“The Tao of Love”
“Toward a Functional Understanding of Love”
“On the True Nature of Human Sexuality”
“The Demonization of Adult-Child Erotic Love
“The Commercial Exploitation of Abuse”
“The Patriarchal Love Bias”
“The Truncated Account of Adult-Child Erotic Attraction”
“Does Pedophile Love Equate Abuse?”
“Is Pedophilia a Sexual Perversion?
“The Legal Split in Child Protection”
“The Violence of Morality”
“The Roots of Violence”
“The 12 Angular Points of Social Justice and Peace”
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—The Sumerian Tablets
—The Relativity of Morality
—The Roman Games
—Boylove and Pederasty
—Church-Ordained Child Murder
—The Demonization of Intergenerational Love
—The Virgin Cult
—The Sadism of Child Protection
—Not Sex, but Violence Causes Trauma
—Not just Freaks Love Children Erotically
—Erotic Feelings for Children are Universal
—Physical Child Abuse
The basic research for this survey was done back in 1985 during my time as an international law assistant with Professor Louis B. Sohn at UGA Law School, Athens, Georgia, United States. While working on a human rights project for the United Nations, I saw to my surprise that the University of Georgia’s Main Library was providing an excellent collection of scientific literature about the topics of child physical and sexual abuse, as well as incest and domestic violence.
It was there and then that I began a research the legal, psychological, historical and social aspects of adult-child sexual interaction that was going to keep me busy for many years to come. Absorbing one research report after the other, I began to outline and draft the present review that now, after so many years, is published en première, as it was refused for publication by a number of European and American publishers.
Let me note that I started out from a nonjudgmental perspective and without any bias, so as to provide the reader with not only the dry material behind this research, but also with comparisons, evaluations and conclusions that are the result of a serious effort for objectiveness, despite the high emotional, negative or politically disturbing impact of the subject.
Alice Miller, an eminent expert in psychology-based peace research, emphasizes in her books the high political impact of child abuse and violence. She even speaks of ‘political consequences’ of her research.
From autobiographical source material, it can be derived that this courageous psychoanalyst and prolific author not always got the acclaim for her tedious work that she has deserved. In Germany, for example, her lectures on the psychological reasons for the childhood tragedies of Adolf Hitler and Jürgen Bartsch have barely been appreciated.
But I will reference in this chapter also another eminent specialist on the matter, Lloyd DeMause, founder of Psychohistory. His research monograph entitled ‘The History of Childhood’ is a book that is saddening to read: the evidence that DeMause has collected over more than twenty years on morality, cruelty and resulting violence against children is revolting. I found it so revolting that all in me turned upside down when I began to see what tortures humanity was and is able to inflict upon children, and this over hundreds if not thousand of years, in many cultures all around the world.
According to DeMause, childhood under patriarchy was invariably a victim-like existence involving the passive suffering of emotional and sexual manipulation, physical and sexual abuse, torture inflicted in the name of morality and the child’s own best, and besides, child rape, child abduction and child killing.
In the long years of my own research on the matter I tried to take a more positive stance, doubting deep down in my heart that this sad picture of human evolution could be true. Yet I really did not find sources to the contrary, as much as I was looking for them. I did not find, for example, really tangible positive evidence of consensual child-adult sex that, from our today’s perspective, we could in some way consider as non-abusive.
I mused in particular that if there is a History of Childhood to be made out that is different from the dim picture painted by Ariès and DeMause. In my view, it should be possible to prove the existence of something like a History of Childlove that could be seen, from our modern psychological perspective, as a form of non-conventional sharing of body pleasure, fun and excitement.
As the material that Lloyd DeMause used for his study is pretty much the same I used for my study, what we are talking about here is in fact the evaluation of that historical material in the first place, and not any possibly missing pieces — because it does not matter if Lloyd DeMause today goes out to search for new material, or if I go out to do so, or any other researcher: the chances that we find more substantially different material demonstrating free, healthy, nonviolent and consenting sexual relations between adults and children over the last five thousand years of human patriarchy are extremely limited. And this has pretty little to do with the quite different mindset of the researchers, but with the reality of patriarchy. And honestly, how can we seriously expect things being different in a cultural, social and political paradigm that disregards nature, the female and the earth and instead tries to elevate at a super-human level an artificial, weak and schizoid concept of pseudo-masculinity that is backed up by a violent, jealous and paranoid god image as the ultimate judgmental police force for love and living? The genocides that Hitler and other dictators committed against Jewish people and other social or ethnic groups or individuals have their ultimate motivational source here, in this concept of a moralistic god-like terminator force that is a constant feature in patriarchy since the Code of Hammurabi.
Without the preparation of holocausts the Church’s Inquisition perpetrated in medieval Europe, and without the thorough conditioning of German parents to apply cruelty in educating their children, an Adolf Hitler would not have been possible in the 20th century! It is as simple as that, but you will never find that stated in any history book nor in any manual about political science. Why? Because it’s anathema to admit the ultimate truth about the basic lies that patriarchy has spread to maintain its totally schizoid life paradigm that, ultimately, has murdered love and made life on earth an endless suffering.
When Buddha stated that life on earth is ultimately suffering, he forgot that he was talking about a social condition, not a human condition, that he was talking about a result and not a cause, about manipulated humanity and not original and natural humanity.
Some years ago, I was member of a publishing forum conducted by Lloyd DeMause, who is, as I mentioned already, considered as a foremost researcher on child abuse. And to repeat it, DeMause and myself used exactly the same materials for conducting our research, for there is not so much about it after all, for reasons I elucidated earlier on. So DeMause came to his conclusions and I came to my conclusions. Why did we not get to the same conclusions? That’s an interesting question, indeed. Well, this is what we have to admit as the subjective factor built into science, the observer perspective. You can’t evaluate research results without having a look at the observer, the researcher himself.
Now, the interesting thing is that I was discarded out from that publishing forum after some members found my research ‘disgusting.’ I find this very interesting because they were not a bunch of churchgoing fundamentalists, but people who consider themselves as scientists. Psychohistory is a science, not a belief system, but those who are signed up for it, strangely behave like religious fundamentalists.
Having seen that I have evaluated the same materials that were at the disposition of Lloyd DeMause, for writing his book History of Childhood (1974), and seeing that I came to different conclusions on the basis of the same research, they found it all ‘disgusting.’
Well, the very expression ‘disgusting’ is not something that one would expect from the mouth of a scientist. Of course, the facts that underly DeMause’s and my own research are disgusting, of course it’s disgusting to read in R.E.L. Master’s book about the rape of little girls by monkeys, during the Roman games. It was for me. But for that reason, my research, and myself, are not going to be disgusting, okay? See the difference?
This is exactly the subtle difference that pervades the whole field, and the propaganda about adult-child sexual relations, it’s this tiny difference about truth, namely, that distinguishes the researcher from the propagandist and smear-politician who comes to any kind of conclusions because they want to cash governmental funding for their research.
I do not think that DeMause was funded, by the way, I even think he is a quite honest man, and that he seriously believes what he writes. I am convinced he is an integer person, so I do not doubt his scientific credibility. What I doubt is his logic. I think that ‘morality’ is a very relative concept, changing over time and also in different cultures, and even in different regions in one single society, very much evidenced by the situation in the United States.
Morality is not the reason why adult-child sexual relations are forbidden. This may seem a novelty insight to many a reader of my books, but I am firm and stout standing behind my research in so far. I couldn’t see arguments that stand trial for adult-child sexual relations being a question of morality, in the contrary. I can find more arguments for adult-child love relations being embraced by genuine morality, and at the same time I can find arguments for demonstrating that the current paradigm that demonizes pedophile love is absolutely immoral.
My difficult task here was to hold back with my own sense of morality and present the topic as objectively as possible; if I succeeded with the task, I do not know, but the reader may be assured that this was my primary motivation, not to take a propagandistic stance pro pedophilia.
I close this introductory note in the firm conviction that the account of positive, nonviolent, sensual, healthy and enriching adult-child sexual encounters over the course of human history still has to be written, as what we have in terms of written sources can only be evaluated as ‘truncated,’ not the real story, not the entire picture but a tiny part of it.
I find it personally rather a sign of naiveté or of personal obsession that researchers like Alice Miller or Lloyd DeMause, while I honor their personal dedication, are so closed-minded to admitting that what we have under our eyes cannot be the full story. It just cannot be, for the world is not black-and-white but million shades of grey. I will never sign up with these people’s doctrinaire worldview that shows, if ever, that they personally do not know what a sanely regulated love life is about, simply because they themselves have never experienced it.
From what quantum physics shows, we know that we must take serious the fact that there is no research without observer bias being part of the game of science. When I indulge in a strictly negative worldview, I cannot even approximate, let alone understand the multi-vectorial abundance of life, and its ever-changing nature, which makes for the endless variety of human existence.
To love children doesn’t mean we have to keep them wrapped in a protective cocoon, which is what these researchers seem to advocate. To put it in shorter terms, child protection is a no-solution.
— The end of the liberal era and the beginning of a restorative period has begun already at the end of the 1970s in Britain; it can be said to have been launched with the so-called Child Protection Act, see: Hansard, The Protection of Children Bill (House of Commons Debates), Hansard, 10 February, 1978; Hansard, The Protection of Children Bill (House of Lords Debates), Hansard, 5 May and 18 May, 1978; see also: Zeegers, M., Punishable Love and Dangerous protection, Proces (Arnhem), July-August 1978, pp. 167–71.
Contrary to the rhetoric of these researchers and others from the circles of the child protection movement, I argue that if loving children erotically had been socially coded and integrated in a sane educational paradigm, the atrocious violence against children that was and is the order of the day under patriarchy could not have come about in the first place. In other words, patriarchy, with such a fundamental change of its base setup, that is on the basis of educational permissiveness, would have been substantially modified. That means in turn that we would not face the abysmal state of violence in the world as we face it today. We would live in a more peaceful world, if this consciousness work had been done over the course of the last decades and centuries. To put it in a slogan, pedophilia in the sense of a conscious and integrated erotic attraction toward children is a violence-reducing factor in our society.
To see the truth of this statement is not possible as long as one is under the spell of child protection, which is a typical fake paradigm. To bring about positive changes in our culture for children is not done with protecting them, thereby reducing their freedom, but with giving them more freedom, not by controlling them more, but by controlling them less.
Child protection is a modern vintage of the authoritarian worldview that thinks not neuronally but hierarchically, assuming the higher instance is ‘always right’ and the lower instance ‘always wrong,’ thereby creating the all-powerful father figure as the right-and-righteous instance, while we all know that most violence in the world is exactly the result of this kind of worldview and life paradigm.
Another important point is that children’s rights never were formulated in an intention to empower children, a fact that can be seen exemplarily with the UN Declaration of 1959 that is concerned more with protecting children than with formulating principles that lead to respecting children’s individual will and intention. Richard Farson, in his book Birthrights: A Bill of Rights for Children, observes that Principle 6 of the Declaration states that ‘The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents.’
Apart from such statements being legal and psychological chewing gum, as they say nothing substantial, Principle 7 describes the child as a passive creature that obeys the rules and regulations of their parents: ‘The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents.’
The best interest of the child is not identical with the will of the child. What this declaration does is to actually perpetuate the old paradigm with the all-dominant father who acts ‘always in the best of the child,’ which is precisely what patriarchy says, also when that all-powerful father kills or mutilates the child. It will always be done ‘in the best of the child.’
Before the 17th century, Farson reminds us, children were not thought of as innocent. Only then did innocence become the idea of childhood. It was at that time that children were no longer given indecent books to read and life began to be hidden from them.
Previously, adults in the presence of children had talked openly about sex and every other ‘adult’ matter. There was considerable sexual precocity. Louis XIV was in his wife’s bed at age fourteen. Girls often married at thirteen. (And one must bear in mind that puberty occurred later than now.) It was common for an adult to play with a child’s genitals. But in the 17th century children began to be seen as requiring protection and were discarded from the private lives of adults.
— In medieval times children were unimportant but enjoyed, even coddled; from the seventeenth century on, children needed to be reformed. Today’s parents and children still carry the burdens of that major historical change. (Richard Farson, Birthrights: A Bill of Rights for Children (1994), p. 20)
It appears thus that the child protection paradigm is a comfortable new disguise for old fascist dogmatism and puritanical opinions of the ultra right wing of society that try to undermine the constitutional guarantee of the family’s autonomy, for replacing the authority of parents by a super-authority in the role of a Manichean state or government. It’s certainly not in the best of the child when taken as a future social paradigm!
The Sumerian Tablets
As a matter of fact, the Talmud and the Bible report rules and customs regarding child marriage and sexual relations with children.
— The Talmud is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history. The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah, which is the first written compendium of Judaism’s Oral Law; and the Gemara, a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh. The terms Talmud and Gemara are often used interchangeably. The Gemara is the basis for all codes of rabbinic law and is much quoted in other rabbinic literature. The whole Talmud is traditionally also referred to as Shas, a Hebrew abbreviation of shishah sedarim, the ‘six orders’ of the Mishnah.
A well-known mythological epic displayed on cuneiform tablets counts the story of the god Enlil who saw the goddess Ninlil, a little girl, bathing in a stream, and desired her.
— Enlil was the name of a chief deity in Sumerian religion. Enlil was the god of wind, or the sky between earth and heaven. One story has him originate as the exhausted breath of An (God of the heavens) and Ki (goddess of the Earth) after sexual union. When Enlil was a young god, he was banished from Dilmun, home of the gods, to Kur, the underworld for raping a young girl named Ninlil. Ninlil followed him to the underworld where she bore his first child, the moon god Sin. After fathering three more underworld deities, Enlil was allowed to return to Dilmun.
— In Sumerian mythology, Ninlil, first called Sud, in Assyrian called Mullitu, is the consort goddess of Enlil. She is the daughter of Nammu and An. She lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped and ravaged by her (now-present) husband Enlil, she conceived a boy, Nanna, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him, there giving birth to their son Nergal, god of death. After her death, she became the goddess of the air, like Enlil.
The girl, however, was unwilling:
— The Lord speaks to her of intercourse. She is unwilling. Enlil speaks to her of intercourse. She is unwilling.
The girl-goddess explained her refusal:
— My vagina is too little. It knows not how to copulate. My lips are too small. They know not how to kiss.
On another tablet, an indication of a child-woman’s age is given by a Sumerian refusing child marriage:
— I will not marry a wife who is only Three years old as a donkey does.
Florence Rush, in her book The Best Kept Secret (1980) cites these tablets as ‘examples’ that in her view throw ‘some light’ on a fact which was later, in her view, well established in the Talmud and the Bible: the marriage with female children that, at least in some tribes, was followed by a full sexual relationship with the child.
— Florence Rush, The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children (1980), pp. 16–17.
It may seem unusual, to say the least, to cite an ancient myth that formed part of a religious saga, as an ‘example’ of sexual abuse for that particular period and culture. I must put a question mark here, while I concede that the book is otherwise well-researched and documented. I have never seen in my life that mythology was taken as an example of social reality in a specific country or culture. Should we then take the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible as an ‘example’ for a custom that says Jewish brothers generally murder one another?
Rush continues to state that the Talmud permitted sexual intercourse with a female child of the age of ‘three years and one day.’ Since children were considered as the possession of their father, the father’s permission was required for the marriage. Without this permission, sex with the child was an offense against the father as the child was considered his property.
— The crime could be compensated by payment to the father or by marrying the girl if so desired by the father (Id., 21). See also Dean/Bruyn-Kops, The Crime and the Consequences of Rape (1982), 19, who take reference to the Code of Hammurabi in ancient Babylon (about 1750 B.C.) stating that ‘[r]ape was a crime, to be sure, but not against the woman: only against the woman’s father or husband, since it was his property that had been damaged.’
Intercourse with a child younger than three years and one day had no legal consequences. (Id., 17)
If the girl had the Talmudic age and the father consented to the marriage, the act of intercourse legally consummated the marriage. In Rush’s view, this indicates that the Talmudic age of consent of three years and one day is not, as other researchers believe, a myth, but represented, at that time and in that particular culture, a legally significant fact for marriage and intercourse with female children.
— Id. Even today, in some remote areas in Asia, children of nine or ten years of age marry and have children at age thirteen or fourteen. Little girls are married to adult men if those men and the father agree for a sum of money to be paid by the future husband of the girl. The girl is barely asked about her own feelings; she’s an object in a deal between males.
Apart from the fact that even with a sense of humor an open-minded modern researcher may doubt that at any time in human history, adult men were choosing three-year old girls for marriage, Rush misses out on citing scientific sources for her view that contradicts the majority of the researchers who say that this prescription was to be understood as a religious myth, not as a law of the country at that time.
Whatever to say about Florence Rush’s conclusions as a self-declared feminist activist, what strikes here is the relativity of morality at different times and in different cultures that can also be seen in the fact that in Talmudic times, men were criminally punished for homosexuality, but not for sex with children, provided they were female. This was so because it was magically believed that the seed or semen was containing the life force directly and not only in form of a matrix as we believe it today. (Id., 20)
The Relativity of Morality
In fact, ‘spilling one’s seed on the ground’ was considered a criminal act for a man wasting his semen.
— It is called the ‘Crime of Onan’ in the Bible, which coined the expression onanieren in German language, which means ‘to masturbate.’
The Biblical order to be fruitful and multiply was primarily addressed to men. While present Occidental societies consider the child’s sexual virginity as the highest value to be legally protected, this was barely the case in ancient times. While sex with children was illegal in a very limited range of cases, male homosexuality was a capital crime. (Id.)
The consequences of male superiority over females and sexual dominance are drastically formulated by Florence Rush:
— So, as long as a man placed his penis in a vaginal canal, pointed his sperm in the right direction and did not indulge in any spermal extravagances, intercourse with a child or barred woman was permitted. (Id.)
As a result, ‘a male who rejected women also rejected his obligation to marry, multiply and perpetuate the patriarchal family … had to be stopped.’ (Id., 27)
Florence Rush considers this old belief as the true reason for our society’s mistrust of male intergenerational tenderness and sexuality, and the stigma on homosexuality inherent in Western civilization, especially where this stigma comes from fundamentalist Christian or Islamic circles, or religious organizations. Indeed, her argument is difficult to refute and bears convincing power.
Generally, it is puzzling to see to what extent Occidental societies have adopted, together with their Christian, old-testamentary tradition, these ancient moral standards. Criminal laws against homosexuality were and are mostly directed against male homosexuality, with as an exception to this rule only the former legislation of Austria and the Netherlands.
Lesbianism, by contrast, was much more easily tolerated. It is on the same line that many people still find it disgusting to see or to imagine two adult males dancing, caressing or kissing each other, whereas the same behavior among women would not even attract their attention or at most provoke a smile or a funny or obscene remark.
To repeat it, while our present modern societies consider the child’s sexual virginity as the highest value to be legally protected, this was not at all the case in ancient times. Besides the unlimited possibility of consensual sex between children and adults, even violent sexual assaults, such as the rape of boys under the age of nine years and of girls under the age of three years and one day by male adults was no crime. (Id., 28) Instead, male homosexuality was a capital crime. This shows the relativity of social and moral standards in a given society. In fact, it is the economic and political setup of a given culture that makes for the rules. Not what churches say is really pertinent, but what the social economy says.
— See, for example, Wilhelm Reich, The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality (1971) and Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. I : The Will to Knowledge (1976/1998).
The Roman Games
From the foregoing follows that sex with female children wasn’t unusual within the Hebrew culture. Regarding the ancient Roman culture, it is quite common knowledge today that, in addition, boylove was practiced, although in the literature the focus is more on the violent and exploitative forms of pederasty. Even the custom of public child assault and rape is reported. R.E.L. Masters (1962) described some of these practices that to today’s readers must appear horrifying.
After all, it was Caesar himself who initiated the idea of ‘bread and games’ for the masses and he was strangely successful with this macabre strategy of mass manipulation. What pleases the masses more than what is atrociously violent, grotesque, hideous, vulgar, obscene and inhuman?
Later, the Church has taken up Caesar’s tactics and done the same against female children they labeled as witches and that were publicly raped, tortured and killed in the most horrible ways. And, regarding our own pretendedly enlightened times, only to watch one of those modern American killer or horror movies to be convinced that the tradition of celebrating sadistic violence instead of love and pleasure has survived into our times.
Here is what R.E.L. Masters, in his study Forbidden Sexual Behavior and Morality (1962), reports about the Roman Games regarding children:
— For the Roman Games, male animals of all sorts were trained from the earliest possible age to copulate with and even forcibly ravish girls and women. Bulls, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs, wild boars, zebras, stallions, jack-asses, huge dogs, various kinds of apes, and other animals were taught — not without considerable effort on the part of their trainers — to perform these functions. Some of the more adaptable and enthusiastic ones were further tutored to commit sodomy on human males and females. (Id., 14–15)
Especially popular at the Games were representations of scenes from the sexual lives of the gods, with a favorite one being Pasiphae and the Bull. Needless to say that the bulls, stallions and giraffes, and some of the other larger animals, inflicted terrible suffering, sometimes even death, on their victims, who were often virgins and not infrequently small children.
— One appreciatively received spectacle is said to have been staged at which a hundred tiny blond girls were raped simultaneously by a horde of baboons, Chimpanzees and ferocious mandrills, made drunk by wine and inflamed by the odor of females of their kind, were loosed upon girls whose genitals had been drenched with the urine of female chimps and mandrills. On occasion, as a stirring climax to all of this, the beasts were permitted to kill and, if they wished, devour their human victims after assaulting them sexually. Such acts invariably brought down the house of the Games, and were even more popular than the often staged but never wearied-of human sex orgies. (Id.)
Child prostitution was common during Antiquity and later. As a matter of fact, child prostitution formed part of almost all Oriental and Occidental societies until our days.
In ancient times, child prostitution involving girls of pre-menstrual age was carried on as a religious practice in Egypt and it served to be a part of sexual life in Persia, Greece and Rome. Boylove or pederasty was not only practiced in ancient Greece and Rome, but represented an even more widespread and sophisticated tradition in Egypt and Persia.
— See, for example, the historical novel The Persian Boy (1972), by Mary Renault.
While in all these cultures boy prostitution was common, it has to be seen that, in ancient Greece, the situation of slave boys was different from that of noble boys. Whereas typically slave boys served in boy prostitution, the love for noble boys had a different, more idealistic educational connotation.
— See, for example, John Addington Symonds, A Problem in Greek Ethics (1971), K. J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (1997) and Hans Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece (1995).
Regarding child prostitution in ancient Rome, R.E.L. Masters notes:
— In Rome, usually without religious or other pretensions, child prostitution flourished on a grand scale, with even babies in cradles being introduced into the brothels, there to stimulate the voluptuaries and sadists with their wailings as their tiny bodies were violated. The emperor Domitian, who put an end to this outrageous practice, has been highly and rightly praised for so doing. These cradled babies apart, both young girls and young boys were a standard feature of the Roman brothel where the services required of them included not just coitus, sodomy and fellatio, but the entire gamut of perversions as the lascivious and debauched Roman imagination, inventive in this respect, could conceive it. (Id., 381)
Boylove and Pederasty
Among the Greek aristocracy of that time, philosophy tried to unify sensual and spiritual pleasure in boylove. It may be true that the Greek adopted pederasty from Persia or Egypt, or that it had begun in Crete, but the cultural status, refinement and spiritual goal of this practice was a typical and unique attribute of the Greek genius.
— The notion pederasty or paiderastaia (Greek) has to be distinguished from pedophilia. Whereas the latter is generally connoted with the sexual love for children of both sexes, the former generally describes love and sexual desire for boys, pais, in Greek, meaning boy and erastes meaning lover. The perhaps best treatise on the subject of pederasty or boylove is Dr. Edward Brongersma’s Loving Boys (1987) as it represents a unique compilation of private correspondence in which both love boys and boylovers speak openly about their love relations. The book was said by critics to be not ‘rational enough’ to be a scientific study in that it was ‘merely anecdotical.’ However, we have to see that every research is biased as the researcher is inevitably entangled with the object of observation, a fact that now is proven incontestably by quantum physics. In fact, like itself is anecdotical!
Parker Rossman, in his study Sexual Experiences between Men and Boys (1976), remarks:
— The Persians said that pederasty had begun in Crete, which was one of the first civilizations with the wealth and leisure to enjoy such tastes. (…) In Crete it was the custom for a man to kidnap a boy he liked, taking him home for a two-month honeymoon after which the boy was rewarded by a gift or armor. (…) In ancient Persia, for example, as in much of Asia at the beginning of history, pederasty became an exploited vice, typical of exploited sexual cultures. Captive boys were castrated, depilated, perfumed, and abused in a sensuous pederasty with sought exotic pleasures, with erotic sensations different from ordinary coitus. Pederasty became a cultivated taste of heterosexual men who despised gay-homosexuals, for they were not seeking love, but play and diversion. (Id., 95–96)
Symonds remarks that the Greek ascribed the origin of paiderastaia to Crete; it was here that the legend of Zeus and Ganymede was localized.
— John Addington Symonds, A Problem in Greek Ethics (1971), 4.
Love relations between noble boys and men were part of a culture in which ingenious works of art originated. For slaves, pederasty was forbidden. Greek noble boys were educated with values like honor, virtue (virtus), dignity, generosity and knowledge of science and art.
— John Addington Symonds, A Problem in Greek Ethics (1971), K. J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (1997).
Thorkil Vanguard writes in Phallós: A Symbol and its History in the Male World (2001):
— Pederasty served the highest goal — education (paideia). Erós was the medium of paideia, uniting tutor and pupil. The boy submitted and let himself be taken into the possession of the man. (Id., 87)
John Addington Symonds put it in the following terms:
— In treating of this unique product of their civilization I shall use the terms Greek Love, understanding thereby the passionate and enthusiastic attachment subsisting between man and youth, recognized by society and protected by opinion, which, though it was not free of sensuality, did not degenerate into mere licentiousness. (Id., 8)
The treatment of paiderastaia upon the Attic stage requires separate considerations. Nothing proves the popular acceptance and national approval of Greek love more forcibly to modern minds than the fact that tragedians like Aeschylus and Sophocles made it the subject of their dramas. (Id. 27)
The sensual, aesthetic dimension of man-boy love has been expressed poetically by most Greek poets and philosophers, among them Plato, Solon, Plutarch and Anacreon.
— See, for example, Plato, Symposium, Parmenides, Lysis, Plutarch, The Dialogue on Love, The Life of Lycurgus, The Life of Solon, Xenophon, Anabasis.
Boys were instructed in both spiritual matters and corporal exercises while they lived in so-called gymnasia. These schools were often places for the first sexual contacts among the boys which were easily initiated by the traditional mutual oiling of the naked bodies after the exercises. Not unusual were sexual relations between the boys and their teachers or other adult men visiting these schools because the official prohibition for adult men to enter these places was hardly observed.
— As reported by Plato in his Lysis. See: Plato, Complete Works (1997).
The rape of noble boys was legally prohibited and prosecuted. However, attempts to legally restrict boy prostitution in Athens were rather ineffective.
This picture is rather unique in written history; it was perhaps the only time and place in any of the various dominator cultures of the Occident where male children and adolescents were part of a sexually tolerant environment in which they could openly practice peer and intergenerational love and sex without being persecuted for their love.
It may be true that male adults seduced boys by means of promises and gifts, but it has to be seen that in any relationship between a man and a free boy, the adult assumed certain obligations toward the boy, obligations that were quite effectively stipulated by a non-written ethical code. This code included legal remedies for the boys who had been mistreated by their lover-teachers.
An important fact to consider is the meaning of the term ‘homosexuality’ in this context. It would be a fundamental error to suppose that Greek or Roman boylovers were homosexual in the modern sense of the word. This is so because they did by no means despise women sexually, nor did they have intercourse with adult men. In the contrary, the typical Greek or Roman boylover was a man with undisturbed relationships to women, and a man who, while he could be enamored in love with a prepubescent or pubescent boy, would not react in any sexual way regarding adult men.
It has to be seen that in this culture sexual relations with women, on one hand, and with boys, on the other, were not a matter of either-or. It is therefore not surprising that newer research admits that a homosexual radical is present in all men, just as it was in the time of the Greeks.
— Thorkil Vanguard, Phallós (2001) and Parker Rossman, Sexual Experiences between Men and Boys (1976).
With the Romans, who tried in many ways to imitate Greek culture and lifestyle — without however reaching at the Greeks’ sensitivity, aesthetics, sense of beauty and finesse — pederasty took on a more vulgar image. Horsemen made sexual use of their young grooms who were either noble boys or slave boys.
— R. E. L. Masters, Forbidden Sexual Behavior and Morality (1962), and Thorkil Vanguard, Phallós (2001).
But even in Greece, when the culture was in decline, the more negative and abrasive sexual customs prevailed over the originally aesthetic and positive attitude toward natural body pleasure. R.E.L. Masters writes:
— At the decline of the ancient Greek culture, which had been considerably weakened by the Peloponnesian war, the more negative sides prevailed also in cultural matters. Boy prostitution involving slave boys grew up enormously. But even boys of noble birth were castrated by scrupulous slave merchants and were sold to Persia where they served as eunuchs in the Harems. Besides the painful act of castration — through which a number of boys bled to death — it has to be seen that the effect of castration, contrary to common belief, does not result in a diminution of the sexual drive. In the contrary, castrated people suffer all pains of sexual arousal which can however by no means be satisfied. Thus, these boys, conceivably aroused by the young girls and women (who behaved quite shamelessly in front of the eunuchs), suffered, after having endured the physical torture, a continuous psychic agony which, not infrequently, transformed their mutilated sexuality into open sadism. (Id., 401)
Whereas in ancient Greece before its decline, boylove was the privilege of nobles, the Romans preferred the possibility of easy and on-the-spot sexual gratification rather than love relations with a certain aesthetic beauty. Consequently, love and sex relations with slave boys were common for Roman nobles and the picture of the Roman sexual life in this matter comes closer to Persian standards. Examples of debauchery were given to the Roman people by their own emperors. R.E.L. Masters writes:
— Of Tiberius, Suetonius The Historian says that he was accustomed to swim in a grotto where boys of tender years whom he called his little fishes, were taught to move about between his thighs, darting at his penis with tongue and mouth, and biting (or nibbling) at it gently. With children not yet weaned, he would put his phallus to their lips, as if it were a teat, encouraging them to suckle it. He also delighted in witnessing sexual orgies with children as the participants. (Id.)
As for the Orient, Persia, for example, knew boy brothels ‘and pederasty in particular was glorified in song, verse, and sermon, by both priests and poets.’ (Id., 400)
— In these brothels, called butchakhana, the male children were taught to contract the anal sphincter so that they could grip and milk the penis, as the girls of India were taught to do with their vaginas, and as some experts on marital relations are now encouraging American housewives to learn to do in the interest of greater togetherness. Boys who could master this feat were able, of course, to afford their customers more exquisite and varied pleasure, and consequently commanded higher fees than those received by boys not accomplished in providing such rare sensations. (Id.)
Also in the Far East (China, Japan) boy prostitution was highly regarded. R.E.L. Masters, referring to A. Edwardes, The Jewel of the Lotus, reports:
— In China, boys as young as four years of age were tutored in the fine art of passive pederasty, and in Japan the boy brothels were superintended by Buddhist monks, whose customers were the worshipers at the temples. (Id., 400–401)
An important aspect in this context, and for this study in general, is the phenomenon of phallic aggression. The following examples clarify that the notion describes a manifestation of human sexual behavior which has to be succinctly distinguished from pleasurable and consenting forms of sexual love. Phallic aggression is just another expression for the violent sexual assault. Phallic aggression or violent sexual assault is nowadays vividly discussed in the literature and the media regarding sex with children. The bias in this discussion is that it almost always focuses on the rare cases where children are the victims of either brutish, confused or highly paranoid adults. To get more clarity about these issues, we should clearly distinguish between the following two different ways in which human sexuality can manifest:
The tender, sensuous, pleasurable, consenting love/sex relationship and play among children or children/adults where the child partners enjoy their part of the game and are autonomous enough to control it to a point to stop it if they experience discomfort;
The aggressive-voluptuous or aggressive-sadistic sexual assault that typically does not manifest as a shared pleasurable experience but where one partner, typically the older, takes advantage of the younger so as to dominate the relationship to a point to perform penetration either by profiting of the fear of the younger partner or, ultimately, by forcing the sex act upon him or her so that on the part of the victim a feeling of total disempowerment occurs besides greater or lesser physical hurt (rape or rape-like assault).
In Variant Two, sexuality is used as a tool for satisfying nonsexual urges, namely a power hangup, manifesting as a desire to control and dominate another human.
Of course, in sexuality involved is always a certain form of natural aggressiveness but this is not per se to be qualified as violence. This is so because violence typically is not an expression of power, but a form of powerlessness that compensates for a power hangup. From this hangup result the destructive consequences involved in violence, and not from sexuality as such. Phallic aggression is violence because it is deliberately destructive, targeting at subduing the sexual mate and rendering him or her a victim, and not a partner.
— John Gunn, Violence (1973), p. 15.
Thorkil Vanguard, in his study Phallós, examined phallic aggression and concluded:
— We have to conclude, therefore, that different varieties of effect derived from what we call aggression may be able to act as stimuli of erection and genital activity in men — the triumphant pleasure of subduing and humiliating another man, for instance. The aggressive element, void of all eroticism, is precisely what is operating in such scenes of collective violence as that described in the biblical tale of Sodom… (Thorkil Vanguard, Phallós (2001), p. 102.)
The Bible story of The Levite and The Concubine (Judges 19:11–30) provides a twofold example of such sexual violence. The story tells about a Levite and his concubine traveling and given hospitality by an old man for the night. After the host answered a loud banging at the door, he was confronted with a gang of men demanding the guest to be handed over to them for rape. The host refused and reprimanded the men because of the hospitality code, but the gang insisted. Thus, the host offered his own virgin daughter and the guest’s concubine: ‘Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do such vile a thing.’ The gang preferred the concubine which had been cast out to them by her own lover: ‘The gang beat and raped her all night and left her on the doorstep where the guest found her dying the next morning.’
This story tells us about the attempted rape of a man and the completed gang rape and murder of his concubine. We have to wonder why the gang originally asked for the man as a sexual victim?
It would be a grave misunderstanding to take this story as an example of homosexuality in the Bible. Orthodox Christians interpreted the story in this way and thus covered up the important message of the tale. For everybody familiar with rape research and the phenomenon of phallic aggression of men against men, this story is but one example of many that show that phallic aggression exists.
Another example is the rape of prisoners by their fellow prisoners in badly handled prisons. Typically this kind of phallic aggression is let out and directed against prisoners who are convicted for sexual crimes. It is a matter of common knowledge that pedophiles are quite regularly victims of rape and violent assault, especially in British and American prisons, and this even under the eyes and sometimes with the open collaboration of the prison staff.
— A. G. Davis, Sexual Assaults in the Philadelphia Prison System and Sheriff’s Van, Trans-Action 6, pp. 2–8, 1968, A.M. Scarro (Ed.), Male Rape (1982), Floyd Salas, Tattoo the Wicked Cross (1967). These sources report the decision of the Supreme Court of Sweden refusing to extradite a prisoner to the USA. This prisoner, a Kentucky physician who was charged with child molestation because he had fondled some boy patients’ penises, was not delivered to his home country with the argument of inhuman conditions in American prisons.
Other examples of male aggression in the form of forced sex are the custom that ranged for a long time in the Turkish army where it was common for the officers to force sodomitic acts upon their subordinate soldiers. Male rape has quite little to do with either eroticism, homosexuality or even with sexuality as such. It is forced-upon aggression that uses sex as a tool for male domination in order to inflict pain and humiliation, using the phallus-penis as a weapon.
— Thorkil Vanguard, Phallós (2001), p. 107.
The common expression sodomy, as a devaluating synonym for anal intercourse, has its historical root in the above-mentioned Sodom story and shows the negative and actually completely misguided view Christianity has built into any form of non-marital sexuality.
Frequently, in cases of consenting pedophilia, when anal intercourse was part of the love game between an adult and his child mate, the whole vocabulary of that Sodom story is used by criminal justice to debase this single part of the love relation denouncing the whole of it as a forced act of brutal and aberrant sexual violence resulting in defining the younger mate as a per se victim. This is in most cases done without ever asking the question if the boy or girl had consented to passive pederasty, deriving pleasure from it, or given anal fulfillment to the adult mate as a selfless gift without deriving pleasure from it. Both is namely possible and has to be evaluated on a case to case basis, and not as a general opinion.
The conclusion to draw from the present material is that the common denominator for phallic aggression and other forms of destructive aggression is violence, and not sexuality. In turn, as a next result of this research, we can say that it is irrelevant if the mate in the love game was an adult or a child, for the definition of violence in a sexual relationship is not dependent on the age of the partners. Sexual violence is primarily a release of aggressive tension, an urge to exert power, to subdue, to humiliate and emasculate the victim. The baboon sitting on guard with an erect penis demonstrates the prototypical aggressive erection, and when he mounts a surrendering foe and effects anal penetration this is seen to be an act of exerting control.
Clinical experience with human males shows that there is a difference in feeling between the aggressive orgiastic pleasure and that which is the outcome of a synthesis of love with a tempered aggression.
It is not surprising, then, that the gang, in the Sodom story, prefers the guest’s concubine over the host’s virgin daughter because magically the concubine serves as a surrogate for the man, as a power-object to be destroyed that belongs to the man who is hated because he’s a stranger or belongs to an out-group that was despised by the local in-group.
This is the second, not less important, aspect of the story. The concubine is given as a substitute for the man; she has been cast out to them in order to protect the male guest. It was even her lover himself who had cast her out to the gang while the host had offered his own virgin daughter. This shows that in the Jewish-Hebrew value system of the time, the male gender was considered as higher and even holier than the female gender; the ravishing and murder of the man’s concubine was relevant only insofar as she represented the man’s possession and thus her rape and murder was legally a property offense against the man. Only a terminological turn to say that actually females, in our patriarchal tradition, were not considered as humans at all or, as feminists put it, the rape of the woman or the rape of a female child were irrelevant for the Bible.
— See Marie M. Fortune, Sexual Violence (1994), 49–50.
This evidence is so important because the Christian tradition until our days is built upon this ancient, strange and even aberrant ‘moral’ system. This is not just an assumption, but it can be seen reflected in the most recent anti-pedophile laws among the whole of the Anglo-Saxon world.
In ancient times, and in a wide range of present occidental societies’ predecessors, children played their part in many adults’ sexual wishes and practices. Including the more idealistic, noble and aesthetically attractive pederastic relationships in ancient Greek nobility, children were exposed to all kinds of sexual approaches and customs from consenting sex to orgies, banquets, as emperor’s sweeties, until extremely violent and sadistic customs such as the single or group rape of small girls by adult men or animals, and even the offer of cradled babies to customers in some Roman brothels.
Logically, the reality of those acts of sexual violence cannot defend us from considering that in secret, just as today, consenting sex between adults and children was practiced on a large scale. Possibly it is just the fact that such relationships were taken for granted at those times that historians did not see any need or interest in reporting them. This is unfortunately an argument that, while important, was not considered by psychohistorians, nor by socially conscious psychologists. As brilliant as I consider their research, and as valuable as it is, I regret that this point was until today not further elucidated in serious scientific research.
As a matter of fact, we have to consider a certain bias in human psychology, if we like it or not: it is always the spectacular or somewhat unusual, the bizarre side of events which attracts historical, psychological or anthropological interest, and not things that are going smoothly and that everybody finds socially adequate, even if they may be unusual. This may be the reason for the striking fact that, whereas violent child abuse has been made out by some concerned historians, the dimensions of nonviolent and consenting pedophilia in ancient times have never been examined, if they have not been totally overlooked. Hence, the present material cannot be taken as evidence to refute my assumption that such nonviolent and consenting forms of adult-child erotic love have existed over the whole course of human history.
Regarding the other side of child abuse, physical abuse, the battery of children as a form of strict education, ancient patriarchy provides a picture of extreme violence in that the father as the beholder of the patria potestas was legally permitted to not only chastise his wife and children for even minor offenses against the harsh moral code, but could at will beat them to death, abandon them, sell them into slavery or just slaughter them off.
For the understanding of Christianity it is important to consider the fact that this religion came up during a highly violent and decadent phase of the Roman Empire where sexual customs had taken extreme, violent and exploitative forms. The early Christian gnostics, in their idealistic struggle for a better world, threw out the baby with the bathwater in directing their zeal not just against extreme forms of sexploitation and violence, but against body pleasure as such.
— R. E. L. Masters, Forbidden Sexual Behavior and Morality (1962).
The Church introduced the death penalty for the pederast or the homosexual having practiced sodomy. While child protection was originally propagated by the Church, canon law could not effectively prohibit child marriage and its practice continued, only that the age of consent was set to twelve years of age while marriages with girls under that age were not uncommon at the time.
— Florence Rush, The Best Kept Secret (1980), 31.
Church-Ordained Child Murder
Contrary to Hebrew law and customs, where a bride could be legally acquired by contract, money or sexual intercourse, with the Christians only the fact of sexual intercourse validated the marriage.
— Id. Until our days, canon law requires a marriage to be consummated by sexual intercourse in order to be valid. This demonstrates well the originally sexuality-regulative character of marriage. It also shows the act-centered and procreation-oriented character of Church-institutionalized love, as it was taken over by the later nation-states, ecclesiastically approved as marriage-sex or marriage-rape.
In the 6th century, Pope Gregory decreed that any female taken by a man in copulation belonged to him and his kindred.
— Id., with further references.
With the separation of civil law from canon law in 13th century England under the Statutes of Westminster, statutory rape became established. It was not yet a felony, but only a misdemeanor to rape a girl under the age of twelve.
— Id., 34–35.
Later, in 1576, statutory rape was established as a felony when the raped girl was less than ten years old. (Id.)
Twelve years remained the age of consent for marriage and the rape of a girl between ten and twelve was a misdemeanor. (Id.)
— Within the Jewish society, however, the age of consent was considerably lower, generally seven years. In the old Indian society, it was seven years, too, while the law of Manu fixed the age of a girl to marry at eight years, see Johann Jakob Bachofen’s Gesammelte Werke, Vol. 2, Das Mutterrecht, Part I (1861/1948), p. 501.
Especially noteworthy in this context is the witchhunt phenomenon. Witches were in most cases not old, lame, bleary-eyed, foul and full of wrinkles as some fairy tales make us believe, but young girls and women who were beautiful and sexually attractive, and perhaps also sexually experienced; the witchhunts were a common way for the Church to get rid of juvenile sex offenders as they would be called today.
— Id. See also E. William Monter, Witchcraft in France and Switzerland (1976), Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 1976, and Sigmund von Riezler, Geschichte der Hexenprozesse in Bayern (1983).
What was this witchcraft paranoia all about? As a matter of social psychology, there is no doubt that all what is outside the narrow frontiers of socially approved sexual behavior provokes fear and often disgust; on the other hand it bears an almost mystical attraction. Thus, since repulsion and attraction contradict each other, the sex-repression paradigm invariably creates a schizoid psychic setup in most of the members of a given sexually repressive culture. As a result, in a culture that explains the schizoid split in terms of god and devil, all sex-related phenomena are by definition related to the devil. Hence, any kind of sexual relation outside marriage and procreation was considered as ‘copulation with the devil.’ (Id.) Florence Rush lucidly remarks:
— The witch hunt took place in Europe from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued a papal bull empowering the Inquisition (the judicial arm of the church) to find, imprison, examine, torture and execute witches. To facilitate the process, the Dominican friars Heinrich Kramer and James Spengler compiled the Malleus Maleficarum, a document which became the guideline for witch hunting and, dog-eared, appeared upon the bench of every Inquisitional court. This guideline labeled a woman guilty of witchcraft when she merely practices her traditional role. As midwife she was said to offer newborn babies to the devil, as abortionist she slew infants in their mother’s wombs and, because of her knowledge of vegetation and birth control, she was said to blast the produce of the earth and prevent wives from conceiving. Coming from a long line of pagan mothers and grandmothers, the document declared, females did not shrink from the foulest abominations and filthiest excesses, and copulated with the devil. (Id., 37)
Difficult to say what really is the truth here. Florence Rush cites Jean Bodin, a sixteenth-century law professor and Carmelite monk and Henri Bouget, a lawyer of that time, to corroborate her thesis that witchcraft was entirely a psychological blackout for hiding widespread sexual abuse of children:
— Jean Bodin, a sixteenth-century law professor and Carmelite monk, in order to root out this heresy established that the usual legal measures were not applicable. Little girls at age six (legal age for sexual consent in France) were of an age to copulate with the devil, and therefore old enough to stand trial. Bodin found burning by fire too swift (half an hour from beginning to end) and preferred the extended agony of cautery by a hot iron for both children and adults. Henri Bouget, a prominent lawyer of the same century and nationality, reasoned that once in Satan’s clutches, the reform of children under twelve was impossible. He systematically tortured eight-year old Loyse Mailley until she named accomplices and thus created the basis for a mass witch hunt. Nicholas Remy, demonologist and Inquisitor, found no lack of examples to prove that their age does not restrain children from committing deeds of witchcraft. In England, Jennie Device, age eight, after incriminating her mother, burned with her as a witch. In the same country Mary Hicks, age nine, and her mother Elizabeth, were burned at the stake. In America, five-year old Sara Good was found capable of casting an eye and was imprisoned in chains with her mother. In Luther’s Germany, in 1628, Anna Rausch, age twelve, Sybille Lutz, eleven, and little Murchin, eight and a half, all confessed to having had sexual relations with the incubus (male demon). Sybille and Anna were put to death, but Murchin and some other children were remanded to their fathers for reformation. In a letter to an unidentified friend in 1624, the chancellor to the Prince-Bishop of Würtzburg stated that there have been 300 children of three and four who are said to have intercourse with the devil. I have seen children of seven put to death. In Mora, Sweden, in 1669, authorities claimed that the devil had hundred of children in his power; fifteen were burned and thirty-six between nine and fifteen were condemned to be scourged at the church door weekly for a year. In the Hague at the close of the seventeenth century, eight youths under age fifteen and one girl age twelve confessed to fornication with the devil and died at the stake. (Id., 38–39)
Parapsychology attributed witchcraft to paranormal phenomena and ‘copulation with the devil’ as a possession phenomenon. I wonder if perhaps both theories could be true? There is abundant historical evidence, but what most shocks about it is that the Church, instead of being out to finding the truth, invariably blamed, cruelly tortured or even killed the victims, and this even if the girls were so young that they could not suffer a man, for they were considered to being able to accommodate the devil:
— Although Catharina Latomia of Marche at Haracourt, February 1587, was not yet of an age to suffer a man, he [the devil] twice raped her in prison being moved with hatred for her because he saw that she intended to confess the crime; and she very nearly died of the injuries she received from that coitus. (Id., 39–40)
Florence Rush attributes the belief in evil spirits to a form of psychological blackout, and accordingly considers it to be a cultural pretext for child rape by forwarding a supernatural cause. While this rationalizing explanation may bear some truth, I think it would be reductionist to generally explain the witchcraft phenomenon as a mere fact of societal blinding out of child rape. We have to realize that it is recognized in parapsychology that a great number of so-called witches had actual paranormal capacities and that it was the Church’s spiritual monopoly that made the Inquisition persecute people who possessed psychic or spiritual powers that the Church claimed to hold as the exclusive spiritual power holder.
It is interesting to know, in this context, that Sigmund Freud, in his study about the psychoanalytic explanation of witchcraft, writes that the witch’s broomstick symbolizes the great god penis. Historically, attraction for young virgins was a normal sexual response for an adult male in both the Occident and the Orient in pre-Christian times. A little girl was educated accordingly: she had to develop early awareness of her erotic, pleasing and enchanting capacities.
The threat that the Church as an organization was facing was spiritual freedom in the form of sexual freedom: the fact that children could find out about their own truth, individually, and not as part of a herd, and who could thus dare to question the doctrinaire absolutism of the Church was considered a heresy. And it is obvious that children were able to revolt and express that revolt verbally and by deed. For we must not forget that in the Middle-Ages and still during the Renaissance a boy of fourteen was ready for marriage, a fully grown man who already as an apprentice, from age ten and earlier was out of the house and on the street, wandering from one master to the other in order to learn his métier. And girls, whereas puberty started much later than today, were being brides at age seven or eight, and if they were withheld from consuming intercourse with their future husbands, it was only for securing the final bond, and avoiding the youngster to run away with another virgin before marriage. And marriage would occur between twelve and fourteen, exactly the age range most of these witches were.
It thus can be questioned if the Church really was applying a child protection paradigm. It seems to me that the Church never really defended children. Fact is that the Church had a horror of self-thinkers; and when those self-thinkers were children, that was even more threatening; it is well-known that a child that really has found out about life will not easily sign up for any dogmatic and life-denying guru or sense-giver, be it a Church, a sect, a savior or ‘total consumption’ as today’s postmodern credo. The Christian stigma on human sexuality made intergenerational love a crime to be cruelly and mercilessly prosecuted by the Inquisition.
To put it in shorter terms, what was feared in sex by the Church was not sex itself, but the knowledge it conveys. Sexual beings are not easy to brainwash into blind obedience and religious fanaticism.
The Demonization of Intergenerational Love
It was long before modern sex laws when every form of intergenerational sex outside of marriage was equated with rape; it was the Christian value system that is at the basis of the demonization of child-adult sexual relations. Here is the historical root of this perspective that later was constituted legally as statutory rape. The Church’s child protection paradigm was problematic because it punished the victims. Where rape occurred, the Church typically refused any form of true care for the victim, regardless of her age, and besides never questioned the cruel dogma of the patria potestas that gave the father a license to all kind of child abuse, child torture and even parental child murder, as such violence against children could always be justified with acting ‘for the best of the child’ within the institution of so-called corporal punishment or chastisement.
Also, regarding the Church’s stressing heterosexual intercourse intending at procreation as the only ‘natural’ form of sexual behavior, it has been argued that the dichotomy natural-unnatural with regard to sexuality opens the door to discrimination by discarding out ‘sexually deviant’ behavior.
Homosexuality has long been considered as ‘unnatural’ and today most people in Western societies judge pedophilia in the same way. To engage in ‘unnatural sex’ is tantamount for most people with ‘being perverted.’
The truth is that normalcy simply does not exist in nature, and thus what we face here is an ideological fake-argument, so typical for totalitarian and fascist regimes, religious or political.
Let us not forget that throughout human history, human beings have been prosecuted, tortured and killed for being ‘unnatural’ or ‘perverted.’
In Nazi Germany, even a whole branch of art, that today is called modern art, was condemned and publicly destroyed as ‘perverted art’ (entartete Kunst). Intolerance, it seems, begins with the use of dangerous terms such as ‘unnatural’ — and it ends with gas chambers.
To conclude, historical evidence does not reveal that there was a consciousness evolution from Antiquity to Christianity. It seems that, in the contrary, Christianity created havoc in our collective psyche by planting in humans a schizophrenic split between body and mind. As a result, the suppression of natural body functions became the basis of the most cruel forms of education as the Church practiced them in their own religious schools. Religious terror in the forms of Puritanism and Calvinism spread the view that the child’s soul was bad from birth, affected by original sin and that, for this reason, the child’s will had to be broken … or society would be thrown into chaos. Clarke-Steward, a leading textbook on child development, retracing child education over the course of written history, writes about the period from 1500 until the mid-1700s:
— The goal of child rearing at this time was salvation. Puritans in particular, because of their fundamentalist religion, considered it necessary to stamp out sin in children. There was no choice but to defeat the child, to bend the child’s initially satanic will by hard work and constant, even severe, punishment. It was less important to raise a healthy or happy child than a saved child. Happiness could well be the mark of the devil, playfulness and cheeriness signs of damnation.
— Alison Clarke-Stewart, S. Friedman & J. Koch, Child Development (1986), pp. 4–30, at 4.
Stevi Jackson notes in her book Childhood and Sexuality (1982):
— In the era of the demoniac child the idea of the original sin was closely associated to sex; the child’s sexuality was an integral part of the beast that had to be kept at bay. (Id., 46)
On the basis of its almost total depreciation of the human potential — which, even under their own religion, is a blasphemy — this Christian religion systematically destroyed personal identity, inspired art and a truly humane social life until these days. This is true just as much for socialist or communist regimes where only the institutions are different, but the disdain of personality, originality and sexual pleasure are amazingly similar.
The puritanism of Mao’s China was an especially surprising feature in Asia, after the most refined sexual traditions of ancient China, and it proves my point that it is not the ridiculous ideas like child protection that make for sexual permissiveness or repression, but solely the political and social circumstances reigning at a certain time and place that establish sexual mores. The explanation is very simple in Mao’s case. He was raised by Western protestants, and completely brainwashed into Calvinism.
In the Western world, the old Puritan paradigm found new roots in the modern business culture with its high stress on competition, the out-beating of others, anti-hedonism and appalling hypocrisy together with a general loss of personal identity and soul values. This is so because sexual experience and gain of personal identity are interconnected.
— See Hedy S. Porteous, Sex and Identity: Your Child’s Sexuality (1972).
In other words, personal identity is to a large part due to sexual experience, and a function of sexual activity. This is one of the reasons why children in our present culture hardly have an identity, and this is wanted by the system. Children are kept from being sexual for no other reason than this; they are better consumers when they have a lesser strong identity. In still other words, it’s not morality that is the reason of the present puritanical attitudes regarding child sexuality; it has economic reasons. Today it’s the economic power holder conglomerates that have an interest that the masses are growing up as ‘nonsexual’ as possible; some centuries ago it was the ecclesiastical dominant strata that had an interest in suppressing sexual wishes. Back in the Middle-Ages and within religious circles the condemnation of sexual behavior of any kind had to lead to a loss of self-identity, of personality, of personal responsibility, and accordingly created a craving for protection, be it from heaven or an omnipotent placeholder of it, the Church. It was this lack of personal identity — well symbolized in the earth-escaping Gothic cathedral — which was the strongest basis not only for totalitarian churches and inquisitions but also, later on, the holocausts of the Nazis and all its copies around the world.
The themes and techniques of Middle-Age art are quite stereotyped. Although Gothic cathedrals are extraordinary architectural monuments, they do not exhibit any individual or personal expression. In the contrary, the escape from human individuality and personality into an immaterial and uncognizable divine world that is symbolically expressed in the violently tending upwards of the cathedral’s structures. Painting and sculpture are dominated by a never-ending cult of suffering and sentimental standard themes in which characteristic traces of the individual artist are as good as annihilated. Collectivism and disdain of individuality in such a pseudo-religious culture reflects the Pisces worldview which dominated that era in the psychological development of humanity.
What remained from humanity after the Christian terror is but a torso, a mutilated Barbarian form of togetherness that is neither social nor caring nor humane, but simply paranoid and sick. Our today’s Western darth vader societies are the direct result of it.
The Victorian era is marked by the so-called virgin cult which was not only a religious cult with respect to the Holy Virgin, but at the same time, and frivolously so, a cult of deflowering virgins … as a pornographic group fantasy. R.E.L. Masters remarks:
— The eighteenth century, one of the most erotically debauched interludes in the history of the West, found children especially in demand by voluptuaries and sadists and other perverts, and subjected them to all manner of sexual practices and atrocities.
— R.E.L. Masters, Forbidden Sexual Behavior and Morality (1962), 394–395.
The Virgin Cult
At no time before in history, virginity was so high in value as under the Christians. The virgin was a fantasy product of the strong condemnation of premarital sex, a fetish. Only a virgin deserved to be desired by an honorable man. Canon law required from the husband to consummate the marriage by deflowering his virgin-wife in the wedding night. However, the Church’s intention to channel human sexuality within the tight borders of marriage failed, and the rape-the-virgin cult became a mania in brothels and the newly established industrial areas as for example in Paris under Napoleon’s regime or, later, the worker districts in London where young girls abounded who wanted to earn extra money in selling their virginity to gentlemen.
— J. X. Hood, Scientific Curiosities of Love, Sex and Marriage (1951) and R. E. L. Masters, Forbidden Sexual Behavior and Morality (1962).
R.E.L. Masters, citing J.X. Hood, writes:
— The mania of defloration of virgins naturally led to child prostitution and many brothels were established for the supply of young girls. According to Ryan, in the year 1810, a brothel in Crispin Street, Spitalfields (London) was started to prostitute girls of fourteen and under. Another such brothel, run by David Romaine in Mile End, was equally popular. (…) There were always from thirty to forty children in his brothels! A correspondent of the French paper Figaro, reported that at midnight nearly 500 girls, 12 to 15 years of age, paraded between Piccadilly Circus and Waterloo Place, a distance not more than 300 yards long. (Id., 385)
I already explained that the male sexual organ can be used as a phallus, an instrument to hurt, to subdue and to humiliate. Modern rape research explained that it is less the pleasure-seeking sex drive as such that causes rape or rape-like assaults, but the need and desire of the rapist to overpower, to dominate and to hurt.
— See, for example, A. Nicholas Groth, Men Who Rape (1980), Jeffrey H. Goldstein, Aggression and Crimes of Violence (1975), Elizabeth Ward, Father-Daughter Rape (1985).
Rape is more an act of violence than a sexual act. R.E.L. Masters describes this fact quite clearly regarding the Victorian virgin cult:
— To deflower a girl can be an assault, an act of hostility. In the pornographic literature of this period, emphasis is placed on the victim’s screams of pain and cries for help: the blood, the humiliation, the fear. Copulation with a girl in whom the sexual instincts are not fully aroused is, as far as she is concerned, a frightening and cruel attack. Thus, the sexual act, instead of being a source of pleasure for the participants, has become equated with the degradation of woman, a means for man to display his superiority and display of contempt. (Id., 386, quoting Burgo Patridge, History of Orgies, 1960)
A typical outcome of Christianity was the double moral standard in sexual matters. While children were put on an artificial pedestal of purity and innocence, it was exactly this imagined purity and innocence of the child that gave the rapist his specific pleasure. In the meantime, the construct of the sexual innocence of the child was being disproved by abundant research.
— Alayne Yates, Sex Without Shame: Encouraging the Child’s Healthy Sexual Development (1978), Stevi Jackson, Childhood and Sexuality (1982), Wilhelm Reich, Children of the Future (1984), Rothschild/Wolf, Children of the Counterculture (1976),, Johnston/Deisher, Contemporary Communal Child Rearing, A First Analysis, 52 PEDIATRICS 319 (1973), Larry L. Constantine, Children & Sex: New Findings, New Perspectives (1981) and Treasures of the Island: Children in Alternative Families (1976) as well as Where are the Kids? (1977) and Open Family: A Lifestyle for Kids and other People, 26 FAMILY COORDINATOR 113–130 (1977), Chelsea Cain, Moon Unit Zappa, Wild Child (1999), Richard Farson, Birthrights, A Bill of Rights for Children (1974), Calderone/Ramey, Talking With Your Child About Sex (1982), Foster/Freed, A Bill of Rights for Children, 6 FAMILY LAW QUARTERLY 343 (1972), M. Cook, & K. Howells, (Eds.), Adult Sexual Interest in Children (1980).
The 19th century brought no change in this respect. At that time, male London city dwellers could easily have young girls in the poor quarters of the town where extreme misery was one of the reasons for widespread child prostitution.
One of the goals of this chapter is to show that the recent public debate on child abuse and pedophilia is but a historical evergreen and that it is for the most part based on a totally distorted historical picture. Sexual repression and hypocrisy that were instituted by Christianity brought no change for the better in the destiny of children, in the contrary. The man as the symbol for power and potency in this quickly industrializing century dominated family, women and children. To quote Florence Rush:
— This was also a time when man had triumphed over nature, and since woman was nature and man her conqueror, what could better assure man of mastery than his ability to inflict pain? Pain became the essential ingredient for pleasurable sex. (…) And since the defloration of very young virgins can be excruciating, Victorians were obsessed with a defloration mania. The screams of children became indispensable, shrill torture was the essence of delight and many gentlemen would not silence a single note. (Id., 60–61)
In an anonymous sex biography, Florence Rush found the following description:
— She trembled. I pressed her and gave a tremendous thrust, and was on the right road … she screamed You hurt — get off — I won’t let you!. She screeched loudly and struggled violently. I rose on my knees and looked at the girl who lay quiet with her thighs wide open and her hand over the face … I was delighted beyond measure, she bled more than any virgin of her age which I ever yet have had I think. (Id., 61)
The number of minor girls — children aged 12 to 16 — from the poor and exploited working class prostituting themselves from early age steadily increased. The merciless steam engine of the Industrial Revolution made a few millionaires, while leaving thousands in poverty and misery.
— In the German, French and English literature, depressing descriptions of the life stories of worker class people can be found. To quote only a few examples: Gerhard Hauptmann, Wanda; Emile Zola, Germinal, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist. Charlie Chaplin reports in his autobiography to have in his childhood been exposed to cruel beatings in a London boarding school, see Charles Chaplin, My Autobiography (1966), pp. 27 ff.
Sexual exploitation was the consequence of commercial exploitation. The two forms of exploitation only differ by the fact that, whereas the commercial exploitation of the working class was an officially known and accepted phenomenon, its sexual counterpart flourished in the underground. And this underground had enormous dimensions. Out of two thousand six hundred girls arrested in Paris for secret practice of prostitution, one thousand five hundred were minors.
— Florence Rush, The Best Kept Secret (1980), 63, with further references.
And this was certainly only the peak of the iceberg. Another study found that fifty-eight percent of the unregistered prostitutes in Vienna were minors. (Id.)
In Paris, during the first part of the century, half the reported prostitutes were minors, some no more than age ten. (Id.)
In the United States, sexual exploitation of slaves and the trade of young Chinese girls are reported. (Id.)
Child prostitution and child trade increased to considerable dimensions, also with regard to the financial volume this business was beginning to take. Florence Rush reports:
— Sex merchants moved from local, national, to international markets. England, Germany, France, Scandinavia and East European countries engaged in a lively trade, but routes also crossed continents. Malay Street in Singapore, the Babylon of the East housed Japanese, Chinese, Austrian, French and German preteen and teenagers in their brothels. American children were found in Hong Kong, Siam and Calcutta. School-aged English girls were transported through the United States to Buenos Aires. German pre-adolescents and adolescents were sent to Argentina and Uruguay, while others moved overland to Prussia, Poland and Russia. This extensive transportation of bodies could never have operated without official sanction and protection. The police and higher officials who took bribes never feared recrimination. Why should they? Even the King of Belgium increased his annual income by personally trading in English girls. (Id., 64)
The 20th century was unique in that it showed more public concern than ever before in history for the welfare of the child. By the same token, the child protection idea became the predominant paradigm evaluating childhood in Western industrialized societies.
As we have seen, this ‘protection thinking’ already came up earlier in history, under the Christian era; but the consciousness, systematic evaluation and practical realization of a protective environment for children is a typical twentieth century ideal.
In the philosophical world of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the idea also has come up long before it became a widespread social paradigm.
The Sadism of Protection
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s educational novel Emile depicts an apparently modern educational concept which comes over as rational and empirical. However, Rousseau’s child-centeredness and rationality is based upon the total control of the child and uses open or hidden manipulation to direct the child. This manipulation, this is the paradox, is not rational, but totally emotional.
For the anecdote, I believe it is not unimportant to know that Rousseau himself abandoned his wife and five children, before writing Emile. One must wonder about such a father who then comes up with becoming an authority on child-rearing.
The sadistic overtones of the child’s instructor cannot be overlooked. Thus, the great French philosopher, perhaps against his intention, has actually led child protection ad absurdum. René Schérer brilliantly unveiled this fact in his study Émile perverti ou des rapports entre l’éducation et la sexualité (1974/2006) showing with stunning conclusiveness that Rousseau made no exception to the rule that every effort for educating the young comes from the pedophilic or pederastic part of our loving attraction to children. However, to the same extent that this erotic attraction is positive and constructive when it is conscious and integrated, it can become destructive and violent once it is repressed. This has already been evidenced by Freud as a general rule of our emotional setup. Furthermore, Freud’s research made clear that sublimation of erotic attraction is only possible in the case it is recognized, accepted and rendered conscious.
Many educators, still today, suffer from a deep knowledge gap and emotional immaturity as to their repressed pedophilic desires that, as a result, regress into sadistic, violent and often uncontrollable urges to subdue, control and disempower the child. It seems that the modern trend for a total protection of the child against real life, outside a rose-blue plastic ersatz world, is not wholly based upon rational motives; in fact, fear and bewilderment continue to surround all topics that deal with the real child, their real needs, emotions, and their real sexuality.
Research on child trauma showed that children who experience sexual relations with adults show less evidence of fear, anxiety, guilt or psychic trauma than might be expected and ‘[t]hat there was evidence that the child derived some emotional satisfaction from the experience.’
In other studies, all thinkable reasons of child trauma after sex encounters with adults were scrutinized, and one of the most interesting findings was that in a multiple regression analysis, the use of force in the incident was the best predictor of victim trauma.
— See Lauretta Bender Lauretta & Abram Blau, The Reaction of Children to Sexual Relations with Adults, American J. Orthopsychiatry 7 (1937), 500–518.
Not Sex, But Violence Causes Trauma
From this research it became evident that it is notably not the sexual activity that causes trauma. Since some kind of force, coercion or seduction, physical or psychic is reported in almost all child rape cases, the occurrence of child trauma in those cases is to be predicted. The evidence available does not support the often-voiced misconception that also in cases where no force was used and the child freely consented to the sexual activity with the adult, child trauma would result.
— See Kevin Howells, Adult Sexual Interest in Children: Considerations Relevant to Theories of Aetiology, in: Cook, M. and Howells, K. (eds.), Adult Sexual Interest in Children (1980).
In the earlier sub-chapter regarding Christianity, I tried to show that the present abuse hysteria is in large part due to the fact that people under the spell of the Christian dogma typically confuse sex with violence or even think sex was per se a form of violence. We have seen that this phenomenon has historical and psychological roots in our violent patriarchal Babylonian past that despite constant lip service to the contrary perpetuated and institutionalized violence against children by canon law and subsequent state law.
— Babylon was a thriving, highly civilized city in Mesopotamia, the ruins of which are situated not far from Baghdad, Iraq. Babylon is reported by historians as having been one of the most civilized and sophisticated towns in the ancient world. It also was the holy city of Babylon from around 2300 BC, and the seat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 612 BC. In the Old Testament, the name appears as Babel, interpreted by Genesis 11:9 to mean confusion and it is remembered because of its Tower of Babel. God, observing the unity of humanity in the construction, resolved to destroy the tower and confuse the previously uniform language of humanity, thereby preventing any such future efforts. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Not Just Freaks Love Children Erotically
Next to the current mainstream paradigm, a new paradigm is forming from about the second half of the 20th century that considers nonviolent and consenting sexual relations between children and adults as a category distinct from criminal delinquency and that, for this reason, is required to receive a special and different legal consideration. An increasing number of researchers on the subject now favor a decriminalization of consenting sex relations for all age groups. Sigmund Freud once said ‘wherever I go, a poet was there before me.’ In fact, what we can say today is that most myths about pedophilia have been disproved by recent cutting-edge research. As always, our poets knew the truth long before our scientists did.
The erotic love for children, boys or girls, can be made out in a large part of our great classic and romantic literature, to cite only Goethe’s Erlkönig, Thomas Mann’s story Death in Venice, the writings of Paul Goodman, of André Gide or the Japanese poet Yukio Mishima, to mention only these few examples from a long list.
During the liberalism of the 1960s and 1970s, not only writers, but also university professors, politicians, famous actors and singers and upper class people openly confessed their pedophilic or pederastic desires or were even involved in public scandals because of their love. In 1984, the French magazine Le Crapouillot devoted an entire issue to the subject of pedophilia giving voice to a number of famous French scientists, artists and pedagogues who openly claimed their right to be pedophile and to live their love without police intervention.
There was even a sarcastic saying that well described the resistance among French intellectuals against the first signs of the coming witchhunts, Le tout Paris devant le juge which can be translated as ‘Paris upper-class faces criminal trials.’ What distinguishes, and always distinguished French intellectuals is their courage to voice important issues in society while their colleagues in other countries prefer to work on those issues in silence.
Erotic Feelings for Children are Universal
We have already seen that child prostitution existed throughout human history in both Oriental and Occidental cultures. What most people do not know is the fact that the usual client of boy as well as girl prostitutes is not what today is called ‘a pedophile’ but the average heterosexual male between ages twenty and sixty, most of them being between thirty and forty years of age. In an informal investigation by an advertisement in two nationally distributed American erotic magazines, about twenty percent of the 705 forms returned expressed an unequivocal sexual interest in children under the age of sixteen.
— Ann Wolbert Burgess, Child Pornography and Sex Rings (1984).
The responses were, for example, ‘as young as possible,’ ’10 years and up,’ ‘pre-teen,’ ‘6–12,’ etc. Almost 75% of the respondents were between the ages of twenty and forty. (Id.)
There is further evidence that the potential client of child prostitution is not only the pedophile or pederast as he is described in most clinical studies.
— Ann Wolbert Burgess, Child Pornography and Sex Rings (1984) and Shirley O’Brian, Child Pornography (1992).
If it is not yet obvious that at all times adults had sexual interest in children, this fact is now corroborated by scientific evidence.
— See Kenneth Plummer, Pedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline, in: Cook, M. and Howells, K. (Eds.), Adult Sexual Interest in Children (1980), pp. 220 ff. and Kevin Howells, Adult Sexual Interest in Children: Considerations Relevant to Theories of Aetiology in: Cook, M. and Howells, K. (eds.), Adult Sexual Interest in Children (1980).
Adult sexual interest in bigger or smaller children has been researched in particular detail during the 20th century. The results are not yet known to the larger circles of society, as the media haven’t really caught up with the reality of loving children, and are generally conservative in this respect.
Using phallometric measurements, a complicated system that uses a sensor to measure even the slightest erection of the penis, together with psychological tests, scientists found that even males assessed as ‘sexually normal’ experience a certain arousal level for children. I believe the same results will show up regarding women, once pedophilia research will be extended to encompass both sexes. Farson reports more amply about this research and concludes:
— The question arises how can we call a male (sexually) normal who has approached a female child! However, the following data show that children have some arousal value even for normal males.
— Farson, Birthrights (1978), p. 148 quoting Kurt Freund, Assessment of Pedophilia, in: Cook/Howells, op. cit., 139–174, at 161, 162.
Already Wilhelm Stekel wrote that ‘[p]edophilia … is very close to being a normal component of our sexual drives’, while he admitted that ‘the normal person’ rather negates those feelings and represses them. An instructive summery of the questions involved here is given by Rosemary Gordon:
— We might then summarize the problem of paedophilia, both in terms of its normal and its abnormal character, as follows. Paedophilia, the love and sensuous experience of child and youth, is a normal and universal phenomenon. It plays an important part in guaranteeing the protection of the young against dangers. It ensures that they are nourished, cared for, and played with as a part of teaching of skills which they need to acquire; and that they are given affection and the sense of security which will implant in them sufficient confidence both in their own value and in their capacity to deal with life and its hazards.
— Rosemary Gordon, Pedophilia: Normal and Abnormal, in: Kraemer, op. cit., 36 ff, at 43, 44.
The author points out that we all have pedophilic feelings and that they are part of our all around love for children, and do not conflict with the care we bestow upon them. Instead, they provide a force in us to protect the child, to ensure that parents bond with their children affectionately, to care for their emotional and sexual growth. Gorden then refers to Konrad Lorenz, who points to the physical characteristics of the young of all species, stating three distinct characteristics that somehow trigger our ‘caring instinct:’
— a short face in relation to a large forehead;
— protruding cheeks;
— maladjusted limb movements.
She then quotes Konrad Lorenz:
— It is a distinct and indubitable sensuous pleasure to fondle a nice plump appetizing human baby. Furthermore, I can assert that my pleasurable sensations in fondling a sweet human child are of the same quality as those I experience in fondling a chow-puppy or a baby-lion. (Id.)
As a result of my research, I came to believe that we all have pedoemotive feelings to some extent as a natural part of our emotional setup and then, on that basis, it can be argued that a fundamental distinction needs to be drawn between creative and destructive elements in pedophilia.
With regard to the ample range of statistics on the matter, the question arises if it makes sense to label broader and broader circles of the population as pedophiles instead of admitting that the typical child sex client is the average heterosexual man? This new focus would then enable researchers from various disciplines to look for the real etiology of pedophilia. And I am quite convinced that research on codependence and emotional abuse then would be considered as important and revelatory for the etiology of pedophilia.
Regarding child pornography, not many researchers see the reality from the side of the children involved. Many children decide to leave their violent, abusive or neglective homes, forced by circumstance to live on the streets and to earn their basic needs with prostitution. Some would perhaps not have jumped into the unknown since even a violent home is a home and it is a difficult step to take, emotionally, to leave one’s family and go on one’s own, without money, without backup, without a helping hand. In such a situation, for the street child, the opportunity to meet a stranger is reported to be the typical starting point of an underground career from which the child may derive some sort of pride and a basic level of protection from the evils of street life. Needless to add that in such a dependency situation, the danger for the child to be abused is especially high because any other protection is typically lacking. It has been reported that children care most about emotional satisfaction from the interactions.
— See Shirley O’Brian, Child Pornography (1992).
Child prostitution has become an international concern yet it has to be seen that the practice of sexuality between adults and children may not have the same meaning in different societies. The United Nations, under the pressure of the right wing foreign policy of the United States, have since more than two decades publicly pilloried governments that continue to maintain their old traditions and tolerate child prostitution. These media campaigns, seen from an international law perspective, have in many cases violated the principle of non-intervention as part of the Charter of the United Nations (Art. 2, 4 UN Charter).
— Chapter I, Art. 2, §4 of the UN Charter reads as follows: ‘All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.’ This paragraph is generally interpreted in international law is a ‘non-interference clause’ meaning that no state member of the United Nations has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of any other state member of the organization, and this means under no ‘justification’ as they are commonly forwarded by the United States, such as ‘bringing about democracy, moral order and justice.’
Psychologically, they have created havoc in international relations in general since they were considered by the targeted governments as neo-imperialistic and arrogant and, besides that, totally disproportionate. As a matter of fact, in Thailand, for example, child prostitution at no point in time exceeded 7% of the total prostitution.
Physical Child Abuse
It is a relatively recent development in social sciences to include in the definition of child abuse also the physical abuse of children, thus embracing both sexual and physical abuse in the larger term domestic violence. While modern psychologists such as Alayne Yates, who writes that ‘[t]he commonest root of the confusion between sex and anger is child abuse,’ warn about belittling the physical abuse of children, the general public still judges sexual abuse, on one hand, and physical abuse, on the other, in a rather biased manner, belittling, justifying or even encouraging physical abuse while vehemently negating or even denying the existence of sexual abuse.
— Alayne Yates, Sex Without Shame (1978), 105.
There is an evident lack of rational discrimination and an according lack of objective information about the effects of both forms of abuse in the media. Violence, by contrast, is overtly approved in many more conventional situations, one of the most common being for use in disciplining children. This approval is so widespread that many adults are only vaguely aware of what the difference is between so-called strict discipline, a code phrase for the liberal use of physical punishment, on one hand, and violent child battery, on the other. The rationale behind those biased or distorted value judgments is that physical abuse is more associated with violence while sexual abuse is more associated with sex.
These associations, in turn, seem to be the result of the general bias of traditional Christian society with its strong condemnation of pleasure in general, and sexual pleasure in particular. Hence the compensatory function of violence as a pleasure ersatz!
Films where women are ravished are shown almost daily while films that display tender and loving sex are often put on the index of forbidden media. Productions where sex is shown as a hateful, rape-like behavior by contrast are widely tolerated. This reveals that, in the American value system, clean sex is violent sex while pleasurable sex is pornography. No word to add as to the obvious perversity of such a view.
One of the reasons for the steady upsurge of violence in our culture is violence perpetrated against infants, small children and adolescents in various forms such as infant neglect, deprivation of tactile stimulation in early childhood, the taboo on pre-marital sex, physical punishment and abuse and the language taboo around natural matters in conservative families, which represent, in all countries, the governing strata of society. Ashley Montagu writes:
— Corporeal punishment is still widely practiced throughout the Western world, and the skin not only made a target and a vehicle for the experience of pain, but an organ which is directly associated with anger, punishment, sin, aggression, naughtiness, and evil. (…) Some parents, particularly fathers, make it a point to tell their children before they strap them why they are being punished. One can thus learn to dissociate the infliction of bodily pain from the display of any emotion at all. The Nazis were particularly adept in this, and there can be little doubt, as we have seen, that their affectless inhumanity was in no little part due to their early conditioning, with tactile experience largely neglected or else restricted to a punishing kind. This would seem to be an especially undesirable form of conditioning.
It can be observed that there is a historically and culturally coined link between sex and violence in our civilization that is at the root of our present value system and the social and legal framework it has brought about. Alayne Yates formulates this complex interdependence between sex and violence in the following way:
— Each distortion shows a link between sex and another emotion such as rage or fear…, whether in victim or aggressor, the link is present. It is firmly fused in the early childhood and difficult or impossible to change. The only solution is prevention. In order to prevent such links from forming, we as parents must do more than intellectualize. We must not cruelly inhibit, abuse, reject, abandon, or severely criticize our children. (Id., 111)
Presently, such forms of prevention are not really part of social policy making. However, new tendencies and educational projects are in discussion and rapid development. Marie M. Fortune, a minister, examined the question in a remarkable study, Sexual Violence (1983). Right at the start of her book, she states:
— There is bewilderment, embarrassment, and ambivalence in our society about the nature of sexual aggression and violence. But the real difficulty lies in this society’s persistent confusion of sexual violence with sexual activity. For many in both experience and attitudes, sexual activity and sexual violence have become equated; distinctions between the two are seriously blurred.
Child protectors should begin to focus on the etiology of child trauma which are the day-to-day emotional neglect and deprivation, emotional incest in the form of codependence, manipulation and physical abuse inflicted upon children by a structurally highly violent social system.
For drafting effective social policies targeting at decreasing violence against children in all its forms, we should understand that ‘[k]eeping children in ignorance of sexuality does not protect them … [but] is more likely to make them more vulnerable.’
— Stevi Jackson, Childhood and Sexuality (1982), 58.
To summarize this chapter, it can be stated that there is scientific consensus that child abuse is a form of violence, also in the case where such violence is inflicted on the victim by sexual means. In both physical abuse and sexual abuse of children, it is the violence which causes child trauma, and not the sexual act or activity. By contrast, it is still controversial in the forensic and scientific literature if in the case of nonviolent love and sex, the shared sexual activity is equally to be considered under the header of abuse.
The public discussion is not divided on the question if violent abuse should be banned. Most people today agree that children should not be treated in any violent way, whatever the reason for the infliction of violence may be. But opinions are largely divided when it comes to the question of true love relations between adults and children, where adults try their best to respect the child’s will and where sexual relations are engaged only in case the child explicitly consents. These cases, that are not clear-cut and that are not the usual cases that go to court, are difficult to judge in a general manner, as every case must probably be seen as unique.
It however appears from the main part of the literature that these cases are rather the exception than the rule. But this may have to do with the simple fact that love relations generally are not reported because the child and even the parents may be convinced that no harm was done, and thus did not report the incident.
This quite condensed historical survey has shown to which extent sex and violence are interwoven in our society because of a long history of morality and hypocrisy that created a sort of collective schizophrenia where sex is often per se associated with violence. This is however not by nature so, and there is no genetic defect within the human setup; voices that suppose such defect seem to suffer from a distortion of perception that is the result of their lacking acceptance of human sexuality within a judgmental and ignorant society.
There is now quite a lot of evidence that suggests that the steady upsurge of violence in our culture, especially violence against infants, children and adolescents originates from infant neglect, deprivation of tactile stimulation, the taboo on pre-marital sex, physical punishment and abuse and the silence imposed by mainstream culture on voicing any issues that touch life, death and sexuality.
It can be said that there is a culturally coined link between sex and violence in our civilization that is at the root of our present value system and the social and legal framework it has brought about.
We should begin to focus on the real issues of child trauma which are the day-to-day emotional neglect, tactile deprivation, and rampant emotional abuse of children in the form of parent-child codependence, and the manipulation and physical abuse inflicted on children by a structurally violent social framework. To quote from one of the more recent studies on child abuse:
— Emotional abuse causes the most long-term harm to children, although combinations of emotional with physical and/or sexual abuse cause the most harm to long-term mental health.
— Christopher Bagley, Child Abusers: Research and Treatment (2003).
Part of the emotional abuse that typically children in Western culture are subjected to on a daily basis is to forcefully destroy their friendships with adult partners. And insofar, we should reflect about the degree of structural violence in a society which denies in origo the child’s need for privacy and personal intimacy.
— Christopher Bagley, Child Abusers (2003). See also Bender Lauretta & Blau, Abram, The Reaction of Children to Sexual Relations with Adults (1937), Brant & Tisza, The Sexually Misused Child (1977), Nicholas A. Groth, Men Who Rape (1980), Colin Pritchard, The Child Abusers (2004).
From there it’s but a tiny step to reflect about the values of democracy and the fact that not only adults but also children enjoy the freedom democracy grants, and that children have the same right for intimacy that adults claim for themselves.
Morality is a strange concept that throughout human history brought about violence and confusion, and especially violence against children.
The very morality that was established to protect children is clearly and paradoxically a psychological mechanism that in the long run severely damages children’s healthy psychosexual growth and psychosomatic wellbeing and retards or impairs their growing into autonomy and self-reliance. Love and sex, not only in Western culture, are forms of behavior that we try to hide and do behind closed doors. This is generally so and not related to specific forms of sex. Even married couples hardly ever expose themselves to their children or friends during intercourse.
Anthropological studies in sexually more permissive cultures found that these cultures are even stricter than ours regarding the secrecy of love and sex, on one hand, and the taboo of incest, on the other. It is for that matter not really astonishing that what we find in written history are the outrageous facts of accidented relations, and not the love stories. When we consider this, we can summarize the following facts:
— Children have been involved in love and sex with adults at least since written history, and probably since times immemorial;
— Children have been subjected to more or less heavy amounts of violence under the reign of patriarchy, which was during the last five thousand years;
— Children were considered in all pre-industrial cultures as psychosexually mature around puberty and actually married at that age, and procreated children;
— Children have a certain sexual arousal level for all adult males, regardless of sexual preferences; newer studies not yet included in this book now corroborate this fact in finding this equally true regarding adult females;
— Children served as amuse-jesters throughout human history, which included free sexual relationships with them during certain festivities, orgies, gatherings or celebrations, including religious celebrations, especially among the higher classes of societies or in the royal establishment or within pre-industrial societies;
— Children served as prostitutes and temporary sexual mates for adults through all of written history; in some pre-industrial cultures child prostitution was established as temple prostitution with children serving as freely available prostitutes in temples and during religious ceremonies;
— Children of noble birth have been held in praise and adoration in aesthetically refined civilizations and this fact must not be confounded with ordinary child prostitution equally present in those cultures, because both, the more noble and the more vulgar forms are different expressions of human love.
To repeat it, as the sources generally do not point to much of consenting love relations between individual men or women and children, we cannot conclude from the mere absence of material that those relations have not existed.
When I peruse this material as a trained lawyer, I can only apply the principle of concluding de maiore ad minor, as known in juridical logic. This logic principle describes that what is valid for a complex event is certainly also true for an event based on the same premises while being of a lesser complexity. In other words, if we have observed that throughout human history children have been subjected to more or less violent forms of sexual abuse, we can conclude de maiore ad minor that children were equally involved in nonviolent and loving sexual contacts with adults, where they played the role of a replacement love object or even, for a certain time, of a real partner for an adult. What this logical conclusion however does not allow is to estimate any quantification, any percentage of children having been involved in nonviolent sexual contacts, and we may never find the answer to this intriguing question because of lacking source material.
Many researchers, however, take illogical conclusions from the truncated historical sources and reason that because there are no or very few explicit reports about nonviolent and consenting sexual relations with children, all and every such erotic relation with a child was per se violent and abusive.
— See, for example, Lloyd DeMause, The History of Childhood (1974) and Alice Miller, The Political Consequences of Child Abuse, in: The Journal of Psychohistory 26, 2 (Fall 1998).
It is obvious that this is a logical error; what we have got are rape stories that typically go to court, not consenting love relations between men and women. This is simply so because in real love relations there is little chance that the girl child will denounce her lover to the police.
While in adult-child relations there are certainly more factors in play, making these cases more complex than adult-adult relations, I cannot see a fundamental difference here that would force a logical conclusion that comes to a total denial of any possibility of an adult-child sexual contact being truly consenting and nonviolent, and harmless to the child’s safety. Yet most of the present public discussion of so-called pedophilia is based upon this logical error — and probably for the simple reason of rampant media indoctrination regarding this highly political topic.
In addition, we have to see that taboos have a nasty tendency to enforce themselves against logic and in highly irrational ways, and they distort natural perception of reality, triggering highly biased reactions from a large number of people.
A taboo does not need to be rational to be valid, and this is simply so, as taboos are typically not established by a rational society or a majority of rational people. History shows with abundant evidence that societies with a high taboo level are generally freedom-hostile and undemocratic, if not tyrannical, while cultures with a permissive setup regarding love and sex may content themselves with a basic range of sexual taboos, and are generally more democratic as they value personal freedom and trust in the goodness of nature, and human nature.
Future studies should target at finding a way out of the ideological and propagandistic agendas that hide the transparent and verifiable reality that children simply have a certain sexual arousal level for most adults, as vice versa adults have a certain arousal level for children. If we deny this, saying that all pedophilic and gerontophilic attraction is the result of a distortion of perception through early abuse, then we are called upon to validate my hypothesis that pedophilic attraction toward children may be the result of parent-child codependence and emotional abuse.
My research on codependence has given me clues for the assumption that when somebody has lived through a highly codependent childhood, and was emotionally rather entangled with their parents, the person is later inclined to project that conditioning upon children; this results in emotional relationships with children becoming eroticized or even sexualized.
Hence, I propose to other researchers to test, validate or falsify my hypothesis that the real etiology of pedophilia is emotional entanglement with parents and caretakers early in childhood.
Emotionally, nature created a mutual responsiveness between adults and children. I have not found a single researcher who would contest this fact. The only question that is really still controversial is why and how such emotional attraction can become eroticized, and as a result sexualized?
When adults seek out children as love and sexual mates, it is comprehensive from a simple point of natural logic that in that case children, too, will seek out adult partners as possible love and sexual mates. On one side we speak about pedophilia, on the other side about gerontophilia. Both attractions are obviously targeting each other, and therefore complementary in a way. But that does not mean, as some representatives of the pedophile movement make it believe, that all children would generally opt for adults as love partners if such love was socially accepted.
First of all, we have to consider children who had the chance to grow up without codependence. These children, I believe, have a low or no gerontophilic attraction and thus will mate, if let free, primarily or exclusively with peers.
On the other hand, children who struggled through codependent childhoods have a certain gerontophilic arousal level just as adults have a certain pedophilic arousal level when they experienced codependent childhoods. In other words, adult pedophiles are the grownup versions of gerontophile children. A pedophile man or woman, according to my research hypothesis, must have been a gerontophilic child or adolescent.
Hence, when society bothers about the queer thing called pedophilia, it should bother first about the queer thing of gerontophilia, that is, children who were conditioned toward adult mates, and away from peer mates. That that happens, I reason, is namely society’s own fault, as it’s the inevitable fate for children within an Oedipal Culture.
Behold, I don’t generalize my hypothesis to a point to say that it covers all possible cases. Let me explain. As a general rule, adults look for their mates among adults. And children, when left free, naturally have ongoing love and sex relations with their peers and also with younger children. But there are exceptions to the rule that always will make out a certain percentage, that is impossible to evaluate exactly, and where there is a natural loving attraction between adults and children across all social strata, across all cultures, across all ages and across all civilizations.
As this may be rather a minority among adults and children, the general fear of legalizing adult-child erotic relations is much of a shadow game. In truth, such normalization and legalization would not change much in the real world, regarding adult-child nonviolent and loving relations, while it would change a lot regarding violent abuse, if not substantially reduce the occurrence of violent sexual child abuse.