Elmhurst, NY: Global Academic Publishers (1987).  

"The boys found sex a pleasurable aspect of their friendship, but it certainly does not seem to have been their most important reason for maintaining it -- this is sharp contrast to the assumption of many people that pedophile relationships are exclusively sexual."

Theo Sandfort


The Beginning of the Friendship

PEOPLE COME TO KNOW one another in different ways, just as there are different kinds of friendships, and that is also true of the pedophile relationships described in this book.

There is, however, one important difference between friendships among adults and friendships between adults and children. Adults are pretty much free to choose what other adults they wish to have as friends. This is not true of friendships between adults and children. There is really only one socially acceptable form for association between children and adults: the pedagogic relationship (Maasen 1983). Adults, then, are parents or teachers of children; seldom are they simply friends. Except within the pedagogic context, children, just as adults, are expected to associate only with others in their own age bracket. Our society recognizes no form for a pure friendship, free of pedagogic intent, between adult and child. Non-pedagogic friendships, then, are socially unacceptable.

Nevertheless the boys and men described here were able to carry on their friendships. Clearly the disapproving attitude of society influenced the quality of their relationships and the manner in which they proceeded.

But how do children and adults get in contact with each other outside of the pedagogic context? A number of stereotypic notions exist, held even by researchers. Often people cannot imagine what adults would be looking for in associating with children, especially if a sexual element is present. It is thought that adults are only after the satisfaction of their own lusts. Supposedly the only way an adult can make contact with a child is by bribing him with money, candy or gifts (Burgess & Holmstrom 1975; Peters 1976; Weeks 1976). Virkkunen (1975, page 177) wrote that "usually this bribery was carried out so that the offender enticed the victim, by giving candy or money, to his abode or some remote place. In many cases this bribery had been carried on already for a long time before the situation had started to gain sexual color. Often, the offenders gave the victims presents, too, so that they would not mention the matter to their parents."

How did it actually happen in the case of these 25 boys? Some met their older partners through a brother or one of their age-mates who also visited the older partner. Sometimes the introduction came through another pedophile who was a friend of the man or lived in the same home. In some cases the contact was made through the parents. In others the men and boys met on the street or at swimming pools. The boys' stories show that reality is more complex than the stereotypic notions people have about the "child-abuser". It seems, too, that the boys themselves often took some initiative toward establishing the relationships.

It was not explicitly asked who had taken the initiative for the first meeting, but some information did emerge from the interviews. Often the first contact came about more or less accidentally. Subsequently meetings could come about on the initiative of the adult, for example by inviting the boy to drop by at his home. Other boys seem to have sought further contact with the men on their own initiative, in some cases only after a fair amount of difficulty.

The friendships sometimes started with the first meeting. In most cases it took a little longer and really began only after a subsequent encounter, or the friendship developed slowly as its nature changed. In one case there was a period during which the two partners did not see one another for a rather long time.

The boys themselves told about how they came to know their older partners as follows:

René (12): 1 got to know Robert (42) one real cold Sunday morning when I went to his home to meet a man I'd known for six years, also a pedophile, who'd just got out of prison: When I got there the man wasn't at home but was supposed to be back in a half hour, and Robert said, "Come on inside. You look like you're freezing." So I started coming more and more often, and then one day Robert said, "Wouldn't it be nice to start something together?"

And what did you say then?

Sure, I'll see. If they think it's okay at home, then it would be fine.

Hans (13), too, met Frank (66) through another pedophile:

Wim (also a pedophile - T.S.) who already knew Frank invited him to his home one time. I got to know Frank through Wim.

Can you tell me how it happened?

Well, he asked me if I could make a birdhouse for him and... I don't remember exactly how I was able to start living with him, but that's when the special bond between us began.

Theo and Simon also got to know their older partners through another pedophile; they found their new acquaintances more pleasant than the old.

Theo (13): When I was over visiting Richard (another pedophile-- T.S.) I met Bert (35) and liked him.

And then you started yourself to go to Bert?

No, Richard had told me, "You can visit Bert now and then too, if you want." And then I slept once with Bert and liked it a whole lot, and so I stuck with Bert; it's a lot nicer than with Richard.

Simon (12): 1 got to know Ed (32) at a community center through Ton.

Who is Ton?

Uh, Ton is also a pedophile that I first used to go to. He was a sort of Dracula--he sucked everyone in, and after he'd once done it he turned you loose a little later.

Did he do that to you?

Yes, he sure did!

How did you get to know Ed?

I went one day with Ton to a community center and there I saw Ed. It was all over with Ton by then so I started coming more and more to Ed at the center. So, it just got better and better, and that's how I got to know him.

Other boys met the older partner through their age-mates, brothers or a sister. The mother of Lex (13) quickly discovered that the so-called school friend Bennie was in reality Richard (31):

I had two friends and they came here a lot: Rutger and Gertje. One time Gertje invited me to go with them. And then Richard explained everything, I mean all about pedophilia. The next time I asked my mother, "Mom, can I go over to Bennie's to eat?" My mother said, "Who's that?" I said, "A school friend." And so I was able to go over and eat. Then during vacation I asked, "May I go to Bennie's to sleep?" But my mother had already caught on. I think Rutger had let it slip out, but that didn't matter. She just started explaining things, because she'd read an article on pedophilia in Panorama [Panorama is a weekly national Dutch magazine with many color pictures and somewhat simplistic text. There are usually articles about various aspects of sexuality, which is generally viewed in all its manifestations rather positively. Although obviously written for the less well-educated public, it is not to be compared with the so-called "gutter" journals of England.] or something. So she told me, "Get Richard on the telephone." And I did, over at the Chinese restaurant because our telephone wasn't yet connected. And so I was able to spend the weekend with him.

Was that soon after you got to know him?

It was two weeks later, I think.

Harrie (16): I met Pieter (39) through Gerrit who was in the same class with me. He said, "I'll show you a really beautiful bike." Well, he got on behind me on my bike and we started off toward where Pieter lived. Then Gerrit said, "That's where it is, by the bridge." I got to the bridge but there was no bike. He said, "No, two hundred meters further," and so we drew even closer to Pieter. Suddenly Gerrit said, "It's in front of the door of a man I know." But it wasn't there either, because it was the midday break, and that's how I ended up coming inside here (in Pieter's home - T.S.). So that's how I got to know him. After school was out in the afternoon we returned to Pieter's. We could go get some French fries, he said. Then we started to play poker, and Gerrit suggested we make it strip-poker--you know, every time you lost you had to take off one piece of clothing. After a while I was completely naked. I was embarrassed all to hell. Not Gerrit, though--he'd known Pieter by then a year or two. So that's the way it began.

Jos (13): I met Bas (35) at the swimming pool. My brother already knew him, and so did my sister, who used to go there and play tag. So one day I went with my sister to swim and I saw Bas. And he invited us home and we just said sure. So after I'd come by the pool a few times he said, "Drop by some time." But I didn't know exactly where he lived, so I didn't see him for a while. Then it was winter and we went skating and I saw him, and he said, "Drop by some time." I said, "Where do you live?" And so I started coming here a lot.

Rob (12): Yeah, it's a long story. My brother used to go to Chris (38) and one day they came together to our home. I thought Chris was a good looking guy, a nice guy, with that crazy beard of his. So I went to Chris's a couple of times and liked it. I came back a second time, and a third time, and I kept on coming. Of course there was a big fight between me and my brother, over who got to stay here and who had to go. Because I didn't want my brother around when I was here-I didn't want that at all. I told Chris over and over again: "I don't want him around; I want you all to myself sometimes."

After you saw Chris thatfirst time at your home, did you decide yourself to go to him or did Chris ask you to come visit?

No, I came here absolutely on my own accord.

Two contacts came about because the mothers of the boys were active in the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform NVSH. Jan (11) knew Sander (41) from the age of six:

Can you still remember when you got to know Sander?

Jan (11): On the couch at home. He asked me to sit on his lap, and then I felt him start to rub my back, and that felt so nice, and still does!

Erik (10) met Edward (57) through a course his mother was giving to NVSH members:

They gave part of the course in a youth hostel, I think. Uh, I don't know, but they must have been talking about pedophilia or something. And I was there. And so, of course, were a whole lot of pedophiles, and so was Edward. He was very nice, and he had brought a car race game with him.

After Bart (14) and Albert (4 1) met at a family gathering they had a great deal of difficulty getting into contact with each other again:

On my birthday my real father told me that Albert had called up to congratulate me. After that he sent one letter to my mother. Of course I had thought a lot about him, but, well, I knew nothing much about him, only his first name. So I got hold of his letter. My mother had let it lie around thinking, yes, well have to call him up sometime. But you know how that goes. So one day I thought,'I'm not going to put up with this any longer,'and I sneaked the letter out of the desk and got the address and telephone number off it and put it back. Then I bought a stamp and wrote a couple of pages. When I was riding back home I thought, 'This is the first step.'l wanted to have that contact. I wanted it so badly, but from his side I heard nothing more, and he expected we'd keep in contact, and, well, delays can be dangerous. So I thought, 'Okay, III do it.” Then he sent a letter back and telephoned. The first time he came to our home and talked with my parents for an hour and a half, and I was there too. My parents of course wanted to know who I was going to go to stay with.

Kees (15) got to know Max (47) when the latter visited their home as a social worker. Further contacts came about through his younger brother and sister:

It was at our home. My mother brought him back because he did something in the social service. That's where she got to know him. Then my youngest brother and sister visited him and told me about it. Max dropped by again and asked if I could come to his home, too.

Ton (14) met Fred (33) at a school camp:

Yes, about four years ago, when our school went on a camp and Fred was one of the leaders. He did all the organizing for our group. And of course everyone had to tell where he lived. So he said, "Oh, I live right near there," and I said, "Then you'll have to come and visit." And that's how it started. After that I dropped by every day and we'd go to the movies or something.

Gerrit (16) had a great deal of trouble finding Barend (39) after their first meeting:

My brother and I had been swimming in the pond. My brother was nine and was already smoking, and so was I, and then Barend arrived driving a red Citroen 'ugly duckling' and stopped in the parking lot. So I told my brother, "Ask that man for a cigarette, because he's smoking." My brother went up to him and said, "Can you tell me what time it is?" "Five-thirty." "Could you also give me a cigarette?" Barend said, "How old are you?" "I'm fourteen," said my brother. Well, after a lot of wheedling my brother got a cigarette, and 1, too, and then we started walking along with him. No... my brother didn't get a cigarette, but I did because I was older. So, we started walking with him and sat down beside the water and started talking. He said he had a boat and asked us if we'd like to go sailing with him some time. So we did go out on his boat once, together with my parents. My father liked Barend a lot, thought he was real sophisticated and so forth. And after that I didn't see Barend for half a year.

How did you come to see him again after half a year?

Well, it was vacation and I had nothing to do, so one day I said to my friend, "Let's get our bikes and take a ride I know about this boat we can go out on." When we finally got to the dock, Barend's boat was there but he wasn't. Then I asked the barkeeper in the cafe that was there if he knew Barend's address. Well he didn't know it, nor his telephone number. So we looked in the telephone book but that was no good. A few days later I went with another friend, also on our bikes, and then we did run into Barend. He'd just started cleaning up his boat, so we pitched in and helped him. Then my friend had to go home, but he got a flat tire on the way. So Barend put the bike in the back of his car and we rode with him to his house. Well, after that I went more and more often to his boat, and a few times after our first meeting he came to my house to pick me up. After that he began dropping by fairly often, sometimes even to eat. So from then on I really started going with him.

John (13) met Marcel (45) on a vacation.

It was at a vacation park. I was there with my parents. Well, it was pretty boring, but then I met Marcel--he was there with a young boyfriend. We ended up hitting it off. Because, at first I thought, what's going on? I don't even know him. The first night I slept over at Marcel's. It was a lot nicer there. I saw how they got along with each other. My brother was also with me. After that we were able to~ sleep with Marcel for the rest of the week. And then everything went so well that Marcel looked us up after we got home.

Finally, Thijs (10) met Joop (26) on the street:

I was going to play football with my friends. I was riding a bike and the chain came off, and then Joop said, "Here, I'll put it on." I could have done that myself, but Joop wanted to do it so I let him. Then he asked, "Would you like to come inside?" So I went in, and after that I played football with him more and more often.

The men and boys met each other in different situations and in many different ways. Often it was the man who, after the first meeting, took the initiative toward the next contact, as in inviting the boy to come and visit him. With a number of boys it is clear that they themselves tried to meet the man again in order to start a relationship. In this sense we can say that the boys did take an initiative in their friendships with the adults. It was not necessarily a sexual initiative, however. To what extent was it sex they wanted? Why did these boys establish friendships with men?

Pedophile friendships

WHY DO BOYS seek contact with adults and why do they keep on going around with them? In some of the interviews with the boys the reasons came out spontaneously, for example in response to the questions, "Who do you get along with well?", "What do you do a lot?" and "What do you enjoy a lot?" In other cases the interviewer broached the subject.

What the boys said in this connection tells us a great deal about the importance of the relationship to them and their motives for going on with it. The boys found sex a pleasurable aspect of their friendship, but it certainly does not seem to have been their most important reason for maintaining it-this is sharp contrast to the assumption of many people that pedophile relationships are exclusively sexual.

The following material will illustrate the range of motives boys can have. A motive given by one boy can also be present in other boys who don't mention it. Above all different motives in varying degrees of importance can be simultaneously present. The sequence in which motives are listed below has no bearing upon their relative importance in the lives of the boys.

Doing things together...

ONE OF THE REASONS the boys maintained their relationship with their adult friends was so they could do things together (Bernard 1975; Brongersma 1975). Some had the same hobbies, others enjoyed playing sports, such as football and swimming. They played games, went to the movies or on vacation together.

Peter (14): Yes, I'm always playing games, especially evenings and mornings. Monopoly, dice, checkers, we play them a lot. Otherwise we'd have to go to bed real early, and we don't want to do that at all. I'm now in junior high technical school, so I have a lot of days off. And then I go right over to him and stay, mostly, to and through the evening.

Is Karel (30) free all the time, too?

Yes, and that's why everything goes so good with us.

Simon (12): Well, Maarten (32) is a good friend of mine. I go to the movies with him a lot; in any case we do a lot of nice things together. Sometimes if I'm alone at home I'll think I'll just call Maarten--maybe he's home and he can come over. Every so often somebody's dropped in when I was calling him, so it wasn't necessary anymore, but he still comes.

Thijs (10): Mostly I go to Joop (26) and play with him. Sometimes a lot of boys and girls come by. Every Saturday with french fries and stuff. And I come every Saturday, too. But I come all the time when nobody else is there. If nobody else is allowed to come, I can still come. That's natural, because I've known him so long.

Martin (12): 1 think dancing at Frits' (26) is nice. I enjoy that a whole lot.

Jan (11): If I'm bored I often go to Sander (41). Play pinball machines, look at videos, play football. I go skating with him a lot; Sander and I have many hobbies together.

The things which they do with the older partner were apparently easier for the boys to single out and verbalize than deeper motives. The shared activities for a few boys were a kind of play and relaxation. They could also be a way to get attention from the adult. Lex discussed the advantages of a pedophile relationship over the situation at home. At home he had to share parental attention with his brothers. He answered the question about whom he got along well with as follows:

We go out a lot, we also go swimming a lot. We just do everything together. (...) I also often do the cooking here, make macaroni or french fries. Sometimes we go to the movies, or to a nature park. When Richard says, "Tomorrow we'll go to the movies," I'm real glad. I think about it all the time. Or when we go to the amusement park or to Slagharen Stables.

You're pretty lucky, eh?

Yeah, that only happens if you go around with a pedophile, or you're the only child at home, of course.

The boys took great pleasure in the activities they shared with their partners. It is no wonder, then, that trust, loyalty and friendship existed between them. The atmosphere in the older partner's home also attracted the boys. They described it as friendly and relaxed, "different" and fun. This atmosphere was mentioned by some of the boys as the reason why they liked to be with the older partner. They felt at ease at the older partner's home. They were also attracted by the greater freedom they had there to make their own decisions. They were given more responsibility in what they did and allowed to be done. Some of the boys said they felt much freer with the older partner than they did at home:

Willem (13): At home you can't do as much as you can here at Roel's (29). Like smoking-they don't let me smoke at home. Here I can do just about everything.

Harrie (16): At Peter's (39) it is nice and relaxed, a completely different atmosphere than at home. At Peter's you can at least do what you want. You try that at home and you get your mother on your back. Like tuning up your motor scooter. Peter doesn't know what tuning up is. And sometimes when I'm at Peter's we go out and bring back some french fries; you can never do that at home. There are seven of us in the family, so you just can't do that sort of thing.

René (12): Robert (42) likes a lot more things. I've a lot more freedom here than at home.

For some boys a pedophile relationship can be a means of getting free of the restrictive climate at home (Plummer 1981; Straver 1973).

To be able to really talk...

THE BOYS' MOTIVES, of course, were tied to the personality of the older partner. They appraised him in different ways. For many he was someone with whom they could talk everything over. For Paul (14) that was the most important reason why he got along so well with Ruud (27). When Theo and John were asked why they got along so well with their older partners they answered:

Theo (13): Well, he understands kids better, boys better. My mother does too, and my father. But I think he does even more.

John (13): We trust each other completely. We tell each other everything. If one of us has a problem he comes out with it and we talk it over. He says, "I'm not the kind of guy that holds everything in and worries about it; I have to say what's on my mind." So I always tell him my worries too.

Rob (12) likewise said he talked over all of his problems with Chris (39). He went on:

I think it's great that I can always come back here to Chris. If I get mad I can go out and slam the door. But then I can always return five minutes later. Chris forgets bad things quicker than my mother.

Kees (15) said about Max (57):

Well, I've known him for five years. I come by fairly often, on Mondays and Wednesdays. I can really talk with him. Not long ago something happened in my boarding school that got me upset. I ran away. That night around eleven o'clock I talked with Max. I called up the group leader, so they wouldn't think I was just wandering around all night. Max finally persuaded me to go back the next day.

A few other answers to the question of why the boys got on so well with their older partners:

Wouter (12): I feel at home at Gerard's (42). 1 can hide from my dad. I get a lot of support. And if I'm unhappy he understands why I'm unhappy. He is a wonderful guy, and you can do anything with him if (Laughs) you don't go too far. He is considerate of me, and I'm considerate of him.

Ben (10): I think it's wonderful to sleep together. Then I don't have to lie in bed alone. Sometimes I'm a little bit scared to go to sleep if I've seen a movie.

In these answers, which are typical of many others, the older partner emerged as someone with whom the boys could talk freely and with whom they could discuss their problems. He was someone who they felt understood them, whom they trusted and in whom they recognized themselves. Some of the boys got help from their older partners to find solutions to their problems at home and elsewhere.

Learning about things...

THE OLDER PARTNER can also be someone from whom the boys learned things. Rob (12), for example, said that Chris (38) filled him in about sex. His mother never could have told him about that, he said. Chris also explained his parents having sexual relations and the problems they had been experiencing.

Walter (15): Steven (35) is a very fine guy. It's nice to go to Steven's. Just hanging around the neighborhood is not so nice. I come here for good company. Steven talks about important things, something that never happens at home. Get some experience, learn to get along with people, that's what's important to me. When you really like one another sex is very nice.

Gerrit (16): When I'm with Barend (39) 1 very often get the chance to develop myself. Like with drawing-I get a lot of pleasure out of that. Barend helps me when I've made a sketch. He tells me what isn't right in it. (...) I think it's really wonderful to come to Barend. He thinks somewhat along the same lines as me. I've learned a whole lot from him, but it's not like, "You must do this, you can't do that." He's explained a great deal about how society works, and if I don't agree with some point of his I can just come out and say so. So he hasn't influenced me, but he has helped me to start thinking along these lines. When you realize there are two sides to something then you have to start thinking about it. Eventually you will figure out what's right and what's wrong.

Erik (10): Edward (57) is very nice and he has good ideas. He also helps me a lot with these ideas.


WHAT THE DIFFERENT aspects thus far examined all have in common is that they are ways in which attention is shown. Not every boy is able to make that distinction and verbalize it. Attention from the older partner emerges as an important motive for the boys to maintain their relationships. That can also be seen in the Self-examination procedure when the behavior of the older toward the younger partner is examined. Giving attention was what, according to the boys, most typified the older partner's behavior.

The attention to the boys was often physically expressed. Peter (14), for example, said he liked it that Karel (30) cuddled with him so much. This is especially important because in our culture boys in the age bracket of these 25 youngsters are usually not cuddled by their parents. Rossman (1976) said in this connection that it is understandable that boys, then, seek out others for attention and affection. The need for affection and attention has been cited by a number of writers as a motive for children to seek pedosexual contacts (Bender & Blau 1937; Brand & Tisza 1977; Burton 1968; Ingram 1979; Weeks 1976). This motive has been linked by them to a problematic family background and emotional neglect. It is questionable whether the neglect discovered by clinical and juridical investigations can be generalized to all pedosexual contacts (O'Carroll 1980). In so far as it does not concern single sexual contacts but rather children in pedophile relationships, it would seem that this supposition, on the basis of the work of Landis (1956) and Virkkunen (1973), is in part true.

In the present investigation, we did not explicitly ask about the home environment. Nor was the group chosen to be representative. Still, there is more to be said about this matter. Most of the boys felt that their home situation was good. But along with the boys who had good relationships with their parents there were also boys who had overall negative feelings about their homes.

The parents of Rob (12) had been quarrelling a great deal and had just decided at the time of the investigation to seek divorce. Rob reproached his father for being irresponsible and for never having cared for him and his brother:

Probably they're going to get divorced; well, it's up to them, it's their business. It doesn't bother me. I just want my father out, but my mother will take care of that. Okay, I know he can't get along in society, but he's had time--18 years--and I think that should be enough. In 18 years he's refused to learn Dutch. He could do it all right, but he won't. So, okay, you might say he's never been a father to me. Once he asked me, "How late do you go to bed?" and I answered, "You know real good when I'm supposed to go to bed." The next time I'm looking at TV and then I start off to bed and he says, "Stay here and watch the film." I can't really dislike him a whole lot, but I do a little.

René (12) also disliked his father:

That dislike is just getting bigger. He always says, "If you don't do that, you know what you're going to get." I think that's because he's getting busier and busier. And he snaps at us if he's got nothing else to do. He says really hateful things. Sometimes then I think about running away.

Do you say that sometimes you want to run away?

No, then I'd get sent to my room for a month. Maybe it can be arranged so I go live with another family. If necessary without Robert (42), but it's getting unbearable at home.

Do you expect it would be better if you went to stay with another family?

Yes, it would be a little better. There can't be any families worse than ours.

Kees (15): I don't like my mother, because every day I have a run-in with her. Since my father's death she's had a boyfriend, and I dislike him, too. But now that I'm in a boarding school it's a little better, partly because I don't see her every day. But since she worked to get me into boarding school she tries to boss me around, and I won't put up with that. The fights got so bad that my mother's boyfriend hit me on the head with a breadboard. My mother did nothing to stop it, only said, "You had it coming." I went with a bloody head to the telephone to call up my guardian, and he took me to the doctor. At the hospital I had to have seven stitches in my head. The next day I went myself to the police station and lodged a complaint against that man.

The majority of the boys, however, had pleasant relations with their parents. Their homes were positive factors in their experiential worlds. That emerged, among other places, in the "value areas" formulated by the boys in their interviews. Many of the boys named their fathers and mothers as people with whom they could get along well with: "My parents who are very nice and have a lot of nice ideas;" "Parents, because you can always tell them your problems;" "My mother when she is in a good mood;" "My foster father who I can really talk to;" or "My family when everyone's in a good I mood".

In an earlier research project (Sandfort 1980) it was discovered that a pedophile relationship can have a beneficial influence on a formerly negative appreciation of the home environment. In any case it is incorrect to suppose that all children who enter into pedophile relationships are from problem families. Likewise, when children find the affectionate elements in the friendship are important, it does not necessarily indicate affective neglect and problems with the parents.

From the statements of the boys one can conclude that the pedophile relationship sometimes serves a number of material and mental needs which are not fully, or only intermittently, fulfilled by the boys' families without the boys actually feeling that they do not like their homes. In such relationships the dependence of the younger partner is greater. As a result a strong interpersonal bond can develop between I the two.

Sometimes this is used as a criticism of pedophile relationships. It is assumed that children ought to be able to find within the family and from their own mothers and fathers everything that they need. Quite aside from whether such a situation is desirable or not, one has to recognize that divorced parents and unwed mothers, too, have children. Other parents appear not to be able, or willing, to satisfy this requirement. It can be expected that as the bonds of the nuclear family are weakened, children will be quicker to form emotional ties with other adults. For such children a pedophile relationship can be a welcome supplement.

We were unable to discern significant negative factors in the home environments of a number of the boys, and where this was true a higher percentage of the parents were aware of the sexual aspect of their son's relationship, which thus became more integrated into the boy's home life. For these children the pedophile relationship apparently did not serve such an important function; it rather had a kind of "surplus" significance. The younger partner came into contact with things which he didn't at home and which made the friendship valuable for him. The employment level of the men who were interviewed was on the whole higher than that of the boy's parents. For those children, then, the relationship offered an opportunity to step out of the bounds of their own social class.


ATTRACTION, FRIENDSHIP and love, finally, made up another group of motives toward maintaining the relationships. In almost every interview there were indications that the boys personally felt attracted to their older friends. Friendship was repeatedly mentioned; it also arose in the formulation of certain value areas, such as, My friendship with Fred," "Frank, with whom I have a special tie." A few boys used the word "love" to describe their feelings for the older partner. Bart (14) said:

My contact with Albert (46), thus my relationship that I find extremely important. We send each other letters, cards, packages and so on. I think that if you go to bed with someone, if you love someone, then you naturally do things together. I can't understand how boys can just see someone and jump into bed with him and then go away. I come for the pleasure of his company, too. If somehow I got in an accident and got castrated, to give a crazy example, I'd still come because it's so nice to be with him. I feel just wonderful with Albert: here is someone who really cares about me; he knows me and I know him; we have no secrets from each other. I really wouldn't want to be without it.

Feelings of attraction and intimacy were also mentioned by the boys when they talked about the pleasurable sides of the sexual contact they had with the older partner. Although most of the boys felt emotionally attracted to their older partners, and although they all had sex with them, it wasn't so much a matter of feeling physical attraction. Sexual attraction, in the sense that the older partner was for them an object of lust feelings, appears not to have been the basis upon which they maintained the sexual contact. This is in conformity with the heterosexual orientation which most of the boys at some point in the interview revealed.

Status, prestige, material motives...

THIS SURVEY OF motives makes it clear that a pedophile relationship is not simply a matter of sex. In their relationships with their older partners the boys got affection, love, attention, friendship, freedom and support. They shared all sorts of activities, such as playing games or going to the movies. A number of the boys testified to the fact that they learned a great deal from their older friends. The motives of the boys, in fact, seem very much like those which Foa and Foa (1974) listed for all human beings who seek personal relations with each other: love, affection, (mutual) performing of services, exchange of information. Two motives in the classification of Foa and Foa did not come up in what the boys told: materialistic advantage, and status and prestige. The fact that these motives were not mentioned does not necessarily mean they were completely absent. In the first place, the study was not constructed systematically to lay bare the boys' motives. In the second place, not every motive which influences one's behavior is conscious or can be articulated by one.

Material motivation is often, in the literature, attributed to children who "allow" adults to have sex with them. According to Weeks (1976), sex is performed in exchange for money or other goods. Rasmussen (1937, cited by Burton 1968), also said that many children are enticed by money, candy or little gifts. While this sort of thing undoubtedly occurs in some cases, the question arises as to how often it does in many other pedosexual contacts. Rossman (1976) looks at this material motive from another angle. He says that boys of 12 to 16 may well claim they only do it for gifts or money, but that they might well be kidding themselves and others--into thinking they aren't really after affection and enjoyment of sex.

Likewise, one hears nothing about status and prestige from the boys. A number of authors see this as an important reason for children to have pedophile relationships. Bender & Blau (1937) suggested that the children they studied had an abnormal interest in and need for adult attention. According to them, the child gets a certain satisfaction from taking part in the adult world. Possibly, too, it gives him a feeling of importance. Lafon (cited by Burton 1968) thinks that the contact makes it possible for the child to assume an adult personality and take part in adult activities. And Finch (1973) adds that when a child discovers that sex with adults gives him a new kind of status and a sense of being loved, he will happily respond to contact opportunities or even initiate them himself.

The motives listed by Foa & Foa (1974) were applied to relations between adults, but they appear again with the boys in this investigation. The possibility cannot be dismissed that motives for maintaining a relationship change during the course of personal development. That appears, for example, in some research carried out by La Gaipa (1980) wherein children had to say what they thought was important in the ideal friendship or association. For children up to the age of 12, being thought nice, doing things together, sincerity, being helped, admired and accepted scored very high. As the child grew older there was a shift from egocentric to non-egocentric reasons for carrying on a friendship, and from concrete to abstract ways of expressing it.

Thus a 9-year-old described to them the ideal friend: "Someone to play with and have fun with, someone who likes you and you can share things with. No fighting or rough games. And respect for each other." A 13-year-old said, "They must like you and be nice to you, tell you their problems and play games with you. Someone you can really talk to and be with all the time. If you don't have good friends life is boring." 15- and 16-year-olds have a more realistic view of friendship: "Good friends are essential, because you have to have someone who knows you better than you do yourself. When you need a friend he doesn't have to be always at your beck and call, because that isn't always possible." (page 37)

The Importance of the Relationship

THE MANY REASONS the boys had for maintaining their pedophile relations suggest that the older partner and their mutual friendships were of great importance to the boys. But was that really true of all the relationships? The data assembled through the Self Confrontation method shed some light on this question. The older partner was, for all of the boys, one person for whom they had many positive and few negative feelings. For each of them there were people in their surroundings for whom they had less pleasant and more unpleasant feelings, people with whom they could not get along with as well or whom they disliked. About half of the boys judged their older partners to be the most pleasant person they knew; with eleven boys, however, their parents were the most important.

As well as the qualitative importance of the older partners, one can also examine how the boys evaluated them relative to others they knew. For ten boys their older friends were the most important persons in their surroundings. The remaining fifteen boys found others more important: in some cases friends of their own age but more often their mothers and fathers. The boys who rated their parents emotionally more important saw their older partners relatively infrequently while at the same time they had a daily (and positively experienced) relationship with their parents. Even for these boys, however, the older partner was far from being unimportant.

Five of the boys were very much involved with the older partner, and at the same time the older partner was extremely important in determining their boys' sense of well-being (a high G-Index; see appendix 1). Thus the older partner and the pedophile relationship formed an important structural element in their experiential world. If the relationship for one reason or another were to be terminated it would have rather far-reaching negative consequences for these five boys (Sandfort 1980). With the other twenty boys the relationship with the man was of distinctly less importance. What the older partner meant to the younger in their friendship was very different.

Sex in Pedophile Relationships

SEX IS NOT THE most important reason boys have pedophile relationships with men, but it may very well be the chief reason problems over them arise. The tendency of sex to bedazzle is sometimes so great that it is difficult to see that there are many other aspects of such friendships. Some of the older partners in this investigation said that for them sex was not the most important element in their relationships. They pointed to the importance to them of simply being with children. Of course that can be dismissed as simple self-justification or a sales pitch. But the same theme emerged from the interviews with the boys: pedophile relationships have many other facets than just sex.

Yet in this book we will concentrate upon this sexual aspect. It is not our purpose to be voyeuristic or provide sensual thrills for our readers. Divergent and sometimes strange ideas persist about sexual relations between children and adults. The statements of these 25 boys give a somewhat subtler and more realistic picture of pedophile relations. But, as we have many times emphasized, what these boys said is not to be construed as typifying all pedophile contacts.

The First Sexual Contact

THE FRIENDSHIPS HERE studied were sexually expressed, although this is not always the case with pedophile relationships in general. Sex can be introduced at different times in a relationship. What these men and boys separately told the interviewer are in almost complete agreement. In about one-third of the cases sex took place at the first meeting. In nine cases that happened in a subsequent meeting shortly after the first; in the remaining eight sex first took place after a month or more, when the boys had been coming more often or their contacts with the older partner became more frequent.

The way the boys described the first sexual contact might suggest that sex was abruptly introduced into the relationship. That is not necessarily the case, neither as the boys experienced it nor in reality. Pedophiles say that first there is a kind of physical contact which could not really be called "sexual" yet (Sandfort 1979). Sex then can simply come about by taking one step further. Also adults often draw a firm line between non-sexual and sexual behavior. Such a boundary is often not recognized by, especially younger, children. For them sex is not a separate behavioral domain.

Sometimes it is said that pedophile relationships are characterized by the gradual introduction of sex. While Bernard (1975) spoke about a gradual development of intimacy, Schuijer (1978), for example, referred to "the physical intimacy which flowed from out of the relationship". This concept hardly holds for the eight boys studied here who had sex with their older partners the first time they met. On the basis of this investigation one cannot say how often this occurs in other pedophile relationships; there can be little doubt, however, that similar cases do exist. Perhaps this concept of the gradual introduction of sex has been nourished by the desire to make pedophilia understandable and acceptable. Sex is generally approved of only in an affectionate relationship; thus it shouldn't take place the moment two people meet. It might, however, be better not to keep insisting upon this idea because however nicely it paints the pedophile relationship, it gives a distorted picture of its sexual aspect.

As for who took the initiative toward the first sexual contact, the men and boys didn't always give the same answer. Now, initiative is not always a one-sided affair; often a sexual contact comes about by "exchanging signals back and forth". In almost half of the cases, according to the boys, it was the man who took the initiative. Five of the boys no longer remembered. In four cases the boys said they themselves took the initiative; according to two boys the initiative was mutual, and three said it came from a third party. The following illustrate how these contacts came about:

The first contact between Chris (38) and Rob (12) occurred when Chris took photos of Rob. Chris said he thought Rob was nice looking and asked him if he could make "half-naked" shots of him, at which point Rob spontaneously got undressed. After that they started to make love: Chris began caressing Rob who, according to Rob himself, responded sexually. Rob was an "explosively sexual" boy, according to Chris. Rob's version:

Can you recall when you and Chris had sex for the first time?

Uh, a week or so after I met him. Then we had contact with each other--I mean sexual--uh, well not really, because I didn't know anything about it then, so...

What do you mean?

I'd had no education about it or anything.

Oh, you knew nothing about sex?

Nothing at all at first. Then I slowly got the hang of it, got to know how my own feelings worked, and I liked that a lot.

Can you still remember what happened that first time?

Yeah, I think so. We'd been making photos. Now, let's see, I think I went and lay down on the bed--that's how it began, I think. And then he started to explain things to me.

What things?

Uh, how can I say it... how you really got to jerk off and other things like that.

And those were things you didn't know about?

No, not yet.

And then you immediately got into a sort of demonstration?

You could put it that way.

Can you say now who started the sex?

Uh, I think he did, because I knew nothing about it. So it was him. Not because I didn't want it but just because I didn't have the faintest idea about any of that.

So you'd never had any sex with anybody else?


Not even with yourself?

No. Okay, every so often I saw I had a hard-on, but I didn't know anything more than that. That was all I knew.

In the case of Nico (32) and André (14), both reported that it was André who took the initiative. According to Nico it happened very quickly. André grabbed Nico's crotch and pressed matters toward a sexual contact. André said:

It happened the first evening. Nico attacked me. Well, he didn't really attack me (Laughing). He just came and sat down beside me, and, to tell the truth, I attacked him. So I kept on coming back, because I found it so nice here.

Can you say who took the initiative, who made the first move?

Well, it was really me. Yes.

You started it off?


You attacked him?

Yes, you could say that. But Nico wanted it, too.

The initiative toward the first sexual contact between Richard (31) and Lex (13) came from a third party. Lex was brought by some of his age-mates to Richard who immediately started telling him about pedophilia. Lex was asked if he wanted to participate. Within an hour they had sex which, according to Richard, was "really wonderful, abandoned". The other boys, according to Richard, helped Lex break through his inhibitions. Lex answered the question about how it happened the first time:

Yeah, I don't know-it's quite a while ago. I didn't expect he'd do it, although I'd already heard all about him.

So first he explained everything to you, and then you immediately made love?

No, first he showed some films. Sex films.

What did you think of that?

Well... (Hesitating.) The first time I saw them. Just... they seemed like normal films.

You said you'd known each other only one hour. Who really started the sex?

Um... it was Gertje.

You and Richard weren't alone?

There were four of us looking at the film, and then they started pulling my pants down--Gertje and Rutger. So that's how it happened.

And Richard also had sex with you then?

Uh, they had my pants all the way down--and I hadn't really resisted at all--and so Richard said, "Now, will you let me...?"

And did you like it?

Yeah, I got used to it.

Of course as time went on you got used to it, but that first evening, what did you think about it then?

Well, he'd explained everything to me, how it didn't have to be dirty. So that first time I enjoyed it, too.

Roel (29) and Willem (13) disagreed about who had made the first move. According to Roel, Willem was already experienced, was seeking an older friend and had already tried to have contact with another pedophile. When he visited Roel, Willem let him know he wanted sex, started to make out with him and pulled him into the bedroom. Willem had another version, however:

Can you tell me how it went the first time, or do you find it difficult to talk about it?

No, absolutely not. It was nice and short. Yes, it was wonderful. Just great.

Can you still remember who started it that first time?


Do you recall how he went about it?

No, I don't. I'm not so good at remembering things.

Jan (11) could not remember his first sexual contact with Sander (41):

Who started it, then?

Uh, I don't remember. No, I don't remember who was the first. I've no idea.

Of course it's a long time ago, isn't it? I can understand that you no longer recall who it was.

No, in the meantime I've had so much fun. I just don't know any more.

Sander said that it was really he who had taken the initiative, and that he had been very careful how he began: "You get a response to something you do, and that determines whether you go any further or not. The whole process lasted three months."

One regularly comes across in the literature the assertion that children themselves often take the initiative toward first sex (Bender & Blau 1937; Brongersma 1975; Rossman 1976; Lievense 1978; De Groot 1979). Pedophiles make the same claim, too. What these 25 boys said does not really support this thesis. Often it was the adult who introduced sex into the relationship. The boys who did take the initiative toward first sex appear to have already had sexual experience with other pedophiles, have had an example to follow in a pedophile contact of another boy they knew, or had known about the pedophile feelings of the older partner. In other words these boys in one way or another were informed about pedosexuality; the sexual initiative they showed didn't come out of thin air. Although it is important to realize that in these latter situations young people can take the sexual initiative, it is still unclear whether boys with no experience would do so. In this connection, a number of the boys themselves pointed to their own inexperience and lack of sexual knowledge when they said that "of course" the older partner had taken the initiative the first time.

Whenever older people say that youngsters take the initiative toward first sexual contact it must be kept in mind that it is the older person who is interpreting the behavior of the younger. While an adult has a clear idea of what constitutes sexual contact, that is certainly less true of an inexperienced young person. The child may not even know what he is looking for, and if he does know, curiosity may be an important factor. Provocative actions a child might make do not have to have conscious sexual intent; they may only be sexual in the mind of the adult who so interprets them (Van Meurs 1963).

The Initiative Toward Subsequent Contacts

THE INITIATIVE TO THE first sexual contact was often taken by the adult partner. What happened at the sexual episodes that followed? From what both partners said, it seems that the majority of the boys were more active in bringing about subsequent contacts. Initiative usually came from both sides, or alternated, rather than always from one partner alone. Sometimes a sort of pattern emerged from which it was not altogether clear who was taking the initiative. There were also a few relationships where the initiative was definitely and habitually taken by the older partner.

Bert (35) said the initiative was mutual. It followed a kind of set routine. "One day he will start it, the next time I will. Real sex is built into a broader physical contact." According to his partner, Theo (13):

When you have sex with each other, what happens?

Well, like it always does.

And who starts it?

Bert. Or me.

Can you say any more about it?

Well... I think it's nice, so I just go and make love with him.

Pieter (39) said that the initiative changed between them. Harrie (16) sometimes came to him all wound up and would tell him, "Let's jerk off; 'cause anything else is boring." According to Pieter, Harrie then thoroughly enjoyed having sex. According to Harrie himself:

When you have sex with each other, who starts it off?

Pieter. Yes, he always sort of begins to warm me up a little, and then I'll say, "Come on, let's go lie down; it's no good standing up," and then we lie down.

And then it just goes on from there?

Yeah, and so everything just progresses further and further.

While Gerard (42) said that the initiative changed, Wouter (12) answered the question about who began:

Mostly I do.

You start it?

I decide if we're going to have sex or not.

You decide that?

Yes. And every day I come here it happens. I don't keep Gerard waiting around.

Is that a kind of rule, that it happens every time?

No. I like it. When I feel like it we just start. Then we first take a bath and then go to bed. Sometimes we do that the other way round.

But if you have to say who starts it, on average, who would that be?

Well, sometimes one of us, sometimes the other. Yes, and sometimes he wants it and I don't, so then we don't do it. Mostly I'm the first one to begin.

Edward (57) said that he always started it with the boy. He would see if Erik (10) was in the mood. Sometimes Erik was aroused and wanted it. According to Edward, Erik was not so fond of sex; he was not a cuddly boy. To the question about how it went when they had sex, Erik answered:

Well, uh, that depends on the time we have. If we've only a little time we talk a little bit at first, but at the same time we start making sure he can come. But, for example, when we have a long time, then we begin by fooling around and stuff, caressing, and at the last minute he comes. I think that's the best of all-and so does he.

Can you say who begins, when you make love?

Well, Edward suggests it, and then we usually talk over what we are going to do. Usually we go lie down in bed, and then he starts stroking me and that's how it begins.

It goes without saying that the more often sex takes place the better the boy knows what to expect. He also learns how he can take the initiative toward sexual contact, and whenever he does he knows how to go about it.

These findings are rather different from those to be found in the clinical literature (Sandfort 1979). According to Peters (1976) it is not the child who initiates the contact. Previous research has been based on the premise that boys never take the initiative. While boys' reactions to sexual approaches have been investigated, it has never been asked whether they themselves had played a role in bringing about the sexual experiences (Landis 1956). The picture emerging from our present research, however, agrees well with what pedophiles themselves have had to say on this matter (Sandfort 1979).

Kinds of Sexual Contacts

SEXUAL CONTACT is here used in a broader sense than simply "genital intercourse" or "fucking". But what do men and boys do with each other sexually in a pedophile relationship? The men in this study were asked what sexual acts they practiced within their relationships and what they thought might happen in the future. Below are described sexual acts which take place regularly as well as those which have occurred only once. In any particular relationship, of course, a number of different acts can take place.

One kind of sexual contact which occurred in every relationship was masturbation. It happened in different ways. In every case the man masturbated the boy, and in most cases the boy also masturbated the man. Sometimes, too, the men and the boys masturbated themselves in each other's company. Also sometimes each "warmed the other up" but then took care of his own climax.

Oral-genilal contact (fellatio, "sucking off" or giving or getting a "blow-job") took place in almost all of the relationships: in each case the man sucked the penis of the boy; in 14 of these cases the boy reciprocated.

Oral-anal contact (analingus (Borneman 1970) or "ass licking") happened in 7 of the relationships. The man always did this to the boy; the reverse never took place.

Anal Contact (anal coitus, pedicatio (Borneman 1970) or "ass fucking") took place in 6 relationships. In five of these cases it was the boy who penetrated the man; in two of them the man also penetrated the boy. In none did this happen very often. When it did, according to the men involved, it was as a kind of experiment. One of the men said he would rather not do it and it only occurred on an experimental basis when the boy wanted it. Such "experimentation" sometimes turned out to be unpleasant. Marcel (45) said that he had anal contact one time with Johan (13), who found it painful. Johan, however, had not admitted it had hurt and said that he wanted to do something nice for Marcel.

The different sexual acts were apparently experienced by the boys on the basis of how intimate or advanced they were. Thus it was more advanced to masturbate a man than to be masturbated by him. Ejaculating in the mouth of the man was apparently less intimate than having the man ejaculate in the boy's mouth. Penetrating the man anally was less advanced than being penetrated by the man.

With this order in mind, a clear pattern emerges when we look at the various sexual acts practiced within these 25 relationships and the frequency with which they occurred.

In the first place, the sexual acts which boys considered more intimate and took place in relatively few relationships.

Secondly, it seemed that wherever there was a lack of reciprocity in the sexual contact, the man always did more for the boy than what he himself really wanted. Whenever the boy masturbated the man to orgasm, the man always did the same to the boy. In oral-genital contacts, the man always took into his mouth the penis of the boy, although the other way around occurred less often. Of the 21 boys who had oral-genital experiences, 13 of them ejaculated in the mouths of the men. None of the men ejaculated in the mouths of the boys; some even said they didn't want to.

This pattern indicates that in these relationships the boys themselves determined how far they wished to go in their sexual contacts and that the men left the boys free to do so. It also suggests a certain restraint on the part of the men in confronting the boys with their own adult sexuality.

This tendency of pedophiles to leave the boy free to make such determinations has been suggested in other investigations (Straver 1976; Sandfort 1979). Therein we can read that it is the boy who decides what is going to happen in a sexual contact, that his wishes are important and respected and it is he who decides how far he and his partner are going to go. When Brongersma (1975) writes that an important element of the man's sexual enjoyment is the lust which the boy experiences, this restraint on the part of the older partner is more understandable.

Sometimes in the literature pedosexual contacts are described as innocent games. Thus Zeegers (1968) compared pedosexual contacts with "the fooling around of immature adolescents". Such an image may perform a kind of tranquilizing function in sex-education literature, but at the same time it has a condescending, minimizing tone (Kuijer 1980). Writing on child sexuality Wolters (in Dik 1980) refers to the "half-hard little willie" which the boy fumbles around in the girl's little slit. And so, in general, pedosexual contacts are neatly segregated from contacts between adults, and are considered much less valuable. But is that really true? Masturbation and fellatio, the sex acts which occurred most frequently in these 25 relationships, are also the most common homosexual sex acts among men (Bell & Weinberg 1979). It is quite possible that such low evaluation of the under-age male's sexual experiences results from the common idea that heterosexual coitus is "real sex" while other acts are somehow inferior or to be disparaged.

The sexual acts in the relationships studied here were on the whole physically more intimate and more advanced than those described in the literature on pedosexual contacts (for example, Landis 1956; Jaffe, Dynneson & Ten Bensel 1975; Peters 1976. For a summary, see Pieterse 1978 and Sandfort 1979). But all of these other investigations were of pedosexual contacts in general and not just those which occurred within pedophile relationships. What was mostly described was exhibitionism and caressing or fondling of the boys. The acts in which these 25 boys participated were more intimate partly because they all occurred within pedophile relationships and partly because the study group was assembled only from the boys who were currently having sex (in the true sense of the word) with the older partner. Undoubtedly there are also pedophile relationships in which physical contact is limited to caressing and cuddling.

Active and Passive

IT APPEARS THAT at least some of the boys were active in the sexual contact; the older partners were all questioned about the extent of the boys' active participation. According to the men, more than half of the boys participated actively. Six men said the boys were mostly passive, and five said they were both active and passive.

According to one of the men, his younger partner's passivity was due to the boy's age (10 years): the youngster's feelings were still very much directed upon himself. Another man said the sexual contact was "a one-way street"; again he cited the young age of the younger partner and the fact that the boy was not yet genitally mature. Sex for these boys, then, was not yet so very interesting. Two other men linked the passivity of their younger partners to the boys' heterosexual orientation, and one of them said he could thus well understand why the activity so often came from only one side. In other relationships, however, where the boys were likewise unaware of real homosexual longings and were predominantly heterosexual, this seemed to be no hinderance to their actively participating in the sexual contact.

A boy might participate actively in a sexual contact mostly to arouse himself, or he might do it to arouse his older partner. From what a few of the boys said, their active behavior towards the older partner was their side of a sort of exchange: if you do something nice for me, I'll do something nice for you. Thus the chief aim was not to arouse themselves. Perhaps one has to learn that arousing a partner sexually can be sexually arousing in itself (Sandfort 1979). In this connection it would have been interesting to know the masturbation fantasies of the boys-especially whether the older partner, or adults in general, played a roll in them. In any case, it appeared from what the boys said that they didn't always behave passively in the pedosexual contacts.

Pleasure in sex

BOTH THE MEN and the boys were asked whether the boys had orgasms. The men were questioned about how the boys acted during orgasm and what they thought the boys wanted out of the sexual contact. As part of the self-investigation procedure the boys were questioned about the feelings they experienced in connection with the sexual contact, and what for them were its pleasurable and the unpleasurable sides.

According to their older friends, most of the boys were seeking more than one thing in their sexual contacts: several motives operated simultaneously and were of greater or lesser importance.

Often the pleasure of sex itself was mentioned. The older partners put it in different ways. Some of them said that the boy was only interested in the sex and was simply after its enjoyment. Others mentioned "coming" or "the desire to have an orgasm". Still others said that the boy was "naturally horny", found sex wonderful and was looking for ways to get aroused. One man, in this connection, said the sexual contact provided the boy with possibilities to experiment. Another said his younger partner was oriented toward girls but that the boy didn't yet dare try anything; the sexual contact acted as a kind of training school for him, and the older partner was getting the boy ready for later on. A few men also said that the excitement, the sensation and adventure surrounding the sexual contact all played their roles. Possibly sexual gratification was a motive in all of the boys, although we cannot be sure because the men were not systematically asked about this.

Five men, however, said that they thought their young friends were not simply seeking sex but wanted other things which were more important to them. Eight men put the emphasis on the physical rather than the sexual aspect; they thought the boys were seeking pleasure more in general body contact: caressing, physical cuddling, being held, treated tenderly and so forth.

After the physical and sexual pleasures, some of the men drew attention to the psychological aspects of the sexual contact. Eight of the boys, according to their older friends, were also seeking in their sex security, warmth and positive attention. One of the men said that the sex allowed the boy to appreciate his own worth. Three others said the boy experienced a kind of recognition, an affirmation of his sense of self.

The men also mentioned relational motives. Two of the older partners said the boys liked to demonstrate through sex their attachment to them. Another said the boy used sex to exercise his power over him, and used it to grant him favors. Three men said the boys enjoyed the sex because of the friendship or love they experienced through it.

The boys sought the sex for more reasons than simply to satisfy their own appetites. Two of the men thought the boys also enjoyed doing it to please their older partners, to give them pleasure; one of the men said his boy was "socially motivated." Another said he thought that in his particular situation the most important thing for the younger partner was that the boy was doing him a favor; he questioned how much pleasure the boy himself felt during their sex. The boy never started the sex himself and, according to the man, he got little out of it. The man said the boy was not yet sexually mature and attained no climax during the contact.

The motives the men ascribed to the boys for participating in the sexual contacts agree in general with what pedophiles said in a previous investigation (Sandfort 1979). These different motives can operate simultaneously. Sometimes one can be more important than any of the others. They are, however, certainly not restricted to pedophile contacts but can be found in other kinds of contacts as well (Frenken 1976, page 26).

When the men were asked to what extent the boys experienced orgasm in the sexual contact, they answered in several different ways.

There were boys who had both orgasms and obvious ejaculations. All of these boys were older than twelve-and-a-half years.

There was another group of six boys all of whom had orgasms but no ejaculations during the sexual contacts. According to the older partners a "a clear liquid" or a "slippery, watery substance" came out of the boys' penises. Probably these boys, who were all around 13 years old, were in a phase of biological transition to sexual maturity.

Finally there were five boys, on average slightly younger than the former group, who had neither an ejaculation nor anything resembling it. They did, however, achieve sexual climax, according to their older partners. A number of boys who had become sexually mature during the relationship also seem to have experienced the same thing.

Attaining orgasm and having an ejaculation are not necessarily the same thing. One of the men, talking about the "dry orgasms" of his younger partner, said that at those moments the boy was far, far away, "experiencing eternity." The boy then was completely out of contact, and time for him slowed up. Some of the boys told their older partners that they were coming or that their penis "itched." Most of the men said that they could clearly see in the body of the boy that he was having an orgasm. His body then looked as though it was under tension; the older partner often felt it jerk and tremble. One of the men described a certain spasming and tensing of the features of the boy. Another told how the boy strained and stretched his legs and toes. A boy's sighing and panting were taken as indicative of his orgasm. According to most of the men there was also a clear termination to the climax. The boy indicated that he didn't want to do it any longer or pushed the head of the man away. Another boy couldn't stand it if the man continued to touch his penis after orgasm. One of the men said it was as though "a bomb had collapsed into itself" and the boy's penis immediately went soft. Another of the older partners described the relaxation which the boy experienced right after his climax. Some of the men said boys in this third group were able to achieve multiple orgasms, one right after the other.

The description of these "dry orgasms" by the older partners closely resembles that of the other boys who were able to ejaculate. One of the men even said that it was just as though the boy had really had an emission. Kinsey (1948, page 177) also noted orgasm in immature boys. The phenomenon he described reappears in the statements of these adult partners.

There was a fourth group of boys who had neither orgasm nor ejaculation during the sexual contact. Three of them were between 10 and 13 years of age and were not yet sexually mature. The fourth boy, fifteen-and-a-half, was definitely mature but, according to his older friend, suffered from "impotence" during their sexual contacts; in other sexual situations he had had ejaculations.

There appears to have been a connection between sexual maturity and the ability to have ejaculations on the one hand and the involvement of the boy in the sexual contact on the other. Although not true in all cases, the boys who could have a sexual emission tended to be more active in the sexual contact (see also Bernard 1975). The experiencing of sexual relations is, of course, more than just having an ejaculation. Still it seems that both the interest and the participation of the boy in the sex was increased when he could find in it greater, and perhaps more concrete, satisfaction.

Experiencing Sexuality

THE WAY IN WHICH the boys experienced their sexual contacts with their older partners was investigated by means of the Self Confrontation Method and the extent of both positive and negative feelings associated with each of the so called value areas determined. In order to obtain the broadest possible picture of the boys' emotional responses, they were not asked which feelings were caused by the sexual contact but which feelings they associated with it. Thus a boy might find the sexual contact in itself pleasurable but at the same time have feelings of anger, because, for example, he knew his parents wouldn't approve of it.

First we will examine the feelings linked to the sexual contact itself. Then we will look into the causes of these various pleasant and unpleasant feelings.

The feelings the boys had with respect to the sexual contact seem to have been mostly pleasurable ones, such as nice and happy, feelings elicited directly by the contact itself. Another feeling strongly associated by the boys with the sexual contact was free, as were, generally, safe and satisfied. The pleasurable feelings of proud and strong which do not have such an obvious inherent connection with sexuality were less common.

The unpleasurable feelings were decidedly less common. For the most part the boys said they never felt naughty, angry, sad or lonely in connection with the sexual contact, yet these are feelings one might well expect because the boys were, among other things, aware that they were breaking the rules of their social environment or their parents. It is possible that the boys were unconsciously denying or suppressing such feelings, but the subsequent interviews gave no indications that this was so.

When one compares how the boys experienced the sexual contact with how they experienced other value areas in their lives, the sexual contact seems to belong with those other value areas in which mostly positive and relatively few negative feelings are associated. Consequently positive feelings markedly overshadow the negative ones. For one boy that was not the case: he had as many negative as positive feelings associated with the sexual contact. It is remarkable, then, that this boy, Ben (10) mentioned sex when asked what he enjoyed a lot. The negative feelings which he gave in connection with the sexual contact were angry, shy, naughty and dislike. In the second interview more information was obtained on this matter. It then emerged that the boy had interpreted sexual contact with his older partner rather broadly: "Sex with Herman (55) is, uh, love for children and, uh, doing nice things for children, that sex is not bad." It appeared that he liked the physical contact, which he called "cuddling" but he found the sexual activity itself less enjoyable. He said he got an unpleasant tickling from it, which would make the older partner a bit angry. "Then he says,'I want to do something nice but you don't want to do it.' So then I think he's mad at me." With respect to angry feelings, he said he had them when they made love and he didn't want to. Shy he associated with 'bad' which is connected with naughty, about which he said, "I think it's a little naughty, so I am naughty. My mother wouldn't let me." Opposed to these negative feelings, however, there were just as many positive feelings: nice, free, safe and happy.

The emotional involvement of the boys in the sexual contact varied. For several boys it was among the more important elements in their lives. There were also boys for whom it played a decidedly less important role. No boys, however, thought it was of virtually no importance.

Using the Self Confrontation Method it is also possible to determine why somebody, in his general experience, feels either good or bad (the G-index: see Appendix 1). This index was used to see whether the sexual contact with the adult partner had a negative influence on the boy's general sense of well-being. That appeared not to have been the case with any of these 25 boys. Where any influence was detected, it was positive. This conclusion is valid, however, only for the time when the investigation was carried out. The possibility cannot be excluded that the sexual contact for one reason or another (such as the intervention of parents or police, or being abandoned by the older partner) would at some later time exert a negative influence on his sense of well-being.

Nice and Naughty

IN ORDER TO get as broad as possible a picture of the significance of the sexual contact in the lives of the boys, both the positive and the negative sides of it were examined.

Most of the boys found it difficult to say exactly what they found pleasurable in the sex; for them it was self-evidently pleasurable. For almost all the boys the pleasurable element derived from the pleasant feelings it gave them: "Having sex with Bert is nice," "I think it's nice and cozy", "It's wonderful", and "Expressing your love physically and emotionally".

The last quote shows that in addition to pure sexual pleasure, feelings of friendship, intimacy and love could play a role. With other boys, too, elements of the relationship were mixed with sexual enjoyment. "Sex with the right person gives you very fine feelings", "Because I think it's wonderful and I really like Barend". Still other boys emphasized the relational aspect. They said: "You show love for one another through sex", "For me sex is a way of expressing my feelings for Marcel", and "It happens in a good relationship". There was one boy who was exclusively concerned with the sexual feelings and for whom the relational element was unimportant: "Because it feels good, not because I love him".

Five boys cited other pleasurable sides of the sexual contact. One of them, Marco (12) said, "Pedophiles ought to be able to enjoy themselves"; he had almost no negative feelings about it. Erik (10) found the sexual contact nice and cozy for himself but also liked the fact that his older friend enjoyed it too, and this latter point seemed to be very important to him. When he was asked whether he liked doing nice things for people he answered, "Uh, that depends on what it is. If it's some boring chore then I'm happy to get it over with, because then he always thanks me. But with this, for example: well, I like it a lot, too, so it doesn't bother me whether I do it or not. So I do it-no problem-because there are two things that are nice about it: he likes it and I like it myself." A third boy also liked the sexual contact "because Max (57) lets me choose what we will do and not do". Two boys mentioned learning from their sexual relations as a positive aspect. Bart (14) discovered through the sexual contact how his body responded and worked. Rob (12) said: "Through sex with Chris (38) I learned how my parents relate to one another." He explained as follows:

The first time (the first sex-T. S.) was a big surprise. It was also very important. My mother hadn't told me anything about that. So I was real happy to know at last, because I enjoy it a lot. The things he taught me I'd never have learned from my mother, even if I was 20 years old.

What sort of things do you mean?

Mostly sexual, I think. And if she had told me I don't think I'd have understood. She always makes things so hard to understand.

How do you mean?

Well, I think there are enough problems at home... How should I say it? Chris explained what was really going on at home, because sometimes I just don't understand what they are talking about.

But what does that have to do with your sexual relations with Chris?

Well, my father sometimes sort of teases my mother, flatters her and stuff. I didn't used to have the faintest idea why he did that, and now I know.

Each boy was systematically asked about the unpleasant or negative sides of the sexual contact. They were also asked the cause of the unpleasant feelings connected with thein. Ten of the 25 boys could not answer the first question even after they were extensively questioned. For example: John (13) said:

What for you are the unpleasant aspects of yoursexual relations with Marcel (45)?

There's nothing unpleasant about it.

Nothing unpleasant at all?

What could there be?

I don't know. Is there maybe something you'd rather not do? You like it very much, but maybe there is still something that makes you think, well, I have a little trouble with that, or there's for me something annoying about it?

No. Marcel has always told me if you're doing something you don't like you always have to say so. But I haven't any trouble with it. I like it and he likes it, so I think why should we make problems about it?

When the matter was pursued in this manner some of the boys simply reiterated the pleasurable sides of their sexual relations.

The negative sides given by the other boys related to the sexual contact itself, the behavior of the older partner and the social environment in which the boys lived. Subsequent discussions with each boy revealed why some of them arose in the context of his sexual relations. This matter was gone into rather deeply, although that should not suggest that these negative feelings were important in the boy's experiential world. What follows are examples of their (rather rare) occurrence:

Eric (10) listed as a negative side of the sexual contact that sometimes circumstances made it impossible for it to happen more often. He said that sometimes he wasn't in the mood, "but once, twice a day is real good". In this connection, two boys said they thought it was too bad "that others can't have the same experience".

Martin (12) answered the question as to why during their sexual relations he sometimes felt lonely by saying he realized at such times that he "really couldn't do without" Frits (26).

The sexual relations also sometimes led to feelings of doubt. Thus Rob (12) said:

Why do I feel naughty? Sometimes I think, Goddamnit, am I homosexual or what am I?

So you have doubts about yourself?

Yes. Not often, but occasionally. Then you start to think, this is really a stupid thing to be doing--are you gay or straight, you ask yourself. Well, later you think what difference does it make?

Bart (14) named as a negative aspect of his sexual relations with Albert (46) that some things were painful:

Well, I don't see many negative aspects. Every so often something hurts.

What things hurt?

Well, if you roll the foreskin all the way down, when you're jerking yourself off, or if Albert's doing it, and if you do it very fast, it suddenly hurts. Or--well, I've never been anally taken, so when we sometimes try it, with a vibrator or something, suddenly it hurts a lot and you tense all up. You want it but you sort of back off, because of the pain.

Can you say what happens after that, what you and Albert do?

Well, I tell him. I tighten up and pull back. I don't know if you know what I mean, but if you're like this when someone's lying on top of you, then you're not offering yourself But if you stretch completely out, you raise your arms: "Here I am. I trust you. Come on." But if... then I pull my legs up, and that's like I'm saying, "Stop! No, I don't want to!"

And Albert notices?

Yes, right away, and I tell him right away, too. So then he does it differently, I usually say, "Wait, hold it lower down", or "Look out!"

Six boys named negative aspects which were more connected with the conduct of the older partner. Some of the negative feelings about their sexual relations also pointed in this direction. Theo (13) answered the question about the negative aspects:

Well, he's so prickly.


Yes, here. He's got stubble all over, because he shaves and he prickles so bad.

Shall we write that down?

Yes. Old porcupine!

René (12) gave a similar answer: "Often in the morning he's unshaven and his tongue stinks all day long." René every once in a while felt angry in connection with their sexual relations: "Every so often he's in a bad mood, and then he's just not paying attention." Maurits (10) named as an unpleasant side"when Maarten (32) does something stupid when we make love". When asked what that might be, Maurits answered:

Well, that hardly happens at all. I mean, I ask him not to do something, I say I don't like it, and then he doesn't stop. But that doesn't happen so much.

But what do you mean by something stupid? That he wants to do something you don't want to do?

Yeah, and he goes ahead and does it anyhow. But that happens very rarely.

When you clearly have said, "I don't want you to do that"?

Yeah, and then he says, "I won't do it" and he goes ahead and does it anyhow. But that's very unusual.

With a few other boys it sometimes happened that the older partner did something in their sexual relations which the younger partner didn't like. With Ben (10) it seemed that whenever his older partner caressed him it tickled. Ben didn't like that, which made Herman (55) angry.

Jos (13) said he felt angry a few times in connection with their sexual relations:

When he does something I don't like.

That happens sometimes when you have sex? Can you say more about it?

Well, I don't know... When he does something I don't enjoy I get a little mad.

And what kind of thing does Bas (35) do then?

He tells stupid jokes.

What kind of stupid jokes?

Oh, different kinds.

Can you give an example?

No. But I do feel that way once in a while.

Other boys also said that some things happened which they didn't like. Hans (13) listed as a negative side the fact that he found it difficult to say "no" whenever his older friend wanted to do something he himself didn't want to do:

Well, for example, if I'm doing something and, uh, something he likes but I, well, don't like so much. Sometimes every so often you can say no, but other times you really shouldn't. I mean, taking each other into consideration, and so on.

And when does that happen?

Well, say, he asks you, and then he asks you again, so you know he really wants it. Then you're not so quick to say no.

Why not?

Uh, I just don't think you can.

Why can't you? If you don't want to you don't want to.

Yeah, but you must be considerate of the other guy.

And he of you?

Yes, uh, yes, of course. If I say no once in a while, hell think, well, I can ask him another time.

But sometimes it's difficult to say no?

Yes. Like when you tell him no and he gets mad. Then I think I really shouldn't have said no.

You think that later?

Yeah, you think that right afterwards. If you say no you're letting the other guy down. Sometimes it's about things he really likes and I don't. So... you got to find a solution, and that's not easy.

Hans said that as a result he sometimes, but very rarely, felt angry and sad in connection with their sexual relations.

A few boys listed as negative aspects that it sometimes happened when they weren't in the mood. Rather rarely René had the feeling of dislike in connection with their sexual contact:

That's because then it's not really making love; it's more like just doing him a favor.

How often does that happen?

One time out of twenty.

Jos (13): "When I don't want to do it and Bas (45) keeps pestering me."

Eric (10) sometimes felt lonely in the sexual contact. He said:

Well, sometimes when he's lying on me I feel--this almost never happens, but sometimes I'm not really much in the mood--I feel a little lonely.

That happens occasionally, you say?

Just occasionally.

Then you feel a little lonely?

Not very often.

No, but sometimes.


Most of the other negative feelings associated with the sexual contact refer to the environment which, as we will soon see, the majority of the boys well knew disapproved of sexual relations between children and adults. A number of the boys found that unpleasant. Some of the negative aspects and feelings associated with the boys'sexual relations reveal this too.

Gerrit (16) named as a negative side: "Other people giving me a hard time about my relationship with Barend", and Ton (14) said, "My parents probably think it's bad." A few boys claimed to feel angry sometimes about their sexual relations because other people thought they shouldn't be having them.

With some of the boys the anger they felt was not restricted to their social environment; it also influenced how they experienced their sexual relations. Simon named as a negative side, "I'd be embarrassed if they (parents and other people-T.S.) heard about it." This also emerged in his explanation of certain negative feelings. Kees (15) occasionally felt embarrassed in connection with the sexual contact. This occurred with people whom he didn't know very well but who were aware of the pedosexual relationship. Ben (10) also had feelings of embarrassment in connection with the sexual contact:

Uh, embarrassed, yes, if you're just a little boy and you go to bed with a great big man; really that's bad, yeah, naughty; while your mother doesn't know anything about it; and then you do crazy things you aren't supposed to do at all.

For the same reason he also often felt naughty, a feeling which Theo (13) sometimes had too:

Sometimes I do feel naughty. Because I do this and, uh, nobody really knows about it, my mother and so on.

But why do you feel naughty? I sometimes do things which I don't let anybody know about?

Well, because you're doing something that, uh, normal kids just don't do--that's what you think.

The feeling of naughtiness doesn't necessarily have to weigh heavily in the mind of the boy. Bart (14) said he sometimes felt naughty in connection with the sexual contact:

Yes, uh, naughty... Well, I agree there are people who don't approve and so on, but I like it. Take my mother: now if she knew she'd probably not like it, and my father too, most likely--and lots of others besides would think it was bad. But I just feel nice and naughty--and go ahead and do it anyhow.

The fact that the sexual contact with the older partner is usually disapproved of in the social surroundings means that the boy must keep it secret. This can also give rise to negative feelings in connection with his sexual relations with the older partner.

Walter (15) said he occasionally felt angry because his parents didn't know about it. Willem (13) sometimes felt naughty about the sexual contact:

Well, because you have to keep it hidden, from your father, then.

And that makes you feel naughty?


You really think you ought to be able to tell him?

Yes, but I'm afraid to do that--maybe I wouldn't be allowed to come here then. So I prefer not to say anything about it.

Hans (13) sometimes had the feeling of dislike in connection with the sexual contact:

Look, for example, if my father started to talk about it. We've agreed we'd tell him we did nothing. Well, I'd just like it a lot better if we could talk about it openly.

Thus because of your father you sometimes feel you're a bit naughty?

Yes, not just because of my father but because of other people too. You see what they think about it. And you can't just tell everyone, Hey, I have a pedophile relationship. Having to lie, I don't like that, but I can't do anything else.

You feel a bit naughty because sometimes you have to lie about it?

Uh, well, naughty--that's really too strong a word.

Having to keep the sexual relations secret can give rise to worry over a possible betrayal. Thus John (13) felt fear in connection with the sexual contact that his brother, with whom the older partner also had sex, would let something slip out:

I'm not really scared, but every so often I think, "Keep your mouth shut, Jantje!"--that's his name. Sometimes we talk about never, never saying anything. Still every so often I get scared Jantje will let it out.

Fear of discovery, in fact, is inherent in having to hide the sex. Peter (14) cited as a negative aspect of the sexual contact being afraid "that the neighbors would hear about it". As a result he often felt afraid in connection with their sex:

I think the neighbors wouldn't like it. And so many boys are coming up the stairs all the time. If they hear something they might start thinking. Then maybe they'll call the police.

Jan (11) named as a negative side, "Being interrupted in sex". He said:

Well, uh, in the middle of making love a lot of kids come in.

You find that unpleasant?

Yes. Suddenly the bell rings and we're in the middle of doing nice things, kissing and him rubbing my back, and the kids are ringing the bell and making a big racket. Then we have to quickly pull everything up--well, not put on all our clothes, just get our pants up. I don't like that; I think it's awful. Being suddenly disturbed.

Fear of discovery was explicitly mentioned by five of the boys as the reason they were sometimes afraid in the context of the sexual contact. That happened to René (12) almost never, but still he said, "If someone comes in and you're in the middle of making out, then something could go wrong."

Theo (13) felt afraid fairly often:

Well, say if I'm thinking about it and I let something slip out--that's what I'm afraid of.

What do you mean?

Like it's on my mind, and sometimes I want to tell somebody about it. So I do, and he tells somebody else. I'm really scared of that.

Afraid that people will find out?

Yes, that they'll learn about it. And then you get a reputation and so on.

Paul (14) was also often afraid:

Yes, I'm scared someone'll find out, the neighbors will see or something like that. And then they'll talk to the police and so on.

Police and the law were brought up by other boys. Hans (13) saw "danger from the law" as a negative side to the sexual contact, and Paul (14) didn't like the fact that sex with minors was forbidden. Rob (12) also sometimes experienced fear in connection with the sexual contact, and it was mostly for the safety of his older partner:

What really frightens me is what Chris has already gone through, and that, thanks to me, he might have to go through it all over again.

What all over again?

That he would have problems with the police and such. And also my mother.

In other words, the danger connected with the sex?


Other boys realized that the older partner could go to prison; they considered this a "fault" in the penal code or a "stupid law".

Walter (15): We're not hurting each other, are we? If you murder somebody you only sit in jail a few months; but if you go to bed with somebody you get punished more severely--that's what Steven (35) says.

For Hans (13) the illegality of the sexual contact was no reason not to go to bed with somebody:

Yes, there's some danger, but that shouldn't stop you. What danger? Well, the law, that they might find out.

Two boys cited negative aspects connected with their environments but which didn't arise from its disapproval. Paul (14) said his step-father didn't like his having sex with Ruud (27) because he was jealous: he, too, had a sexual relationship with Paul.

André named as a negative aspect: "Gossip over my affair". That was also the reason why he sometimes felt naughty and sad. André was the boy who emphasized that he enjoyed the sexual contact but didn't love the older partner. His girl-friend knew about it but did not really approve. Thus André had decided to have no more sex with his older friend. He said:

Now I have this affair with her, so I don't need it (i.e., sex with the older partner--Ed.) anymore. Well, I don't know, I think it's something you have to find love in. That's what I guess, but I really haven't thought it through. And I'm getting enough of that now, so, well, I'd better stop with the other.

We have now examined many of the negative sides of the sexual contact as far as the boys were concerned, and the negative feelings associated with it, but how important were they? It appears that in relation to the positive feelings they played a relatively minor role in the way the sexual contacts were experienced. Furthermore it also seems that they had hardly any influence upon the overall way the boys experienced their sexual relations with the older partner. The positive aspects, which arose out of feelings of sexual pleasure and certain elements of the boy's relationship with the man, clearly predominated. To the extent that the negative aspects had any influence at all, it was only to slightly minimize the effect of the positive ones.

Data obtained through the Self-Confrontation procedure also showed what a small influence these negative aspects had upon the sexual contact experience as a whole. Compared with other things which were important in the boys' lives, the negative aspects elicited a relatively low emotional response. It also appeared from the aformentioned "G-Index" that the negative aspects had hardly any effect at all upon the boys' general sense of well-being, a finding supported by the fact that most were formulated by the boys only after repeated questioning.

There is a good chance, then, that some of these negative aspects are given too much emphasis here and were really rather unimportant in the lives of the boys. This is not to deny, however, that they actually were perceived by the boys themselves as being associated with the sexual contact.

Power Difference and Abuse of Power

ONE OF THE OBJECTIONS raised against pedophile relationships and sexual contacts between adults and minors is that there is always supposed to be (some say by definition) abuse of power. This belief is shared by many scientists investigating this phenomenon. Burgess and Holmstrom (1975), for example, say that the adult always has a dominant position in relation to the child and exploits the child's "ambivalence". The older person wields two weapons of power: the giving of gifts and the inculcation of distorted values and norms; he does the latter, for example, when he assures the child that what they are doing is normal and permissible. Peters (1976, page 425) distinguishes two kinds of power abuse inherent in pedophile contacts: seduction "which goes far beyond the stereotypic gifts of candy" and force. Force consists of physical violence and verbal coercion.

From some feminist quarters, too (Schwarzer 1980), one hears that a pedophile relationship is an unequal one in which the power positions are very different and the interests of the child are subordinated to the needs and desires of the adult. Thus Richard (1975) said that adults have developed complex power techniques to use against children: subtle manipulation, seduction, playing upon feelings of guilt or open aggression. According to Richard, children see adults, and especially men, as enormously authoritarian. Children know that they must respect the wishes of adults because if they don't they will be punished.

It cannot, of course, be denied that power and inequality exist in pedophile relations. In every kind of human interaction power and inequality play a role. This is true of adult interaction, and it is also true in relationships between adults and children, where power differences are hardly restricted to pedophile situations but are to be found in relationships between parents and children, children and teachers, etc. Wherever an adult and child interact, one of them is bigger and stronger than the other, knows more and is cleverer, has a higher status in society and has more money at his disposal. Where the younger person is dependent upon the adult for his emotional and material care, as for example in the family, the difference in power positions will be relatively large. That is one of the reasons incest is quite a different phenomenon from pedophilia. In the case of unwilling incest the child in his dependence often doesn't know how he can refuse the sexual activities. In pedophile relationships the power differential is less: the child, if he does not wish to continue with the contact, can simply stay away.

It is important to realize that power is seldom absolute. According to Hinde (1979, page 256), power is limited by the capacity of both individuals. In many relationships one partner has more power with respect to some things and the other partner more power over others. This division of power is usually arrived at by "negotiations": "Power is a property of the relationship and not of one or the other individual."

Plummer (1979, page 540), in examining pedophile relationships, said that what really mattered was who profited from them and by how much. He thus compared them with the parent/child relationship: "Parents dominate their children, but the child receives a great deal in return. Recent studies of pedophilia (Eglinton 1971; Rossman 1976) give examples of situations where a-child can gain a great deal from a pedophile relationship."

O'Carroll (1980, page 167) also took a more moderate view of the power aspect in pedophile relationships and felt, despite the sexual element, that they are better compared with the parent/ child than with any adult relationship. In all families there is power imbalance, but it is mostly used for the benefit of the child. "The fact that repressive elements can be detected in motherhood does not mean that motherhood must be eliminated. The fact that the relationship between mother and child is not equal does not mean per se that the relationship is undesirable." O'Carroll disagrees with Richard's (1976) claim that children do not see through the power games adults play: children from a very early age, according to O'Carroll, are trained in power politics, especially in the relationship between their parents.

Kuijer (1980, pages 69-73) also also took a more nuanced view of the power imbalance issue. "If equality is made a precondition to a loving relationship it would be impossible to love a child, because however much one insists upon the equal worth of child and adult it is obvious that equality of power simply does not exist. ( ... ) Children for the most part have no problems over inequality. They easily admire their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and especially their teachers. (..) One can consider another person better than oneself without necessarily feeling humiliated, at least children can. Putting someone on a higher plane than oneself, far from being degrading, can actually work to enhance one's self-evaluation."

Many authors, in fact, have put into perspective power differences in relationships in general and between children and adults in particular.

While adults usually have power on their side, the junior partner in a pedophile relationship still has some trump cards of his own: he can stay away from the older partner and so deprive him of a contact which is difficult to replace. The fact that the sex is legally forbidden and must be kept secret makes the adult somewhat dependent, thus bestowing a degree of power on the younger partner. It shouldn't be thought that children are not in a position to make use of this. There are pedophile relationships in which the power balance has actually tipped in favor of the child, in which the adult indulges the child. Often this "extorted" indulgence is rationalized away by reference to idealistic principles. Such self-justification should not be confused with sincere child and youth emancipation ideals to which some pedophiles adhere: the granting of greater freedom and wider responsibilities to the child.

How a power advantage is used is central to the discussion of power and inequality. There is a great deal of difference between the existence of power, the use of power and the misuse of power. If the older partner only considers his own sexual feelings and does not respect the feelings of the child, misuse of power obviously exists. Of course there are also misuses of power which are less obvious, for example where the older partner gives the younger a gift as reward for a desired sexual contact. Here it is more difficult for the child to refuse even though he himself doesn't really want to have sex with the man. The same holds where the adult acts so disappointed that the child feels guilty in continuing to refuse. Despite the presence of power imbalance, it is possible, in theory at any rate, for the older partner not to misuse his advantage. The mere existence of power difference is a poor reason to make a blanket condemnation of all such relationships. If an adult wishes to build up a really pleasant friendship with a child he cannot afford to neglect the wishes and interests of the child. With respect to power imbalance, Straver (1976) and Constantine (1981) stress the condition that the child must be free at any moment to withdraw from the situation and the relationship. The pedophile must also prevent the child from becoming dependent. Lievense (1978) and Van der Kwast (1975), however, question whether it is possible for a pedophile relationship to rest upon freedom, mutuality and camaraderie.

How did power difference act in the pedophile relationships here studied? The boys were asked about this during the self investigation, especially with respect to their the sexual contacts (See Appendix 2).

In most cases the boys said the men behaved in a pleasant way in the sexual contact. Four boys said that a few times they had experienced very slightly negative behaviour from their older friends during sex. These boys sometimes felt left in the lurch, made fun of or coerced; they also said sometimes the man bossed them around. But with each of the boys positive behavior on the part of the man predominated. Above all they felt that their older friend paid attention to them during their sex, was considerate of them and worked together with them. The nature of the positive aspects of the adults' behavior during sex seemed to drown out its negative aspects.

The boys felt that the men behaved toward them during sex the same way as they behaved toward them in general. For example, if the man was usually considerate of the boy, the boy found him also considerate when they had sex. Likewise, if the man seldom behaved in a certain way in their relationship, he also seldom acted that way in the sexual contact. The boys did not sense a change in the men's behavior when they had sex; they felt a continuity in it both in and out of bed.

These findings do not support the common assumption of Power abuse in pedophile relations. Either this assumption is wrong or there must be some other explanation for our findings. The idea that the boys were unable to recognize Power abuse, for example, is quite untenable, for they were obviously able to spot it in other adults with whom they interacted. Some recognized it in the behavior of their parents: "playing the boss", "coercing", etc. Elsewhere (Sandfort 1981a) other possible explanations have been examined and rejected.

From what the boys said, it was apparent that crude abuse of power simply did not occur. However, later in the conversations with the boys, it became apparent that there could be situations in which a kind of subtle misuse of power could arise. Jos (13), for example, said he became-annoyed when Bas (35) kept on insisting:

Sometimes if I'm not in the mood he keeps on asking for it. Then I say, "No, I don't feel like it," and so on, and then he says, "Oh, come on," and keeps harping on it. That's only once in a while, but it is a lousy side to making out.

What finally happens, then?

Well, uh, we don't do it.

Lex (13), too, said he sometimes found it difficult to say no when he didn't really want to have sex with Richard (31), because he felt you had to be considerate of each other's feelings:

Well, you ought to have sex, because he does so much for me. He takes me out a lot. So I should pay him back somehow; that's what he thinks, but I think so, too, so I'm not against it.

But is it sort of, "Okay, I'm doing this for Richard because he does so much for me, "or is it, "I like doing it"?

Well, if you don't feel like it you don't do it, of course. Richard never really forces you or says, "Now you got to, because I did what you wanted." He'd never say that. And, well, if you like it yourself you like doing it.

When I asked you how often you had the feeling of "dislike" when you thought about going to bed with Richard you said "sometimes." What were you thinking about?

Like, if you get back late at night and you're tired then you're not always in the mood--but of course Richard has a giant horn on. Well, only if we get home awful late--otherwise not.

Other boys told similar stories about the unpleasant side of their sexual relations. However, still others made it clear that they were perfectly willing to say no and make sure their wishes were respected. Kees (15) said that very occasionally he would coerce Max (57) when they had sex:

Well, sometimes if I think something would be nicer to do I tell him so.

But that's not coercion?

No, it's not coercion, but, well, every so often I ask him to do it so often it amounts to about the same thing.

You ask him in a sort of coercing manner, then?


Kees went on to say about his sexual contact with Max:

What's important to me is that Max never insists that we have to do something: he always lets me decide. If he has some special desire he asks me if I want to do it too, and if I don't for some reason, he says, "okay", that's fine by him. And if I do want to do it we go ahead.

When asked how often he bossed Karel (30) around in their sexual relations, Peter (14) said:

Never. I never play the boss. We're both bosses: bosses of our own bodies.

Theo (13) said that he sometimes "fibbed" to Bert (35) and "coerced" him when they had sexual relations:

When do you fib to Bert when you are making love?

Well, he wants to suck me off and I tell him it hurts, and so I'm telling a fib.

Because it really doesn't hurt?


You say you sometimes coerce him in your love-making?

Yeah, he'll say, "Let's go to bed," and I'll go look at TV and then he'll turn the TV off and I'll say, "If the TV stays off I'm going to sleep alone", and then I get to watch the TV a little longer.

From this answer it can be seen that the boy realized he could withhold sex from his partner and so use it as a power tool. If this subject had been taken up with the older partners other examples might have emerged. In general, however, the boys thought they acted in an agreeable way toward their older partners. Finally let us cite an example from the interview with Ben (10) of how he often cheered on his partner Herman (55) when they had sex:

Oh, when he wants to come I say, "Come! Come!"
(Bursting out laughing.)

Does it make you laugh, or is it also serious?

Yes, I always start laughing (Again laughs.)

But you mean it seriously, you're encouraging him?

Yeah, I laugh my head off.

You laugh your head off. Why do you find it so funny?

(Still laughing.) All of a sudden, psssst! Up to the ceiling!

Do you also think that's sort of strange?

Uh, no.

You don't think it's strange?

Later I'll be able to do it, too.

Do you think it's too bad that you can't yet?

Yes, but when I'm eleven or twelve I will.

The Opinions of Others

IN GENERAL, SEX contacts between children and adults are forbidden (Nijhoff 1978). How clearly did these 25 boys realize this and what did it mean to them? Social disapproval meant that the sexual activities, as well as, in some cases, the relationship itself, had to be kept hidden. This could be a heavy burden. Also the fact that these were "deviant" contacts tended to make the boys unsure of themselves. Thus it was important to these boys to be able to talk about the sex openly. Knowing that some other person was aware of the sex and approved of their friendships was probably pleasant.


THE MOST IMPORTANT people in the boys' social environment were their parents. How aware were they of the relationship and its sexual aspect? What was their position with respect to the relationship in which their son was involved? What did they think about the sex, or what would they have thought about it if they knew? And what did this mean for the boys?

Often the parents were aware of the relationship but did not realize that sex with a man occurred within it. In some cases the friendship was carried on quite independently of the parents. That was true of Kees (15) who was living in a boarding home. He was not so concerned about the reaction of his mother but was clearly afraid that they would find out about it at the Home:

My mother has no idea I come here. She knows that in the past there was something between Max and me. She's forbidden me to come here again. I told her, "Why not?" and she said I knew damn well why. Well, that doesn't mean much; I don't really care. I just hope she doesn't go and tell my group leader.

Jos, Ton and Martin suspected that their parents, who did not know about the friendships, would not approve of the relationships. Jos (13) imagined that his father would be furious:

No, my parents don't know, but I'd guess they would think it was really bad if they did find out. Just after my first visit to Bas (35) 1 told my father about it and he said, "You don't go there anymore or I'll break both your legs!" Maybe because Bas is a man.

If it was a woman he wouldn't think it was so terrible?

Oh yes he would--it's crazy, isn't it? On the one hand I think they're right, on the other hand I don't. If you know a man and your father doesn't, then you never know what can happen, do you?

Ton (14): I don't think they'd like it. Maybe my father, but not my mother. Perhaps they think you can't do those things, or you shouldn't. They would certainly have a lot of trouble with it.

What do you think about your mother possibly disapproving?

If my mother said you shouldn't do it, then I'd have to agree with her.

Do you really agree you shouldn't be doing it?

Uh, well, personally I don't. But my mother, well, I don't think she'd like it. But for me, well I think it's fine.

So you don't agree with your mother's feelings?

Well, a little, half and half. I don't know what I'd do if my mother found out. If she did, then I'd be able to tell you.

Martin (12): No, they don't know, but they certainly wouldn't like it. Stupid, isn't it? Just plain asinine.

Although most of the parents knew about the friendship, the majority didn't know about the sex. Some might have suspected, however. They accepted the friendships, according to the older partners, although in one case they were indifferent or disapproving. But how would they feet if they were certain sex was taking place? Most of them, according to the boys, would find it "not good", "not nice", "dirty" or really bad". Some of the boys thought their fathers would beat up the older partner. But there were also boys who suspected their parents wouldn't find it too bad, or just a little bad, while one boy was unsure of what his parents' attitude would be. In the case of Wouter (12), only the mother knew about the relationship; he was happy she didn't discuss it with his father:

Well, my father can never be told, never, because if he does it'll have to stop. And I can imagine him beating the hell out of Gerard (42), because he'd rather do it than bring the police.

What do you think of that?

Well, it's rotten... someone who just does nice things being treated like a dog.

And your mother?

I suspect my mother really knows... and doesn't think it's so bad. And she won't say a word to my father... that's the main thing as far as I'm concerned.

Walter and John thought their parents would consider the sex "dirty".

Walter (15): Yes, sometimes I'm afraid my parents will find out that I have sex with Steven (35). I'd guess they'd think it was dirty and call Steven a filthy pervert. They'd think it was abnormal, I suppose.

John (13): No, my parents know absolutely nothing about it, but they would certainly be strong against it. One good thing, though, is they'd never turn Marcel (43) in. My mother is on disability but she works black. Marcel said, "If she turns me in, the next day I'll turn her in."

Why do you think your parents are against it?

A man going to bed with a boy--they think that's dirty, they always do. I think it's lousy that they feel that way about it; I'd much rather be able to be open with my parents.

René (12) thought his mother wouldn't be too upset:

My mother wouldn't make so much of a fuss about it. She wouldn't like it, but she wouldn't have any really strong objections.

André (14) suspected his parents would think he would be turned into a homosexual by having sex with Nico (32):

No, my parents don't know about it, but I don't think they'd like it. I know how parents are. I think they'd also be afraid of my future, that I would become homosexual, don't you know?

And what do you think about that?

I wouldn't know; it could very well be but I just don't know.

Harrie and Rob also thought their parents wouldn't approve of the sexual contact. Both boys thought that was rather old-fashioned:

Harrie (16): I don't think they'd like it-that's the kind of people they are. They are pretty free about sex, but if they knew what I do with Pieter (39) then I don't think they'd approve. They'd think it was strange. You didn't used to be able to do that; nowadays you can, and I think that's normal.

Rob (12): I think they wouldn't like me doing it with Chris (38). Yeah, if I had my own child, then of course I'd be jealous, but I'd still allow it. Why not? I think it's stupid; it's the old way of thinking, you might say. They just won't keep up with the times. Well, okay, this is sort of super-modern, isn't it?

Some of the boys wished to respect the disapproving attitudes of their parents but thought they should have the right to decide themselves what they were going to do. Thus Bart (14) said:

Well, that's their opinion. If they want to think that way about it, it's their absolute right. I can't agree, in general. But I'll give them the right to express their opinion, even though I don't have that right myself.

It is understandable that the boys were unable to be open with their parents when they suspected they would disapprove. Two boys said they would run the risk of having the relationship broken off.

Willem (13): I can't tell what they'd think about it. They could be really mad, or they could think it was okay.

But you don't tell them?

No, because if they were mad then I'd lose out. Then I wouldn't be able to come here any more.

Johan (13) regretted his parents' attitude:

I don't like it, because I'd rather be open with my parents.

A few of the parents, the boys or their older partners suspected or knew about the sex as well as the friendship. Thus one mother, according to the older partner, said she didn't have to find out what the two of them did together: "I'm not going to ask; I don't want to know." Other parents realized the older partner was pedophile: nothing was said explicitly but the parents did indicate they knew sex was taking place.

According to Thijs (10), his mother remembered that in the past sex had occurred. When asked whether he wasn't now telling lies to his mother, he answered: "Of course: I don't want to be kept away from him." According to Thijs, his mother thinking it was dirty was "crazy stupid" even though he wouldn't tell her so. When asked why he thought it was "crazy stupid", he said, "Well, just because I know what it's all about. I decide myself what I do."

The parents of Jan and Gerrit also suspected that sex occurred in the relationship.

Jan (11): Sometimes my mother asks me, "Does Sander sometimes play with your P-P? Then I prefer to say no because if I didn't maybe I wouldn't be able to come here any more. We've been doing it for such a long time already.

Gerrit (16): I don't care if my father and mother know; it's my own life. They don't know, but they do have their suspicions. My mother keeps bringing it up, and I just say, "I like Barend (39) a whole lot and Barend likes me," and then they leave it alone.

About one-third of the parents were aware of the sex as well as the relationship, and, according to the older partners, almost all of them fully accepted both. In one case the parental attitude was less positive. In general these boys thought their parents found it all "good", "normal" or "wonderful".

Simon (12) thought his sex is none of their business:

My father and mother know maybe half. I think I'd be ashamed if they got to know everything. Sometimes my father mentions it, but not really having sex and such. I think it's nice myself, but if my father started in on me I don't know how I'd feel.

Willem (13): Sometimes I'm scared my parents would trap us when we're having sex.

Erik, Hans, Theo and Lex liked it that their parents were positive about the relationship and the sex:

Erik (10): Well, they think it's just fine, because they've been with the NVSH, and the NVSH feels it's not bad at all, thinks there's nothing wrong with it. And I'm glad my mother and father feel that way, otherwise Id have to do it secretly, and I wouldn't like that.

Hans (13): Yes, my parents know. I really think they approve, at least they've never said they didn't.

How do you feel about their attitude?

It's great!

Theo (13): My father and mother know about it. They think it's completely normal.

How do you feel about that?

I think it's great, because there are some people who would like to murder all the homosexuals and pedophiles because they don't think they're normal. My father and mother don't feel that way, and I think they're right.

Lex (13): Oh, they think it's okay, as far as I know. At first my dad had a little trouble with it but now it's going well. I suppose every father would. My mother had read about it in Panorama or something and she showed the article to my dad.

They're not opposed to it?

No, they do that kind of thing themselves, so...

On the one hand these findings are surprising: did the parents who knew about the sex which occurred in these relationships really approve? They were never actually interviewed during the course of this research. On the other hand, whenever parental permission for the interviews was asked it was always granted. How the parents reacted when they learned their sons had an affair was not investigated. This is an important aspect of pedophile relations which, especially in helping avoid problems, deserves more attention.

Another question revolves around those boys whose parents did not know about the sex. What did it mean to them to do things their parents wouldn't approve of and about which they couldn't tell their parents?

Some of the boys talked about this. In one case it caused the boy to doubt himself. In another case the boy didn't wish to risk a rupture in his friendship.

In this connection it is important to keep in mind that young people in general seldom say much to their parents about their affairs and sexual experiences. Straver (1980, page 60) said, "We know from our investigation that young people--if they do talk about their relationships and lovemaking--will much sooner do it with their friends than with their parents or a wider circle of acquaintances." In the literature, other reasons are given why young people do not tell their parents about their pedosexual contacts. Burgess and Holmstrom (1975) proposed that children are forced into secrecy out of fear of being punished by adults (parents as well as the older partner) or of being abandoned. Peters (1976) discovered in his research that of the children he investigated who had had pedosexual contacts 32% had never told anyone about the sex. He attributed this to the fear the child had of the reactions of his parents. According to Peters it is possible that the child does not feel guilty about the sex itself but over the fact that he has to hide it from his parents. In the case of the boys he interviewed, feelings of guilt and anxiety did not play a large role in how they experienced the sexual contact. Rossman (1976) suggested a more obvious explanation: a child is much more likely to inform his parents or the police if he is genuinely abused or forced to participate in the sex against his will. This was investigated by Landis (1956). He discovered that those children who found the contact to a greater or larger degree unpleasant told their parents more often than those who had responded with interest. In this latter case, however, the possibility cannot be eliminated that they then felt more responsible for the sex that occurred and thus had more guilt feelings about it.

Regardless of whether it is a pedophile relationship or a pedosexual contact, most parents react with horror when they learn that their child has been involved in this sort of thing.

According to Gagnon (1965) one of the causes of such a reaction is a feeling that they have somehow failed in their upbringing and protection. They also find it difficult to have to talk about sex with their child and they are afraid that he will become "tainted" by means of a pleasant sexual experience.

Anthony (1975) and Weeks (1976) are of the opinion that the reactions parents have when they discover their child has had a sexual experience are closely related to their own attitudes about sex. Parents who repress their own sexuality are shocked when they observe their offspring having erotic feelings.

Van Ussel (1976, page 36) said that when parents discover their child in a pedophile relationship they feel they have failed in their parental love: "As far as it is possible, however, they will place the blame upon the child (who is now considered 'not completely normal') and especially upon the adult seducer."

These parental reactions are understandable when one realizes how little in general people know about pedosexual contacts and pedophile relationships. If you mention the word "pedophile", many people immediately think of dirty old men abusing children to satisfy their own lusts. This image is largely based upon the broadly embellished and sensational news articles which appear every time a child is sexually abused or murdered.


ALL OF THE BOYS were asked whether there were any of their peers who knew they were having sex with an adult man. Eight boys said there were; five said they were other boys who visited the older partner occasionally and "did it too". In a number of cases there were boys in their schools or their neighborhoods who also knew they were carrying on a pedophile relationship.

Gerrit (16) was occasionally called "queer", but he solved the problem:

Oh, in the neighborhood they yelled "queer" at me and such. That didn't bother me; I knew they were doing the same thing themselves-with others. I just let them keep on bad-mouthing. But, well, that finally got a little annoying--I mean every day walking by your house yelling "Queer, queer, queer, queer!" So, one by one, I cornered each of the boys and told them, "You just try that one more time!"--because they were mostly little kids about ten years old. Well, they kept on doing it, so I roughed them all up, and after that they stopped.

Thijs (10) suspected that the kids were talking behind his back. He decided, for tactical reasons, to ignore it:

No, I don't let on I know they're talking about me. And I'm not going to say anything either--I'm not that stupid--'cause then they'd start yelling it at me out loud.

Martin (12) thought his friends were wrong when they said it was dirty and stupid:

Yes, one kid told another kid and that kid told another and so on.

What did they think about it, those friends of yours?

Dirty, dumb. They don't think it's nice, but I do.

Jos (13) thought people shouldn't interfere with what was none of their business:

Well, once I had problems with it in the lower school, because of other boys--the same ones who always came here to Bas (35). My sister overheard them, and then passed it on. So... big problems.

She told your parents?

No, our class teacher and other kids. Then the headmaster came here to Bas. My mother still doesn't know about it, thank heavens.

Are there others who know you have sex with Bas?

Yes, my brother and his friends--they caught on one time when I gave Bas a kiss... in the hall. My brother said, "Hey, what are you doing?" That's how he found out. And then he told everybody, the other boys.

How did you feel about that?

Well, not nice. No, I kept on having problems at school, with teachers and other kids.

How do you feel about others making problems about it?

I think that's not normal. It all happens out of school, in the first place... and what business is it of theirs? It's my life!

The friends of Jan (11) thought it was dirty. He stood up for Sander (41) when they called him names:

Some children shout "Sander the piemelaar" [Untranslatable. "Piemel" is a child-slang word for penis and the Dutch suffix "-aar" is roughly equivalent to the English "-er" as in "worker". Thus "peniser" is suggested, although that is perhaps more explicitly sexual than is implied.] and so on, or they say he's raped someone. And then I tell them, "That's the last time, okay, or I'm going to beat you up." Bam! and he's flat on the floor. They always want to go play video games or watch video tapes with him--that's what really makes me mad. The next day you'll see them at Sander's again--but with a black eye!

What do you think your friendsf feel about your having sex with Sander?

Dirty, of course--playing with your prick. Somebody else doing it to you, they think that's dirty, that's what they say at school. And then they sit around bull-shitting over vibrators and so on and they haven't the faintest idea what they're talking about.

How do you feel about those boys thinking it's dirty?

Stupid. It's completely normal--anyone can become a pedophile.

In most cases their peers did not know that the boys were carrying on a pedophile relationship. The boys were then asked how their friends would react if they did learn that they were having sex with an adult.

John, Lex, Theo and Simon suspected that they would be called "gay".

John (13): Oh, gay, they'd immediately think you were gay!

They'd call you gay?

Yes, absolutely.

And that's one thing you cannot be: gay?

No, you know how kids are at school. Gay, they think that's a bit abnormal. You know how it would go: they'd say, "You're gay", and they'd mean it as a sort of insult.

How do you feel about their thinking that way?

I don't like it. But I know what goes on--those boys don't. If they did, then I'd say it was their right to feel that way. If they were still against it, I'd say, "Okay, you're against it," but they haven't the faintest idea what it's really like. But if you tried to tell them that they'd laugh in your face. That's the way the world is.

Kees (15): Yes, I can understand how they'd find it strange. They know nothing about things like that.

Harrie, Bert and Peter didn't really know what their agemates would think about sex with a grown-up.

Harrie (16): Well, I just don't know. They all jerk off themselves, of course. But if it came out that I was having sex with Pieter (39), then I'd be up against the wall at school. Yeah, it would go all through the school.

How do you feel about their thinking so badly about it?

They can kiss my ass!

Bart (14): I haven't the faintest idea whether they'd think it was okay or not. But that's the way it always is; one quarter of all boys do it, thus in my class of 16 there are four, including me, who have relations with a pedophile.

That seems to me a bit too many.

Well, it just goes on an awful lot, but you'll have to ask Albert (46) about that--he knows the figures a lot better.

Peter (14) thought his age-mates wouldn't find it normal, but added, "Just let them think what they want to." René, Paul, Walter and Willem thought their friends would find it less strange if they had some experience themselves. René assumed his friends would think it was stupid, but, he thought, this was "not a real opinion, just jealousy." According to Walter and Willem, the boys didn't have real contact with anybody involved in such relationships; if they had they might find they were doing it themselves.

Willem (13): Yes, it's completely normal. But, well, the first time I thought it was sort of dirty, too.

At first you, too, found it dirty?

Yeah, at first it seemed awful strange. But now I don't find it strange at all.

But what do you think about their finding it strange?

I think it's stupid, that they think it's dirty. If they'd just do it once themselves they'd talk a whole lot different about it, I think.

What would they say about it if they did experience it themselves?

They'd say it's great! Yes, I really think they would.

It appeared from the answers the boys gave that it was easier for them to be independent of their friends' ideas than it was of their parents'. Some of the boys, however, regretted not being able to be open with the people who surrounded them.

Rob, Ben, Erik and Wouter thought that if their agemates found out they simply would not understand.

Rob (12): They would have expected something different from me.

How do you mean, something different?

Well, that I'd go for girls and stuff, something like that. At least that's the way you think. Yeah, not just the guys but the girls, too. Chasing one girl after another. I'm really not that type. I'd like to, but, well, you don't get much.

What don't you get much of?

You don't get much from girls. With us the girls won't do practically anything. They do so little you get almost nothing out of it.

What do they do so little of?

About all they'll give you is a kiss, and nothing more, seems to me.

Wouter (12): Well, I know one boy who is making out with girls. I don't think he'd have any problems about it if I told him. But the others would, especially if they just heard about it. But I'm not telling anybody: they're going to have to find out about it for themselves if they want to know what it's like.

Erik (10): Well, they'd think it was strange, I guess. They're always saying they (i.e. pedophiles-Ed.) are child molesters, and they think they're rapists. They don't know anything. They'd find it sort of weird. Yes, they'd be bound to think it was crazy. What do you feel about your friends thinking that way about it?

Well, it's a shame. If it wasn't so we'd be able to do it more often. As it is now we can't make out if a friend drops by because he'd think it was strange.

Ton, Hans and Kees could understand the disapproval of their friends.

Ton (14): I think they'd think it was stupid. Now, when I look at it myself I don't feel it's so weird. But if, for example, I'd never become a friend of Fred (33) and then I met someone like that, well maybe I'd think it was stupid, too.

Hans (13): Well, I suppose they'd think it was awful stupid. It's something they just don't know anything about, I think. It could be that one of the others has a pedophile relationship, too, but if so he isn't telling. It's a shame everybody thinks it's so strange; otherwise we'd be able to talk about it a whole lot more openly.

Do you agree with them it's strange?

Yeah, what else can they do? There are a lot of Catholics around here and in the church they are always telling you it's bad so a lot of them believe it is bad.

The Opinion of the Boys

THE BOYS WERE ALSO asked what they themselves felt about the sexual contact they had with the adults. Often this emerged in their answers to other questions. André (14) had decided between the two interviews not to have sex any longer with his older partner. When asked what he thought about the sexual contact, he said:

Well, I don't really know. It felt nice, but everything else about it wasn't so good.

Are you sorry now you did it?

No, I don't regret it, not at all. But I don't want to do it any more.

André also said this was in part because in the meantime he had begun an affair with a girl, but added:

Even if I no longer had an affair I wouldn't do it, no.

But you just said you really stopped because of your affair?

Yes, that's true. Now I know what it's like with girls, and for me that's much better. There's quite a big difference. Love's involved. I think I have that more with girls. With guys it's all sex, but that's not true with a girl: this is more what I want. But I have no real regrets. It was nice, back then, but I don't need that any more.

One can see from what André said that boys can change in the way they think about the sexual contact. It should be kept in mind that André, in contrast to the other boys, experienced with it no feelings of love or intimacy.

None of the other boys stopped having sex with their older partners during the course of the investigation. How did they feel about the sex? The majority of them simply said it was "nice" or"just plain good". Some of the answers were a little more detailed:

Wouter (12): Well, I think it's great.

Didn't you ever think, 'You can't do this! Is what I'm doing really good?'

What I'm doing is very good.

But haven't you ever asked yourself that sort of question?

Well, I just feel it really is good--it's how you're brought up and so on.

It depends on how you're brought up?

Yes, of course. You can bring up a child that way. And you don't have to be pedophile especially to do it either; because I'm a completely normal boy, but I prefer to make love with men, with Chris (38), and with boys. I'd rather do that than with girls.

He added that he would never try it with any of the'dirty old men':

I don't want to make up to any of them, the people who try to grab all the boys, make nude photos and so on. I just can't understand that sort of thing; it's stupid. Sex-photos, no! The real thing is a lot nicer.

Thijs (10): Just plain nice.

It's no problem for you?

I think it's exactly like a woman going to bed with a man--it's nice. And I feel the same things they feel.

John (13): I have nothing against it. I think it's fine, as I've already said. And love.

Gerrit (16): Yes, I think it's really wonderful that I have this with Pieter (39). Okay, earlier when I was not really going around with Pieter yet, I thought it would be dirty. My parents used to say that all the time: it's unhealthy; it's sick; you have to look out for people like that. But none of those things are true. No, I just think it's really great to be doing this with Pieter. That's my feeling about it.

Kees (15): Well, I think it's quite normal... because there are other wierd things that go on every day: an older girl of 25 going with a boy of 18, for example--that can happen. Or, shall we say, a 14-year-old girl who goes with a boy of 18--that's exactly the same; that can happen, too.

René, Rob and Simon thought the sex was nice and emphasized that other people shouldn't make such a problem out of it.

René (12): What difference does it make to anyone else if I have sex with someone, that's what I want to know. It's not up to them to decide what I want and what I don't want.

Rob (12): I think it's very nice.

Other people make problems about it?

Yes. I don't know why they do that, because it seems to me I'm the one involved. I have to decide whether I think it's nice or whether I don't. Still they make problems about it.

So for you it isn't a problem?

No, I don't feel it's any problem for me, absolutely not. Otherwise I would have put a stop to it long ago, of course. If I didn't need it.

Simon (12): If they don't like it that's their business. I think it's real nice. I got no problems with it.

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