I got in touch with Howard Miller (pseudonym) through e-mail after I'd heard that he was interested in participating in my project of finding authentic cases of positive memories of early experiences with 'pedophile' relationships.
Howard Miller is a 57-year-old man living in the Netherlands whose mother tongue is English. Howard deliberately left out any details that might make possible the identification of his friend.
What follows is the main information Howard gave me about a relationship he had as a boy with an adult man, structured by some questions.
How old were you when the relationship started?
Eleven. It started about 46 years ago, in the early 1960s.
How long did it last?
Roughly until I was 14 but we still occasionally have sex together.
Had you known him before the relationship began?
Yes. He was a friend of the family.
What kind of relationship was it?
A friendship with erotic aspects.
Of what consisted the erotic dimension?
We would zip our sleeping bags together and he would tickle and massage me all over. He would tell me dirty jokes while helping me with my homework and get me aroused. Then we would masturbate together.
He satisfied me and then himself or we satisfied ourselves while watching each other. I thought that he was fascinating to look at and occasionally touch but not to satisfy.
I was already very sexually aware and getting into trouble with the parents of my friends for molesting their sons (when I was an adolescent or earlier).
I was very precocious sexually from a very early age and initiated sex play with a lot of the boys I knew of my own age. The parents found out and I was persona non grata.
He helped me to have a positive understanding of my sexuality.
What other dimensions did the relationship have?
We used to take trips together. He helped me with my homework and participated in family occasions like birthday parties.
He encouraged me with my hobbies like electronics.
How did the relationship begin?
I don't remember who started it but he soon found out that I was hot to trot and I was thrilled.
And how did it end?
We are still friends but things changed when I was about 14 because I felt guilty because I wasn't attracted to him in the same way that he was to me. I wasn't willing to do the same things to him that he did to me.
However, nowadays I have sex with him again sometimes. It's still the same but now I don't feel guilty about it. He satisfies me but I don't satisfy him because I'm not attracted to him sexually.
When I was younger I read a lot of gay literature that made me feel that this sort of arrangement was wrong. I now think differently about it.
Why were you feeling guilty about this?
For some years I believed myself to be gay. According to the dictionary I am because I'm not attracted to girls or women.
In fact I still consider this to be the case but that I am in a subcategory. I even considered myself to be a gay activist for some years.
Much of the gay literature of the time preached that relationships should be equal. That meant that each of the parties should be equally attracted to each other and be willing to do equally as much sexually for each other.
In my relationship with my friend this was never the case. Although I found him interesting as a full grown example of a male, I had no urge to satisfy him and still don't.
However, especially when I was young, I was very flattered by his interest in satisfying me and loved how he made me feel.
During my gay period, however, I began to feel guilty about this arrangement because it didn't fit into the gay model which I have described not because
I felt there was anything wrong with what we did. In fact at the time there was more tolerance in the gay movement for intergenerational relationships.
Were there any problems connected to the relationship?
Under pressure I told my family about what was happening. I think I was about 13 or 14.
They of course were not pleased and tried to put pressure on me to end it. Interestingly enough they have never rejected my friend.
I found out later that my Dad was molesting my sisters and later my nieces. Maybe that's why.
He did not molest me, because he was only attracted to girls. I only found out about it years later as an adult when he was convicted.
Did you in any way link your experiences with your older friend with stories about sexual predators?
At first it seemed natural that he would have the same interests as I did I used to assume that all boys/men did. I have never thought of him as a predator then or now.
What we did was mutual and I wanted it as much as he did. Luckily the media wasn't full of one-sided coverage the way it now is.
Of course, I understood that it wasn't something we should talk openly about. It was nobody else's business.
What - if anything - would you rather have changed if you could do it all over again?
Just the world. Ha ha! I have only good feelings about what happened but am sad that most people will never be able to understand that.
I also wish that we didn't have to worry about each other getting into trouble with the society over what appened.
How did the relationship affect your development, as far as you can tell?
My sexual orientation was clearly already set by the time our relationship started. If anything he really helped me to accept myself in a way that no one else could have. If I can't accept myself who will. As a result I feel very strong in my identity in spite of the growing intolerance of society.
How did the relationship affect your opinions about pedophile relationships?
Obviously one cannot generalize about any sort of relationship. Whether you agree with such contacts or not you have to see that they are not all alike.
Because I had such a positive experience as a child I believe that I can say with absolute certainty that sometimes such relationships can be very positive. Notice I don't say that they always will be, but heck more than 50% of marriages end in divorce.
Most real child abuse occurs in families. Should then marriage be outlawed?