note]




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