A REVIEW OF GETTING IT ON BY JOSEPH WINCHESTER
Getting It On: Rites of Passage: Homosexual Histories of Six Heterosexual American Boys by Dr. Joseph Winchester was published by the Acolyte Press in Amsterdam in 1989. It was 208 pages.
by Robert Rockwood, May 1995
Getting It On provides full biographies of six of the boys whose observations are quoted anonymously throughout Pulling It Off [Dr. Winchester’s previous book, a survey of American boys’ masturbatory practices]. If the former volume tells what sexually active pre- and post- pubertal boys do, the latter shows that those strong enough to ignore society’s sexual taboos have done themselves no harm by freely expressing their childhood homosexuality. All of the boys whose biographies comprise this book have developed into fully “normal” adults.
All six boys led remarkably active sex lives, which covered the gamut of man-boy man-boy-boy, and boy-boy relationships. While each history is impressive in its way, the life of the boy Duane is especially significant, since it serves as a perfect example of the Horatio Alger success story. Moreover, this history illustrates the fact that sexual attraction between boys and men has genuine survival value for youth, and is doubtless “wired into the ROM” of the human psyche. It is clear that Duane, although endowed with a “really superior intelligence,” owed his very survival to the fact that adult males found him sexually appealing as a boy and were willing to support and protect him in return for man-boy sex.
Winchester’s view of child sexuality is in sharp contrast to the way such activities are portrayed by the child abuse industry, which aims to stamp out youth sexuality altogether, and regards any sexual act with a child as “child abuse” (apparently on the analogy of masturbation as “self-abuse”). It doesn’t matter if the sex is consensual and mutually pleasurable. Sexual activities between children of the same age, between an older and a younger child, or between an adult and a child are defined as abusive transactions in which a “victim” is invariably harmed emotionally and psychologically.
Arguments of this sort make sense if one accepts the premise that it is harmful for a child to be sexual. For those of us who find this premise absurd, the child abuse argument smacks of psychotic thinking. No boy-lover ever damaged a child the way parents do through sexual repression and intimidation, abusing children psychologically by teaching them that their genitals are dirty, that thinking of sex is sinful, and that engaging in sex is criminal. The fact that nearly all boy babies in the U.S. are circumcised results in an average of 230 infant deaths every year (Brongersma, 1990, quoting Szasz, 1982). A society which advocates physically mutilating an infant’s penis and yet seeks to incarcerate anyone who touches a child with sexual intent — even if only on the outside of his clothes — is seriously pathological.
Dr. Joseph Winchester’s Pulling It Off and Getting It On belong on any bookshelf dedicated to boy-love and boy sexuality. In a sane society, books such as these would be available in school libraries, and they would be sold in every bookstore. They would serve as appropriate gifts for an older brother, godfather, uncle, father, or grandfather to give the prepubertal boy. Most of all, these books would be required reading for mental health practitioners, youth counselors, ministers, educators, legislators, and lawyers.
Review published in the May 1995 issue of the NAMBLA Bulletin Volume XII, No. 4 p. 18.
 Dr. Joseph Winchester, Pulling It Off: Masturbation Practices of 191 Mid-Western American Boys, Amsterdam: The Acolyte Press, 1987.
 Edward Brongersma, Loving Boys, 2 vols. (Elmhurst, New York: Global Academic Publishers, 1986-90) I 125.
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 Th. Szasz, Sex op recept (Meppel: Infopers, 1982) p. 69.