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three pairs of lovers with space



The following information about pederastic practices in late nineteenth-century Annam comes from the expanded English edition of Untrodden Fields of Anthropology: Observations on the Esoteric Manners and Customs of Semi-civilised Peoples, Being a Record by a French-Army Surgeon of Thirty Years’ Experience in Asia, Africa, America and Oceania, published by Charles Carrington, “Publisher of Medical, Folk-lore and Historical Works”, in Paris in 1898.

The unknown author, described in the original French edition[1] as “le Docteur Jacobus X…”, seems to have lived in Annam more than any of the other countries he wrote about, and pederasty certainly features much more prominently in his account of it. He began his foreign service in the newly-established French colony of Cochin-China, probably in about 1865, lived there until about 1870 and revisited it around 1890.[2]

Cochin-China was the southern part of the otherwise still-independent country then known as Annam, but both previously and later known as Vietnam.  When Dr. X refers to Annam and the Annamites, he means the whole country and the race of its majority, rather than just to the French protectorate of Annam later established in central Vietnam. Cochin-China and the protectorates of Tonkin (in the north, also visited by Dr. X) and Annam were all part of French Indochina from 1887.

PART THE FIRST.—ASIA. Cochin-China—Tonquin—Cambodia.


Cochin-China thirty years ago.—A few words about Saigon as it was.— Other Asiatic Races, besides the Annamites, inhabiting Cochin-China.—[…]—Moys.—[…]

"Part of a Moi Boy's Education" (Children's Colour Book of Lands & Peoples, 1927)

Cochin-China thirty Years ago. Cochin-China was the first colony I visited, and the impressions I retain of it are like those of a beardless youth for his first mistress.

I had hardly left the class-rooms of the College of Medicine, in 186-, than I obtained a post as assistant-surgeon in the Navy, and was sent to Cochin-China. […] An uninterrupted residence of five years in the colony, and a second visit twenty-five years later, are guarantees of the correctness of my observations. […]

Moys. I have examined the Moys of the district of Baria, where they possess many villages. […]

The manners of the people are very pure. Adultery is very rare, and the vices we shall find amongst the Annamites almost unknown. The Moy copulates with his wife according to the law of nature, and without tricks of any sort. From this point of view it is the Annamites, not the Moys, who ought to be called savages, for they are one of the most corrupt people in the civilized world. […]

None of the Moys I was able to examine showed any traces of masturbation or unnatural habits. There is a great difference in this respect between the Moy and Annamite races.



The origin of the Annamites, otherwise called Giao-Chi—Anthropological characteristics of the race.- Genital organs of the Annamites. -Their small size.— The child taken as a basis of comparison for the medical part of this subject.- […]


The Origin of the Annamites, otherwise called Giao-Chi. […] The Annamite, it will be seen, is not a savage, on the contrary his civilization dates further back than that of the European, but he also possesses a formidable number of vices, which he conceals from the eyes of an inattentive observer, but which you discover when you come to study the race closely.

Tran-van-Luong, an Annamite of 17, in 1863

Anthropological Attributes of the Race. […] Annamites of both sexes develop slowly, and a young man of twenty does not appear to be more than fifteen; if it were not that the ears are not pierced, you would often take a youth, of from fifteen to twenty years, for a girl not yet formed, and the sweetness of the voice increases the illusion. After the age of twenty, the features of the man grow larger and harder. […]

The Genital Organs of the Annamites.—Their Small Size. […] From this special point of view, the Annamites may be said to occupy the lowest place amongst all the races we shall study, and if we may call the Negroes of Africa men stallions, it would be just as logical to call the Annamites men monkeys.

They deserve this appellation in two ways, the monkey being of all animals the one that has the smallest genital organs in proportion to the size of its body. The monkey is also the only animal which masturbates intentionally; another point of resemblance to the human race. The Annamite, one of the oldest of civilized beings, is as lascivious as the monkey.

Annamite Children. Let us commence with the examination of the genital organs in infancy, which can be done without any offence to morals, girls and boys going completely naked until the age of twelve years. Before that age, the penis of the little boy is hardly the size of his little finger, and the finger of an Annamite child is not large. They do not arrive at puberty before fourteen or fifteen, which is as late as in Europe. At that age the penis is as large as the forefinger of a European. The complete development of the genital organs is hardly effected before the twentieth year, and sometimes even later.



Perverted passions amongst the Annamites.—Male prostitution.—The “nay” and the “boy”.— Gamblers, thieves, and sodomites.—Usual methods of the Annamite pederasts. — The Chinese pederast. — The shop of Ach., the Chinaman.—The male house of prostitution at Cho-lon.—Horrible immorality of the Chinese actors who play women's parts.

Perverted passions amongst the Annamites. At the head of this and the following chapter, I might say with Tardieu, quoting Fodéré, "Why cannot I avoid sullying my pen with an account of the infamous wickedness of pederasts?" Like Fodéré, I hesitated as to whether I should insert in this work the repulsive picture of sodomy, but I was bound to confess that it was a necessary supplement, and also the part of the subject least known.

What Tardieu and Martineau have done for Paris, that pandemonium of all the vices, I ought to do for foreign countries. It is necessary for me to include a study of the "aberrations of love passions in the Colonies", or otherwise the work would be incomplete.

French Indochina in ca. 1897

Male Prostitution.[3] The Extreme East enjoys the wretched privilege of being the chief nucleus of pederastic vice. With the exception of shopmen, and employés in small businesses, the Annamites reside in the villages round Saigon, and it is only the nays and the boys who come in direct and permanent contact with the Europeans. Nay signifies "basket". The nays are children of from seven to fifteen years, who are provided with round baskets. They are found on the quays, in the market, and in front of the shops, waiting for a customer to make a purchase of any kind. The nay, or "basket", is thin and wretched; he wears his hair long and hanging behind him. He abounds at Saigon, and it is from these baskets that the class of boys is recruited.

These latter are from fifteen to twenty-five years of age; they are essentially liars, debauchees, gamblers, and thieves. Woe betide the European who leaves, for an hour, the key in the lock of the drawer, or cupboard, in which he keeps his piasters; he is sure to be robbed. The boy waits at table, or acts as valet,—both in the most imperfect manner.[4] It is nearly impossible to obtain any regular work from him, for he is absent great part of the day, and all the night. For costume, he wears a little jacket, buttoning down the front, and white cotton, wide pantaloons, with a belt of red silk, the end of it hanging down in front. To this belt hangs a small silk purse, lined with hide, and ornamented with designs in gilt copper filagree work. The boy's hair is rolled up, and encircled by a silk handkerchief; the hair is often kept in place by a shell comb.

Annamite Gamblers, Thieves, and Sodomites. In short, the basket and the boy are gamblers, thieves, and sodomites. Are they sodomites simply that they may earn money to satisfy their other vices? That is the theory of certain Annamitophiles, who pretend that this vice was introduced by the European conquest. It was nothing of the kind. The Annamite is a sodomite because he is lascivious. He belongs to an old civilized race that is now rotten. Vice was innate, and the Europeans found it flourishing, and some (very few, let us hope) have taken advantage of it.

The Frenchman who goes to the Antilles, Guiana, or Senegal, has not introduced sodomy and pederasty into those countries, because the natives of those countries abhor those vices. The same Frenchman, arrived in Cochin-China, has become a sodomite or a pederast, because he has found, without the trouble of seeking, women and children who have afforded him the opportunity, It is necessary to point out a mistake that has been thoughtlessly repeated by many travellers, that the soldiers of the Expeditionary Corps had acquired, in the Chinese campaign, certain depraved habits, which they afterwards carried into Cochin-China, where they have taken root. These travellers forget that the Chinese came to Cochin-China several centuries before we did, and have had plenty of time to vitiate the manners of the natives.

We must not even accuse the Chinaman, for the Annamite is naturally quite as depraved as he is, if not more so,—which is saying a good deal. Nays and boys are a kind of living merchandise which offers itself.

The nay is like the little girl not yet arrived at puberty, who offers you flowers on the boulevards of Paris, and whose parents speculate on the debauchery of roués, broken-down in health, and of perverted morals. Instead of a little girl, it is a little boy. He has no flowers, and gains his living by means of a basket. For a tai-an (a penny), he will put your purchases into his basket, and docilely follow you home.

When once he gets to your house, if he should suspect that you have depraved tastes, he will soon offer you his services : "Captain" (everybody was a captain in 186-) "me much know chewchew banana," and if the client appeared to hesitate, "me know ablic." That is sabir (patois). Chewchew means to eat. The banana is the well-known fruit of the tropics, which resembles in shape a penis afflicted with phimosis; ablic is the corrupt form of an Annamite word signifying the act of sodomy, and the word is as cynically coarse and expressive as the vulgar French verb, which corresponds to it. It existed before our arrival, whilst the equivalent for the word "modesty" does not exist in the Annamite language. That is a double philological proof.

Annamite boy with water-pipe, 1888

By way of reply, the nay generally receives a good kick on the backside, in which case he slinks away, and says nothing. In the case of acceptance, he knows that the most suitable time is the hour of the siesta, after the midday cannon has been fired.

About a quarter past twelve, a shadow will steal furtively into the chamber of the pederast. Like the daylight whore, the nay knows some means of penetrating, without being seen, into a house in which, perhaps, several Europeans live together.

If the nay, a child not arrived at puberty, and generally dirty and disgusting, displeases him, the depraved European has, in the evening, recourse to the boy. He is about 16 to 20 years old; he is a former nay raised to the dignity of a boy. The boy works in the evening, after nine o'clock and before midnight, after he has left his master's house. He is not averse to easily gaining a piaster, with which he can try his luck at baquan.[5] We may here note that, owing to the difference in the value of money thirty years ago, a piaster in Cochin-China was worth a louis in France.

Though the boy often wears a handsome silk costume, a handkerchief round his head, and a red, or sky-blue, girdle round his waist, his body is quite as dirty as that of the nay. The most elementary notions of cleanliness are unknown to him. Unlike the Chinese, he never washes himself all over; not a bucket of water is ever emptied over his head; and this in a country where the lowest temperature, day or night, is 77°F. It is difficult, even to get him to wash his hands before waiting at table. The Annamite is as lewd as a monkey, and has the same dread of water.

Methods used by the Pederasts. The nay and the boy are generally—to use Tardieu's expression—"suckers of the dart." It must not be supposed that this depraved Asiatic feels any repugnance, or has any objection, to this disgusting habit. He has even less than the daylight whore, who is also willing to perform the same operation. Whilst the European lies at full length on a long chair, or on his bed, the boy,—kneeling or stooping,—inguina osculatur, sugit, emissumque semen in bucca recipit,usque ad ultimam guttam.[6]

Although by preference a "sucker of the dart", the nay, or the boy, will not refuse sodomy, but he is not enthusiastic about it. It is not any moral reason which stops him, for he is above prejudices of that sort. It is simply the disproportion which exists between the anus of a lad of ten or twelve years, and the penis of an adult European, for two nays have no objection to committing the act with one another. When the nay attains the age of sixteen, and has little by little become used to the business, he will not raise any objection, for the vice has by that time become a morbid habit with him. He seeks opportunities and occasions, with as much pleasure as a woman seeks copulation. This depraved taste becomes a pressing need with him. I can even say more: I have known Europeans in whom this "passive taste" was so developed, and who went so far as to give themselves up to the lewd caresses of their boys. I trust I shall be excused for not dilating on this subject, and merely mentioning it in passing.

The Chinese Pederast.[7] I have said that the Chinese are boys in the restaurants, and cook-shops. As a house-boy, the Chinese costs much more than the Annamite, but he has the appreciable advantage of being much cleaner. The Chinaman washes himself thoroughly morning and evening, emptying two or three buckets of water over his head. The clothes he wears are usually very clean, and instead of walking barefoot, he wears shoes with thick soles, He has not, either, the characteristic stink of the Annamite boy.

Saigon, by Hippolyte Arnoux, 1880

He comes to Saigon at the age of ten or twelve, and first acts as a boy, then as a cook, and finally takes a wife. Before he arrives at that, he has taken his part in the male prostitution of Saigon, but in a most discreet and guarded manner. In the evening, you may see Chinese boys leave their master's house, and act as rivals to the Annamite boys. But, generally speaking, the mouth sucking disgusts him as much as it pleases the other; he contents himself with anal copulation, active or passive.

Not only the Chinese boy, but- also the employés in houses of business, tailors, boot-makers, etc., also give themselves up to prostitution. It is rare for a Chinaman of that social position, when he finds himself alone with a depraved European, to refuse to yield to his wishes. He does it, not so much for the money he may get by it, as for the pleasure; but if the European has connection with an itinerant dealer in curiosities, he will be forced to make some purchases, and these purchases will often have to be renewed.

A European friend of mine used to receive, at ten o'clock every morning, a number of young Chinese merchants, who used to besiege the door of his lodging, which was adjacent to mine. Two never entered together; the one who arrived last would discreetly stand at the street door, or in the shadow of a tree, waiting his turn. At last I learned the secret of this comedy.

One of these young Chinese merchants, whom I had occasion to attend medically, told me in return, and out of gratitude, some strange revelations concerning the unnatural customs of the great majority of his compatriots, who belonged to the same social category. Each patron disposes of his employés and apprentices, according to his humour, and his taste. These youths also form love liaisons between themselves, and Orestes and Pylades are not uncommon amongst the people with pig-tails. They usually change parts alternately, each being in turn husband or wife. Later,—as the perverted passions increase with age,—when the genital powers decrease, and they become masters in their turn, the passive part is the only one that suits them. By "natural selection", the Chinaman seeks out the European who is addicted to the same vice.

The Shop of Ach., the Chinaman. In 186-, one of the richest dealers in curiosities, Ach., the Chinaman, who afterwards became one of the leading Chinese residents of Saigon, had a peculiar and widespread reputation. Crowds of people went to his house to drink his excellent tea; but, of course, his customers never boasted of it, except privately and between themselves, for Ach. was too compromising. In spite of the tolerance of manners in those days, one had but to make a few purchases in his shop to be suspected of having enjoyed his lewd favours. Saigonese jokers defined this operation as "digging in the yellow clay". I give the expression for what it is worth. At Ach.'s shop could be found a complete assortment of Chinese and Japanese phalli, and the coloured albums of the Chinese Aretin.

Twenty-five years later, I found Ach. rich, and much esteemed by his compatriots, and looking stout, strong, and well. His little business had proved lucky, and he had succeeded in life.

A Chinese commercial street in Cho-lon, 1899

The Male House of Prostitution at Cho-lon.[8] There remains to be mentioned an establishment at Cho-lon, which was known to very few Europeans, and of which the French police has always (most probably) ignored the existence. This was nothing else but a house of masculine prostitution. It was clandestine, for the authorities would never have authorized such a den of infamy to be opened, and, for that reason, this Chinese temple of love was difficult of access. Every precaution was taken to throw the French police off the scent. The house, in fact, was situated in a suburb of Cho-lon. Nothing distinguished this illicit brothel from a honest house. It was situated at the end of a court-yard, and no one was admitted, unless introduced by one of the habitués; without my friend B., the opium contractor, it would have been impossible for me to enter.[9]

At first sight, the house showed nothing abnormal, and looked merely like a store of Chinese merchandise. The sole occupant was an old Chinaman, the keeper of the warehouse, and his worthy companion. Ordinarily no one was to be found there. But the clients and pensionnaires knew the road and the right time, for it was a house for nocturnal meetings, and only filled towards midnight. After the Chinese theatre was over, the actors who played the women's parts, used to come there to meet their protectors.[10]

"The Annamite and his boy" (Photo by Dieulefils, from Richard Millant, La Drogue: fumeurs et mangeurs d'opium (Paris, 1910) p. 278

On the far side of the house, at the end of a garden enclosed with high walls, was a fine pavilion richly decorated, and provided with handsome Chinese furniture. A good supply of apparatus for smoking opium was to be found there, for, with the Chinese, opium is the basis and motor of all voluptuous debauchery.

Instead of young girls, there were youths of from twelve to twenty years, richly dressed in silk costumes of tender hues, who waited on the .guests, and acted as Ganymedes. Compartments similar to horse boxes, and containing a bed instead of a manger, permitted the amorous couples to isolate themselves. I say "couples" , but I may remark that the famous rule of the Jesuits, which forbade their pupils to ever be in pairs, was applied in a very singular manner. It would be impossible to give even a hint at the scenes of extraordinary lewdness which went on in these compartments, without entering into erotic details worthy of the Marquis de Sade, therefore I forbear.

I cannot, however, pass over in silence, one eccentric form of the lusus amoris.[11] The Chinese actors who play the women's parts, come in their costumes, and assume the character of a modest virgin, afraid of losing her virginity, a refinement of vice which is much appreciated. In the presence of a number of old men, not very particular, the scenes of the first night of wedded life are represented without any shame. But there is nothing new under the sun, as the proverb says. Petronius and Suetonius have recounted the same thing long ago. The Chinese of Cho-lon do but repeat the history of the Emperor Nero, and his marriage with the eunuch Sporus.



Study of the buccal, vulvar, and anal deformities caused by male and female prostitution in the Annamite race.—[…]—Peculiar signs of the habit of mouth suction.— Sodomy and pederasty.—Signs of recent passive sodomy.—Anal blennorrhea. —Signs of inveterate passive sodomy.—Signs of active pederasty in the Annamite and the Chinese.—Signs, of active and passive pederasty in the European in Cochin- China.

Study of the buccal, vulvar, and anal deformities. The notes from which I have written this chapter, date back to my first visit, at a time when Tardieu, and Martineau, who continued his work, had not thoroughly studied this subject of medico-legal science. I have the private satisfaction of here noting, that on nearly every point, my observations confirm the theories of those two learned physicians.

Prostitutes in Tonkin (illustration in Untrodden Fields)

Special Signs of the Habit of Suction. Tardieu notes a peculiar conformation shown in the mouth of certain persons addicted to the habit of sucking. "I have noticed in the most positive manner, in two amongst them," he says, "that the mouth was all awry, the teeth very short, the lips thick, turned back, deformed, and quite in keeping with the horrible vice they practised." I would add to this that in nearly all the women and nays who are addicted to such practices, the lips generally appeared to me thick and deformed, especially in the young nays.[12]

I have often found eruptions, ulcerations, and the scars of chancres, on the lips and tongue of the unhappy victims of this form of debauchery. When once they are affected, they in turn help to spread the syphilitic virus, by a law of reciprocity which it would be very difficult to repress.

Sodomy and Pederasty. According to Martineau, sodomy is the term generally employed to designate unnatural acts, without distinction of sex as to the persons between whom these acts are effected.

Pederasty signifies unnatural acts between men, and may be divided into active and passive pederasty.

The anal deformities produced by unnatural copulation are the same in the woman as in the boy and the nay, except some trifling differences. I will confine myself here to studying them in the nay and the boy, where they are found more frequently than in the woman.

Signs of Recent Passive Sodomy. It has been already remarked, that the nay or basket is a youth of from eight to fifteen years. After that age, he is promoted to the rank of boy, but, whilst he is a nay, he has not usually reached the age of puberty. As may easily be imagined, these poor little wretches fall into the hands of "active" pederasts, who are not remarkable for gentleness and kindness, and who brutally assuage their lewd passions without caring what may be the result.

I have often found, in these unfortunate nays, marks of attempts that have been committed almost by violence, the fact being that a lad not yet arrived at puberty, and frail and weak, is incapable of making any serious resistance to brutal attempts at sodomy on the part of an adult European or Asiatic.

In order not to unduly extend this work, I will not give here the results of my medical observations, for I should only be repeating what Tardieu and Martineau have already said. I will refer the reader to their works, and confine myself to discussing their opinions. [… A lengthy quote from Ambroise Tardieu’s Etude Medico-Légale sur les Attentats aux Moeurs (Paris, 1878) and a summary of Martineau’s findings on the effects of pedication are omitted here as not being specific to Greek love]

Martineau's reasoning is complete. But I would remark that, in the majority of recent attempts, I have not found the infundibulum clearly defined ;—not because there was not a great disproportion between the anus of the child and the penis of the adult, but because the anal sphincter (and the vulvar also) possesses less tonicity than in the European. Consequently, the sphincter is more easily dilated.

I have always found, in the medical examination, that the anus was dilated, and that the finger, when introduced, did not meet with that constriction which is found in the anus of a person who has not been sodomised.

Annamite boys from near the frontier with China

In the woman, the anal infundibulum is more frequent and more pronounced than in the nay, and for a good reason. In the first place the muscles of the buttocks are more developed than in the nay, and the sphincter has also more tonicity. The nay is generally very young when he begins the practice, whereas the woman is old when she takes to sodomy, which she does rather from economic motives, on account of the money it brings, than from natural taste. The result in her case is that, the sphincter having greater tonicity, anal copulation is more difficult, which causes the production of an infundibulum.

In the boy, who has usually been a pederast for some years, only the signs of inveterate sodomy are found.

All the sodomites, both men and women, lubricate the anus, in order to make copulation easier, and use, for this purpose, some fatty substance, mixed with the thickened juice of a kind of mallow, which is boiled in a small quantity of water. This mallow possesses emollient properties.

Anal Blennorrhoea. Cases of anal blennorrhea, which are very rare in Europe,—for Tardieu and Martineau only met with one case each,—are much less rare in Cochin-China. They occur when the nay is the victim of a boy, who has contracted the disease from a woman, which is the case with the majority of adults. I met with one case, however, in a young German, who was employed in a large house of business, and who had probably been infected by a boy, but he would never confess how he caught it, and related all sorts of improbable lies.

I cured him by employing cubebs internally, and injecting, by the rectum, his own urine collected in a glass, and used while tepid, with a syringe.

Signs of Inveterate Passive Sodomy: The Anal Infundibulum. […lengthy iterations of Tardieu’s findings are again omitted here as not being specific to Greek love]

In all the Annamite prostitutes addicted to practices of sodomy, I met with the infundibulum so well described by Tardieu, and of the shape mentioned above. I attribute this to the advanced age of these women when they begin anal copulation. But, on the contrary, I have not often met with it in the boy of from sixteen to twenty, or twenty-five years of age, who is a hardened pederast, and began the practice at an early age. The regular infundibulum had disappeared, to give place to another form quite as characteristic as the first, and which has not been noticed by Tardieu.

We owe the clear description of this form to Martineau, and I cannot do better than reproduce it. "When the anus is compressed upwards, if you do not find an infundibulum such as I have described, do not imagine that it does not exist. In many cases, in fact, by an attentive examination, and by feeling the anus, you will find an infundibulum formed, not at the expense of the buttocks, but of the anus and the softened sphincter, and flattened in such a manner, that the finger, directed from the back to the front, and from the bottom to the top, will meet with a small annular depression in the form of a cupola, in which the extremity of the exploring finger can lodge.

"I call your earnest attention to this infundibulum, formed at the expense of the anus, and partly of that of the sphincter, because other authors appear to me to have ignored its existence."

It is generally in this special form that I have encountered the infundibulum in the nay of twelve or thirteen years of age, and especially in the boy. […]

Signs of Active Pederasty in the Annamite and the Chinaman. [… And yet again, lengthy iterations of Tardieu’s findings are omitted here as not being specific to Greek love]

I will content myself with making the following remarks. I have never noticed in an Annamite the signs of passive pederasty, without making an examination of the genital organs, and without at once asking if he practised active pederasty, or masturbation. The reply generally confirmed the medical diagnosis resulting from the examination.

I have often found, in the young nays, signs of masturbation, characterized by a gland very easily skinned, the mucous surface red, and the member becoming erect at the least touch. In the boy on the contrary masturbation was the exception, and, as a rule signs of active pederasty- either by the boys amongst themselves, or perhaps with some European—were found.

Entrance to the rue Catinat in Saigon, 1899

But though the boy, for  a sum of money and the promise of secrecy, would reveal to me the vicious habits he had practised with his master, it may be imagined that, even the most depraved European would not willingly confess his abject vices. Messrs. Y and Z. would smile affably when spoken to concerning their taste for good looking boys, or the Chinese of Ach.'s shop, but the insinuation that they followed the Latin adage, par pari refertur,[13] and that between them and the boys and Chinese, there existed an exchange of favours, would not have been well received.

From the Asiatics I examined, I deduced the following observations. The genital organ of the male Annamite, being, as we have seen, remarkable for its slenderness, I generally found in the boy who was an active pederast, the member conical, and similar to that of a dog, as has been remarked by Tardieu. In some only—those more especially addicted to masturbation— the gland was in the shape of a club.

The genital organ of the Chinaman, being more developed, and approaching nearer to the size of that of the European, did not so often assume this shape, but rather showed, on the contrary, the lateral twist of the penis, and the elongation of the gland from the crown.

Signs of Active and Passive Pederasty in the European. The signs of active sodomy in the Europeans, who consented to allow me to examine them, were usually those which Tardieu describes as exceptional. It is true, let me hasten to say, that the number of Europeans I examined was not considerable, and I cannot, therefore, deduce any general rule. In one of them, a M. B***, a man whose lasciviousness and misconduct were notorious, I found the member very much developed, and capable of satisfying the most exacting woman. It was not without some astonishment that I saw a man, provided with a genital apparatus of this size, in the habit of assuaging his lust upon unfortunate children not yet arrived at puberty. I remarked the same thing among the Arab sodomites of Guiana. I also remarked in the European active sodomite, the cork-screw form—often very pronounced—and the strangulation of the gland by the pressure of the anal sphincter.

Child of fifteen. Postcard

Signs of Passive Sodomy. For reasons which will be well understood, I was only able to note these in two Europeans. The first, was the young German I have mentioned as affected with anal blennorrhoea, and whom I cured by injections of a special kind. He promised to show me the state of his rectum after he was cured, but he took care to never come back, in order not to have to confess the more than probable cause of the disease, which was evidently occasioned by anal copulation with some affected person.

The second was a young lad of seventeen, the son of a clerk in one of the Government offices. I made the voyage out in company with his father, and rumours were current on board the ship, about the morality of this young man. He came to me, one day, with a stinking chancre, which occupied the front part of the anus. This latter was much dilated, and admitted two fingers. - On opening it, I found the anal mucous surface relaxed, red, and ulcerated. The radiating folds had partly disappeared, and the sphincter had sensibly lost its tonicity. This vicious youth pretended that he had acquired the disease from the mouth of a Congai,[14] and I could not make him confess the truth. I thought, on the contrary, after making a medical examination of his anus, that he acted (perhaps many times) as the "patient", and had caught his disease from some active sodomite infected with syphilis.



The European Colony thirty years ago.— […]—Moral causes of the relative frequency of sodomy and pederasty in the early days of the occupation. — Saigon in the present day, thirty years after the conquest.—[…]— Increased morality of the Europeans.— The diminution in the masculine and feminine prostitution of the natives is only in appearance.— Present manners.— The boy and the native collegian.

The European Colony. Thirty years ago the European colony was not very numerous, and, except for some English and Germans, and a very few French merchants, was mainly composed of officers of the Navy and other corps connected with it, and a small minority of civil service officials.

There were not in all more than four of five hundred Europeans, besides the Expeditionary Corps. Daily existence was desperately monotonous, which, added to the unhealthiness of the climate made a sojourn in the place very unpleasant. In an atmosphere which is hot, damp, arid frequently saturated with electricity, the climate very quickly enervates and weakens the physical strength, and this weakness of the body re-acts in its turn on the moral character.

Few amusements brightened the life of the European bachelor, for, at first, few people brought their families to the Colony. Consequently, there were none of those social meetings which render civilized life nearly supportable. […]

Saigon River waterfront cafés, 1882

Except the café and the Club—or, indeed, baquan, and the Chinese theatre—what amusements were there in the evening, for Europeans who did not want to drink, or gamble, or even listen to the senseless music of the Chinese? None whatever, but opium smoking and native prostitution. Unless a man possessed an exceptionally strong will, it was difficult to avoid gliding down the slippery paths of vice, in a country where vice was to be found everywhere. In the daytime, the European was attacked in his house by the "daylight whores", and in the evening, if he had the strength to take a stroll, in order that he might sleep the better, quite a crowd of lewd boys came round him, to impudently offer their unclean favours.[15]

It was not astonishing that persons of weak character, who did not know how to preserve their moral dignity, fell into shameful vices. I cannot but repeat, that the European did not import the vice of Sodom into Cochin-China. The vice was a direct result of Chinese civilization, and became part of the manners of the Annamite people long before the conquest by the French. It was the vanquished people who corrupted the European, and he was aided in that by the almost complete want of the European feminine element, at the beginning of the colonization.

Moral Causes of the Sodomy of the Europeans. The real causes of the propagation of the vice of sodomy, in the European colony, are these. In the first place, the almost complete absence of the white woman. Obliged to take to the disgusting Congai, whose black mouth, with its red spittle,[16] was enough to damp the warmest genital ardour, some preferred the mouth sucking used by these women; others, more depraved, took the road to Sodom. Others again, more depraved still (or perhaps from hereditary character) addressed themselves to the nays and boys, who offered themselves in shoals. This last category was much the smallest, I hasten to acknowledge.

All gave, as the reason for their vicious habits, the absolute want of security, and the great danger of catching syphilis from the Congai. A great change has taken place since then, and before describing the life which the European now leads in Cochin-China, let us cast a rapid glance at Saigon in the present day.

Saigon in the Present Day, more than thirty Years after the Conquest. Nearly a quarter of a century after my first stay in the Colony, I paid it a second visit, on my return from Tonquin. I can thus bear witness to the progress effected in thirty years. […]

Great Improvement in the Morality of the Europeans in Cochin-China. This fact struck me as soon as I returned. In former days, the European sodomite had been far from a rarity; many persons, some of them of high rank, had this unfortunate reputation. They were not despised, or thought the worse of on that account. They were merely "chaffed". In the cafés, the most smutty stories were told, and laughed at.

Absinthe time at the bar-restaurant of the Hôtel des Nations, Saigon, 1899

Those who evinced a taste for male prostitution, used to meet together, and pass the evening with their associates; opium was smoked, and there were always boys hanging round the doors, waiting for customers. Within less than a quarter of a century, a radical change has been effected, and this change is undeniably due to the introduction of the European woman, and a similar increase in the number of Chinese and Japanese prostitutes. […]

As to the European sodomite, hardly more than the memory of him may be said to exist. Those who still preserve this reputation are old merchants, and officials dating back to the old régime. They are regarded as curiosities by the new-comers. That amongst these last, there may be some who have a weakness for "Greek love", is possible, for the vice exist even in Europe, but they form an infinitesimally small minority, and so far from boasting of their vice, sedulously conceal it. They require secrecy, and in order not to arouse suspicion, dare not even introduce the nay or the boy into their houses by night. "Other times" have produced "other manners".

The Diminution in the Male and Female Prostitution of the Natives more Apparent than Real. It must be owned, that the police of the Colony has made the most praiseworthy efforts to rid Saigon of the plague of sodomite nays and boys. Permission to reside in Saigon is only given to Annamites working for some European, and each person having such permission must possess a card, bearing his description and his photograph. Any native who is met with, who does not possess such a card, and who has no trade by which he gains his living, is arrested; if the medical examination shows that he is a sodomite, he is sent to the Penitentiary at Poulo Condore.

Unfortunately, the police regulation obliging the Chinaman or the Annamite to carry a lighted lantern after nightfall, and forbidding him to be found in the street after midnight, has been withdrawn. It was withdrawn at the request of the native members of the Municipal Council, who asserted it was an infringement of personal liberty. The nay also has no longer a basket. He sells flowers, which are now extensively cultivated in the neighbourhood of Saigon. The nay is now found, in small bands, at the doors of cafés, restaurants, etc. He is no longer alone, as he used to be, but is accompanied by a little girl, who passes for his sister. She generally carries a bundle of rosebuds, which she offers to you with a most engaging smile. You have only to accept them, give her a few halfpence, and at the same time show her one or two piasters. That is quite enough. […]

Annamite village in Cochin-China by Hippolyte Arnoux, 1880

The Boy of the Present Day. The boy's morals have not changed, but the fear of the police has led him to take some extra precautions. He no longer runs the risk of prowling about the streets of Saigon, but has retired to the villages, and established the centre of his operations in those hospitable cottages of which I have just spoken [places in suburban villages whither a little girl can be taken “if you want a whole night” with her], and also in the clandestine gambling dens, which, having been hunted down by the European police, have now deserted Saigon. It is in these places that the few remaining admirers of depraved practices must seek him. They need only take the trouble to drive out to these villages, and they need be under no apprehensions that the villagers will pay any attention to the comings and goings of a few debauchees. The moment that you open your purse-strings, the Annamite will be ready to display unlimited indulgence to other people's vices. In this respect his notions of liberty are wide.



My visit to Tonquin—Anthropological characteristics of the Tonquinese race. —[…]—Moral characteristics, and forms and perversions of carnal lusts.— The European Colony, and its morality.

My Visit to Tonquin. I lived a little less than two years in Tonquin, a good long time after my return from Cochin-China. I was able, however, owing to the experience acquired in the last mentioned Colony, to turn my short visit to good account. […]

Anthropological Characteristics of the Tonquinese. […]Moreover, I found at Tonquin, a number of old military Inspectors from Cochin-China, who declared that the Tonquinese showed the same moral qualities, and had the same customs, habits, etc., as the Cochin-Chinese. They are, besides, ruled by the same central Government of Hué, and use the same code of laws—the Gia-Long.

A street in Hanoi, the capital of Tonkin, by Hippolyte Arnoux, 1880

Forms and Perversions of Carnal Passions in Tonquin. I can but repeat here what I have already said concerning the Southern Annamite, the race being the same, and Chinese civilization having produced the same effects in Tonquin as in Lower Cochin-China.

No appreciable difference is to be found in the forms, or perversions, of sexual intercourse. The nay and boy nourish at Hanoi and Hai-phong, as they do at Saigon, and are as impudent and depraved, and as great gamblers and thieves. The daylight whore, and the prostitute of the Tonquinese bamboo, practise the same methods, as in Cochin-China.

The Tonquinese are as passionately fond of gambling and opium as their congeners of the South, and are addicted to all the forms of debauchery connected with those habits.

Lasciviousness, gambling, pederasty, and sodomy, are innate in the race. Having definitely stated this fact, let us pass on to another subject.

The European Colony in Tonquin. The number of vicious Europeans addicted to the vice of sodomy, and the passion for opium, was sensibly less than when Cochin-China was first colonized. This is due to the more rapid progress in colonization in Tonquin, which, in less than ten years, had made as much progress as the elder colony did in twenty-five. Many have come here from the other colony, to say nothing of the English and Americans, who have been attracted by the mines of coal and various metals which do not exist in Cochin-China.

White women were implanted at Tonquin very quickly, the climate being decidedly superior to that of Cochin-China, the cool temperature of the winter correcting the anaemic effects of the intense heat of the summer.

Annamite boys of Tonkin, aged 14-17

Owing to all these causes, sodomy and pederasty have not had time to take very deep root in the European colony, and the number of worshippers of the anal Venus has been greatly reduced, and will be more so in the future.

What I wish chiefly to note here, is the radical difference between the pederasty of the Annamite of the North or the South, and also of the Chinese, and that of the European. It is a general characteristic of the Asiatics, who are lewd, and devoid of moral restraint, whilst on the contrary, in the European races it is of an esoteric character, peculiar to certain individuals, mere erotic idiots, whom the bulk of their fellows have always scorned and loathed as they deserve.

[1] L’amour aux colonies. Singularités physiologiques et passionnelles observes Durant trente années de séjour dans les Colonies françaises Cochin-Chine, Tonkin et Cambodge—Guyane et Martinique—Sénégal et Bivières du Sud—Nouvelle Galédonie, Nouvelles-Hébrides et Tahiti par le Docteur Jacobus X…, Isidore Liseux, Paris, 1893.

[2] His foreword to the first edition, published in 1893, says he had stayed twenty-eight years in the French colonies. He opens the first chapter by saying he stayed first in Cochin-China for five years and revisited it twenty-five years later. He also says he served in France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1.

[3] The prostitution of the male was not unknown amongst the Hebrews. (Cf. Joel, III, 3; Machab., II, IV, 12.) Bat the laws struck at the pederast with no gloved hand, and the punishment that followed was terrible. (Cf. Gen., XIX, 24 et seq; Lev XVIII, 22, 29; Deut., XXVIII, 27; Romans I, 27.) In Rome this infamous usage was in full swing and moreover practised openly :—(See Hor., Sat. i, 2, 116; Mart., XI 46; Mart., IX, 9; Juvenal, VI, 34.) The Vocabulary used to designate these auvergnats was very varied i.e. Cinaedi; Pathici; Paedicator; Spado; Frater; Pusio ; Concubinus; Catamitus. Juvenal held, that the malady was fatal and could be recognised both by the expression of the face and general bearing:— "Hunc ego fatis Imputo, qui vultu Morbum incessuque fatetur. " (Juv., II, 16.)—"I attribute to the fates his malady which he acknowledges, etc." [Author’s note]

[4] From the writer's experience of some years' residence in India, the native boy contrast very favourably with his Annamite confrère, with whom he only shares the pilfering propensities. He however never steals money, jewelry or portable objects, but will not hesitate to cheat his master in his marketings. A gendeman in Bangalore, having perceived this, upbraided his cansammah or butler for so doing, whereupon the latter replied: "Yes sah! very true, me do little market robbery, but me no let anybody else rob master." When the gentleman related this to a lady friend of his, long a resident in India, she at once exclaimed: "Never get rid of that boy, if you can help if, he is a jewel." [Author’s note]

[5] The author earlier explained that “Baquan, which is of Chinese origin, is in Cochin-China what roulette is at Monaco.” (p. 34).

[6] He kisses the genitals, sucks, and receives the emission and semen in his mouth up to the last drop.

[7] Ellis in Introduction to his book on "Sexual Inversion" (London, 1897 (pages 6-7). The reader interested in this curious aberration should attentively read this valuable work in its entirety) calls attention to the fact that "homosexual" practices exist and have long existed in most parts of the world outside Europe, even when subserving [sic] no obvious end. How far they are associated with congenital inversion is usually very doubtful. […] In Annam, also, according to Mondière (Mem. Soc. d'Anthrop. T. i. p. 465), pederasty has always existed, especially among young people. [… Author’s note]

[8] Chợ Lớn was a Chinese-inhabited city since become part of neighbouring Saigon.

[9] This admission by the author of being friends with a habitué of a boy brothel is only the foremost of several similar statements that make one wonder if in private he abhorred pederasty as strongly as he claims.

[10] Customs of this nature are strangely alike in different countries. Dr. Jeannel notes that the principal characters in the plays of Plautus and Terence are almost always procuresses and prostitutes. That the actresses belonged to this class is proved by the following:—"Mox Hercle! vera post, transacta fabula, argentum si quis dederit, ut vulgo suspicor, Ultro ibit nuptum, non manebit auspices." (Plaut., Casin., 82.) “But by Hercules! after the play, if anyone gave her any money, I believe that she would willingly get married, without waiting for the nuptial ceremonies."    
     The theatres were known as places of debauch (see Tit. Liv. II, 18); also Isodor. (XVIII, 42), the latter we quote;—Idem vero theatrum, idem et postibulum, eo quod post ludos exactos, meretrices ibi proternerentur." ("Theatre and brothel were synonyms; for after the plays were over, the prostitutes there gave themselves up to the public") The famous Folies Bergères at Paris in our own time has been wittily styled, Les halles centrales de la Fornication. {Author’s note]

[11] Game of love.

[12] This abominable and perfectly disgusting habit has come under our observation to a large extent in Paris, where it is practised by both sexes. Various names and expressions are used by its votaries to designate this vice:—faire minette, gamahucher, faire soixante-neuf; the latter term - is used on account of the peculiar position used in order to accomplish the filthy act.
     Several anecdotes are current with regard to this practice, but we prefer not to sully our pages by repeating them. I have however not been struck with any special malformation in the subjects such as Tardieu describes. We may mention that Martial has some very powerful Epigrams on this aberration. [Author’s note]

[13] He is repaid in kind.

[14] An Annamite girl, especially a concubine.

[15] Vices such as these are not confined alone to Asiatic cities. We recall an incident that occurred to ourselves in 1894 in Seville. While traversing a short street in the centre of the city we were accosted by a woman, who said "Si el senor no quiere mugeres hay niños muy pequeños y el señor puede tomarlos por el culo." The utter depravity of other cities like Berlin, Marseilles and Naples is notorious. [Author’s note]

[16] Due to the prevalent female habit of chewing the betel nut, as the author explained earlier at some length.




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