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Title: The Male Adolescent Involved With a Pederast Becomes an Adult
Author(s): Ralph Tindall
Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina
Citation: Tindall, R., “The Male Adolescent Involved With a Pederast Becomes an Adult,“ Journal of Homosexuality, vol. 3, no. 4, 1978, pp. 373-382.


A longitudinal study of nine cases is reported where the adolescent male was engaged after puberty in sexual activity with an adult male. Observations are reported in the second, third, and fourth decades after the teenage years in these cases. The subjects were drawn from a pool of 200 similar cases and are the cases where the most data are available. Implications for professionals dealing with adolescent sexuality are made. Gaps between what is legally permitted and what is actual practice are pointed out. Need for further research and the areas for that research are implied. A case against premature labeling is made.


This article consists of case studies drawn from the author’s school-age patients spanning his 30-year career as a school psychologist in three different states. These are the cases where the author was able to obtain the most follow-up data. None are the result of legal referrals. Although the sample is technically "clinical" in nature, and thus subject to some of the biases of clinical samples, the subjects typically had not sought treatment because of the sexual activity; rather, the sexual activity had come up as the result of talking about other (usually unrelated) issues. Parental permission had been obtained to discuss sensitive subjects with the patients.


Ronald was referred to the author at age 15 due to rapid mood swings, unpredictability, depression, and poor school performance. He had reached puberty between 12 and 13, and was introduced by his older brothers to mutual masturbation and fellatio. Around age 14, he met a married man and the two of them became aware of mutual sexual attraction. They engaged weekly in mutual masturbation and fellatio over a period of four years. They became good friends, but eventually lost touch with each other. At the age of 46, Ronald had a blue-collar job, was married with three children, and showed no signs of ill effects.


Denver was referred at the age of 13 for taking part in vandalism and running away from home. He was introduced to mutual masturbation by peers at age 13. At 14, as a result of his interest in machinery and mechanics, he developed a friendship with a master mechanic in his early 40s. On a fishing trip together, they began talking about sex, and the man fellated Denver, who then masturbated the man. For the next five years, they engaged in mutual fellatio on a regular basis. Sexual activity stopped when Denver was 19, but they remained close friends until the mechanic's death. At age 44, Denver was married and had two sons. Denver was a valued mechanic and had a supervisory position with his company. He believed his boyhood relationship had helped in reach his goals, and would have approved of similar relationships for his sons.


Eugene was referred at age 13 due to a placement problem. He was a high ability student with an interest in outdoor activities. He had been sexually active since age 10, engaging in mutual masturbation, fellatio, and anal intercourse with a boy 3 years older. At age 13, while spending time at a camp, he and the 34-year old camp director noticed mutual sexual attraction. They engaged in mutual fellatio which continued into the beginning of Eugene's marriage at age 27. At the age of 42, Eugene had a graduate degree and was a respected member of his community.


August was referred at age 14 due to poor school achievement in spite of his extremely high intelligence. At 14, he became close friends with a university professor in his 30s who lived nearby, and his wife. On one occassion, after discussing sex, they engaged in mutual fellatio. This became a weekly occurrence for 4 years, at which time sexual activity ceased. At age 32, August was married with one child, and was a respected leader in his community. He continued to maintain a close friendship with the professor and his wife, regarding them as parent surrogates. He kept in touch with them through visits and phone calls, in spite of a large distance between them.


James was referred at age 13 due to temper tantrums and running away from home. He lived with his divorced mother, and was above average in academic ability. Having reached puberty at age 11, he was sexually precocious, and engaged in mutual masturbation with peers and heterosexual activity with a cousin and her friends. At age 14, he and a favorite uncle in his 40s began discussing penis size. This led to the uncle fellating him and he masturbating his uncle. Sexual activity continued off and on over 7 years. James also had sexual experiences with other males and females. At age 33, he had his own very successful business, and was married with one daughter. He maintained his friendship with his uncle and often turned to him for advice.


Carl was referred at age 13 for disruptive school behavior. He came from a close-knit, religious family, and was above average in ability. He entered puberty at age 14. At age 15, he went on a hunting trip with his father, his brother, and his father's 32-year old engineer friend. When alone with the engineer, the two began discussing sex, and this led to mutual masturbation. Masturbation and fellatio became a regular occurrence until Carl reached age 22. At the age of 33, Carl was a university educated professional, married with two sons, and active in his church. His family kept in touch with the engineer's family and visited them frequently.


Boyd was referred at age 13 for assessment and guidance. He was polite and well-groomed, and his parents seemed dedicated to his welfare. The family was active in their church. At the age of 13, after a church youth meeting, Boyd was given a ride home by the 28-year old youth pastor. They began talking about sex, which led to mutual masturbation. Regular sexual activity ensued which involved mutual fellatio and intercrural intercourse. This occurred until the pastor moved away 4 years later. Boyd was initially-laden in describing these activities, admitting fantasies about the youth pastor before the sexual activity had begun, and feeling he had encouraged it. At age 33, Boyd was married with three children. He was a professional with a graduate degree, highly respected in his community, and seemed very well adjusted. He had no further contact with the pastor, and expressed satisfaction with his sexual relationship with his wife.


Burt was referred at age 14 for truancy and poor school performance and behavior. His father was a heavy drinker and authoritarian, and his mother was passive and permissive. At age 13, he had engaged in mutual masturbation with peers. He learned that he could hitch rides and meet men who paid for sexual favors. At age 14, he met a 40 year old man whom he liked, and he went with him to a hotel. The man began regularly taking him out to dinner and providing him with clothes and pocket money. They continued to meet even after Burt married at age 18, but the relationship ended when the older man moved away. At age 26, Burt was married with one child and worked as a salesman. He had dropped out of high school, but obtained his GED. He admitted to some heterosexual extramarital activity.


Jeff was referred at age 14 for serious vandalism. At age 10, he had been participating in sexual activity with older boys, and at age 13 engaged in mutual masturbation with a group of boys. Through this group he learned of a location where he could meet men who paid for sexual activity. While frequenting this location, he met a 50-year old state legislator. They then met regularly for mutual fellatio for a period of 4 years, during which the legislator gave Jeff money and clothing. Jeff also engaged in similar activity with other men. At the age of 25, Jeff was married with one daughter, and no longer had contact with the legislator. He had some college training, had a white-collar job, and was planning a future in politics.


The author notes that all of these boys developed into adults with sexual patterns considered acceptable by the culture. None of them described having any homosexual desires in adulthood. He writes that these cases support claims by other researchers that early adolescence is a period of practicing sex, and that this practice can take many forms. It may be premature to label adolescent boys who engage in sex with other males as homosexual.

The author also writes that his findings support the conclusion of other researchers that men who engage in sex with boys often show a fatherly attitude toward the boys:

In most instances in this study a very deep friendship appeared to develop to the extent that the adolescent sometimes selected the vocation or a closely related vocation of the adult male with whom he had sexual relations. The adult apparently served as a role model in areas other than sexual behavior…None of the nine boys reported coercion to engage in homosexual behavior on the part of the adult. Rather, it appeared that with the right circumstances (privacy, degree of sexual arousal, etc.), the first sexual encounter occurred as a result of mutual desires. In at least three of the cases the boy was searching for just such a relationship. (p. 380)

He concludes:

Many lay and professional persons have predicted dire consequences as a result of the type of relationships described in this account...My observations support Rossman's (1976) statement that it is a mistake to assume that boys who had experience with an older homosexual will eventually become homosexual or psychoneurotic or have more problems than any other male adolescent.
In writing and revising existing laws governing sexual behavior between members of the same sex much research needs to be accomplished so that the legal structure is in line with what actually happens in human sexual behavior…In the cases in this study the intrusion of law enforcement agencies would certainly have changed the cases as presented, probably introducing trauma with effects on families and persons that would certainly not have enhanced the quality of the eventual adjustment of the individuals involved…
The literature on what happens to the adolescent who was involved with a pederast when he (the adolescent) becomes an adult is almost nonexistent. What has been written on the subject is based on opinion. Laws have been passed on the basis of what is thought rather than what is known to be good for developing males...
Cases reported here were chosen because of more complete follow-up data which introduces unknown bias. Data on other cases, while less complete, point in the same general direction...Much research needs to be done in this area so that laws govering sexual activity may be brought more in line with reality. (pp. 381-382)
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