Source: Wolf Vogel, Heimliche Liebe - Eros zwischen Knabe und Mann, Jahn & Ernst, Hamburg, 1997. ISBN 3-89407-173-7.
Translated by JUMIMA
Original German text
A lot has been written about sex between adults and children over the last few years. It is striking that even liberal-minded parents only allow or at least tolerate their children’s sexual activities if they take place between their peers. However, most adults are afraid of the thought that a child would exchange tenderness with an adult - maybe even with a stranger - in areas below the belt. I am interested in this topic, because I was a child myself and many memories of my childhood still remain in me. I have some experiences, wishes, desires wish I still remember in great detail.
I was born in the last turmoil of war. The first years of my childhood were characterized by deprivation, fear of air raid alarms, emergency shelters, flight, relocations and constantly changing caregivers. When I was seven years old, my mother and I moved to a southern German city. Now my life came to rest; from that time on, many experiences began to be inextinguishably memorized.
I started school and got to know longer term friendship for the first time. Since I was a newcomer, other children started to be interested in me. I spoke a different dialect than they did, had different manners. During the warm season we played together in the ruins of the houses the war had left, wearing only swimming trunks. The big boys pulled our swimming trunks down, so that we stood naked. I didn’t like that because no one asked me for permission. I didn’t mind being naked because no stranger saw us in the ruins. The sudden assaults made me uncomfortable, much like when a bigger boy pushed me into the water while bathing or pressed my head under the water.
When I was about eight years old, my childhood was wonderful. Street life was fascinating and full of adventure. I don’t remember spending a lot of time doing homework during the first four years of school. Immediately after lunch I met my friends on the street. We climbed around in the ruins, explored dark passages through half-buried basements with a lot of heart pounding, admired the grown-ups when they tried to smoke for the first time, or jumped over the fences of other gardens to pick apples, pears and quinces. It didn’t matter how the fruit tasted; what mattered was the adventure. Quinces, for example, tasted so terrible that I still don’t like them today.
I often walked alone through the streets of my neighborhood, looking for new and exciting experiences. I remember a worker in a road pit. He might have been about thirty years old. His torso was bare due to the heat. He and his job fascinated me. I paused a long time to watch him work. He smiled at me when I became interested in him. I was happy. If he had brought me into the construction pit, had even hugged me and stroked me - I would have almost gone mad with joy and pride. I never saw him as a father replacement after my father never came home from the war. I also cannot remember that I felt what the adults call an erotic radiation. Children do not formulate such terms. Children feel with their hearts. When an adult is nice to them, they like him. It is only important for children that he does not hurt them physically and does not cause mental agony, for example by talking ugly about their mother. The construction worker didn’t bring me to the pit. Nevertheless, I went to the construction site every day. At some point the pit was closed, the man was no longer there. I was sad.
At this age, I was also fascinated by excavator operators. In some ruins, the rubble had already been cleared away and sometimes regular excavators were used. Most of the time, however, I was sent away with harsh words, apparently because of the fear that I might get under the rubble or the machines. Adults often do not know or have forgotten from their own childhood that children are very careful in what they do. Otherwise there would be a lot more broken arms and legs or even deaths. Most children today die from frenzied drivers.
Back to the excavator operator. One took me to his cabin. I proudly sat on his knees, listening carefully to which lever was responsible for which movement and felt a pleasant tingling sensation on my bare stomach through the hands of the excavator operator, which ran through my whole body. If the man had taken off my swimming trunks and caressed me, I would certainly have sunk into his arms with my eyes closed. I remained untouched and turned to new adventures.
When I was nine the time of soccer games had started. We played across the street with a tennis ball; the basement entries marked the gates. Occasionally we had to interrupt the game because of a passing car, but that didn’t matter. I was the youngest and smallest of the boys. Therefore I was only allowed to play if one player was missing due to an odd number of boys.
My athletic career started at the unpopular left wing position. It was inevitable that the basement window grille would burst open and the ball would disappear into the dark basement. I had to get it again, otherwise I would have been excluded from the team, and I didn’t want that. So I let myself down through the narrow shaft into the darkness and searched for the missing ball between crates with coal and potatoes and roughly built shelves with canned goods. It would never have occurred to us to take anything out of the cellar. We wanted the tennis ball back so that we could continue playing. Goal scoring was more important than canned fruit or pickles.
The biggest boy in our soccer gang was a fourteen year old. For a nine-year-old, a fourteen-year-old is almost an adult. I adored and admired this boy. He only played mediocre football, but he kept a secret: he regularly had to buy mysterious packages from the pharmacy for his mother. They were wrapped in newspaper. At my request, he unwrapped a package. A cardboard box appeared, which read: Camelia. It had something to do with his mother, with women in general. They needed something. Since I wasn’t interested in women at this age, I didn’t really care what they wanted this Camelia for. And in later years I never understood why the box was always wrapped in newsprint.
The boy was much more important to me. He already had hair. I could see it clearly when I looked into his gym pants. Nobody was wearing underpants at that time. So I often dropped to the floor with my face contorted with pain. He leaned over me to look after my injury. I looked into his open gymnastics pants and would have preferred to stay there.
American soldiers camped in small olive-green tents in a city park. We visited the soldiers almost every day. They gave us canned corned beef and cigarettes. I didn’t need the cigarettes, I threw them into the bushes on the way home. I brought the corned beef home. It tasted great. My mother asked where I got it from. Got a gift, I said. Had she asked further questions, I would certainly have had excuses.
Sometimes we crawled into the tent with the soldiers. We lay arm in arm with them and let ourselves be stroked and caressed. It was wonderful. The men’s hands also went in our swimming or gym pants. I made no distinction between decent and indecent; It was nice to be caressed no matter where.
The soldiers asked us questions in a language we didn’t understand. It didn’t bother us, rather amused us. Once a soldier, in whose arms I was allowed to lie, took my hand and led it to his pants. My heart was pounding with excitement. I didn’t dare open his pants, so I took my hand away. The soldier smiled.
I have never been warned of strangers. In the post-war years, people had other worries than worrying about supposed sex fiends. I myself never warned my own children about strangers. My two boys often brought friends home with us, also for the night. The younger one also had some adult friends. I made it a condition that I wanted to meet these adults. Only one was apparently unwilling to do so; my son never spoke of him again. It is possible that my youngest also had sex with the adult friends, because he was allowed to stay with them overnight. I never questioned him; he told a lot himself. I think he would have told my wife and me immediately if he had been treated against his will, even once. He still maintains friendships with his male acquaintances today.
When I was ten I had a bosom friend; we were inseparable. At every opportunity we crawled into the bushes to carefully examine individual parts of our bodies. The most exciting thing was the examination of the penis and buttocks. We always postponed the examination of other parts of the body in favor of these two. We stripped naked so that we could see everything better; an old rusty flashlight, a gift from the American soldiers, brought further clarification. At that age, we weren’t particularly interested in what the girls looked like. We wanted to know how we boys were made up. I would have loved to have examined other school friends so extensively, but did not dare to do so because I feared that my bosom friend would become jealous.
During this time I joined a Christian youth group. I had heard of such gatherings. It was said that on camps the group leader or the chaplain would take a boy into the tent with them, and they would do all sorts of things at night. I could not find out anymore about that. One thing was clear: I had to be in such a group. I wanted to participate in the camp, wanted to go to the tent with an adult, wanted to do all sorts of things with him. I couldn’t imagine exactly what, but the adventure was tempting, that much was clear.
After two years I left the youth group again, completely disillusioned. Nothing, nothing at all had happened, at least not with me. Maybe I wasn’t attractive enough, maybe my expectations were too high. Whatever I tried, I always had to stay in the tent with my peers. I knew their nightly games from my everyday street life. The campfires were not as fascinating as we had often lit small fires in the ruins of houses. So the youth group didn’t offer anything decisively new. I had to look for men in my city, not in untouched nature. The American soldiers had left in the meantime and never came back.
There were tennis courts near our apartment. Few had the time and money to play tennis at the time. It was probably academics who met for a game after work. I watched them for hours, until I had to go home. My love for this sport still dates from this time.
One day I was asked if I wanted to act as a ball boy. I was excited. From then on I earned a few pennies on the tennis court. It was my first job. I wouldn’t have let anyone talk me out of it. After all, I was almost twelve years old. I got fifty pfennigs an hour, a fortune, because apart from going to the cinema on Sundays, you couldn’t spend any money.
One of the tennis players invited me to take a shower after his game. He was something like the groundsman and had to be the last to lock all the doors of the clubhouse, so that in the end we were alone. Fortunately it was Saturday afternoon, I still had enough time. There was only one shower and the water was lukewarm rather than hot. I stood naked with him in the shower and he soaped me up. It was pleasant to me. After drying me, he kissed my forehead. I saw him as my great confidante. Unfortunately, we only took one more shower togther after that, the other times he had to go home quickly.
I can’t really remember his age. For children, the age of an adult they like is not important anyway. What is important is how the adult behaves towards the children. In high school, in the Quinta, we had a German teacher who was about to retire.
Although this teacher was extraordinarily strict, he enjoyed great trust with us students. He was strict but fair, that was our verdict. We forgave him for giving us more detentions than other teachers. Children often have a sense of justice that is difficult for adults to understand. Perhaps we found our German teacher to be fair because he always placed detention in the sixth period and not in the afternoon. As a result, our parents found out nothing about our pranks.
For a year I ran after the balls on the tennis court. My mother had found out about it in the meantime because a classmate had told on me. She indicated that she didn’t like this occupation. She was afraid that I would neglect my homework because I was in high school for the second year and there were actually a lot of chores to do for school every day. I only gave up my job as a ball boy when I joined a football club. I felt the time had come to actively parttake in sports.
When I was twelve I didn’t like going to school. In my later life I met only very few twelve year olds who enjoyed going to school, including my own sons. How good for me that at least there was something to experience between classes. The equilateral triangles and French vocabulary were boring enough.
During the breaks we searched for treasures in the school’s coal cellar. We found rare stamps from school correspondence that lay in the basement to be burnt for heating. And we found a special treasure: namely the written vocabulary tests by our French teacher. Without notice, they had struck us like a bolt from the blue, brought a five or six for most of us [equals a D or F], and were supposed to be sent to our parents for signature as a warning. So here they were to be burned without the parents having seen them, and from then on we didn’t believe the teachers anymore.
Immediately we turned back to our favorite activity in the school basement: sex among school friends until the break ended. At that time girls were not admitted to our high school. Some of my friends already had pubic hair when they were twelve. I felt pretty underdeveloped, also with regards to the activities. The others were much more experienced, much more daring and active than I was. If I hadn’t been so shy as a child, I probably would have had a lot more sexual experiences with adults.
For a long time I was amazed that I could remember so many details from my childhood over a period of more than three decades. Then I noticed that I was connecting the events with a certain school class, and even more so: with the respective teachers. I had one teacher in the first and second form, another in the third and fourth form. From high school on we had a new class teacher every school year. This enables me to put many experiences precisely into relation.
My bosom friend had once received the horrific sum of five marks from his aunt for his birthday. We discussed what could be done with so much money. First we went to the cinema. The film was called “Fanfares of Love” and was R-rated [18 years]. We still managed to outsmart the seller at the box office. We said we wanted to buy the cards for our fathers. Later we smuggled ourselves into the film hall in the dark (the “Fox - toning - newsreel” had already started), bypassed the usher and sat down in a corner. It was a romantic love movie, terribly boring for us boys, and we would have fled the room after a few minutes if the consciousness of being in a forbidden film hadn’t held us back. So the next day in school we were able to ask casually who had seen “Fanfares of Love”. Nobody had seen the film, of course, so we condescendingly reported that it was not badly done. Lots of sex scenes and stuff. The classmates’ eyes shone with envy.
However, one of the classmates was able to produce something worthwhile: his aunt owned an allotment garden with a wooden house. The fact that a three-meter-high wooden fence was put up around the garden is irrelevant to a twelve-year-old boy. The fence was easy to climb over. However, it wasn’t the fruits that caught our eye; after all, we were no longer children, but the wooden hut. It experienced my first attempts to make friends with cigarettes. Back then, four cigarettes cost three pennies. We had money: I still had savings from the tennis court, and there was also something left over from the five marks. The cigarettes didn’t taste good, but made us grow up. I realized my mistake two years later and have never smoked since.
My school performance degraded as I grew older. In my later adult years I often imagined what an adult friend might have done in terms of motivation. I have seen with my son that at this age he did not study mathematical formulas and English vocabulary neither for himself nor his future, let alone for his parents. He did it for his adult friend at the time, who was thankfully a teacher and who, apart from his technical knowledge, probably also hit the right note.
The soccer club played an important role in my early youth. I had become a good soccer player and never had to worry about being pushed to the second team. I was even allowed to express wishes on which position I would like to play. At the beginning, I was ok with the less spectacular midfield; After growing some self-confidence, I played in the front row and scored the most goals in my team. I felt like a hero on the soccer field. What did the stupid school and the stupid homework count! I also had an excellent relationship with the trainer. He was in his mid-thirties and was pretty tough with us during training. If I hadn’t had so much success in the team, the effort during training would soon have been too much for me.
In winter we trained in the school gymnasium. It was also possible to take a shower here. After my training, however, my soccer teammates quickly went out of the way and I helped the coach to clear away the sports equipment. One evening he asked me if I would like to take a shower with him. I thought that was a great idea. When we were standing naked in the shower, I kept looking at him. He asked me if I liked his looks. I answered yes. “I like yours too,” he said. I was very proud, especially since I had gotten some pubic hair in the meantime and had my first real ejaculation a few weeks earlier. Since I hadn’t brought any soap, he soaped me up. I did the same to him. After we had dried ourselves, there was the first sex between us in the locker room. In my eyes it had been a logical development. When I was thirteen, I had the right to my body and my desire. This first sexual act resulted in a real love affair, which we kept secret from the other players. I don’t think anyone noticed anything because my trainer continued to treat me as before. The following year I played in a higher youth level and got another coach. I was actually not sad about the end of the love relationship; it had marked a period of life that was now over. The life of a teenager was waiting for me, childhood was finally over. At school I was one of the best again. Although the secret boy games continued at school, especially in the darkened movie room, where we rummaged in the neighbors’ pants, at thirteen I was equally fascinated by men. I wanted to see how they looked naked. I knew my school friends, they didn’t offer me any new. I wanted to see naked men, I wanted to know what I would look like as a man. In swimming pools, I tried to peek under the partition of the locker room when a man changed next door. I couldn’t see much. I was also afraid of being discovered by others. The thought of being brought into the locker room by a man and watching him change, however, excited me so much that I often locked myself in a cabin to give myself sexual pleasure.
In the summer months, wearing only a pair of gymnastics, I occasionally rode my old bike through an overgrown, forest-like park in our city, hoping that a man would notice my sparse clothing and invite me to a rendezvous. My bike tours did not have the desired success. Either no man recognized my secret desires or he was afraid of discovery. In my distress, I finally approached an older boy - he might have been eighteen or twenty years old - ‘lured him into a thicket under the pretext of having terrible abdominal pain and had him massage my lower body until I had reached my goal. I can still see his stunned face when I suddenly had an orgasm. He quickly left and I was quite happy with this success.
When I was fourteen I had another erotic relationship with my drawing teacher over five months, after that I was more interested in the girls. I was now familiar with my own gender. I had observed my own physical development, had met many of my classmates intimately, had seen a boy become a man. So this chapter of my life was closed. I got antsy now when I saw the delicate girl’s breasts under her clothes when a long-haired girl showed interest in me. I experienced how quickly you get a red head as a boy and how you miss the words when you want to say so much about love and tenderness. At school and with my mother, I never ran out of quick wit and arguments. The girls had succeeded in doing what no one else had achieved: to completely turn my head.
When I think about these experiences today, I often have to smile. I don’t have the impression that I was an exotic at that time, who experienced a lot, while the others went away empty-handed. On the contrary: For a long time I felt shy and underdeveloped. I always had the feeling that the others were experiencing more than I was. I don’t know if that really was the case. It doesn’t matter anymore today. Through the experiences and stories of my own children, I learned that today’s boys have hardly changed from us. Certainly, they are faced with much more details about sexuality. They have educational classes at school. They know almost everything about sexuality. At that time we knew almost nothing in theory and simply tried out some things.
I don’t think there is a magic formula for how parents should behave when they learn about their child’s love affair with an adult. On many parent-teacher meetings [at school] I have experienced more perplexed than determined parents. Bans or warnings against sex fiends can be appropriate in individual cases. In most cases, in my experience, investing trust in the children helps. If children know and feel that they can tell their parents anything without having to fear the moral verdict, they will tell their parents everything that is important to them. Children have an exceptional need for communication. Experienced parents know that too; they know the situation when the mother is bent over the stove and the father is bent over the desk, and the children rush in and the day’s big and small experiences gush out of her mouth, so that the parents have trouble listening and not let anything burn.
Much of what seems important and worth telling to us adults is of secondary importance for the children. We should let them choose what they want to trust with us and what they don’t. Children also need a few secrets, even from their parents. If they are not granted this freedom, they will create secrets in non-family areas and will succeed in keeping them secret. I know this well enough from my own childhood, a childhood full of curiosity and drive, full of longings and desires. My mother never said, “Child, I trust you.” She lived that trust. I would never have abused this trust. I used my freedom as a child, just like today’s children do. Some adults should remember much more of their own childhood!