The Spectator

Objects of desire

Objects of desire
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‘Homosexuality without the cant’, by Simon Raven, 14 June 1968: ‘All virile societies,’ writes Mary McCarthy à propos the Florentines, ‘see boys as objects of desire.’ And there you have it in one. Men will find younger men physically pleasing, not because of some terrible occurrence years ago in the woodshed, but because young males, like young females, are physically pleasing… They are a pleasure to look at, as everyone admits; they are also a pleasure to touch, when legitimate occasion presents; presumably, therefore, they are a pleasure to take to bed. The above is a straightforward statement of an attitude that has been common to many young males in many times and places. (It was certainly my own.) Men today, women tomorrow: men as long as one’s friends remain young and appetising, women when one gets a little older and wants to settle down. So come one’s 25th summer, kiss the men goodbye, and away to the women, of whom one has already, of course, had some experience.