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three pairs of lovers with space



The following is the one of the sections of the seventh chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (New York, 1976), entitled "The Uses of History", and introduced here.


Some Concluding Observations

- The current body of research into the history of sexual customs is not adequate enough for pederasts to be able to find answers to questions they may want to ask. There would appear to be some learned pederasty which is passed from generation to generation, but probably it consists of interpretative ideas rather than behavior, and most pederasts learn about it only after their tastes are confirmed. Many pederasts report that the influence of a poem, book, or incident from the past was a liberating factor upon their pederast experience or perhaps in encouraging them to admit their pederasty and explore its meaning.

Saved from Drowning by Jean Ossaye Mombur, 1894

- This brief historical survey suggests the usefulness of more research into the history of sex customs. One would like to know more about its impact on the larger movements of history. For example, is it pure coincidence that pederasty flowered simultaneously in Greece and the Far East? or that at the time of the Renaissance it reappeared in an idealistic form in distant parts of Asia as well as in Europe? or that sexual reform movements developed in different parts of the world at the same time?[1]

- Traditional societies have opposed gay-homosexuality in adult men, while tolerating a virile man’s sex play with a developing boy. Modern society is moving in the opposite direction, tolerating homosexuality among consenting adults, while placing a great emphasis on protecting the young from sexual involvements. There is evidence to suggest that the modern gay movement had its origin as recently as the 1700’s.[2] However, since such behavior has always been underground, the evidence to establish or refute several important theses may simply not exist.


[1] Surely, there is so much inaccuracy and exaggeration in these sweeping statements that Rossman’s claims about coincidence are more misleading than helpful? The only part of the Far East where pederasty is known to have existed in ancient times is China, and it hardly “flowered” there as it did in Greece. Given how globally widespread it was in better-recorded times, there is no justification for characterising this as a coincidence. Similarly, support for the claim “that at the time of the Renaissance it reappeared in an idealistic form in distant parts of Asia” can only be based on one country: Japan. That "sexual reform movements developed in different parts of the world at the same time” was the result of highly conscious association and imitation rather than a coincidence.

[2] Since Rossman wrote, and starting substantially with Alan Bray’s Homosexuality in Renaissance England (1982), a rich body of evidence has been drawn together by historians to show that there was indeed a far-reaching shift in thinking about sexuality that began in northern Europe around 1700 and then spread. In so far as this involved the first appearance of sub-cultures defined by a male homosexuality perceived as making their members innately different from the heterosexual majority, it is fair enough to claim “the modern gay movement” originated then (at least if one counts as a “movement” the organisation that is implied by any sub-culture’s existence).