Do lovers of boys today have a characteristic ideal or image of pederasty which can be compared to the images invented in the past? Is there, for example, a modern equivalent to the philosopher who ascends to the highest point of goodness ‘by right use of his love of boys’ as we read in Plato? Or do we have anything which compares with the ‘perpetuation of chivalry’ achieved by the medieval knight through his young squire? Or with the lyrical sensuality of Andre Gide, or the Uranian poets who asked only for the touch of those ‘whose lips were hotter than little unfledged birds’ to drown their fear of society and eternal damnation in a surge of almost beatific ecstasy?
No, we have no such image. Because of the inexplicable heaves and vacillations of society’s million-year gestation (one day it will be born, I think) the image has become splintered, and our energy dispersed.
Examples of this splintering are very common. One person will quite readily hop into bed with the first obliging chick he meets on his regular weekend London cruise; but another will see a schoolboy looking lost on the Underground and be too terrified of what people might think to offer help or advice. It is the extreme diversity of cases which makes strength impossible.
It must seem that I am advocating a kind of uniformity or conformity among pederasts; and this is true to a certain extent. Shop stewards would prefer to use the word ‘solidarity’ though; and it is the binding effect of thinking together that I stress. Every time a person thrusts back an impulse to show affection for a boy, every time someone regresses to ‘prep-school teaching sublimation’, a few ounces of the binding force, the collective psychic energy, have been dissipated and lost.
Does this mean I would rather pederasts went to the opposite extreme and made seduction and promiscuity into a species of carefree sport, regardless of the effect on the boys involved? Certainly not. We can make life unbearable for our young friends if we approach the relationship in a purely selfish and insensitive manner. We have our own subculture to protect us from the viciousness of society, but youngsters are much more vulnerable.
Moreover, few people would say that selfishness and love can possible co-exist in any human relationship; and love is quite fundamental in any lasting archetype of a sexual preference. Sex without love just can’t rise to the standards required for unity and strength unless we resort to some Procrustean method of inflation – and that would only call down the society-god’s thunderbolts on a latter-day Sodom.
Where, then, are we to find our ‘image’ if we have ruled out those disabled by inhibition and those overwhelmed with desire? Perhaps a sort of benevolent teacher-figure would be the best choice; but even this is not easy to implement because of the popularly accepted (and increasingly noticeable) insulation between teacher and pupil in our schools – the extent of which is to be judged from the recent recommendation that no teacher should talk to a child alone, or touch or embrace him in any way, even if the teacher considers it will be beneficial to the child. What a difference to the situation in ancient Greece, where the value of a tutor was suspect if he was not in love with his pupil, and a teacher-pupil homosexual relationship was considered by many to be essential in the education of every well-born boy.
Let us not try to copy the Greeks, however. Our problems are more complicated than theirs, because we have more history to worry about.
I must confess, after all these words, that I don’t really know the exact form of the best boy-lover image for the future; but I am quite sure that such an image is vitally necessary.
The reason is this: I would like all people, including those who love boys, to have the psychological benefits of happiness and freedom from neurosis. At present, pederasty is considered a perversion, and so pederasts are in constant danger of accepting the role of pervert without realising it. In many cases they have a wretched feeling of desolation and loneliness, leading them quite unwillingly into the cottages, or into a miserable solitary existence with only pictures of boys for company. In other cases, the sexual urge has been so strong as to at least lead them out onto contact with boys, if only for a night; but who can really keep up the pretence that their needs are purely physical? No matter how much a person may disparage emotional relationships or be afraid of forming them, he would surely feel better inside if he knew that the pretty young fellow lying in his bed really loved him and was not just waiting to go away and spend his night’s earnings? Sex is second-best only, and no complete fulfilment of a persons needs.
There are all shades of difficulty and anxiety associated with pederasty, but most would be eliminated by generating a spirit of belonging rather than isolation, of subscribing to some common principle or identifying with some common ideal rather than making the best of a bad situation and finding oneself a bit of pleasure just«to ease the pain of living.
It is quite vital that we ourselves recognise the authenticity and potential value of boy-love, (even if it is too much to expect of society at present) and eventually work out a formula to eradicate the anxiety-producing aspects of today’s situation, in the hope of removing the need for anything other than a free and open approach to love in all its manifestations.