WHY DO BOYS DO IT? BY PARKER ROSSMAN, 1970S
The following is one of the sections of the eleventh chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (originally published in 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.
Why Do Boys Do It?
1. Of all persons in groups in society, adolescents are probably the least likely to tell the truth about sex, for they have everything to lose and little to gain by truth-telling - especially if they are sexually involved with men or something else which is taboo and illegal. Many scholars are inclined to take them at their word when boys say they are primarily involved in sex play with men only for money, for there is some obvious truth to it. Hustling increases, for example, in periods of depression, and is least prevalent among youngsters who have jobs. Nor should one underestimate the impact on a boy who discovers that from hustling or from an “uncle” his friend has fifty to a hundred dollars a week to spend. The boys involved with pederasts are generally those under sixteen, too young yet for legal work, who almost universally feel the need for much more money than their allowances or odd jobs can provide. Hardly without exception, however, and especially among the boys who most loudly proclaim the fact that their only motivation for sex play with a man is money, when one probes further into their experience and gets better acquainted with them as persons, it becomes clear that money is actually only a minor factor. Gifts and money are important in many cases, so that a boy can retain at least for himself the pretense that he is not seeking affection or sex pleasure, because of the homosexual threat implied. A boy can say to himself and others at any moment of questioning or doubt: “I’m just doing it for the money.”
2. In fact, however, many boys are seeking affection and friendship. Some, for example, out of a deficiency “My father was the type who believed boys should never be hugged or kissed, and I used to feel sad and jealous when I saw other fathers wrestling with their sons. In fact, it aroused me sexually and I decided this was why Dad would never touch me. That was taboo, but I allowed myself fantasies, such as being kidnapped by a man who would make me do things I really wanted to do. My first sexual overture to another human being was when I was about twelve. I asked a 16-year-old boy to tie my hands to see if I could get loose without help which was acting out my favorite masturbation fantasy. I hoped he would take some advantage of my helplessness. It was the boldest sex act I had ever made, and I next tried enlisting a young man who boarded at our house. He wouldn’t tie me up, but he did go along with me in playing sex versions of some card games I made up, in which instead of gambling for money, the loser had to imagine that he was paying sexual forfeits. But the thing I really wanted, even when I was fourteen or so, was his arm around me.” Another boy said: “I was tired of being treated as a kid. When I first met Joe, even though I was thirteen and he was twenty-six, he treated me like an equal, like an adult. I thought to myself, I’d do anything to have a friend like that. Then another kid warned me that Joe was the sort of fag who would try to get me to bed. By then I had decided that I liked and trusted Joe enough that I didn’t care. If he wanted to go to bed I was prepared to do so, and I told him so.” The affectionate “uncle” thus plays varied roles in the lives of different youngsters, but it is no coincidence that youngsters seek physical reassurance and affection in young adolescence when they are at a stage of life when no one else is hugging them any more.
3. In addition to money and the quest for affection, the third and more important conscious motivation seems to be the need and desire for adventure. Youngsters are often more eager to escape from home than their parents realize, and they may seek to escape through drugs or alcohol, or some other undesirable activity. Why do they feel the need? Homes are comfortable, and many youngsters have been given every expensive gift they ask for - stereo sound system, pet, motorbike. School may seem boring, but it is generally better than the schools their fathers attended. Youngsters stay out all night, hitchhike, steal for fun, prowl into other parts of town to hunt for girls who might not be as moral as the ones they know at school. Boys from good families are intrigued to discover and explore worlds which are astonishingly different from their own. A dentist’s son, for example, at the age of fourteen stumbled accidentally into the underworld of his city, which he explored much as his mother had browsed around the bazaars of Hong Kong. He found street corners in front of bars where one had only to stand to be offered almost anything one could imagine. “I never knew what exciting sex things went on, and it was for me like playing with fire was when I was four or five. The first time I went with a man my spine prickled and my hair nearly stood on end. It was like swinging out from a cliff on a rope and looking down at the rocks in the sea.” Even at so young an age he realized he would have to cope with any person - male or female - who would use him sexually to abuse him, so he learned to protect himself. He admitted that he didn’t know what he was searching for. In another age he might have gone on a pilgrimage, in olden times boys of thirteen often did; but in our age the pilgrimage of many youngsters seems to be sexual rather than religious – as Malaparte has said: men used to care for their souls but now they seem to care only for their skins.
The adventurers and explorers from good families usually return, like tourists. The unwanted boys from disadvantaged families, however, often become immigrants into the underground. Ten million boys have run away from home in the last twenty years. Most of them soon return - although 80 percent of them are sexually propositioned if they remain away from home as long as ten hours. Also, a great many of them disappear and never return home. Probably as many as 30 per cent of them are able to stay away as long as they do because they exchange sexual favors for food and lodging. For example, a runaway boy told his family that he had been camping out in the woods, when actually he had been staying with a man and his wife on the other side of town, and sleeping with both of them. Another runaway reported: “I said No to the first man, but a couple of days later I was cold and hungry, it was night and raining and a nice guy invited me to a motel, offering money and to drive me where I wanted to go the next day. He didn’t want to do anything I hadn’t already done with kids. I ended up going clear across the country with him.”
4. Underneath the wish for money, affection and adventure, there is an undeniable element of sexual desire. Whether boys are seduced by men or they seduce themselves, the lure of pleasure, especially curiosity about oral sex, is a primary factor. For example, when asked if he had been seduced, one boy replied: “I was really on the prowl for girls. When we were in the seventh grade we tried to organize a sex club of boys and girls - only we never did anything but talk big to shock the girls. I had heard about getting blown [fellated], but it had never really interested me - I guess because I thought no one would really do it. Until one day a man came to our school with slides to lecture on the danger of getting into a car with a strange man. He showed slides of kids who had been beaten and killed, and he lied when we asked questions, although it was whispered all over the room that such men would blow you and give you money. He also warned us against the bad boys who hang around the fountain downtown and the bus station and the sort of men who pick them up. After the lecture some of the tougher boys teased the rest of us about being scared to try it, because we were sissies who couldn’t fight and take care of ourselves. So of course we found it exciting to hang around the fountain some, just to show we weren’t cowards. One of the big boys who had been to the state school said that being blown was just another way of jerking off, and that it was one way to prove you were a man, that being blown was a lot of fun, and there was nothing queer in letting a man do it to you. I’d never have been down there at the fountain if the man hadn’t come to school to warn us.”
A French writer - discussing the way that youngsters are warned against strange men who may be exhibitionists, torturers, kidnappers - points out that in the process boys often come to realize for the first time that there are “men who wish to make love to them” and give them pleasures that society otherwise denies. Another boy reported schoolboy conversations about “Linda Lovelace” and expressing curiosity about oral sex. “Word swept through our school like wildfire that there was a man who would pay you. No one wanted it known, but a lot of guys sneaked off to hunt him up. We soon found it wasn’t just one man, but a lot of them.” It would appear that such boys are often the ones who have aroused themselves sexually through extensive masturbation, have grown weary and dissatisfied with that, and yet are still too young and insecure to get far with girls. Oral sex is most tantalizing to the young boy who may be embarrassed and worried about coitus. It is easy for inexperienced boys - and for old men who are impotent. There is also the titillation of seeing a man take a submissive role, which is psychologically exciting to many boys who have grown up always having to submit to these giants. Furthermore, the experience opens doors to new psychic games and fantasies, which may be as addicting as alcohol to some youngsters. Novels about the oral sex experience of young adolescents describe the mystery, delight, and fascination found in such pleasures. It is for many boys a type of sex play which involves the possibility of masculine role-playing and fantasizing coitus with a girl, with little homosexual threat.
 Robert Sorensen, Adolescent Sexuality in Contemporary America (New York: World, 1975), R. W. Libby, “Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behavior” in Journal of Clinical Psychology 3, no. 3 (Fall-Winter, 1974). [Author’s footnote]
 M. Guersant, Jean-Paul, Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1953, [Author’s footnote]
 Tony Duvert, Le Bon Sexe lllustré (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1974) p. 100. [Author’s footnote]
 “Linda Lovelace” refers to a widely discussed film involving oral intercourse. [Author’s footnote]
 See Laud Humphries, Tea Room Trade. (Chicago: Aldine Press, 1970), M. Guersant, Jean-Paul (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1953), etc. [Author’s footnote]
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