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“The Impact of Conscience” is the thirteenth chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (originally published by Association Press, New York, 1976), one of the only three book-length general studies of Greek love in English.

It should be pointed that though this chapter purports to address a subject that is universal to pederasty, like several other such chapters in Rossman’s book, it is entirely or almost entirely based on interviews with and studies of pederasts in the USA and Europe only.


Impact of Conscience: Morals and Religion

Most pederasts sooner or later talk about religion and its impact upon sex attitudes and practice. If it be true that eight of each ten men who have pederastic desires, temptations, and opportunities restrain themselves from illegal sex play, or lapse only once or so in a lifetime, what are the effective restraints which make possible this self-control? Our evidence suggests that in such sexual activity, effective restraints are ultimately dependent upon the conscience of the individual and community, rather than on exterior controls which in any case are today eroded by confusion in society and its institutions. Most pederasts say that their own experiences early led them to question what they had been taught about sexual morality. Those pederasts who refrain from illegal sex play generally give credit to several factors: a) respect for the law and structures of society even when one disagrees with them, b) respect for the feelings of friends and family, not wishing to hurt them, c) the wish not to wreck one’s life. Generally, these restraints are effective only if professional goals are being successfully attained and the commitments are expressed in terms of religion, ethics, and conscience. The pull of conscience is less effective in the lives of: a) those pederasts who do not have good jobs or very much to lose, b) those whose lives have already been wrecked by arrest, or c) those who already consider themselves to be failures in their professions.

In this chapter we will report on how practicing pederasts see religion and morals functioning in their lives, especially in limiting and controlling their sex play with boys. The interviewed pederasts represent such a wide spectrum of religious affiliation and interest that it is difficult to determine what may be meaningful in their fragmentary comments on religion or what has effective impact. Some pederasts believe that organized religion is their enemy, and express anger at other pederasts who have religious faith and who support religious institutions. Nor is it possible to determine on the basis of our limited evidence whether or not some pederasts are more responsible because of their experience in the Church - that is, strive hard to avoid any sexual contact with youngsters, often by avoiding boys completely, or by commitment to a position which enables and supports self-control.


Roman Catholic. Said a priest: “My religious faith and nothing else has kept me from sexual encounters with boys whom I have so desired. I have taken shelter in the Church to escape from the promiscuous existence which well might otherwise have been mine.” A well-educated layman: “I consider myself to be a good Irish Catholic. My children attended parochial school, my wife always goes to mass, I contribute generously to the parish, and I have confessed all my sins to the monseigneur. If he isn’t as helpful to me as I might wish, I have to ask myself what else can he do, dealing as he does with a parish of five thousand sexually frail persons. He says that I can be understood and forgiven so long as I am penitent and struggle to lift my life to a higher level. He and I compromise on how we understand that. Because he is gracious to me I faithfully keep my promise never to touch a boy in this parish, in this country, or a Catholic boy anywhere in the world. That leaves me room to enjoy myself a bit when on vacation.” Said a less-well-educated pederast: “I go to mass with my boy every Sunday. He’s sixteen now and we’re more like brothers. He’s quite happy that having confessed his venal sins he is in good standing as a Catholic. What’s O.K. with him is O.K. with me. I’ll not bother to tell you what the priest said when I finally leveled with him. He tried to judge me strictly, but in the end all he said that I heard was that he and I are both sinners.”

A theologically well-read pederast said: “I was a religiously sensitive youngster, so I am aware how many lads suffer because of the confusion and conflict in sex attitudes and behavior. The most sensitive and intelligent of them may suffer the most because of the inadequacy of the moral and religious answers to their questions about what they do and believe sexually. Mostly we have been educated in school to believe that society gives us our values and determines our behavior, and a perceptive kid may lose faith when he sees how impersonal and unrealistic the system really is. On the one hand they are punished for self-expression or sexual self-assertion when they violate the legal and conventional behavior which society has failed to condition them to accept. The moral person, I think, is the one who has high hopes, dreams, and desires for the rich fulfillment of human life, for a more humane and reasonable community which will stimulate the creative imagination to solve all human problems, and which will despise simple and legalistic answers to complex questions and issues. I aim to be ethical – that is, to raise the sights of human morality so as to help it to be guided by love. Christians give lip service to the notion of ‘transforming evil into good,’ but I do not see much of that going on in the sexual realm, except perhaps in some marriages. My pastor told me I was expected to sublimate my sexual temptations and desires, but he was never able to provide me with the power to do so, even though I did everything he suggested. Such powerless religion can mean nothing to the young. The news media are sex-oriented and the Church merely wags a disapproving finger, obscuring the crime involved in the Church’s failure to provide power or exciting new alternatives. In a time of plurality of options, the Church offers no options at all, in the view of Catholic kids I talk with - at least not on sexual questions. Who are the dirty-minded? Not such kids as yet. They have failed to learn that what they enjoy and find good is supposed to be seen as ugly and dirty, that their senses aren’t to be trusted because they are ‘flesh,’ that the body is shameful, that pleasure is sinful, that ‘anything you enjoy doing is wrong.’ True Catholicism, I think, will rather suggest that they pray honestly, accepting the body God has created as good, and ask for His vision of beauty and truth in their sexual lives.” A less committed pederast said: “I haven’t attended mass regularly since I was a teenager, but I read a lot of Catholic theology and psychology, and I find a good deal to encourage me. I often talk religion with boys I’m involved with. Some of them are very religious, but do not seem to have a bad conscience about sex. Many of them, like me, have worked out their own philosophy of religion which they never discuss with anyone else.” Said another: “I attend the gay church because its style suits my taste, not because I find more support there than anywhere else. Even there I keep my mouth shut. I agree with the gay pastor who said: ‘Any kind of sex act can be holy if you love God and your sex partner.’ Each time I meet a new boy I like I pray for him, and then, with confidence in God, I ask him if he would like to make love. I no longer have a bad conscience at all.”

High Church Protestant. “Perhaps my faith is in my parents,” one pederast reported. “They are very religious, so I cause them problems. We go to church and hear talk about being loving and forgiving, and my mother tries hard to be accepting and understanding. I have to be careful as long as she lives. My father exists in a more realistic world, and perhaps I inherit some fatalism from him. The Church, however, was very helpful and understanding for them, and me, when I got into trouble.” Said another: “My own pastor was as helpful as he could be until he died. He admitted to me privately that he had himself almost gotten into similar difficulties once and he certainly knew what could happen. With his encouragement I was very careful, but now I do not find anyone of equal help.” A less responsible pederast said: “I continue to be a member in good standing of the Church, and among my friends are clergymen who are prepared to support my eccentricities as long as I am loving. One of them, active in encounter groups, sleeps around some himself.” Said another: “My church attendance is impeccable, as long as I can find a church with a boy choir. I’ve been singing in choirs since I was eight years old and I love church music. I do not abuse the church deliberately, but I do not consider myself as having the sort of religion which cramps my style. I do not need to give much thought to conflicts that might exist between my church membership and my sexual life.”

The author of a study of pederast books, seeking to define their role in freedom from guilt[1] has noted that many clergymen have been pederasts, and that in England a number of them have written poetry about boys; for example, the Rev. E. E. Bradford: “Our yearning tenderness for boys like these/has more in it of Christ than Socrates.”[2] Considering himself attracted to boys by no choice of his own, he decided it was a God-given gift to make him especially concerned for youngsters; in a similar way J. G. Nicholson considered pederast love as a path to God. Another Anglican, Henry Somerset, spoke of sexual delight with a boy as “both of our lives are bathed in love divine.”[3] George Gillet “sought to justify his pederast passion on aesthetic as well as religious grounds, saying: ‘… beauty gains a glimpse of God.’[4] “ Ralph Chubb, who was almost mystical in his pederast writings, spoke of boys as “heavenly cupids,” or angels, who were the unblemished advent of the Holy Ghost. Cuthbert Wright maintained that Jesus himself was a pederast, and John Francis Bloxam wrote the story of a priest and an acolyte who committed suicide together after taking the Eucharist, when it appeared they would be separated, affirming pederasty as a God-given love and that “death was preferable to its public defilement.” Alphonse Montague Summers wrote a poem also about the glimpse of God given to him by the boy who was his lover.lover.[5] The aforementioned Rev. E. E. Bradford, who said “… ‘tis strange if nature left alone becomes unnatural” was curate of High Ongar and St. Swithins in England, and he published twelve books about the beauty of male friendships, including one titled Romantic Friendship. His writings continue to be widely quoted among religious pederasts.

Low Church Protestant. “I find liberal, well-educated clergymen to be of the least help. They become embarrassed when one talks about something like pederasty. I therefore dropped out of the church I grew up in and have joined a small evangelical fellowship. The members know about my pederast temptations, and I get lots of encouragement and support to toe the narrow line. They keep an eye on me, and keep me happy and busy. Most of all they trust me to work with kids, which is what I enjoy more than anything. I wouldn’t let them down.” Another pederast: “I’m afraid I find it easy to live two lives. Outside of the closet I’m conservative, Republican, evangelical - and truly so. In my sexual under-life, which sometimes seems to get out of control, I know myself to be a sinner, badly in need of God’s help in getting the two parts of my life together.” Another, less responsible, pederast said: “After being a Presbyterian Church officer most of my life, I have now – my friends say I’ve become a hippie late in life - become a Buddhist, joining a sect here on the West Coast which is very small. Its philosophy is simpatico to my taste for boys. I’m about to move in with a woman who is a fellow member, who has two boys I’m crazy about.” Still another said: “I now attend church regularly with my mother, and I note what is said and how it applies to me. I do not feel condemned more than the others, although it is sometimes depressing to feel that I am not finding the spiritual strength I need. I’ve never asked to hold church office, but I don’t refuse when I’m pressed to do so. I can’t well refuse on the grounds that I have a relationship with a boy who comes to work in my garden.”

Jewish. “I am a religious Jew who thinks that religion, including the Christian religion, has the solution to our problem in its pocket, like a new miracle drug which might cure cancer but which has not yet been proven out as safe,” was one pederast’s comment. Another said: “You might call me a Jew, although my father was Christian. I participate actively in both Protestant and Jewish religious activities, especially working with church athletic teams. Since I intend never to touch a boy sexually, I prefer to hang around nice religious boys whose innocence protects both them and me.”

A good many pederasts said they had never thought much about religion one way or the other. Some took a strong anti-religious, anti-Christian line: “The Church has burned us alive, drawn and quartered us, hung us, tortured us, abused us - all in the name of religious love. There can be no healthy sex until the young are freed from that oppressive tradition which says that all sex is dirty and sinful.” One pederast who took such a line said that he was cynical about the Church; for, like Edward Alexander Crowley[6] who was introduced to pederasty by a missionary, he had been seduced by the president of his church youth group.

Some pederasts affirm that they root their conscience in a sort of secular religion based on the pederastic philosophy of the ancient Greeks. One said: “Love is always beneficial. I do not seek to evade responsibility, but accept the consequences of loving acts with boys, since in my own heart I know that I never harm a youngster, and that our relationship is always beneficial.” “What harms boys is the guilt-ridden, morbid views of so many religious persons,” said another. Such views are contrasted with the agonizing of novelist T. H. White, author of Sword in the Stone, who said that he did not believe that sexual relations with the boy he loved could hurt him or that any law of God would be violated, but on the grounds of expediency, because of what others could say that might hurt the boy, he would do nothing illegal.[7] “My effective morality,” a pederast of high principles said, “is based on the love I have for boys. In my judgment, prohibitions against sex play rest on grounds similar to those which forbade work on the Sabbath or eating meat on Friday. Morality must be positive, not based on negative rules and prohibitions. I have a secret friendship with a lovely boy, but I’m not going to lead him down a path that might cause him grief, even though my heart aches because so much of what is beautiful is denied to him by foolish prohibitions. I used to be a Presbyterian elder, and I’ve given up on all that, although I believe my moral position is essentially that of Jesus, who nowhere condemned prostitutes, homosexuals, or deviants but only commanded his followers to love one another.”

So many quotations are not essential for demonstrating the diversity of religious opinion and practice among pederasts, but these and other comments suggest that religion is not an effective inhibitor of illegal sexual behavior - nor does it support a high level of pederast conscience – unless a) religious faith and values are experienced as commitments to and are embodied in relationships with valued and supportive persons, such as relatives and friends, and b) unless a pederast is an active participant in a warm, enfolding, supportive religious community which knows of his desires and temptations. To illustrate from another type of sexual experience, a young couple who live together out of wedlock are likely not to attend church services because they assume they will be rejected for “living in sin.” As a result they tend to associate with other unmarried couples, who thus support each other in the rightness of their extramarital sex relationships. They will find it easier in such associations to become involved in other irregular sexual activities, such as “swinging” or “wife swapping.” On the other hand if they were involved in a religious community of young couples they would be more likely to get married to affirm the values they found there. Similarly, pederasts of good conscience who exclude themselves from religious groups which they know to disapprove of their penchant are then likely to spend more time with other pederasts, or at least with persons who will be tolerant of sexual eccentricities. The more time a pederast spends in the underground, the more his point of view and conscience will be modified. The underground is not so much a place for illegal activity, as it is a substitute community for those who exclude themselves from conventional religious groups. More accurately it consists of persons searching for a community of people who will provide understanding, support, and help in the pederast’s quest for self-understanding and struggle with conscience.

A French author[8] suggests that pederasty is, for some persons at least, a part of the struggle for self-understanding, that not only does the pederast seek out other men with similar desires in order to discuss with them the nature, cause, and meaning of their common experience, but there is also a sense in which the involvement of the pederast with young boys is a continuing search for an understanding of himself and his sexuality at that same young age. In the effort to understand his own sexuality, it is only natural that a boy will first turn to those who are similar to him, i.e., other males, and if this curiosity is not satisfied, if the questions he asked did not receive adequate answers, the search for sexual identity may last a lifetime - especially if he has deviant inclinations not resolved with heterosexual intercourse. In any case, religious institutions tend to give what one pederast called “assembly-line answers, packaged for the masses,” by which he meant that persons with untypical sexual desires received generalizations which did not seem to fit his peculiar situation. This same pederast went on to say: “I am a man of conscience, high principles, and strict morality, who agrees with the puritan attitudes of the Church - until once in a great while I chance to meet a seductive, sexually experienced boy. Then I grow faint, physically and morally, to such an overpowering extent that the moral and religious pabulum passed out by the Church is insufficient to help. Society treats me like a four-year-old, whose questions are ignored and not taken seriously. When I was that age or perhaps a little older I learned that I would be punished for the masturbation I enjoyed, so I withdrew into my own little world where I could nurture my conscience on what seemed good and right to me. I have continued to do so to the present, keeping my forbidden joys secret and struggling in private to maintain the integrity of my own conscience.” What he and others seem to be saying is that restraints are eroded in a situation which calls forth dishonesty and secrecy, and which does not provide adequate opportunity for honest dialogue with sympathetic non-pederasts.


It may well be that if the pederast frequently has an immature point of view it is because his moral philosophy - as bearing on sex play with boys - was formed in his adolescence and without much guidance and help then or since. The British novel Sandel[9] reports the moral struggle of an older teenager whose awareness that he is a pederast is coincident with his involvement with a sexually aggressive 13-year-old boy. “Murder and killing hurt someone,” he says to a religious friend. “But who is harmed if I make love to the boy who finds it beneficial?”

One pederast said: “As I see it, the basic moral question is – ‘Am I hurting anyone?’ It is tempting to say that something is good and not hurtful if I enjoy it; but I happen to enjoy driving down the highway at a hundred miles an hour and I know that is not good. It is likely to hurt me and others. I happen to be a very sensitive person who believes that it is a crime to hurt anyone. Ironically, I would be more seriously punished by society for giving a moment of sexual pleasure to a boy than for beating him savagely or for breaking his heart. I consider myself to be a very moral person, resolutely opposed to graft, killing, or anything that hurts society or any one person. I also happen to believe that the only sure way to find out whether someone is hurt is to examine that person. Certainly, if a boy says a pederast has hurt him, or if there is evidence of damage, then the pederast should be punished. The moral issue is whether - or at what age - a boy is competent to judge whether or not an act of lovemaking has hurt him. Of course a boy knows if he has been physically hurt, but can he or anyone else know when he is hurt psychologically? Society assumes that the pederastic experience will make a boy homosexual. Where is the evidence? It makes no sense at all for society to ignore the fact that once a boy has had a great deal of adult-type sexual experience he is sexually an adult, no matter how young he is. Why should the law consider him innocent if since he was thirteen he has slept with boys and girls and has fathered a baby? One of my friends is in prison for a playful sexual act with a boy of fifteen who had been a prostitute for two years. How does society judge the hurt he did to that boy? The boy initiated the sex act, enjoyed it, and did it for fun rather than money. What kind of morality destroys a good citizen for this?”

A European pederast said: “I’ve reviewed the literature for any possible psychological harm that could befall a teenage boy as a result of playful sex with a man, and I can’t find corroborated evidence of any damage whatsoever. There are studies which show that even young children are not negatively affected by consenting sexual intercourse with adults,[10] unless adults tell the children they have been damaged. It would seem that psychological damage can result from the way sexual experience is interpreted to youngsters, and such damage may be more frequent when there is no sexual intercourse at all. For example, a boy was traumatically affected by his sexual experience in one of the correctional institutions that is called a junior republic.’ The staff of the institution, by close supervision, was for the most part able to prevent sex play and abuse, but there was continual talk and teasing by the older boys which scared this younger boy, with traumatic results on his later sexual attitudes. It might actually have been easier for him to recover healthily after a real rape than it was to suffer from the fantasies and worries which grew out of teasing and threats. In other words, the law and supervision can protect boys from physical hurt, but there is no way to protect boys from the psychic sexual experience which is shaped in their own imaginations, Jean Genet has described the intense psychological damage of such a psychic process in a school where older teenagers, as a game, sexually caressed every younger boy they met. Even that experience, however, may have been actually less damaging than the curious fantasies a boy can have after seeing or hearing of such a thing. It may well be more moral to give a boy an orgasm than to build up his sexual tensions and stimulate his imagination with teasing, dirty jokes, horseplay and psychic games. Yet adults and older boys who tease youngsters are not arrested. Some of them enjoy a peace of mind in their moral conscience because they ‘never touch a boy’ sexually. Pederasty may disappear or become essentially unimportant in a society which provides adolescents with a healthy, happy environment for growth instead of the stimulus of imaginary deviancies. The fundamental moral issue is not what is bad for boys, but how can society provide them sexually with what is healthy and good.”

A young pederast seems first to ask himself if he is unique, different, queer, in an effort to determine if something is “wrong” with him. If he withdraws into his own private world or even into the pederast underground to test and validate the authenticity of his deviant experience, he then tends to decide that something is wrong with society rather than with himself. One such deviate said: “How moral would it be for the government to spend its cancer research money to arrest every hundredth cancer victim? Or perhaps society should shoot one out of every hundred drunken drivers? I guess society views me as 50 per cent sick and 50 per cent irresponsible. But the only thing done to prevent me from working damage on the innocent – by those who consider man-boy sex play as damaging - is more or less comparable to such random and senseless arrest and shooting. Society doesn’t know how to deal with me, I suppose, because I do not fit into the categories. The moral issue is this: Is pleasure good? If so, then shouldn’t kids be allowed to enjoy themselves sexually? I don’t know why I so enjoy giving sex pleasure to boys, but I don’t see sex as belonging to the same category of damage as alcohol and drugs. They say a healthy kid doesn’t get addicted to anything and the moral issue revolves around what is healthy and who is to decide. I agree that a line has to be drawn somewhere. I personally disapprove of anal intercourse, for example. But when I was a teenager - and I think it is true today also - we couldn’t have a healthy discussion of such things because all sex was wrong and forbidden to us. Parents who know the power of alcohol often teach their kids to drink moderately, to save them from the perils of alcohol in the alley, but they let their kids go to strange men for sexual experience because one isn’t allowed to admit to kids that the sexual alley exists. I am sure I would not be a pederast today if society had permitted me to follow my natural inclinations when I was a young teenager.”

Another pederast wrote: “A British psychiatrist has been seriously flirting with the idea that some types of mental illness are really signs of health, reflecting the fact that society is ill. A sensitive person naturally becomes neurotic if he has to adjust to a sick situation. People become twisted by a sick society - and ours is sexually sick - so that ‘normal’ perspectives are really abnormal. How do I see myself in this perspective? I love women, boys, life, and I know myself to be an essentially good person in all my relationships. I am kindly, supportive, and loving. Sexually I’m free from the hang-ups which drive some of my friends to the wall. I have a happy sex life which I consider to be more well-rounded than that of many of my ‘straight’ friends. If I seem to be out of step with society, it may well be that I’m out in front, leading the pack. And if I’m ill it is because the pack keeps nipping at my heels.”

A similar moral point of view was stated by another European pederast substantially as follows: “Can we begin the discussion of morality from where we are, rather than from where society says we ought to be? As I see it, society’s moral efforts should be directed at moving us, and all persons, up the ladder,[11] out of the underground, rather than merely condemning us for wandering around lost in the pit at the foot of the ladder. If pederasts are sinful or sick, then the question is: How can we be healed? Not by our own efforts, except in certain heroic instances. If we are tempted, how can we be strengthened, and who will help us? It certainly is no help to be kicked back into the pit, which is what usually happens now. Don’t apologize for referring to me as a ‘case,’ for it suggests to me - and I assure you that it is true - that I am unique and different from all other persons, including all other pederasts. A ‘case’ in our hospital is not a faceless person to be disposed of, but is a challenging demand for unique diagnosis and treatment - not that we ever cure anybody. Society forgets that! Cures happen only when society creates a healing environment and lets natural forces take over, which is very moral. Law and police can never cure. It is highly immoral to assume that they can supervise what happens in people’s beds or can prevent sexual deviance. How moral is a society that can’t forgive a first mistake, which over and over again kicks a young man down into the pit, instead of first trying to love and help him, and accepting some share of blame for his sexual misbehavior?”


It would be absurd to assume that such statements are typical of all pederasts. When we express a willingness to listen, however; when we try to understand what they feel and experience, they naturally try to put their best foot forward to make a positive impression. Our exploration of the pederast underground revealed that even such furtive dialogue begins to raise moral concerns. Asking questions they have not previously faced begins to affect their attitudes and behaviors. One pederast who had been rather promiscuous, usually seeking hasty sexual encounters with boys in movie theaters, having thought through his point of view in order to answer our questionnaire, said: “I always knew that my concern was not for conventional morality, but for a higher ethic. Some of my promiscuous behavior has been thoughtless, but some of it also has been a rebellion against a hypocritical society, in which I defied the police and law as a kind of personal protest. I’m putting all that behind me now, however, because my goal is to see that youngsters become healthy, happy, whole, loving, creative. Somewhere along the line the Establishment decided that conventional repressive goodness is better than free creativity, even if it meant the sexual unhappiness and torture - I think that word is well advised - of young adolescents. My aim now is to help create a healing rather than a destructive sexual environment for the young, who are already operating on different sexual values than is the Establishment. In a sense many adolescents live in a sexual underground, at least part of the time, because they actually live by a different sex ethic than they publicly affirm. Their real values and behavior are not open to searching public discussion. Those who should be asking the value questions are too disapproving of us - I feel I can still speak for older teenagers since I’m barely twenty myself - for us to be really able to trust them.” This young pederast further said he felt it is the responsibility of pederasts to examine their own behavior, and together seek to propose ethical standards which might be based upon a “more creative approach to sexual morality.” The term Better Life, he said, which is used by one pederast association and publication, suggests a continuing of the efforts of the ancient Greeks to find and to enhance the beautiful in all relationships. “Those of us who love boys should encourage and help each other to put their welfare above everything else. An ethical code must give us a positive image for the future. Rather than living in and for gratification in the present, we want to assume responsibility and make commitments which can lead us to a ‘better life’ for all. A pederast ethic should seek to enrich and ennoble the lives of boys. First, however, we must deal with our own questionable behavior.”

Within the pederast underground several ethical statements or “bills of rights” have been drafted and discussed, the first effort taking place in the late 1960’s.[12] Some of these statements contain elaborate theories and philosophies, with proposals for law reform. Others are more self-serving, such as one that begins with the statement: “I’ll give up boys when there are no more who need me and want me,” and ends with the gay slogan: “Any love is better than no love at all.” This statement asserts that the “quality of relationship” between two persons is the basic ethical issue, and opposes “all dishonesty, force, prostitution, and abuse.” Three of the documents are addressed largely to pederasts themselves, urging them to avoid and to correct disapproved types of behavior, which might be summarized as follows:
     1. Boys should not be treated as sexual objects to be enjoyed at the whim of a pederast.
    2. A pederast should not seek intimate contact with a boy, without knowing and understanding the boy’s interests and feelings.
     3. A pederast should not “cruise” to pick up strange boys for sexual encounters, because that encourages boys to “hustle” or prostitute themselves.
     4. A pederast should protect his own reputation, so that his young friends will not be hurt or suffer as a result of association with him.
     5. A pederast must always be truthful and honest, and never lie to his young friends.
     6. A pederast who takes pictures of his young friends must not sell them to commercial dealers or pass them on indiscriminately to others, without permission of the boy and his parents.
     7. Friendship with a boy should never develop into sexual intimacy without the boy fully understanding and consenting to any sex play, including the social and legal implications of the relationship.
     8. A pederast should not provide his young friends with alcohol or drugs, and certainly will never use drugs to weaken a boy’s sexual inhibitions or “to get him into the mood” for sexual intimacy.
     9. A pederast has the responsibility of encouraging and helping a boy to develop his normal heterosexual tendencies, unless the boy’s family confirms that he has an innate homosexual orientation.
     10. A pederast should guide and encourage his young friends to stay in school, avoid crime, and do all he can to help them to develop a successful career.
    11. A pederast should strive to guide and discipline his young friends by a code of behavior which will be compatible with reasonable standards of his family and society, with the sort of direction a boy should receive from father or teacher.
    12. A pederast should never offer his young friend to another pederast for sexual purposes, even if the boy expressed an interest in his doing so.
     13. A pederast should do everything possible to protect his young friends from any harm, including exposure or embarrassment from arrest.

Newsletter of the Sexual Freedom League, 1970

The above list has been included here not only as an illustration of some beginning efforts of pederasts to be morally responsible but also because it presents more evidence of pederast behavior which has not been adequately described in their portrayals of their own behavior as presented in this book. Perhaps the most widely distributed and discussed sexual bill of rights for adolescents is an adaptation of a statement prepared by the Child Sexuality Circle of the Sex Freedom League, which begins by asserting:
     - a child’s sexuality is a part of his whole person from birth, making his sexual rights inherent and inalienable,
     - the child’s sexual rights should be encompassed in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights,
     - a child not allowed to express all instinctive desires becomes unhappy, frustrated, antisocial and potentially criminal.

A pederast study group has adapted the statement[13] as follows:
     1.Every adolescent is entitled to legal protection of his sexual rights, which includes the right to privacy for his own personal thoughts, ideas, dreams, and explorations of his body, without interference.
     2. Every adolescent has the right to accurate sex information, and to be protected from sexual misinformation and prejudices, including the right to debate and disagree with majority opinion and law.
     3. Every adolescent has the right to enjoy fully whatever sensual pleasures he may feel, without shame or guilt, with any partners he may choose. He has the right to be protected and aided in doing so with contraceptives and aids to prevent venereal disease.
     4. Every adolescent has the right to learn the art of love-making, as any other art or skill, whenever he is ready to do so, and not merely from books and lectures, but from adequately interpreted experiences of his own choosing.
     5. Every adolescent has the right to affirmative, affectionate relationships with adults of his own choosing, and to a full understanding of any implications or dangers that may be present in such relationships.

Many pederasts, in contrast to those just quoted, would instead agree with the pederast who said: “I find talk of a pederast ethic as amusing as I do the idea of a just war. Society is becoming tolerant of gay-homosexuals because they are seen as ‘poor sick things’ who are unable to help themselves. However, society isn’t tolerant of the Weathermen or other revolutionary groups, sick or not. And the taboos I violate are more hate-arousing than anything the bomb-throwers stand for. Society is at war with me, and in war anything goes. No one has time to stop and talk about just wars or the most decent ways to bomb Vietnamese children in the midst of battle. Society hates me because I love kids and they love me in return. The kids I love come from such lousy sick homes and schools that they need alcohol and drugs to deaden their pain. I’ve had so much pain in my life, too, that I’ll not be bound by any code of ethics which would prevent me from doing all I can to give a moment of peace and joy to a kid in the midst of his pain and fury at life.”


Pleasure by Alexander Lowen, 1970

- Lowen[14] says that the fun culture’s view of “experience as the only true value in life” cannot be shown to contribute to sexual health within a disapproving society. Sex without love, Lowen says, provides no possibility for creative development, and sex play of the type reported in this book cannot be creatively assimilated and integrated into the personality, he suggests, at least until society itself changes.

This is a challenge which some responsible pederasts find difficult to answer.

- On the other hand, when religious traditions interpret sexual acts and experiences, they appear to be more successful in creating emotions of guilt or rebellion than in effectively inhibiting or preventing sexual deviance, as judged from the evidence of pederasts interviewed. Bernard (1975) found that pederasts suffering from feelings of guilt did not think that repeal of laws against man-boy sex play would relieve their moral anxiety.

- It is not possible to derive conclusive opinions from the data in this chapter - which is fragmentary because of being limited to whatever the pederasts being interviewed said about religion - often nothing. Their life stories and church involvements do strongly suggest, however, that personal face-to-face relations - and not abstract church teachings - provide moral strength, self-control, and an effective conscience. Even more important, these interviews provide evidence that moral standards and religion have an inhibiting effect in deviant sexual situations only on those persons who have a chance to assume responsibility for establishing ethical guidelines which seem to make sense in their own lives. That is to say, imposed ethical and moral standards prove to be weak and ineffective when they come into conflict with the values which have been tested in a person’s own sexual experience.

- The number of non-Christians interviewed was limited, but it would appear that these same findings are true within other religious traditions. Whenever anti-sex attitudes become repressive and dogmatic, an underground develops. There are underground religious traditions which view deviant sexual practices as “energizing the artistic, poetic and mystical faculties,” and as being sources of spiritual power or even types of worship and meditation.[15] A number of unpublished philosophical papers by pederasts - combined with ideas from Plato and others, including some of the pederast clergy quoted in this chapter - describe pederasty as a God-given mystical experience. In this context, taboos against sex play and recreational sex are frequently viewed as being outmoded like the old prohibitions against eating pork.


[1] Taylor (1974) [Author’s footnote]. Unfortunately, his bibliography is too feebly defined to be sure what he means by this reference, but, despite the discrepancy in date, it seems likely to be Brian Taylor, "Motives for Guilt-free Pederasty: Some Literary Considerations" in The Sociological Review, vol. 24, no. 1, 1 February 1976, pp. 97-114.

[2] Revd. Edwin Emmanuel Bradford (1860-1944), The New Chivalry and Other Poems (London: Kegan Paul, 1918) 31.

[3] Lord Henry Richard Charles Somerset (1849-1932), “Then Years Ago!” in Songs of Adieu (London: Chatto & Windus, 1889), p. 37.

[4] George Gillett, “To Kalon” in The Artist (London), 1 December 1891.

[5] Alphonsus Joseph-Mary Augustus Montague Summers (1880-1948), Antinous and Other Poems, London: Sisley’s, 1907.

[6] Edward Alexander “Aleister” Crowley (1875-1947) was an English libertine occultist and writer.

[7] Taylor (1974) p. 61 [Author’s footnote]. Again, his bibliography is too feebly defined to identify what he means by this reference. T. H. White said these things in a diary entry of 18 September 1957 quoted in Sylvia Townsend Warner’s biography of him, T. H. White (1967).

[8] F. Duyckaerts, The Sexual Bond (New York: Delacorte, 1970) [Author’s footnote]. This refers to the translation of a book originally published in Belgium in 1964 and not specifically about pederasty.

[9] Angus Stewart, Sandel (London: Panther Books, 1972), see pp. 177 ff., for example [Author’s footnote].

[10] For example, L. Bender and Blau, “The Reaction of Children to Sexual Relations With Adults,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Oct. 1937) pp. 580, Bernard (1972) [Author’s footnote, which could refer to either of two works by Frits Bernard published in 1972 and  listed in the bibliography].

[11] This letter quoted was the source of the idea of a “ladder” to the underground as used in Chapter 3 [Author’s footnote].

[12] See Better Life (March, 1975), p. 9, for example [Author’s footnote].

[13] For a similar statement, see Canfield (1974), p. 6, p. 13 [Author’s footnote; “Canfield” does not feature in his bibliography, however].

[14] Alexander Lowen, Pleasure: A Creative Approach to Life (New York: Coward-McCann, 1970) [Author’s footnote].

[15] See B. Walker, The Hindu World: An Encyclopedia (New York: Praeger, 1968), Vol II, p. 199, etc. [Author’s footnote].




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