IRAN IN BOYS FOR SALE
The following account of boy prostitution in Iran is from Boys for Sale. A Sociological Study of Boy Prostitution by Dennis Drew and Jonathan Drake, New York, 1969, pp. 95-6.
IRAN [formerly called PERSIA]
Until fairly recently, Persian fathers took their sons to boy brothels. There, they instructed them in sexual relations with the boy prostitutes. It was not unknown for a father to leave his son behind, temporarily, to earn a little household money. There were also cases of fathers enjoying their own sons’ sexual favors, having brought them to the brothels for that express purpose. Incest with a beautiful son is understandable and logical to the Persian mind. Robert Payne, in Journey to Persia says that the boys in Shiraz are as beautiful as the girls. Between the lines, one can read more. He also describes the poverty and misery of children that provide the climate for active prostitution.
Speaking of Shiraz, Edward G. Browney, in A Year Among the Persians, (Cambridge, 1893), described the city as a hotbed of vice where dancing boys are greeted with rapturous applause. He described a dancing boy of 10 or 11, who was called by the customers to bring drinks so that they could kiss him.
Like Arabs, Persians are more highly sexed than Europeans. A high percentage of them require sexual intercourse more than once a day and they have few scruples about taking pleasure in sex. Women are greatly enjoyed and so are diversionary side-line activities with boys. Many Eastern people are puzzled over the attitudes of Europeans and Americans about sex. Among themselves, a happily married man — a good father at that — will brag to his companions about the fun he has had with a dancing boy. He might even place public bets over who can sustain anal or oral intercourse with such and such a boy for the longest time. They are astonished and unbelieving that Westerners would oppose prostitution at all — much less that with boys whose beauty is seen as a gift from God to be enjoyed by all. A rich Persian will brag more about his pleasure with a pretty young boy than the fun he has with his mistress.
 Here the authors are evidently referring to the orientalist Edward Granville Browne’s A Year Among the Persians (London, 1893) pp. 293-4, where exactly such a scene is described. However, it should be emphasised that neither here nor in various other references in his book to dancing-boys does Browne imply anything erotic, less still to do with prostitution: whilst it could well have been involved, his readers are left entirely free to suppose that the audience’s appreciation of the boy was founded on his sweetness and agility. Nowhere in his two chapters about his stay in Shiraz did Browne describe it as anything resembling “a hotbed of vice”; on the contrary, he spoke of Shiraz in terms of high approbation. Hence this is a verifiable example of the tendency of Drew and Drake to get carried away by their imaginations, or to read “between the lines” as they put it, at least when writing of the past.
If you would like to leave a comment on this webpage, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning in the subject line either the title or the url of the page so that the editor can add it.