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three pairs of lovers with space



Importance of Puberty” is the second of the two parts of “Psychosexual Development”, the second section of “Boys and their Sexuality”, the third chapter of Loving Boys, the encyclopaedic study of Greek love by the eminent Dutch lawyer, Edward Brongersma, of which the first volume (including this) was published by Global Academic Publishers in New York in 1986.


Admitting that there is an apparent, even a real, continuity between childhood and adolescence, we should nevertheless recognise that there is an essential caesura at the time of puberty,[1] one accentuated by the rather remarkable amnesia which sets in – after puberty – for all prepubertal sex activities. People simply don’t remember them any longer and so later can come to believe, quite sincerely, that during this part of their lives they were “innocent”[2]. Well-recognised sexologists like Gagnon and Simon call attention to the multiplicity of new elements suddenly becoming active during the process of sexual maturation: “an overemphasis upon a search for continuity with infant and childhood experiences may be dangerously misleading”[3]. Ben’s experiences wouldn’t have been possible before puberty, for only after he had crossed that threshold did he acquire the capacity to form a relationship, or, more precisely, the capacity to experience physical contacts and approaches in this manner. Dr. H. P. Nake explains it as follows: “A strongly marked hunger for experience, an excess of physical strength, a powerful need to assert oneself, a mightily increasing sexual impulse, recklessness and lack of deliberation characterise the interior landscape of this evolutionary phase, while the widening separation from the parental home, adaptation to the professional world, confrontation with the matter-of-fact world of adults characterise its outward aspect.[4]

Pan 05 23 13 204 a
Pan 05 22 13 204 c

No wonder the boy at this age behaves capriciously and unpredictably! Shakespeare makes the spirited Rosalind in As You Like It call boys and women sheep of the same colour: “changeable, longing and liking; proud, fantastical, apish, shallow, inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles; for every passion something, and for no passion truly anything…” (Act 3, scene 3). She is only repeating the complaint of Pausanias in Plato’s Symposium.

And yet a boy in love can love at this age with an abandon and an enthusiasm often unequalled by adults.

37 Léonid Kameneff, head of the “École en Bateau,” (an experi-mental French educational enterprise) has in his possession the diary of a precocious eleven-year-old boy. Jerôme went to a boarding school, but on weekends he was allowed to visit his adult friend. Here is what he wrote in his diary:

“Last night, after lights-out in the dorm, I conjured up your image. Here’s what happened. Ten o’clock. The light went off. That’s when it happened. I closed my eyes and took you in my arms. I caressed your body, all over, from head to toe. I kissed you: I love you. Your hands travelled all over my body – and then you stopped. As for me, I was moving my head down lower and lower, and while I was bringing you to greater and greater heights of passion, your hand was stroking my hair with more and more urgency. I flung my arms around you and you hugged me. I kissed you. Then our legs entwined. I clung in your arms. I kissed you. And I fell asleep, so glad…

“I love him. I want to show him all the love I feel for him. The best way is to do this physically, with our bodies. I want us both to be crying for joy.

“You showed me the way to Paradise. I usually go to you Saturdays. These Saturdays are pure paradise.

“I love to make you happy.

“Jerking off alone – that takes me to the Little Paradise. Then I meet you, and together we go to the Great Paradise, which people can only enter as couples.

“I love you. I adore you. I couldn’t live one week without you, because I love you. My body trembles against your body when it feels yours trembling against it. I could shout my love to the whole world! I could weep with it. I love you. I’ll say it again, on my knees: I love you![5] 


Continue to The Experience of Maturation: Penis Size


[1] Straver, C. J. & Geeraert, A., De seksuele en relationele ontwikkeling als leerproces. In: Frenken (Ed.), Seksuologie. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus, 1980, 109 [Author’s reference]

[2] E. Borneman, Lexikon der Liebe. Frankfurt: Ullstein, 1978, 706. [Author’s reference]

[3] J. H. Gagnon & W. Simon, Sexual Conduct, London: Hutchinson, 1973., 16 & 47. [Author’s reference]

[4] Nake, H. P., Jugendliche Sittlichkeitstäter in Hamburg (1956-1958). Hamburg: Universität, 1966, 96. [Author’s reference]

[5] Kameneff, L., Ecoliers sans tablier. Paris: Simoën, 1979, 131-132. [Author’s reference]