Adult Sexual Orientation of Men who had a Consensual Sexually Expressed Boyhood Relationship with an Older Male, as Reported by these Older Partners.

 

©2005 by David L. Riegel

 

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One frequently hears the assumption that sexual contact with an older male will have untoward effects on the psychosexual development of a boy, even if the boy perceives this contact to be consensual and desirable. Among the conjectured effects are those that such experience(s) may predispose the boy toward homosexuality (“Seduction Hypothesis”) or pedosexuality (“Abused to Abuser” theory”), when he reaches adulthood. This current investigation uses data from anonymous respondents to an Internet survey in an attempt to quantify and examine the reported adult sexual orientation of boys who have experienced such consensual contacts. Since it is extremely difficult to obtain first hand reports on this extremely sensitive issue from men who had such experiences as boys, it was decided to conduct an Internet survey of older males who have had consensual relationships with boys that included a sexual component involving at least genital touching, and to ask them to identify the adult sexual orientation of their former younger partners. Because this brief survey was intended only to deal with the single issue of adult sexual orientation of boys who had such consensual experiences, nonconsensual and nonsexual relationships were not considered.

 

This author has independently conducted various surveys on the nature of Boy-Attracted Pedosexual Orientation (BPO), and its effects on the older partner (Riegel, 2004a) as well as on the younger partner (Riegel, 2004b). The current survey is one more of an ongoing series intended to shed empirical light on these controversial issues. The rationale and methods employed are essentially the same as those described in Riegel (2004b), and thus will not be covered in great detail here. Briefly, however, an interactive multiple choice on line questionnaire was posted on an Internet site, and anonymous respondents were solicited through notices on various Internet forums, “link” sites, and news groups. Respondents were required to affirm that they were of legal age, and were provided with a statement of informed consent which they accepted by clicking on the “Submit” button at the end of the questionnaire. No attempts were made to identify respondents at the time, and there is absolutely no way in which these respondents could be identified retrospectively.

 

In previous surveys, respondents were not asked about actual sexual contacts with boys, as it was felt that such answers most likely would not be forthcoming. But it was decided to pose such questions in the current survey for two reasons: first, to try to confirm that significant sexual activity did in fact take place in the reported relationships, and second, in order to determine the feasibility of such inquiries in more extensive investigations planned for the future. A rapport with this community has been developed over the years, and this, plus the carefully designed total anonymity of this survey, may have contributed to the apparent candor with which information was furnished. However, since this survey drew less than one third as many respondents as a somewhat similar previous survey which did not ask about such sexual contacts, it would seem that posing questions of this nature decidedly tends to reduce the number of participants.

 

The data requested in this survey were very minimal, since the goal was limited to identifying the adult sexual orientation of boys involved in these relationships. There were 8 questions, primarily demographic, concerning the respondent, and 17 about each younger partner requesting such things as age at beginning, age differential from the older partner, current age, the length, nature, enthusiasm, and outcome of the relationship, specific sexual activities, and adult sexual orientation. An “I prefer not to answer” option about specific sexual activities was offered; it was selected only two times. The questionnaire allowed each respondent to submit data on up to five relationships. It was anticipated that on an open website there would be those who would attempt to corrupt the survey, therefore certain of the questions were designed to provide internal cross checks as well as relevant data. The details of these verification procedures will not be revealed here, as they will be used in future projects, but internal inconsistencies did in fact invalidate a significant number of responses.

 

Self-reported Characteristics of Respondents: (N=95)

Age:

18-24---------------- 9.5%

25-34--------------- 26.3%

35-44--------------- 26.3%

45-59--------------- 22.1%

60 and older--------- 15.8%

 

Race:

White--------------- 80.0%

Latino---------------- 9.5%

Asian ---------------- 6.3%

Black----------------- 1.1%

Other----------------- 3.2%

 

Residence:

United States-------- 55.8%

Europe-------------- 10.5%

United Kingdom------ 8.4%

Canada--------------- 7.4%

Australia/NZ---------- 5.3%

Asia------------------ 4.2%

Other----------------- 8.4%

 

Education:

8 years or less-------- 2.1%

9-12 years---------- 41.1%

Some college-------- 10.5%

College degree------ 26.3%

Advanced degree---- 20.0%

Religion:

Protestant-------------- 35.8%

Catholic---------------- 22.1%

Jewish------------------- 1.1%

Muslim------------------- 1.1%

Other------------------- 16.8%

None------------------- 23.2%

 

How religious:

Extremely---------------- 2.1%

Very-------------------- 15.8%

Moderately------------- 26.3%

Mildly------------------ 16.8%

Not at all--------------- 39.0%

 

Political/social views:

Very conservative-------- 2.1%

Mildly conservative----- 14.7%

Moderate--------------- 31.6%

Mildly liberal------------ 25.3%

Very liberal------------- 26.3%

 

Number of reported relationships:

1----------------------- 28.4%

2----------------------- 20.0%

3----------------------- 16.8%

4------------------------- 9.5%

5------------------------- 1.1%

>5---------------------- 24.2%

This convenience sample is obviously nonrandom and self-selected. All the respondents were proficient in the use of computers, familiar with the Internet sites where they could become aware of the survey, and presumably had the requisite relationships on which to report. The men who provided the 95 valid responses also had the motivation, courage, and candor to participate, given that there were 1,590 “hits” on the site and 94.2% of those elected not to complete a valid questionnaire. When considering these data, the possibility of some degree of self-serving bias must also be considered, in that these respondents might tend to exaggerate positive aspects of their former relationships while minimizing any negatives.

 

Percentages here and elsewhere may not add up to exactly 100.0 due to rounding.

 

 


                                                

Reported Characteristics of Younger Partners: (N=192)

Age at beginning:

<9-------------------- 8.3%

9-10---------------- 13.0%

11-12--------------- 26.6%

13-14--------------- 32.3%

>14----------------- 19.8%

 

Age differential in years:

3-4------------------- 9.9%

5-9------------------ 29.2%

10-14 -------------- 23.4%

15-19--------------- 11.5%

>19----------------- 26.0%

 

Age at time of report:

18-21--------------- 30.7%

22-29--------------- 25.5%

30-39--------------- 19.8%

40-49--------------- 15.6%

>49------------------- 8.3%

 

Length of relationship (not necessarily all sexually active):

< 3 months---------- 14.6%

3-12 months--------- 15.6%

1-5 years------------ 38.5%

6-10 years------------ 9.4%

>10 years----------- 21.9%

 

Nature of relationship:

Almost exclusive

mentoring--------------- 14.6%

Mostly mentoring------- 28.6%

Equal sexual/mentoring-- 32.3%

Mostly sexual----------- 17.2%

Sexual only-------------- 7.3%

 

Degree of enthusiasm:

Slight-------------------- 2.6%

Some-------------------- 6.8%

Moderate--------------- 20.8%

Very much-------------- 38.0%

Complete--------------- 31.8%

 

Outcome of relationship:

Ended - interference---- 22.4%

Ended – no reason------ 27.6%

Rare contact------------ 19.8%

Frequent contact-------- 11.5%

Regular contact--------- 18.7%

 

Sexual Orientation:

Peer female------------- 81.8%

Equal peer f./m.---------- 8.3%

Peer male---------------- 8.3%

Prepubescent f/m-------- 0.0%

Adolescent female------- 0.5%

Adolescent male--------- 1.0%


Peer female attraction was reported as primary in  81.8% (N=157) of the former younger partners, equal peer female/male attraction in 8.3% (N=16). and attraction to peer males in 8.3% (N=16). Cumulative preference for peers was 98.4% (N=189). An adolescent female was re-ported to be the primary attraction for 0.5% (N=1), and  adolescent males for 1.0% (N=2). No attractions were reported for prepubertal females or males, even though that option was offered.

Table 1: Specific sexual activities of younger partners in %. N=192

 

Never

Rarely

Occasionally

Frequently

Regularly

No answer

Received masturbation

8.3

13.0

28.1

25.0

25.5

0.0

Performed masturbation

24.5

19.8

24.0

14.6

17.2

0.0

Received oral sex

19.8

8.3

26.6

19.8

25.5

0.0

Performed oral sex

52.1

11.5

14.1

7.8

14.6

0.0

Received anal sex

75.5

13.0

4.2

2.6

4.2

0.5

Performed anal sex

76.0

12.5

6.3

2.1

2.6

0.5

 

Table 1 shows that 8.3% of the reported interactions apparently were limited to nothing more than genital touching (the default condition), while the remaining 91.7% of the younger partners were reported to have received, in order of decreasing frequency, masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex. Some 75% of the younger partners were reported to have actively performed one or more of these

 

acts for the older, again in the same order of decreasing frequency. So the large majority of these boys were involved in very significant sexual activities with the older partner.

 

Laumann et al. (1994) note that there is a lack of useful and unambiguous operational definitions in the study of the phenomenon of homosexuality (p 290), that “... many respondents are ... reluctant to report behaviors and feelings that they think might reflect badly on them ...”, and that any estimates of prevalence “are no doubt lower bounds” (p 284). After considering these serious limitations, they go on to suggest that some 3 to 4% of adult males may be identified in one way or another as exclusively homosexual, but the question of a degree of homosexuality less than exclusive is largely left unanswered. Others, e.g. Kinsey (1948), come up with figures in the vicinity of 10% for primary and/or secondary homosexual orientation, but these studies tend to be non-random and otherwise faulted.

 

Quantification of distributions of adult male sexual orientation is further clouded in that that any given individual may occupy more than one locus on the spectrum of sexual attractions, and that these various loci may be of differing relative strengths and vary somewhat over time. A secondary sexual orientation was reported as being present in one quarter of  the former younger partners in the current survey, indicating that the reported percentages in any study are at best approximations. The 8.3% of peer male attraction in the current data would therefore not seem to be unusual.

 

This author is not aware of any recognized figures for the percentage of exclusive or partial pedosexuals in the adult male population. Comparisons therefore cannot be made concerning the 1.6% (N=3) rate of pedosexuality that was reported in these data, and this group of 3 is much too small to be used in any sort of correlation, much less to examine causality.

 

This small study is only one part of the search to determine the actual long term psychosexual effects on men who had a sexually expressed willing boyhood relationship with an older male, and it needs to be replicated and expanded to other non-clinical and non prison samples. But to the extent that these data may be representative of the larger population of men who had consensual boyhood sexual contacts with an older male, and to the degree that the reports were candid, little or no difference is indicated in distributions of male sexual orientation from the available generally recognized norms. The assumption that boyhood consensual sexual contacts with older males predisposes those boys to homosexuality and/or pedosexuality as adults is not supported by these data.

 

REFERENCES:

 

Kinsey, A., Pomeroy, W., Martin, C., (1948) Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Philadelphia, W. B. Saunders Company.

 

Laumann, E., Gagnon, F., Michael, R., Michaels, S. (1994) The Social Organization of Sexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Riegel, D. (2004a) Effects on Boy-Attracted Pedosexual Males of Viewing Boy Erotica. Archives of Sexual Behavior 33(4) 321-323.

 

Riegel, D. (2004b) “Abused to Abuser”: An examination of new non-clinical and non-prison data. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality. 16 (4) 39-57.