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three pairs of lovers with space



“Hand Techniques” is a section of Chapter Six, “Sexuality and Eroticism” of Loving Boys, the encyclopaedic study of Greek love by the eminent Dutch lawyer, Edward Brongersma. Published in 1990, it is by far the most substantial essay on masturbation to be written in English from a mostly Greek love perspective.

Though Loving Boys purports to be a general study of the subject, it should be stressed that this section draws exclusively on 20th-century literature, mostly American, but also British, Dutch and French.

Instead of footnotes, Brongersma gave a surname and year of publication where he wanted to cite an authority or the source of a quote, and these then had to be sought in his massive bibliography. This was a tiresome system in book form and hopeless for online text, so it has here been replaced by conventional footnoting.

Three of the illustrations for this article are taken from Pan, a magazine about boy-love (Amsterdam, 1979-85) simply because Brongersma was a regular contributor to it while writing Loving Boys, so it is close to him in spirit.

Hand Techniques

After play-wrestling or romping for a while, or in an access of tenderness involving ever more intimate caresses, the phase of overt sexuality is finally reached, and this is usually initiated by the man taking the boy’s penis in his hand and rubbing it.

Pan Magazine I (1979) 32

“For men and animals, it is the peak of happiness to fondle each other’s genitals and to be tender to them in a way which sends waves of delight and affection through the partner’s body. Nothing can draw two beings closer, make them more intimate, than touching these vulnerable parts which, hidden as they are, always remain hypersensitive.”[1]

Hass[2] asked boys how enjoyable it was to have a girl touch their penises. By age 13, 23% of his subjects had experienced this, and by age 15, 49%. Of those experienced boys, only 2% had found it not enjoyable, 25% moderately enjoyable, and the remaining 73% very enjoyable.

This mysterious organ not only serves to express feelings which overwhelm the mind and body of its owner, but it can also give access to that mind and body. If a boy whose penis is fondled sinks back into his chair, or luxuriates on the bed, overwhelmed by the sensations the man’s touch is producing in him, his eyes closed or staring absently into what seems like eternity, his friend can be sure that he has penetrated as far as is humanly possible into the boy’s innermost being. The boy now knows and recognizes him at a depth that cannot be plumbed in any other way. That boy will never be the same again to the man.

The feelings of lust which then rise in the boy often make him willing to be more active himself.

497: Hass[3] was told by a 16-year-old boy: “When I was fifteen I knew an older guy and he introduced me to masturbation. We were sitting by a river in Arizona and he said he thought it would be fun to play with my cock. At first it blew me away, but after I knew him about a month, I said okay. We did it a lot and after a while sometimes I would even ask him to do it to me. After a while I did it too, because I felt I should. I’d rather have a woman do it, but he was a good friend of mine so it was all right.”

“It is best to start with an exploration of the partner’s member. Males vary a great deal in the sensitivity of this organ. You should thus try to discover which spots, when touched, produce the greatest reaction. It may be the frenulum, the ligament with which the foreskin is attached to the underside of the glans, or the glans itself, or the shaft, or the opening of the urethra. If your partner is uncircumcised, test whether the foreskin is easily retracted. Inspect the shape of his erection.”[4] Some boys give themselves over quite passively to the lust induced by such handling.

498: In Guyotat’s novel set against the background of a colonial war, a young general of the occupying army walks one night into the room adjoining to the barracks kitchen where the young apprentices sleep. He recognizes a boy’s voice calling him: “I’m alone. All the others are on duty.” It is a young butcher, the 15-year-old Pino, naked on his bed with a comic book folded over his crotch.

“The general smiles; the boy, motionless, doesn’t smile. The general bends over him, blows into his face, upon his breasts, his navel, his underbelly. Gradually the boy, too, begins to smile. The general’s hand touches the boy’s stomach, his navel. The boy laughs, loudly. Then the hand moves upwards again, to where the ribs begin.

“ ‘Does it hurt here? And here? And here? And there?’

“ ‘The thing which is hurting me, General, is much lower.’

“The general trembles. Sweat runs down his forehead into his eyelashes. His hand moves down the boy’s stomach.

“ ‘Go lower, General.’ ” While caressing the boy’s breast with one hand, he touches the comics with the other.

“ ‘It’s not standing up?’

“ ‘It is.’

“The general’s hand moves the comics slightly to one side. Pubic hair is exposed, blackened and sticking together with sweat. The general moves his little finger through the wet curls, presses down upon the root of the member, pushes the book further aside, and at last the penis itself is revealed.

“ ‘That’s where the hurt is, General.’

” The general lies down on top of the naked boy, who utters a low moan.

“ ‘Now give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, too.’

The boy has opened his mouth wide; his tongue moves to and fro. The general takes his lips, seeks the boy’s tongue with his own. Their spittle boils, shining where lips touch.

“ ‘Do you remember that time when I had you summoned to my study?’

“ ‘General, I have a little pet animal who loves to be caressed.’

” The general goes on to tell Pino with great enthusiasm how he has always liked him, but the boy reminds him that he wants to be stroked. Then suddenly he warns:

“ ‘General, the little animal now is about to spit.’ ”

But the man continues talking about all that his happened between them.

“ ‘General, I’m making stains on your trousers!’ ”[5]

Often this stroking of his penis is all the boy ever wants, and throughout the whole course of a relationship his sexual involvement may remain limited to this.[6] For boys who in puberty and adolescence have a strong need of feeling protected and cared for, it may be sheer bliss simply to abandon themselves quietly and calmly to a trusted man’s love and affection expressed this way by a ministering hand.

It is more rare to find a man who never wants to advance beyond this manual technique.

"Big Bill" Tilden and "Little Billy" Quinn on Broadway

499: One such man was world tennis champion Bill Tilden. Tilden was physically extremely bashful; he never stripped naked in a locker room. When he had sex with his partners it consisted only of stroking the young boys’ genitals. It seems he never opened his own fly or revealed an erection; he considered both oral and anal sex perverted.[7] One day he was caught in the act with an adolescent boy, and this shattered his career and his life.[8]

500: Masters & Johnson[9] cite the curious case of a man who was masturbated by two older brothers, starting at age fifteen and continuing for four years. Neither of the brothers, however, allowed him to masturbate them. This happened often, the brothers taking turns, and he submitted to the act quite willingly. At 19 he was introduced to the homosexual subculture where he never allowed any other acts than being masturbated.

While a simple passive stance satisfies a number of boys, others quite spontaneously want to touch their partner’s erection and play with it.

501: “When I was five years old an old fisherman at the fish market always was nice to me. I would sit on his lap. (…) I had an insane desire to stick my hand far down under his belt and he didn’t repulse me. I liked to take hold of it. (…) At home a man used to come to see my mother. I was sitting on his lap and I thought I would do the same thing. He didn’t repulse me either. All of a sudden it got wet and sticky at the end. (…) When I was twelve an older boy started fooling around with me and masturbated me. I wasn’t particularly interested until all of a sudden something was happening to me. I told him to stop. I was terribly scared. I thought my insides were coming out. About a week later I went to the bathroom and did it myself. From then on I had affairs with boys in which mutual masturbation was practiced once or twice a week,” When he was about fifteen, the boy met a 32-year-old man at the seashore and went with him to his room. “He put his hand on my thigh and then on my penis. (…) He asked me if I would like to take off my clothes. (…) He asked me if he could use his mouth. (…) I masturbated him. (…) I went back to him. It was a physical outlet for me and I thought it was daring. We practiced mutual masturbation. After about four days I got sick of it. (…) By this time I had become attached to Jesse, a boy my own age who was very good looking. I showed him how to perform mutual masturbation. After my experience at the seashore I told other boys and I did it quite often to three or four fellows besides Jesse. I always loved to do it to Jesse because I thought I was doing something for him.”[10]

Pan Magazine IV (1980) 2

An active or passive preference might be related to the two different types of boys described by the child psychologist Beets in a unique analysis of what goes on when 14-year-old boys masturbate. One the one hand he describes the boy intent upon touching his penis with his hand, feeling it, rubbing it, exerting pressure upon it; he orders his member about like a sergeant drilling his soldiers: it must lie down, stand at attention, be disciplined. And then there is the other boy whose penis is the focus of his entire attention; his hand is only its servant, ordered to caress and stroke it. This second type of boy might be inclined to passivity, while the first might be manually active on his partner’s body.

Eglinton[11] observed another difference between boys enjoying manual stimulation. In healthy subjects, he says, “there is excitement in the pelvic region with a definite urge to make thrusts forward. (…) Rigidity in the abdomen is unhealthy and usually a sign of fear of one’s sensations. Holding the pelvis rigid rather than allowing it to make its forward thrusts is automatic evidence of disturbance, inappropriate inhibition, even sickness. The too common pattern of adolescent or adult males’ masturbating by holding their breath, holding pelvis and abdomen rigid, and rapidly manipulating their genitals to orgasm is completely undesirable for the same reason. (…) In health, on the other hand, the excitement manifests itself by free, spontaneous, copulatory pelvic thrusts – against the hand or pillow or toy animal or partner – and each thrust brings a surge of pleasure and further excitement and a desire to continue with further thrusts. Usually the rhythm is such that one exhales with each thrust.”

To me it seems much more probable that this difference is quite unrelated to health or sickness; rather it corresponds to an active or passive attitude. Masters & Johnson[12] observed in their laboratory a general difference in the abdomen’s reactions between males in intercourse and males in masturbation. The pelvic thrusts necessary for intercourse could be substituted in masturbation by the semi-spastic contractile reactions of the abdominal musculature, apparent in drawing in of the belly.

Since every boy has his own favorite masturbatory techniques, with its special tempos, pressures, ways of holding the penis, it is best first to ask him for a short demonstration of how he himself does it in order to provide maximum excitement and pleasure. Some boys “are more easily excited by slow, firm strokes; others like them light and quick.”[13] Many stress “the importance of having their testicles caressed and touched.”[14] A strong response will be provoked in most boys by gently fingering their anuses.

502: A rather sophisticated system was described by Gene, the boy in Example 501: He “would lie down and I would sit next to him with one leg under his and the other over. That brought our penises exactly together so that one or the other of us could use his hands. It was awfully nice. We had an emission at the same time.”[15]

Other couples, however, prefer to avoid a simultaneous orgasm and take turns.

Pan Magazine XIII (1982) 21

503: “Explained a 15-year-old who practiced this method: ‘You can do it more often that way.’ First, he said, he would masturbate the other boy. ‘By the time he’s got his rocks off, I’m ready to go. And by the time he finishes me, he’s in the mood again. We went off seven times each one day before we quit.’ ”[16]

Of the 155 boys aged 13-17 examined by Dort, 84 had had experience with mutual masturbation: 8 had done it just once, 48 did it occasionally, and 28 often.[17]

In many cases, however, manual stimulation, continued until a single orgasm is obtained by one or both partners, is enough to satisfy them completely. In their excellent instruction book for adolescents, Tuohy & Murphy[18] recommend that girls, when stroking a boy’s penis, use a prolonging technique. “As soon as he has a really stiff cock she holds the cock between her thumb and two fingers with the thumb on the underside of the cock just where the shaft of it ends and the head begins. The two fingers go opposite – one on each side of the ridge separating the shaft from the head. She squeezes with a fairly hard pressure for three or four seconds. You’ll find the guy will lose his urge to come and his cock may soften. After 15-30 seconds the girl starts touching him again until he has a hard erection, and then squeezes.” The same can be done by male partners, and gradually a nearly unbearable tension can be built up, the boy finally begging his partner to allow him to climax. Many a man and boy, while masturbating together or mutually, find a special pleasure in ejaculating sperm upon the naked body of their partners.

Masturbation, of course, is often used only as fore-play to more advanced techniques. In this day of AIDS, however, it has the very special and important advantage of being a completely safe sex practice.

[1] Klerk, J. de, De Platwormen vervelen zich. Amsterdam: Agon Elsevier, 1974. 138. [Author’s reference]

[2] Hass, A., Teenage Sexuality. New York: Macmillan, 1979. 47. [Author’s reference]

[3] Hass, A., Teenage Sexuality. New York: Macmillan, 1979. 142. [Author’s reference]

[4] Baker, R., Kär lek mellan män. Revolt 1: 21-25; 2: 43-47, 1977. 23;

[5] Guyotat, P., Tombeau pour cinq cent mille soldats. Paris: Gallimard, 1967. 265-270. [Author’s reference]

[6] Hass, A., Teenage Sexuality. New York: Macmillan, 1979. 43 [Author’s reference]. Since Brongersma wrote, this novel has been translated into English by Romain Slocombe as Tomb for 500,000 soldiers (London, Creation Books, 2003).

[7] Deford, F., Big Bill Tilden. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975. 212. [Author’s reference]

[8] Greif, M., The Gay Book of Days. London: Allen, 1982. 39. [Author’s reference]

[9] Masters, W. H. & Johnson, V. E., Homoseksualiteit. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus, 1980. 74. [Author’s reference]

[10]  Henry, G. W., Sex Variants. New York: Hoeber, 1948. 249-251. [Author’s reference]

[11] Eglinton, J. Z., Greek Love. New York: Oliver Layton, 1964. 141. [Author’s reference]

[12] Masters, W. H. & Johnson, V. E., Human Sexual Response. London: Churchill, 1966. 294-299. [Author’s reference]

[13] Haeberle, E. J., The Sex Atlas. New York: Seabury, 1978. 262. [Author’s reference]

[14] Hite, Sh., The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. New York: Ballantine, 1981. 561. [Author’s reference]

[15] Henry, G. W., Sex Variants. New York: Hoeber, 1948. 253. [Author’s reference]

[16] Dort, N. M., Teen-age Masturbation. Los Angeles: Spartan House, 1968. 26. [Author’s reference]

[17] Dort, N. M., Teen-age Masturbation. Los Angeles: Spartan House, 1968. 36. [Author’s reference]

[18] Tuohy, F. & Murphy, M., Down Under the Plum Trees. Waiura (New Zealand): Alister Taylor, 1976. 219. [Author’s reference]




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