Him and Her Sex Blog

We talk about sex and sexuality

Topic #6: Pederasty

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Alright, at the risk of getting myself put on the FBI list of sexual deviants to be watched at all time, I bring you this weeks intensely controversial topic! 

First and foremost Pederasty is not Pedophilia. Pedophilia is a medical diagnosis, pederasty on the other hand is a lifestyle. Noted anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer said, “The main characteristic of homosexual pederasty is the age difference (either of generation or age-group) between the partners. In his study of native cultures pederasty appears typically as a passing stage in which the adolescent is the beloved of an older male, remains as such until he reaches a certain developmental threshold, after which he in turn takes on an adolescent beloved of his own.”  Wikipedia gives this definition: 

Pederasty or Paederasty (US: /ˈpɛdəræsti/, UK: /ˈpiːdəræsti/) is a (usually erotic) relationship between an older man and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family. The word pederasty derives from Greek (paiderastia) “love of boys”, a compound derived from παῖς (pais) “child, boy” and ἐραστής (erastēs) “lover”.

The average ages that are associated with this kind of relationship are men, usually over the age of 20, and boys between the ages of 14 and 17. From Wikipedia: “While relationships in ancient Greece involved boys from 12 to about 17 or 18 (Cantarella, 1992), in Renaissance Italy they typically involved boys between fourteen and nineteen,and in Japan the younger member ranged in age from 11 to about 19 (Saikaku, 1990; Schalow, 1989).”

Pederasty has been seen and practiced in nearly all societies. In antiquity, pederasty was seen as an educational institution for the inculcation of moral and cultural values, as well as a form of sexual expression, entered history from the Archaic period onwards in Ancient Greece, though Cretan ritual objects reflecting an already formalized practice date to the late Minoan civilization, around 1650 BC (Wiki)

In Rome, relations with boys took a more informal and less civic path, men either taking advantage of dominant social status to extract sexual favors from their social inferiors, or carrying on illicit relationships with freeborn boys.

Analogous relations were documented among other ancient peoples, such as the Thracians, the Celts. According to Plutarch, the ancient Persians, too, had long practiced it, an opinion seconded by Sextus Empiricus who asserted that the laws of the Persians “recommended” the practice. (wiki) In Athens, the slaves were expressly forbidden from entering into pederastic relations with the free-born boys. In medieval Islamic civilization, pederastic relations “were so readily accepted in upper-class circles that there was often little or no effort to conceal their existence.” (wiki)

Child abuse issues

Though pederasty was once accepted in many cultures, some modern observers have retrospectively labeled it abusive. Enid Bloch argues that many Greek boys who were involved in paederastic relationships may have been harmed by the experience, if the relationship included anal sex. Bloch writes that the boy may have been traumatized by knowing that he was violating social customs. According to her, the “most shameful thing that could happen to any Greek male was penetration by another male.” In this respect Bloch is in accord with Greek sexual morality, which also recognized a difference between ethical pederasty which excluded anal sex and “hubristic” pederasty which was believed to debase the boy as well as the man who penetrated him.

Bloch further argues that vases showing “a boy standing perfectly still as a man reaches out for his genitals” indicate the boy may have been “psychologically immobilized, unable to move or run away.”[96] Many vases, however, show the boys responding warmly to the man’s advances, placing their hands around the man’s neck or on his arm, a gesture thought to indicate affection and reciprocity. Many other vases show the boy running away.

Academic controversy

An unspoken ban of talking about pederasty in academia was broken only in 1905 by the German historian Erich Bethe with his study Dorian Boy-Love: Its Ethic, Its Idea.[99] In the USA, as late as 2005, Haworth Press withdrew from publication a volume on homosexuality in classical antiquity titled Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West. This was in response to criticism from American right-wing groups that objected to book’s depiction of classical pederasty, as well as to the substance of a chapter by the American academic Bruce Rind which integrated observations from history, anthropology, and zoology, and which was interpreted by some readers as advocating pedophilia.

The publisher, in a letter to the editors, attempted to exonerate Rind from the accusation and conceded that the article was sound, but stood by his decision to withdraw it “to avoid negative press” and “economic repercussions.” Later Haworth reversed course and announced that the book and journal would be published, but without Rind’s controversial essay. Mr. Rind’s essay is to be published in a future “supplementary volume” of The Journal of Homosexuality, together with counterarguments advanced by his critics. 

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