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three pairs of lovers with space



The following is an account “in a somewhat abridged form” of what a mother had to say about her son’s relationship from the age of nine with his sports youth-trainer, a man she knew to be a boy-lover and to have been physically (though not, she believed, overtly sexually) involved with him. It was published in the Dutch magazine “Nieuwe Revu” of 5 April 1988 as a response to that magazine’s request for parents to tell about any adult lovers their children may have had.

It was published in this form as the third chapter of Secret Love: Eros between Boy and Man (2022), an anonymous translation of Wolf Vogel’s  Heimliche Liebe: Eros zwischen Knabe und Mann (Hamburg: John & Ernst, 1997).


Rene was nine years old the first time he accompanied—along with a group of friends—the youth-trainer of a sports club back to the latter’s apartment.

His mother Ria: “My son returned home with a lot to talk about. He and his buddies really liked their new friend. They listened to the radio, played games, and had some lemonade. My son enthusiastically told us about everything he’d taken part in. Following a few of these visits, he mentioned that photos of boys with his friend were hung on the wall. I thought: The man must be a pedophile. Then I reproached myself. At the beginning, I had an entirely too negative mindset. I caught myself using scare tactics, saying things I’d heard previously as precautionary measures to take. Of course, this had probably made my son quite self-conscious.

His friend knew that I was worried about it. I read up on the matter, and discussed this with my son. His friend heard about this as well. He was always asking: ‘What does your mother think about this?’ And my son would say: ‘Feel free to tell her; she already knows it.’

After a while, the three of us got together to talk about it. I told my son’s friend that, if my son himself wanted the relationship, I would have no problem with it. I told my son: ‘What you do is okay with me, but I don’t want you to do anything in order to get something else.’ Because his friend did do a lot for him. He was allowed to go everywhere with him. The man—he was about thirty —organized it all. But we thoroughly discussed everything. I said: ‘If there is something you do not feel like doing, don’t think you’re letting him down. This really isn’t necessary.’ which is probably the reason why nothing unpleasant happened. They are still good friends today.

15 235 Amsterdam 1986 d

Having such a friend is probably very nice for children. He can well empathize with children’s problems, and help them with their homework. Since he met this friend, my son has made enormous progress in school. It is simply a really good relationship, even without sex. My son is too old now in any case—he’s sixteen. His friend is no longer physically attracted to him. But one thing I do know about his friend is that he’s good with other children. We speak quite openly about it; of course, he comes to visit us often. The physical contact, the caresses: this is important to him. So, how far does this go? They probably still cuddle. Based on what I’ve seen of my son’s friends, I’ve noticed that some children do seek this out. They sit right here, next to my husband—they just want to be caressed.

Of course, I’ve also had my doubts. I could become really nasty, when my son’s friend would try again and again to cuddle with one of the children who came over. At that point I said: ‘The kid came over to play, but straight away you’re thinking about sex.’ I told him that he must respect his little friend; that something should only happen if the child wants it to. However, one must understand that such a relationship is by no means possible; and then later on, when it is possible, one will have it all.

This friendship is still a delicate issue for my husband. He accepts it, since my son has consistently declined to have sex. My husband has not been aggressive about this issue. Of course, he could have forbidden the friendship. But that would merely have driven everything underground; I don’t know what would’ve happened then. I do know that my son’s friend has had quite a few relationships which the parents knew nothing about. This always astonishes me. I don’t understand it. The children call him on the phone, he comes to visit them, they eat and sleep with him, are allowed to do everything with him. But the parents are clueless. It’s because nothing is discussed. This makes me anxious. For him, namely. I fear that at some point, this could lead to problems for him. Now, I understand very well that he can’t exactly be open about his predilections. He would risk losing his job and almost all of his social contacts in the home and his neighborhood. It would only take two or three people having a problem with this issue—they could then do a lot of damage. The risks are enormous. There are children whom he only stroked or merely kissed. With only a few of them did things go further.

If he ever did get into any real difficulties, I would support him. Because we talk about many things, I could ease his burden. It’s only terrible for the children who do not talk with their parents about it. They are weighed down by an enormous secret. If they have a falling out with their adult friend and stop seeing him, perhaps because they no longer want to have sex—where are they supposed to turn to then? On the other hand, some children are also able to massively exploit pedophiles. That’s why he is so vulnerable. This could happen, and it too is not right.

Still, I have never sought to deny my son this friendship. I think he has the right to make his own choices. And after all—what’s more beautiful than love?”