In Defense of Intergenerational Love (book)
In Defense of Intergenerational Love was written by an anonymous BoyLover.
- This defense of intergenerational love was written by an incarcerated individual who prefers to remain anonymous. Using events from his own life to illustrate his points, he shows what a typical man/boy relationship looks like, and why it is not the terrible thing that society now believes it to be.
(Cover available here: http://uryourstory.org/images/big_little_mush.JPG )
- Chapter 1: Finding Love in an Unlikely Place
- Chapter 2: Becoming Your Big Brother
- Chapter 3: Little Brother and Me Are a Family
- Chapter 4: Navigating The Adult World On Your Behalf
- Chapter 5: The Main Objection To Intergenerational Love
- Chapter 6: Addressing the Horrible Terrible Issue Of Sex
- Chapter 7: Public Displays of Affection
- Chapter 8: Our Journey Ends, But a New One Begins
Introduction to the book
It has been referred to as "the love that dares not speak its name". We are speaking, of course, about intergenerational love relationships -- particular, those between adult men and boys. A society's acceptance of these relationships varies greatly over time, and from place to place, but usually corresponds with the degree to which a culture is "open" -- and its people enjoy personal freedoms in general. Human societies undergo slow but continuous change over time. Advancing or retreating, like a giant pendulum, they swing toward one extreme or the other -- sometimes in the direction of greater trust in human nature and innate goodness -- an increase in personal freedom and prosperity for all... only to retreat once more into an era of fear and mistrust -- of the future, of government, of one's fellow man. It is at this end of the social spectrum that things formerly allowed become taboo. The state seeks greater control over its people in uncertain times. Any minority, including any sexual minority, becomes increasingly suspect and vulnerable to prosecution. Intergenerational love is highly sensitive to these changes in a society's belief system over time. Contrast the difference between how the practice is treated in modern-day America with that of ancient Greece, where love relationships between men and boys were celebrated as "love on an elevated plane".
Yet despite various attempts to eradicate the practice, it has always steadfastly remained as if it were a necessary part of the way human civilization has formed. Throughout recorded history, until the present day, examples of highly regarded intergenerational love relationships can be found in every country and corner of the world -- and amongst every racial and ethnic group of people on the planet! Why should this be?
One answer is to look at how humans have organized themselves into extended family and social groups over the centuries. Alliances of like-minded people with a common objective were often formed to address a particular problem or meet some need within the community that had been going unmet. If it was successful in this effort, it would eventually become a permanent part of the culture and, through tradition, be handed down from one generation to the next. The "alliance" persisted because it advanced the group's survival prospects by providing somehow for the common good of its individual members. It is precisely in this way, that intergenerational love relationships evolved to become an integral part of nearly all human societies: they are an ideal solution to meet an important need within a community -- and thereby advance the cause of the greater society.
The main purpose of intergenerational relationships is to catch, and provide one-on-one mentoring to the lost, unsupervised, disenfranchised, and self-destructive youths that exist within every culture. These relationships are the safety net of last resort to give companionship and guidance to troubled and delinquent boys whose parents are unable, or unwilling to do so. Intergenerational love relationships don't depend upon "referrals," some distant bureaucracy, or state funding to do what they do. They're available to a boy in the neighborhood where he lives and sometimes struggles to survive from day to day -- an immediate help in times of trouble. They work through the natural "affinity" that exists between a man and a boy. Such relationships have elements of student/teacher, father/son, big brother/Little brother relationships, and they build a road from childhood to adulthood that the boy can then travel successfully.
These relationships aren't designed to meet the needs, or address the problems of, every boy, and they may not be the best solution in every situation. But occasionally they can be the most cost-effective, workable, and practical alternative to more conventional forms of help. Certainly no one is suggesting there aren't other ways to help the boy to achieve the same objectives -- only that the intergenerational love method may be the most natural way, and the option a boy would choose for himself if given a choice. To allow such relationships to flourish, especially when other forms of help are unavailable, only makes good sense.
Even in today's climate of fear and mistrust, the potential benefit of intergenerational relationships is acknowledged and recognized -- hence, the existence of such organizations as big brothers/big sisters, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, and other similar mentoring programs. The main objection to "boy love" relationships is not simply the inclusion of the word "love" -- but that these relationships often also include some type of sexual intimacy between the two. So I will address the issue of sex in an upcoming chapter, and try to show why there may be a legitimate purpose and place for sex with in some of these relationships -- and, why it probably isn't as harmful as is commonly believed.
How then does one go about proving that an intergenerational love relationship is capable of having a healthy, positive influence on a boy's growth and development -- and isn't simply another form of abuse heaped on top of whatever he may have already suffered? It is difficult since it is possible to make a case either way! It just depends on which of these relationships you choose to hold up as examples of the practice -- and focus all the media attention upon. As with all fallible human endeavors, there are good ones... and some not so good. In today's society, only the most exploitive and abusing relationships are given media attention and coverage. As a result, there is no longer any distinction made between those that are clearly harmful, and those that arguably might have been beneficial in some way. The mainstream media outlets, increasingly ratings-driven and under pressure from the authorities, have been so successful in attempting to "socially-engineer" intergenerational love out of existence, that most people are unaware positive examples of it even exist!
One can think of it in this way: each year in this country, there are children who suffer great harm, some even killed, at the hands of their parents. Now, for the media to focus attention solely upon these examples of horrific parental abuse and neglect, without including any examples of responsible, loving parenting, then an outsider looking in, with no prior knowledge about the issue on the basis of which to form an opinion, might well conclude the traditional family unit is an unsuitable way to raise a child!
Well, it is mostly the same dynamic at work which is giving intergenerational love such a bad name. In this article, I will take the role of a lawyer trying to defend a client everyone already assumes is guilty, I will present my case for why my "client" (intergenerational love) should be acquitted. I will try to show that it is a misunderstanding to characterize these relationships as simply the means by which an adult befriends a boy so that he can "groom" or manipulate him into a sexually abusive situation.Critics of such relationships frequently point to the “unequal balance of power” between the boy and the man. Yet the balance of power in an intergenerational relationships is not as lopsided as is claimed, for it is often the boy who calls the shots and has the real power! Any parent can tell you how perceptive and shrewd a kid can be in playing one parent off against the other to get his way. He is intuitive, and cannot easily be fooled. A boy will sense early on in the relationship if part of an adult's interest in befriending him includes a sexual interest in him. Yet this awareness seldom repels or frightens him away. Why? Because he senses an opportunity to gain from this situation. To have an adult “wrapped around his little finger” gives him real bargaining power! So yes, he may be chosen by the adult... but he also chooses for himself whether or not to enter in to an intergenerational relationship with a particular adult. [...]"
Criticism of the book (by another anonymous BoyLover
This is a book written by an American BoyLover, and so it describes common types of relationships that form between men and boys in the United States. The talk of "boys from broken homes," etc. is not relevant when discussing the "typical" BoyLover living in another culture, where only some--or a few--of the relationships may be the result of a boy having family problems, while other relationships may not. Still, it is a good read.
(to be added)
- In Defense of Intergenerational Love by an anonymous American BoyLover prisoner