Translated by JUMIMA
Original German text
Björn is 32 years old and a craftsman. Jan is 45 years old and a social worker. Both live in a northern German city. Björn has been married for seven years, Jan is single. During a walk, they tell me how their former boy-man relationship has turned into a male friendship with eroticism over time.
When Björn was ten years old, Jan started his work in a youth center at which Björn and three of his older brothers had been regular visitors for some time. Jan took up this position with the enthusiasm of a recently graduated social worker, his head full of revolutionary ideas. The boys and girls who visited the place every day liked his wealth of ideas; For Björn and some of his friends of the same age, Jan soon became an adult friend.
The conversations between Björn and the social worker soon turned to sexuality. The boy had provoked the adult with questions about certain sexual practices that he knew from stories or banned films. Jan always acted naive. This incited the boy to be more direct; he mimicked sexual practices when playing, laughed at Jan’s obvious embarrassment, and openly announced what forms of sexual activity he had already tried. Jan held back, did not reprimand him nor encourage him.
A year later, Björn was eleven and a half years old, Jan met the boy near the river that runs through the city. Both sat down on the shore and started chatting. Björn soon brought the subject back to the virtues of his masculinity, which he tried to explain to Jan using the example of a piece of wood. As confirmation, he put Jan’s hand on the body part, which he emphasized so much. He said in a tone of conviction, “Mine is much bigger than yours.” There was no direct comparison, because Jan indicated that passerbys could disturb them.
A few weeks later, Jan was busy renovating the youth center during the summer break. Björn saw the car of the social worker at the door and asked for admission by knocking insistently. The adult let the boy in who wanted to have the door locked behind him. When Björn saw the adult fiddling with a yardstick, he pulled his pants down and said to Jan: “Measure how big it is.” Jan was amazed to see that the boy was physically developed like a fourteen-year-old. The boy’s initiative led to sexual contact between the two, during which Björn lay on his stomach and asked the adult to penetrate.
Jan was very frightened and broke off the erotic game. A little unsettled, the boy asked the man: “Why don’t you want me?” Only a few days later the social worker was able to make it clear to the eleven-year-old that he was very fond of him, but that he didn’t want to hurt him. A year later, the form of sexual contact desired by Björn came about. The desire for such encounters accompanied the younger one into adulthood.
Björn literally fell in love with Jan. It was the first experience of this kind for both of them. Björn cannot remember any sexual games before he was ten years old; but he does remember that he was approached by another adult who made clear erotic wishes at the age of 13. Björn was extremely outraged by this approach, rode his bike to Jan’s apartment on a Sunday afternoon to tell his adult friend all the outrage about this stranger’s immoral request. Jan struggled to calm the boy, who was undressing while he was describing and laying on Jan’s bed for intimate contact.
The relationship between the two remained secret both from the other visitors to the youth center and from Björn’s parents. The parents did not know the social worker personally, but they did know the name, as Björn often talked about the “new”. Björn remembers a situation in which his mother scolded Jan in a hint of jealousy, according to her son’s descriptions: “I only hear from Jan, here at home. If this continues, it is best to take your bed and move in with him.” Björn says that he would have done that immediately if Mother’s words had been meant seriously.
After all, Björn’s relationship brought him occasional advantages. When he was 13 years old, his teacher came to see his parents because of a typical boyish prank. The rather strict father threatened his son with a beating. In his distress, Björn turned to Jan. The social worker paid a “random” visit to Björn’s parents. The parents were happy to finally get to know this “hero”, about whom the son was so enthusiastic, and made coffee. They talked about general stuff until Jan finally asked about Björn’s academic achievements. The father got angry and indicated that he would beat up his son at the next opportunity for the wrongdoing. The social worker patiently tried to appease the parents and not overrate pranks due to puberty. The father finally let himself be appeased, and when Björn entered the apartment shortly afterwards, also “by accident”, the initial anger was almost gone. The boy had to go to his room immediately and was not allowed to stay with the adults, but there were no further punishments.
The friendship between Björn and Jan remained undiminished. There were regular sexual contacts, which both still find pleasant today. These contacts continued even when Björn had his first sexual experience with girls at the age of 15. Björn cannot imagine ever having sex with another man. On the other hand, he did not want to do without contacts with Jan even when he got married. And he still doesn’t want to do without sex with Jan – 21 years after the first erotic encounter with the social worker.
When Björn is asked what appeals to him about this sexual relationship with a man, what he gets from Jan, for example, what he cannot have in his marriage, Björn points out certain sexual practices that are only possible between men. And he says that he often simply wants to be able to enjoy eroticism passively and relaxed, while with his wife he likes to play the active role, and she also wishes for that.
The boy-man relationship between Björn and Jan, which eventually turned into an erotic male friendship, had, of course, not only a sexual component, even if physical pleasure was the motor of this relationship, as both frankly admit. Jan helped Björn to finish school with reasonably good grades, helped him find apprenticeships and helped Björn with age-typical heartbreaks in his relationships to girls. Björn does not speak to Jan about marriage problems, should there be any. The social worker remained the friend of that time; the savior in sexual distress and helper for professional worries, as Björn puts it. Jan is satisfied with this role. He is happy that Björn still enjoys sex with him. He also never asked that Björn be his partner in other areas of life. Sometimes both meet up for intimate contact several times a week; sometimes they don’t see each other for weeks. It’s a liaison that costs nothing, says Jan.
When Björn is asked whether he feels that his development has been damaged by early sex with an adult, he spontaneously laughs out loud. He cannot understand such a question. He considers sex between two people, if done in a responsible manner of mutual respect, to be something completely natural. If he had decide about the matter of seduction, he would insist that he was the real seducer. Basically, it is still like that today, he asserts, because he calls Jan when he wants sex, not the other way around. He is not afraid of infectious diseases, because he lives absolutely monogamous, as he puts it. With his wife, and occasionally with Jan. He does not want to have other intimate contacts. What if Jan suddenly moved to another city? Björn looks at this question rather helplessly. “There would be no new edition. Jan is Jan. This cannot be copied.”
His wife doesn’t know about his relationship with Jan, nor do his parents. What for? Björn asks. Isn’t his relationship with Jan very unusual? Björn shrugs his shoulders at this question: “What should be unusual about it? It is certainly a common occurrence.” He adds that when he was a boy he felt that other peers had experiences similar to his.