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three pairs of lovers with space



Heimliche Liebe: Eros zwischen Knabe und Mann was published by Jahn & Ernst Vrlag in Hamburg in 1997. The anonymous translation here from the original German as Secret Love: Eros between Boy and Man was published online only in 2022.



They say to you:
“Dealing with children is tiresome to us.”
They’re right.

 They say to you:
“For we must stoop down to their level,
Stoop down, get real low, bend down,
Make ourselves smaller.”
They’re wrong.

It isn’t tiresome to us.
We must, instead, lift ourselves up to their level,
Lift ourselves up, and stretch out, stand on tiptoes,~
In order not to offend.

                                                           Our Theme is as Old as Our Civilization
                                                                                                                                               Janusz Korczak



The contents as listed at the beginning of the book are given here in large type, followed by synopses of the chapters in smaller type.

Vogel Wolf. Heimliche Liebe


A Childhood Filled with Curiosity

The author describes his own childhood in southern Germany, mostly between the ages of seven and fourteen, ie. 1949/50 to 1956/7, including his sexual interest in men and happy acceptance of sexual opportunities with them, presented as in no way contradictory with his adult heterosexual life.

Our Theme Is as Old as Our Civilization

A potted history of sexual relations between children and adults in Europe, with brief biblical and Japanese references and more interesting detail from 19th-20th century Germany.

“The Parents Are Clueless”

A mother’s account, publised in a Dutch magazine in 1988, of her son’s relationship from the age of nine with a man she knew to be a boy-lover.

“We’ve Asked Them to Be Careful”

Another mother’s account, published in the same magazine, of her three sons’ close friendship and physical (but apparently not overtly sexual) intimacy with a family friend who was open with her.

“Children Choose Their Own Relationships”

John recounts in the same magazine the sexual relationships that four pubescent boys he raised had with men with his acceptance, expressing the view that the men involved were much more vulnerable to exploitation and harm than the boys.


Six letters to the author about Greek love affairs from men and boys involved in them, a boy’s friend and a woman observer.

One letter from a Dutch mother to a Dutch association about her son's affair with a somewhat older boy.

Child Sexuality and the Law

By Edward Brongersma, the pre-eminent aplogist of Greek love in the later 20th century, ostensibly a history of the law regarding sex with or between children, and in fact some allusions to how pubescent sex was taken for granted before the last century (broadly true in spirit while historicaly inaccurate), followed by a brief and accurate account of Dutch law since 1811.

“He’s My Son’s Best Friend”

A mother in a southern German city discusses with the author her 19-year-old son’s ongoing best friendship with a man, which had been sexual for several years from when he was 12, her attitude to it and her belief that it had been strongly positive for him.

“We Made Love Just Like Everyone Does”

19-year-old Thomas, then with a steady girlfriend, discusses with the author the sexual relationship he had between the ages of 11 and 16 with a man eighteen years older than him, and which he saw in an entirely positive light.

“Youth Sexuality in Tension Between Desire and Dread”

Authoritative studies are cited to show the varied reasons why boys are attracted to sex with older boys, the scant regard society has for their feelings when man/boy liaisons are discovered and the negative effcts on boys of others’ disapproval.

“In the Bar I Gave Him a Kiss”

33-year-old Simon, living in a Hessian city with his wife and children, proudly recalls the sex he enjoyed having with men from the age of 12, sometimes for money which his impoverished family tacitly accepted.

Beatings from Parents, Affection from Strangers

[Translator’s note:  “The next section is omitted in this translation, because it is a virtual word-for-word reproduction of a chapter from a book which I have already translated into English: “Interview with Andre and Peter: Beatings from Parents, Affection from Strangers,” by Wolf Vogel, in “Pedophilia Unbound,” ed. by Frits Bernard, 1997 (pp. 317-328). The only differences between the two are that in the present (Vogel) book, the introductory part is expanded slightly, and a later portion has been redacted somewhat.”]

Vogel. Eros Betwee Boys and Men

Sexual Morality is Anti-Child

On the harm done to children’s sense of well-being when anti-sexual adults quite unnecessarily insist that sex and nude photography willingly engaged in are wrong.

From Boy-Love to Friendship Between Men

Bjorn recalls his loving sexual relationship with fellow north German Jan, a social worker 13 years older than him, beginning when he was 12 in presumably about 1977 and enduring to the then present, despite Bjorn having been otherwise purely heterosexual from the age of 15 and long married.

In Relationships One Must Be Considerate

[Translator’s note:  “the next section is omitted because it is a virtual word-for-word reproduction of a chapter from a book which I have already translated into English: “Interview with Jorg: in “Relationships, One Must Proceed Carefully,” by Wolf Vogel, in “Pedophilia Unbound”, ed. by Frits Bernard, 1997 (pp. 306-316).”]

“I Wear His Ring as a Part of Him”

Martin recalls in a letter to the author his first sex and love at 16 with worldly-wise 51-year-old fellow German Werner in 1966, a love affair which  endured for three years, and led to feelings of deep gratitude o his part enduring beyond Werner’s early death in 1980.



About Wolf Vogel



This book describes a piece of lived reality which mostly remains hidden. It is predominantly adults who get a chance to talk about it. They are different ages, and hail from various social and occupational strata. But there is one thing they do have in common:As children, they had a sexual relationship with an adult which today—now that they themselves have grown up and perhaps had children of their own—they look back on with fondness.

What is represented here is by no means a representative sample. For one thing, as a rule these love relationships only lasted for a few years; for another, what are depicted here are, without exception, sexual contacts between boys and men. Not that this was the original plan. I’d placed ads in two German daily newspapers, asking adults to tell me about any such love-relationships they may have had. I wanted to know whether there existed sexual contacts (including over long periods of time) between minors and grown-ups for which the label “abuse” seemed inappropriate. The men who responded to my ads provide the narrative to this book. They wanted to describe their feelings as children at the time from the perspective of the present day; but they also hoped their testimony would contribute towards a more nuanced way of looking at what—for many people—is such a difficult topic.

I have also gathered letters which describe such experiences, and have put together a couple of ‘foreign correspondent’ reports. In order to avoid wearying the reader, only a portion of the life reports placed at my disposal (from a collection spanning nearly ten years) will be recited here. Many of the biographies are, of course, quite similar in terms of the erotic components discussed; often times, my conversational partners were surprised by my interest in their earlier relationships.

Some reports are written down in interview form, because my interlocutors felt more comfortable with that. Other conversations were tape-recorded, and their essential contents later summarized. To the extent that I was asked to change certain names, I have done so. In all cases the interview partners have proofread and okayed the texts. There are also mothers who have a chance to talk about their sons’ affairs with adults, while at the same time describing their fears. The narratives begin with a father’s account of his own childhood, full of curiosity.



I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this book, who has described, with trusting candor, some excerpts from their lives; who have supported and encouraged my inquiries with a great deal of advice, as well as contacts for those concerned and affected: who referred me to sources which were unfamiliar to me, translated foreign texts into German, and provided constructive criticism of the manuscript.


About Wolf Vogel


Wolf Vogel, born 1942, studied Education, Psychology,and History at university, graduating with a degree in Social Education. He is the author of and a contributor to several books, and has worked as a photojournalist for magazines and newspapers.

Vogel Wolf byMarion Heinrich
Wolf Vogel (Foto: Marion Heinrich)

Many boys who maintain an intimate friendship with a man say to themselves: ‘I sure hope Mommy doesn’t find out about it.’When their child does have a grown-up lover, many adults are frightened, and think of abuse, sexual violence, or even threats to their child’s health and well-being.

Wolf Vogel was, himself, involved in such a sexual relationship between a minor and a grown-up person, which obviously did not harm that child. In any event, the putative ‘victims’ of this, after they have become adults themselves and had children of their own, recount, in open-ended and positive ways, their intimacies, adventures, and experiences back then—but also the fear that their secret love with a man could become known, which would destroy them. Even mothers get a chance to talk about and describe their terrors and heart-pounding moments.

Wolf Vogel’s collected interviews and reports are vividly authentic, providing insight into a world which had remained secret until now. “Secret Love” is, therefore, a primer for both frightened and intrepid parents, as well as anyone who deals with children.




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