Book review: Pulling it off

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In Pulling It Off, a collection of over 400 annotated comments about masturbation from almost 200 American boys age ten through 15, Dr. Joseph Winchester offers evidence that children are not only sexual, but eager to be sexually active. Despite conclusive documentation of child sexuality from Freud (1907) through Brongersma (1988, 1990) criminal laws in the United States reflect the view that children have no sexual needs or desires and must be shielded from sexual contact. Pulling It Off reveals the absurdity of this notion. "Sometimes," says a thirteen-year-old quoted by Winchester, "I think I'm just a hard-on with a boy attached."

Given the present climate of sexual intimidation in the United States, boys today are less willing to discuss their sexual activities they were in the more liberal 1960s and 1970s, when Winchester gathered the bulk of his data. This was before the rise of the "sex abuse industry" and the regression into neo-Victorian sexual repression that developed in the 1980s. By now, Winchester's informants have become adults, so his data reflect what boys a generation ago thought about masturbation. [...] An 11-year-old: Yeah, I hump my bed a lot... Once I get started I can get three climaxes in a row. {My big brother} will say, "Jesus Christ, Hal, knock it off," and I'll say "I am knocking it off," and he'll say, "Then hurry up, come!" and I'll say, "Ive already come two times." [...] A 15-year-old: What I like about masturbating in bed in the morning is that it can be sort of like the continuation of dreams... Your bed is your sanctuary, the magic place you creep off to every night and let your imagination take over. [...]

Winchester's second book, Getting It On provides full biographies of six of the boys whose observations are quoted anonymously throughout Pulling It Off. If the former volume tells what sexually active pre- and post- pubertal boys do, the latter shows that those strong enough to ignore society's sexual taboos have done themselves no harm by freely expressing their childhood homosexuality. All of the boys whose biographies comprise this book have developed into fully "normal" adults. [...]

Winchester's view of child sexuality is in sharp contrast to the way such activities are portrayed by the child abuse industry, which aims to stamp out youth sexuality altogether, and regards any sexual act with a child as "child abuse" (apparently on the analogy of masturbation as "self-abuse"). It doesn't matter if the sex is consensual and mutually pleasurable. Sexual activity between children of the same age, between an older and a younger child, or between an adult and a child are defined as asbusive transactions in which a "victim" is invariably harmed emotionally and psychologically.

Arguments of this sort make sense if one accepts the premise that it is harmful for a child to be sexual. For those of us who find this premise absurd, the child abuse argument smacks of psychotic thinking. No boy-lover ever damaged a child the way parents do through sexual repression and intimidation, abusing children psychologically by teaching them that their genitals are dirty, that thinking of sex is sinful, and that engaging in sex is criminal. The fact that nearly all boy babies in the U.S. are circumcised results in an average of 230 infant deaths every year (Brongersma, 1990, quoting Szasz, 1982). A society which advocates physically mutilating an infant's penis and yet seeks to incarcerate anyone who touches a child with sexual intent - even if only on the outside of his clothes - is seriously pathological.

Dr. Joseph Winchester's Pulling It Off and Getting It On belong on any bookshelf dedicated to boy-love and boy sexuality. In a sane society, books such as these would be available in school libraries, and they would be sold in every bookstore. They would serve as appropriate gifts for an older brother, godfather, uncle, father or grandfather to give the prepubertal boy. Most of all, these books would be required reading for mental health practitioners, youth counselors, ministers, educators, legislators, and lawyers.

source: 'The Boy-Love Bookshelf' by Robert R. [edit]; Nambla Bulletin, Vol. 12, No. 4; May 1991