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Lover and Beloved

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"'The love that dare not speak its name' in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man... It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him."
Oscar Wilde waxing poetic on the stand while on trial for sodomy and gross indecency

Say Bob and Charles are not family, but are close to one another. Really close. Bob is younger than Charles, and Charles is quite happy to take Bob under his wing. He guides Bob to his place, whether in the world or simply in one social circle. However, Bob and Charles' affection for each other is a bit more than fatherly.

This dynamic applies to a gay male couple (or simply an ambiguous one) in which one partner is much older and acts as a mentor to another. In this dynamic, Charles is most often powerful and successful, and Bob is most often physically attractive in one way or another.

This trope originates in ancient Greece, with their custom of pederasty. The Greek words for this trope are erastês (ἐραστής, "lover") and erômenos (ἐρώμενος "beloved"). A very similar system developed independently in Japan, where the partners are the nenja ("man who loves") and his wakashū ("young person").note  High-ranking Chinese courtiers and Buddhist monks also took younger male lovers fairly often, but in a less formal system than in Greece and Japan. Greek accounts of the Persians, Spanish accounts of the Maya, and Roman accounts of the Celts also all describe similar pederastic institutions, although in the latter two cases, this might have been to demonize the conquered cultures.

All but a Forgotten Trope nowadays, especially since some of these relationships involve underage teens, leading to implications that modern gay writers would rather avoid. It may, however, show up in The Twink's Coming-Out Story, and the social circle the older partner leads the younger into is likely to be the gay community.

Modern Yaoi has a similar (although less stratified) version of this trope: Seme and Uke.

Subtrope and sister trope of other tropes like Age-Gap Romance, Teacher/Student Romance, Sexy Mentor, Mentor Ship, and Mentor in Queerness.

No Real Life Examples, Please! This includes any real person describing their own relationships, or their personal interest in such relationships, regardless of medium.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Seigi and Richard, of The Case Files of Jeweler Richard. Richard, eight years older, a wealthy and successful businessman, is college student Seigi's mentor in not only gemstones, but in life, culture, and definitely queerness. They call each other "partners" by the end of volume ten, but Seigi is also still serving as Richard's secretary.
  • Inverted and deconstructed in Loveless. The older partner, Soubi's, "name" is Beloved and he has been trained to submit to whoever is the Sacrifice in his pairings. The much younger Ritsuka's "name" is Loveless; he struggles between his affection for Soubi and his own submissive personality that his brother took advantage of.
  • In Marginal, there are no women in the world and humans are an all-male One-Gender Race, except for a queen bee-like individual who produces babies called "Mother". Thus, Lover and Beloved becomes the norm: men adopt and mentor youths (called "Iroko" i.e. "coloured child" due to a mark on their skin which shows that they are not mature), who in return act as passive sexual partners until they come of age.
  • Much of Saiyuki is set in Buddhist temples and there are in-story references to master/acolyte relationships (specifically a possible relationship between Sanzo (then Koryuu) and his fond foster-father Koumyou). There's also quite a bit of Ho Yay enthusiasm for Sanzo and Goku.
    • Note that all the in-canon references to this are nasty rumors being spread about the main characters, all of which are unfounded. Specifically, Kouryuu and Koumyou's relationship is explicitly NOT like that despite the talkers. One of the things that makes the scene where a newly-crowned Sanzo leaves the temple and is nearly raped by bandits so poignant is his realization of how much his foster father had sheltered him from such things. Sanzo and Goku were probably intended to be a lot closer to this trope so the fangirls could squee, while not being quite as squicky as the pre-pubescent Kouryuu and middle-aged Koumyou. Ukoku and Kami, the unfortunate slave boy he takes in as an experiment to see what Koumyou sees in Kouryuu, probably play this trope a lot straighter, if about fifty times more disturbingly.
  • Yuri and Victor's relationship gradually takes on more and more aspects of this in Yuri!!! on Ice, though the age difference is downplayed since Victor is only four years older than Yuri. Victor coaches and mentors Yuri to become a better figure skater, and Yuri learns to become more confident in his skating. The subtext between them becomes very hard to ignore... at least until episode 7, when Victor kisses Yuri and they become the Official Couple, and by episode 10 they're engaged.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Authority, the Midnighter and Apollo are much the same chronological age, but the emotional contrast between the cynical, jaded and violent Midnighter and the much more optimistic and joyful Apollo gives them a touch of this relationship dynamic.
  • In Marvel's The Incredible Hercules, most of the Greek gods assume (incorrectly) Hercules and Amadeus Cho have this relationship. Amadeus always angrily corrects them.
    • At one point, when Hercules was asked to compare his recent companions to his legendary companions, he feigned ignorance when it came to Amadeus Cho due to this; the answer that he was thinking but didn't voice was Hylas.
  • In Three, the two Spartan noblemen and close friends Kleomenes and Tyrtaios had this relationship in the past, although according to Ancient Greek mores the sexual part of it ended when Tyrtaios finished puberty.
  • In Top 10, Da Chief Steve Traynor and his partner Wulf have been a couple for about 50 years, but the prequel graphic novel The 49ers revealed that their relationship started when Steve was still a teenager and Wulf was about eight years older. It attempts to avoid the more dubious elements of this trope by having Steve actively pursue Wulf, and Wulf at one point explicitly challenges Steve about whether he's emotionally mature enough for a relationship.

    Fan Works 
  • In Sith Academy, a parody of Star Wars with Darth Maul as the Villain Protagonist, this is pretty much standard for Jedi Masters and their Padawans, with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi's relationship being especially saccharine at times. A number of stories mention former male Padawans of Mace Windu, and even Yoda gets into the act with his students. It's hinted that Teacher Student Romances are equally common for Jedi partnerships where both are female, or when one is male and the other female, but no couples of these sorts appear in the stories. Curiously, even though Sidious is homosexual and Maul is bisexual, it's explicitly mentioned that relationships are forbidden between a Sith Master and apprentice because they would either be too competitive with each other or else tend to mellow out and lose their edge. This doesn't stop either of them from having War Ship trysts with the Jedi, however.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Abuse (1983) by Arthur Bressan, who spent most of his career making gay porn films, a 31-year-old gay film student is making a documentary about child abuse. He meets Thomas, a somewhat effeminate 14-year-old whose parents have brutally physically mistreated him for the past six years, and Thomas becomes the centrepiece of the documentary. Thomas is also gay and becomes interested in the filmmaker. They have a relationship, and eventually run away together so that Thomas can escape from his awful parents.
  • Played with in Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) (2005). Maxi is an effeminate gay 12-year-old boy from a family of petty criminals in the slums of Manila. He falls in love with a young rookie policeman, Victor, when Victor rescues him from an assault. Maxi seeks out Victor's company and the two become friends, Victor advising Maxi to go to school, get a good job and stay away from crime. The other policemen tease Victor about being Maxi's boyfriend, but Victor turns down Maxi's romantic overtures, leaving Maxi heartbroken. At one point, however, Victor calls Maxi pretty and strokes his hair, which is probably just chaste affection but carries a possible hint of Ho Yay. At the end of the film Victor waits to speak to Maxi but Maxi walks by him — just possibly an Unrequited Love Switcheroo. Filipino audiences may read the film quite differently to Western ones, however.
  • In Avant que j'oublie (Before I Forget), a 2007 film about an aging gay man, lover/beloved relationships between older and younger men are the only kind portrayed. Often, the older man feels more attraction and affection for the younger one than vice versa, and the younger man is partly in it to have money left to him.
  • Butley (1974), the film of Simon Gray's play about a professor of English whose wife and younger boyfriend each, on the same day, leave him for another man.
  • Call Me by Your Name (2017) along with the novel it's based on is a modern example, being about the relationship of 17-year-old Elio and 24-year-old American academic Oliver. Slightly subverted in that Elio is the one to more actively pursue the relationship, but in the end, Oliver, with a single intimate touch, is the one to initiate it.
  • The 2007 British TV film Clapham Junction subverts this trope. A 32-year-old man, suspected by locals of being on the sex offenders' register, lives in the neighbouring tower block to a 14-year-old boy. The boy sees the man through the window and is very attracted to him, in fact masturbates while watching him. The boy eventually goes to the man's flat and seduces him. The man is also very attracted to the boy but he's afraid of the consequences of having sex with him and takes a good bit of persuading. They have anal sex, and the boy 'tops'. When the boy's mother and father find him there, and his mother suspects what's happened and becomes furious, the boy staunchly denies it.
  • Die Konsequenz (The Consequence) (1977): Martin, an actor of about 30, is sent to prison for sex with his 15-year-old boyfriend — who now has a girlfriend. Martin meets Thomas, the 16-year-old gay son of the prison warder, and the two fall in love and, at Thomas' instigation, have sex. When Martin gets out of prison he finds that Thomas' parents and boss reject Thomas because of his homosexuality, so he and Thomas leave town together, get an apartment, and plan for Thomas to go back to school. However, Thomas is taken away by social services and sent to a very unpleasant home for delinquent boys. Martin breaks him out, but Thomas ends up with an older man who says he'll help him but instead blackmails him into becoming his boyfriend. Then the older man throws Thomas out and Thomas becomes a prostitute and finally, having nowhere else to go, returns to the boys' home. At 21 he is released and he and Martin, who in the meantime has had a casual boyfriend nearer his own age, reunite, but Thomas seems irretrievably damaged. He attempts suicide and then runs away from hospital, and there the film ends.
  • The Gayngst-defining 1919 German film Different from the Others focuses on the relationship between concert violinist Paul Korner and his pupil Kurt Sivers. Downplayed in that there is only a three-year-age difference between them, and they are both in their 20s.
  • Du er ikke alene (You Are Not Alone) (1978): another tale about an older and a younger boy at Boarding School. The older boy, fifteen, is something of a teacher and protector for the younger, twelve, who looks up to him. As is common with this trope, the older boy is the more sexually interested: he catches sight of a pretty face and goes for it. The younger boy, who masturbates already but whose sexuality may not yet be very strong or defined, is happy to go along with things out of affection and admiration for his older friend.
  • Eban and Charley (2000). 29-year-old Eban meets Charley, just turned 15, and they fall in love. Somewhat subverted in that Charley initiates the sex. The filmmaker said this was based on a true story he knew of: a teenage boy, mature for his age, had an older boyfriend; the man's friends disapproved of the relationship because of the age gap and the man broke up with the boy, who was devastated. In the film the lovers get a happy ending: they run away together.
  • En forelskelse (Awakening) (2008), a Danish short film. A 16-year-old boy meets his new girlfriend's parents and ends up having a brief, awkward secret affair with the dad. Subverted in that the boy is the one who makes the first move.
  • F. est un salaud (Fögi Is a Bastard) (1998), based on a novel of the same name by Martin Frank, set during the 1970s. 16-year-old Beni is a big fan of 26-year-old rock star Fögi. They meet and start a relationship; Beni leaves home to be with Fögi and Fögi breaks off his relationship with a male band member his own age. Initially, the relationship is happy, but Fögi has a lot of emotional problems, particularly a terrible fear of ageing, and things go downhill: Fögi persuades Beni to have sex with older men for money, Beni ends up being in porn photos and a D/s element enters his and Fögi's relationship. Beni goes along with everything because he is very deeply in love with Fögi. Eventually Fögi persuades a reluctant Beni to commit suicide with him. Fögi dies, Beni lives.
  • The films of Gerard Blain:
    • Les Amis (The Friends): Fortysomething Philippe and sixteen-year-old Paul have a classic lover/beloved relationship. Philippe is a fairly wealthy businessman who has no children and whose marriage has become a formality. He is in love with Paul and sexually attracted to him. He pays for Paul to stay at a fancy resort and have riding lessons, comforts him when he gets his heart broken by a girl, supports him in his ambition to be an actor, and despite his own private feelings of jealousy and possessiveness, encourages Paul to go off with friends his own age, in the interests of Paul's development. Paul, though basically heterosexual, is happy to sleep with Philippe and loves him back, "in a different way", according to Blain. Being fatherless, neglected by his family, and poor, he is grateful for all Philippe gives him.
    • Un enfant dans la foule (A Child in the Crowd): A thirteen-year-old boy, also fatherless, poor, and neglected by his family, is taken up by various men and also by one woman, who is a friend of one of the men. They all have sex with him. One man and the woman are only after sex and treat the boy quite cavalierly, though not cruelly. Another man, a teacher, separated from his wife and kids, temporarily becomes a good mentor to the boy, though the man eventually decides that he can't provide what the boy needs because he doesn't want to take responsibility for him.
  • Gods and Monsters (1998), a fictionalised depiction of the last days of James Whale. Whale is famous both for directing Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein and for being openly gay in 1950s Hollywood. The film portrays him becoming attracted to his new gardener, a handsome young ex-Marine. The gardener is straight but Whale assures him he has no sexual intentions. This turns out not to be the case, and the gardener freaks out.
  • Gossenkind (Street Kid), a 1992 German film. Relationship between a married man with a young son and a 14-year-old boy hustler with a girlfriend and cruel, violent parents.
  • The German TV film Guter Junge is about a man who finds out that his 17-year-old son likes younger boys and doesn't know what on earth to do about it. Sven, the son, has a relationship with a fatherless, neglected boy of 12 or 13, Patrick, whom he tutors after school, and who plainly looks up to him. However, the trope is subverted in that with this boy and with an 11-year-old he's seen hanging out with at a party, Sven is happy to follow the boy's lead. Patrick wants to be an actor, so the two go to the movies together. The other boy wants to play the family CD collection for Sven, so that's what they do. Far from getting a kick out of being the 'older man', Sven is fixated on boyhood: he keeps his old toys around, shaves all his body hair, and feels glum about turning 18.
  • Comes up in If by Lindsay Anderson, set in a Boarding School for boys thirteen to eighteen, where it's common and accepted for older boys to take a shine to younger ones. One of the three main characters has a relationship with a younger boy, of whom he's protective, but who seems to be a more mature person than his lover.
  • Il sapore del grano (The Flavour of Corn/The Taste of Wheat) (1986). Lorenzo, a university student doing a year's teaching in a rural area, develops a romantic friendship with twelve-year-old Duilio, one of the boys in his class. The lover/beloved dynamic is played with. Lorenzo brings Duilio an encyclopedia as a present; Duilio teaches Lorenzo to drive a tractor and identify trees and offers him the simple affection that Lorenzo, who lacks a family and whose (rather vigorous) sexual relationships with women are emotionally unsatisfying, needs. When Lorenzo's girlfriend, seeing a postcard from Duilio, asks if he's one of Lorenzo's pupils, Lorenzo says, "No, he's the one who taught me everything I know." Lorenzo is made uneasy by his sexual attraction to Duilio, particularly when Duilio's family, with whom he has also become friends, grow uneasy too — the stepmother because she thinks, mistakenly, that Lorenzo has done something sexual with Duilio, the father because he sees that Duilio loves Lorenzo more than Duilio loves him, the father. Eventually, though the family decide they like Lorenzo again, Lorenzo leaves the village, even though Duilio longs for him to stay.
  • James (2008). A boy of 15 or 16, looking younger than his age, gay, friendless, and bullied, goes to a local public toilet where men meet for sex. A middle-aged man with a suit and a nice car approaches him in the toilet, promising "We won't do anything you don't want to do", but he leaves. On another day, he comes back, sees the man outside the toilet, gets in his car, and says, "Do you know somewhere we could go?" The car starts, the film ends.
  • The 2000 TV film Juste une question d'amour (Just a Question of Love), which was very popular in France and instrumental in making people there more relaxed about homosexuality. A 23-year-old man doing a microbiology internship hits it off with the 30-year-old guy he's working for. The older guy is out and has little patience with the younger guy's hesitation in telling his parents about his homosexuality.
  • Krámpack (Nico and Dani) (2000). Two sixteen-year-old boys, friends since grade school, are vacationing by the sea. One, Dani, is falling in love with the other, Nico, but though Nico is well up for a spot of sex with Dani he can't reciprocate his friend's affections, since he only likes girls. Dani goes to a dinner party with Julian, a thirty-something gay writer, who knows Dani's father because Dani's father was his teacher at university. Dani wants to be a writer too, so he and Julian have something in common, and Julian is clearly attracted to him. Julian's friends are made uneasy by Dani's youth and try to warn Julian off — his straight female friend, who gives Dani private English lessons, reminds Julian that Dani is a minor and that she could report Julian or talk to Dani's father. However, Julian and Dani do end up alone together, and Dani makes an advance to Julian, who, initially hesitant, agrees to have sex with him after Dani tells him it's not his first time — but then Dani walks out and goes home.
  • Played with in Patrice Chereau's L'Homme blessé (The Wounded Man) (1983). Henri, an innocent lad in his late teens, is waiting to see his sister off at the railway station when he realises that he is being watched by another man. He follows the man to the men's toilets, where he finds him being assaulted by another man. The other man suddenly kisses Henri, whereupon Henri becomes obsessed with him. He returns to the station to find this strange older man and insists on following him about. The man, who is gay, is a jaded crook and pimp, but Henri falls in love with him and becomes a hustler in order to please him.
  • La ville dont le prince est un enfant (The Fire that Burns), a 1997 TV film adapted from Henry de Montherlant's play of the same name, about the love between an older and a younger boy at a Jesuit school, and a priest's jealousy over the younger boy.
  • La virgen de los sicarios (Our Lady of the Assassins) (2000), based on Fernando Vallejo's semiautobiographical novel of the same name, portrays the love between a 50-year-old writer and a 16-year-old hustler and hitman in Medellín, Colombia.
  • Le Temps qui reste (Time to Leave), a 2005 film by François Ozon. Romain, a 31-year-old gay fashion photographer, is told that he is dying of cancer. He has a boyfriend, Sasha, perhaps eight or ten years younger, who lives off Romain's money and spends his days playing video games. He breaks up with Sasha without telling him that he is dying, and when they meet again, Romain lies that he has found a new boyfriend. Sasha asks how old the new boyfriend is, and Romain says "My age." Sasha says, "That's good. That's what you need."
  • André Téchiné's Les Temoins (The Witnesses) (2007) is about the early days of AIDS in France. Middle-aged doctor Adrien meets 18-year-old Manu, newly arrived in Paris, in a cruising spot in the park. He falls in love with the youth and takes him under his wing, though they don't have sex. Manu then has an affair with a 30-something married cop with a baby daughter. Then Manu contracts HIV and is soon dying. Adrien becomes involved in medical research to combat the virus. After Manu's death, Adrien has a brief affair, sex included, with a young man on a visit from the US. Also, when heartbroken over Manu's affair with the cop, Adrien tries to pick up a young male Streetwalker, but can't go through with it.
  • L.I.E. (2001) Big John, a 55-year-old ex-Marine, respected local figure, and pederast, lives with a 19-year-old boy and also buys the services of teenaged male prostitutes. He tries to use his regular, callous seduction moves on 15-year-old Howie, but instead finds himself falling in love with Howie and sublimates his sexual desires to be the father stand-in Howie desperately needs. Howie becomes aware of his power over John and flirts with him, eventually making an advance which John, very unusually for him, turns down.
  • Little Miss Sunshine, a popular family comedy from 2006. Frank, a renowned Proust scholar (Proust was gay) fell in love with a male graduate student of his. This younger man left him — for another older man, Frank's rival Proust scholar. Being upset, Frank acted up and got kicked out of his job. Then he couldn't pay the rent and got kicked out of his apartment. Then he found out that his rival in love and work had won an honour instead of him. So he slit his wrists...but he survived. The film begins with him in hospital.
  • The Lost Boys, a 1978 BBC miniseries by Andrew Birkin. It's a fictionalised account of J. M. Barrie's (Peter Pan) relationships with the five Llewellyn Davies boys.
  • Love and Death on Long Island (1998), in which an out-of-touch professor falls hopelessly in love with a shallow male teen idol who represents his ideal of beauty.
  • Gender-swapped in Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform) (1931), based on Christa Winsloe's play Gestern and Heute, which itself is based on her novel Das Kind Manuela, in turn based on Winsloe's experiences at school. The school in the film is, like Winsloe's, a single-sex Boarding School for the daughters of the upper classes, and is run on very strict lines. The young Scripture teacher, Fräulein von Bernburg, is the only adult there who shows the girls any kindness or affection, and as a result, many of them fall for her. Sensitive, motherless Manuela von Meinhardis, fourteen and a half years old, falls particularly hard, and Fräulein von Bernburg seems to have feelings for Manuela in return, though, as she explains to Manuela, she can't play favorites. When Manuela accidentally gets drunk and proclaims her love in front of the entire school and the headmistress, the horrified headmistress comes down hard on her, and she nearly kills herself. In the novel and the play, she does kill herself. The film was a big hit on the lesbian scene in Berlin, which at that point was quite active and open. The Nazis, irked less by the film's homosexual content than by its portrayal of the schoolgirls collectively rising up against authority, tried to destroy all copies of it, but fortunately failed. The United States government attempted to ban the film, but Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded them not to.
  • The 2004 film of The Merchant of Venice deliberately emphasised the Lover/Beloved Subtext between middle-aged Antonio and young Bassanio.
  • The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (2005). The 26-year-old protagonist has a couple of relationships with guys his age but also one with a 19-year-old, who in a subversion decides that his older lover is not mature enough for him!
  • Now That It's Morning (1991). A 15-year-old schoolboy attends his boyfriend's 45th birthday party. The guests at the party, all gay men, make snide comments about the boy's youth and the man, drunk, loses his temper and gives them a piece of his mind.
  • Pariah: Laura admits that she loves Alike and takes her under her wing as Alike grows into her identity as a lesbian.
  • Pianese Nunzio Quattordici Anni a Maggio (Pianese Nunzio 14 in May / Sacred Silence) (1996). A 28-year-old priest is struggling against the Mafia in his neighbourhood. He's also having a relationship with a 13-year-old boy, who plays the organ in the church and serves at the altar. His enemies find out about the relationship and to bring the priest down force the boy to tell social services about it. As seems to be quite common with this trope, only the older boyfriend is gay; the boy, though he enjoys sex with the man, is basically heterosexual and is also having a relationship with a girl. As also seems to be common, the man has previously had a relationship with another boy, but turned to a younger model once the boy outgrew his interest.
  • Reservoir Dogs (1992) has been interpreted this way, given that a popular reading is that the relationship between Mr. White and the younger Mr. Orange carries Homoerotic Subtext. In this case the "beloved" isn't what he seems, acting almost as a male Femme Fatale if you subscribe to the queer reading.
  • Return to Innocence (2001), of which the screenplay was adapted by Gary M. Frazier from his novel of the same name. 13-year-old Tommy has been mistreated by his mother for years; among other things, she prostituted him and made pornographic videos of him to put on the internet. When this is discovered Tommy is sent to a group home for mistreated boys. The head of staff there is Glen Erskine, a married father, and a respected expert on male adolescent sexuality. Tommy has a relationship, including sex, with his counselor, another middle-aged married man with kids. The relationship is discovered and shortly thereafter the man dies in a car accident. Tommy, believing Erskine is responsible, lashes out at Erskine, falsely accusing him, and Erskine ends up on trial for sex with a minor.
  • Smukke Dreng (Pretty Boy), a 1993 Danish film. A 13-year-old boy runs away from home and gets into robbery and hustling. He has a relationship with an astronomy professor, whom he's drawn to because he's also interested in astronomy, but the man also has an adult girlfriend and throws the boy out when she comes home from vacation. The boy is angry and wants revenge.
  • Surprisingly overt in 1940 Hollywood production Strange Cargo, about prisoners escaping from Devil's Island. Moll and Dufond are coded as gay lovers. The hardened, brutal Moll is surprisingly affectionate and gentle with the younger, fresh-faced, decidedly less masculine Dufond. Moll promises Dufond good times and excitement if they stick together after making their escape. And after Dufond dies of exposure and dehydration, Moll compares himself and Dufond to Verne and Julie (Verne being another escaped prisoner, Julie The Chanteuse who went with him), wondering if Julie will miss Verne like he misses Dufond.
  • In John Schlesinger's Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971), a doctor in his fifties is having an affair with a 25-year-old male artist, who's also having an affair with a woman. Both partners are a bit jealous over their younger lover. We also see another man in his 20s whom it's implied the doctor has had sex with before, perhaps paying him for it. Originally, the age difference wasn't intended to be so large: Schlesinger had wanted Alan Bates, then in his mid-thirties, for the part of the doctor, but Bates couldn't do it so Peter Finch, mid-fifties, played the role instead.
  • Total Eclipse (1995), a fictionalised depiction of the love affair between poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud.
  • Tre somre (Three Summers) (2006), a Danish short film. A man in his 40s is going through a string of relationships with somewhat younger women. One summer, the 14-year-old son of a friend comes out as gay to him. The next summer, the boy, now 15, seduces him and they have drunken sex. The summer after that, they meet again and the man says that they can't sleep together again and must keep it quiet that they once did, but he agrees to give the boy a farewell kiss.
  • Arguably, Une histoire sans importance (A Story of No Importance) (1980), which is about the homoerotic friendship between two teenage boys. Though there's only about a year's difference in their ages, they conform to most of the classic elements of this trope. Philippe, the elder, is gay and falls deeply in love with Claude, the younger. Claude, on the other hand, is basically straight and sees flirting with Philippe as a game. During an argument, Claude says, "I was a kid back then. You taught me things." Philippe is frustrated that Claude is not a deep thinker and they can't talk about ideas together. When they eventually have sex, it consists of Philippe masturbating Claude. Eventually, Claude turns to girls, leaving Philippe broken-hearted. These are all things you can find in many lover/beloved tales with a wide age gap between the pair. At one point, Claude is eyed up on the street by a grown man. It's a brief moment but full of implication, given the ending of the film, in which Claude has sex with Philippe for money.
  • In Victim (1961), which uses elements of the plot of Different from the Others, a lawyer nearing 40 gets to know a young man about half that, who hero-worships him and with whom he shares a mutual attraction, though the older guy breaks it off because "he was getting too fond of me" — or, as his wife suggests, "you were getting too fond of him". Said young man has also had a relationship with a middle-aged bookshop owner, who is deeply in love with him and wants to give him a home and a job for life.
  • In Victor/Victoria (1982), this trope is Victoria's cover story: she disguises herself as a young man in this sort of relationship with the older Toddy.
  • Voor een verloren soldaat (For a Lost Soldier), a 1992 film set during the Second World War, portrays the brief love affair between a twelve-year-old Dutch boy and a young Canadian soldier, with elements of this trope invoked. The sourcebook, an autobiographical novel by choreographer Rudi van Dantzig, portrays the soldier pretty much forcing himself on the boy, who is upset by this but is also drawn to the soldier and keeps coming back to him. The film turns this into a gentle, consensual romance.
  • Wilde (1997), a fictionalised account of the relationship between Oscar Wilde and Bosie. Stephen Fry plays Wilde.
  • Zéro de conduite (Zero for Conduct), a 1933 film by Jean Vigo, the story of a rebellion at a boys' Boarding School. An older and a younger boy have a homoerotic friendship, while the science teacher seems keen on patting the head and hands of the long-haired, 'sissy' younger boy.
  • עיניים פקוחות‎ (Eyes Wide Open), an Israeli film from 2009 about the forbidden, secret love affair between two Chassidic men in Jerusalem. Aaron is a married man, probably in his middle thirties, with four young sons. His father, a butcher, has recently died and Aaron takes over the butcher shop. He meets Ezri, in his early twenties, with nothing to do and nowhere to stay, and gives him a job and a room at the shop. Aaron teaches Ezri the butcher's trade, gives him advice, and 'tops' when they eventually do have anal sex. So far, so classic Lover/Beloved — but it's Ezri who's more homosexually experienced, and who makes the first move. Ezri is shown to have had an earlier affair with a man nearer his own age.



  • Ancient Greece and Rome produced much pederastic poetry. Particularly well-known authors in this vein were Anacreon, Theognis of Megara, Theocritus, Meleager of Gadara, and Straton/Strato of Sardis (ancient Greece), and Horace, Martial and Catullus (ancient Rome). Virgil's Second Eclogue also features this theme, as does a fragment of poetry from Solon, the preeminent statesman and lawmaker of archaic Athens. Some of the Greek pederastic poems compare the beauty of women unfavourably with that of boys and complain about women generally: the nagging, the makeup.
  • Between 1630 and 1640, a series of homosexual-themed short stories appeared in China. In one, a twenty-year-old academic pursues a fifteen-year-old fellow scholar and a group of adolescent valets. In another, a soldier with two warrior wives is seduced by a younger male friend.
  • Since during early medieval Europe it was usually only men of the Church who were literate, it was they who wrote the pederastic literature of the time period, along with writing everything else. Marbod, Bishop of Rennes and before that master of the Cathedral school at Rennes, wrote a poem about a beautiful boy, referencing an ode of Horace's, and warning the boy addressed not to scorn his suitors because his beauty would soon be gone as he grew up. Hildebert of Lavardin, successively Bishop of Mans and Archbishop of Tours, wrote a poem about Jove and Ganymede; Hilary of England, a student of Abelard's, wrote poems to pretty boys, also referencing Jove and Ganymede. Later the social climate turned against sodomy and poems were written fulminating against homosexual practices. Some wag appended to one such attack a verse which compared Ganymede favourably to Venus and said, doubtless correctly, that many people who publicly condemned sex with boys were having it themselves on the sly.
  • The medieval Japanese chigo monogatari ("acolyte tales"), written by various authors between about 1300 and 1500, tell of relationships between Buddhist monks and their chigo (literally "child"), young boys retained as assistants and acolytes. Some of the most famous include the tragic romance ''A long tale for an autumn night'', and the unabashedly pornographic "Chigo scroll", which may be Japan's oldest preserved piece of pornography.

By Author:

  • Allan Hollinghurst's novels, especially The Swimming Pool Library and The Spell, are full of attraction, sex, and relationships between older and younger gay men.
  • Relationships between older and younger men crop up in Andrew Holleran's novels.
  • In the Danielle Steel novel Dating Game, Steel proves that her May–December Romance fetish isn't limited to heterosexual couples when the Gay Best Friend of the protagonist is shown to be in a happy relationship with a man 20-25 years his senior.
    • It's also one of the subplots of Family Album, where a young man is seduced by an older actor and they have a blissful relationship for several months.
  • Fernando Pessoa, said to be the greatest Portuguese poet of modern times, wrote a long poem about Hadrian mourning for Antinous, with Antinous' youth and the sexual aspect of the relationship made very clear.
  • Forrest Reid was an Irish novelist, literary critic, and translator with connections to the significant literary figures of his day, including the Bloomsbury Group. He wrote one of the best critical studies of W. B. Yeats and the definitive work on the English woodcut artists of the 1860s. He also wrote about the fiction of his friend Walter de la Mare, produced two volumes of autobiography, and translated poems from the Greek Anthology. His special subject was boyhood and his novels carry an undercurrent of his interest in teenage boys. His 'Tom' trilogy, reprinted by the Gay Men's Press, follows a boy's growing up. Young Tom, or Very Mixed Company won the 1944 James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In The Garden God, a 1905 novel, two sixteen-year-old boys fall in love. The novel contains lush descriptions of aristocratic adolescent male beauty and copious references to ancient Greece. It is implied that one of the boys has previously had sex with other boys at their single-sex Boarding School, but he 'redeems' himself by dying to save his innocent friend, whereupon the friend, who has had Greek-inspired pagan tendencies, turns back to Christianity. Reid dedicated the novel to his idol Henry James, who never spoke to him again. Nowadays the book seems much less shocking; Michael Matthew Kaylor, in his introduction to the reedition, writes, "If there can be such a thing as a puritanical pederast, Forrest Reid was that person." Reid has been called "the first Ulster novelist of European stature".
  • Frits Bernard's two 1960 novellae. Costa Brava is about the love between a Venezuelan man and a twelve-year-old refugee boy during the Spanish Civil War. The man succeeds in reuniting the boy with his family; they lie to him, telling him the man has died, but years later the two meet again by chance and affirm their love for one another.Vervolgde Minderheid (Persecuted Minority) is about a fifteen-year-old boy's love affair with his male teacher; the man is imprisoned for the relationship and makes up his mind that on his release he will emigrate to get away from the Netherlands' legal and social condemnation of pederasty. Bernard was a psychologist and sexologist who campaigned for the acceptance of homosexuality and particularly pederasty.
  • Joseph Geraci's novels. In Marrying Tom, two boys aged 13 and 16 have a relationship. In The Deaf-Mute Boy, Maurice Burke, a former Jesuit, is now an archaeology professor at Columbia University and has an adult boyfriend, who has AIDS. While working in Sousse, Tunisia, he becomes close to Nidhal, the 13-year-old deaf-mute boy of the title, and also becomes involved with the boy's family. In Loving Sander, Will, an American art scholar in his early 30s who likes boys, takes up a fellowship in the Netherlands and there falls in love with the 10-year-old son of a couple he's friends with. Over the next almost two years, Will and Sander have a close relationship, and when Sander is 11 they start having sex. Sander's mother seems to have a fairly good idea of what's going on, but she doesn't interfere. Sander is an eager participant and even offers Will sex with his, Sander's, friend Michael. Will has an adult friend who also likes boys and is defiant about his preference, conducting a relationship of his own with a boy, and taking photographs of him. At the end of the book, Will has to choose between returning to the US and staying in the Netherlands. He and Sander have declared their love to one another, but Sander is almost 12, nearing puberty, and starting to want independence from Will; the relationship will soon be over.
  • Mary Renault's books, because she wrote a lot about ancient Greece, where this trope was the standard for homosexual relationships. In The Last of the Wine, Alexias' lover Lysis is about 8 years older than him, which wouldn't be much except that they fall for each other when Alexias is 15 and start a relationship when Alexias is 16. In The Mask of Apollo, Nikeratos is about a dozen years older than his life partner Thettalos, and the relationship starts when Thettalos is 18; Plato (yes that Plato) has an ongoing friendship with a man, Dion, whose lover he was when Dion was 20 and Plato was 40. In The Persian Boy, 26-year-old Alexander the Great is seduced by 16-year-old Bagoas, which is the start of a 7-year relationship, lasting till Alexander's death. In The Praise Singer, 15-year-old Harmodios embarks on a love affair with Aristogeiton, a man in his late 20s. The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea, Fire From Heaven and Funeral Games don't feature this trope so prominently, but they all take place against the backdrop of societies in which young men, and sometimes older men, have relationships with teenaged boys and, if both are upper-class, are expected to mentor the boys. The Charioteer, Renault's last contemporary novel, set during World War II, has its twenty-three-year-old protagonist Laurie involved in two relationships: he's the Lover to 19-year-old Andrew, the Beloved to 26-year-old Ralph. Incidentally, the teenaged Alexander and Hephaistion subvert this trope in Fire From Heaven by being a.) lovers and b.) the same age; this surprises Alexander's father Philip. However, these days historians think that relationships between adolescent coevals, albeit with a lover/beloved dynamic still obtaining, were probably common in ancient Macedon; each area had its own tradition of homosexuality. Bagoas, who comes from a different culture, sees Alexander as Hephaistion's "boy" and takes pride in giving Alexander the chance to play the "man's" role. Obviously, the Alexander/Bagoas relationship, the Harmodios/Aristogeiton relationship, and Plato's relationships with younger guys are fictional depictions of actual relationships recorded by history.
  • Matthew Stadler's novels all concentrate on man-boy relationships. In Allan Stein, a man has an affair with a 15-year-old boy. There are also Landscape: Memory, The Dissolution of Nicholas Dee and The Sex Offender.
  • Sandro Penna's celebrated poems, which are largely about boys, since "everything else is uninteresting". In Penna's only collection of prose, there is a short story in which a man is attracted to a working-class boy of 12 or 13 whom the man sees in a barbershop.
  • Several of W. H. Auden's most famous love poems, including 'Lullaby' and 'A Bride in the Thirties', were written about teenage Michael Yates when Auden was in his late twenties.

By Title:

  • The Asbestos Diary by Casimir Dukahz, a humorous, punny take on man-boy relationships, made quite a splash when first published in 1966. Dukahz, who liked to rhapsodize about the beauty of 13-year-old boys, wrote four other novels with similar themes: Vice Versa, It's a Boy, Growing Old Disgracefully and Shakespeare's Boy.
  • In At Swim, Two Boys, the three main characters are a young man in his twenties with a liking for teenage boys ("half-girl faces on man-sized bodies") and two sixteen-year-old boys who fall in love with each other. The man, MacMurrough, buys the sexual services of the poorer and more experienced sixteen-year-old, Doyler. He then gets to know Doyler's innocent boyfriend, Jim, while Doyler is away. The realisation of Jim's innocence and deep love for Doyler shakes shallow, promiscuous MacMurrough to the bone, and he falls in love with Jim and refrains from making advances to him, though Jim flirts sometimes. Instead, MacMurrough teaches Jim to swim so that Jim can keep a pact with Doyler, and encourages his relationship with Doyler in other ways. He does this even though it hurts him to see Jim with somebody else, so much that he decides to leave the country, though war eventually intervenes.
  • In Michael Lowenthal's Avoidance, 28-year-old Jeremy works as assistant director of a boys' summer camp where there is a strong emphasis on men mentoring boys. Jeremy agonises over his sudden attraction to 14-year-old Max, one of his charges. Turns out that Jeremy's own former mentor Ruff and the camp director Charlie both have similar predilections, but unlike Jeremy have used the mentor role to coerce boys into sex. Things are complicated by Jeremy's recollection that when he was 14, he desired the 50-something Ruff. There's a backstory in which, a few years ago, Jeremy had a friendship with a 13-year-old boy to whom he seems to have been subconsciously attracted.
  • In Iris Murdoch's The Bell, 40-year-old Michael falls in unrequited love with 18-year-old Toby and thinks that " might be possible to watch over him and help a way that Toby would never know, in humble services obscurely performed at future times. ... He was conscious of such a fund of love and goodwill for the young creature beside him." While a 26-year-old teacher, Michael had a brief, chaste love affair with a 15-year-old pupil of his, Nick. This was the first time Michael had been attracted to someone so much younger than himself. He thought that "Nick, who was already his lover, would become his son"; indeed, Nick was "already playing both parts". But a revivalist preacher came to the school and after listening to his sermon Nick felt that his relationship with Michael was a sin, so he reported it, and Michael was thrown out of his job and his hopes of the priesthood ended. In Murdoch's A Fairly Honourable Defeat, two of the main characters, both grown men, one older than the other, are a lover/beloved couple. In The Nice and the Good, a man becomes attracted to his 15-year-old nephew, who is oblivious, instead pining for a girl his own age. It later emerges that the man was thrown out of a Buddhist community somewhere in the East for having sex with an adolescent boy.
  • In Paul Russell's The Coming Storm, a 25-year-old man, Tracy, takes up a teaching job at a swanky boys' Boarding School. The headmaster of the school, a married man, has a history of friendships with favourite boys at the school. He is attracted to Tracy and strikes up a friendship with him too, teaching him about classical music. Meanwhile, Tracy begins an affair with a 15-year-old pupil at the school, Noah. Noah has been sent to this school because he had a crush on a teacher at his previous school, and he makes many advances to Tracy before Tracy finally gives in. We also find out that a friend of Tracy's went to the school when he was a boy and had an affair with the then-headmaster, Jack. Another boy, a friend of Noah's, is having an affair with a 40-year-old man, a doctor.
  • E. F. Benson's 1916 novel David Blaize, a boys' Boarding School story. The title character takes up with Frank Maddox, three years older, who becomes his best friend, his (chaste) lover, his mentor, and protector. When David is new at school, according to custom he is Frank's servant. Later on, Frank has to beat David to teach him a lesson — "this will hurt me more than it hurts you" kind of thing. David's open innocence 'redeems' Frank from the 'sin' of mutual masturbation with other boys.
  • The Thomas Mann novella Death in Venice, which has Gustav Aschenbach falling hard for fourteen-year-old Tadzio and constructing an elaborate fantasy concerning this trope about him. He never does act on his feelings for him, but his refusal to leave Venice because of his desire for the boy leads to him contracting and dying of the cholera that is sweeping the city. Thomas Mann quotes from the Phaedrus in this.
  • John Henry Mackay, along with his political writings, wrote the pederastic novel Der Puppenjunge (The Hustler). In the novel, a 15-year-old boy, Gunther, comes to Berlin from the countryside and becomes a hustler. Hermann, a young man working for a publisher, falls head over heels in love with Gunther, who at first doesn't care, and leaves him for a wealthy count who simply likes to watch Gunther lying naked on a bearskin. Gunther grows bored and returns to Hermann, who is deliriously happy, but then Gunther is picked up on the street and taken into care by the authorities. He escapes and comes back to Hermann, whom he grows to love in return. Then they are discovered, Hermann is imprisoned for 'gross indecency', and Gunther is sent away to be a butcher's apprentice.
  • Don Leon, a long poem of anonymous authorship, published in 1866 but probably written in the 1830s. It is written in the first-person voice of Lord Byron and is a passionate defence of homosexuality, directed against the law forbidding sodomy. It describes Byron's love for various boys, refutes the notion that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because their inhabitants practised sodomy, and makes reference to the Greek pederastic tradition, including to Plato and Socrates and to Epaminondas, who was a great Theban general and statesman and had a younger boyfriend, Cephidorus. Love between two boys or between a man and a boy is the only form of homosexuality mentioned in the poem; love between two men is not considered.
  • Dragon Bones has the relationship between the rather old (he is mentioned to have grey hair) high king Jakoven and the thirty-year-old Garranon. It started when Garranon was fifteen. It is later revealed that Garranon secretly detests Jakoven, who exploited Garranon's vulnerable position as a child whose parents had just been killed by Jakoven's soldiers.
  • This is one possible interpretation of Van Helsing's relationship with his former pupil Seward in Dracula - they have their fair share of pederastic Subtext. Stoker was likely queer himself.
  • The Dream Life by Bo Huston. A boy is doing poorly in school and when he is eventually expelled his mother hires him a tutor. The mother is not interested in him and pretty much leaves him to the care of the tutor. The two end up running away together and falling in love. The boy is 14, the tutor 33.
  • In Alexander Chee's Edinburgh, a 12-year-old boy, Fee, joins the Pine State Boys' Choir as a first soprano. He falls in unrequited love with Peter, his best friend in the choir. Turns out that the choir director sexually mistreats the boys, going so far as to drug them in order to do so. He is eventually caught, but the emotional fallout for the boys is heavy, and Peter and another boy later kill themselves. When in his middle teens, Fee is hit on by an older man, and he thinks about "how I could kill him". He also has a summer job working as a research assistant to an older man, who is a mentor for him and never lays a finger on him. At the man's funeral, he sees grown men of varying ages and realises that the man has had a series of adolescent boys work for him. Fee has a lot of gay sex during college but keeps on falling in love with straight blond boys who remind him of Peter. At thirty, he is in a stable, happy relationship with a somewhat younger man, whom he's married in a commitment ceremony. He then meets a blond 17-year-old boy, hitherto straight, who, in a subversion of the Lover/Beloved trope, falls in love with Fee and pursues him. Fee is attracted to the boy and they eventually meet for clandestine sex.
  • In Mark Behr's Embrace, the 13-year-old protagonist has two simultaneous homosexual love affairs while at his choir Boarding School, based on the Drakensberg Boys' Choir School. One affair is with his best friend, a boy the same age, the other with his 30-something choirmaster.
  • In Fritz Peters' Finistère, published in 1951, one of the first mainstream novels with homosexual themes, a 12-year-old boy crushes on a grown man, a friend of his family. Then, when 15 and at a boys' Boarding School, he has a love affair with a male teacher in his late 20s.
  • Laura Argiri's The God in Flight, set in the 1880s, portrays the love affair between Doriskos, an art professor at Yale, and one of his students, Simion. They meet when Simion is 16 and Doriskos is 31. At 17, Simion is described as looking only 14. He is the blond Ganymede of whom Doriskos has dreamed throughout his twenties. The two lovers discuss Plato's Phaedrus and other classical Greek ideas, which they admire. Simion sleeps with a friend his own age, who is in love with him, and a classmate of his also falls in love with Doriskos.
  • In Golden States, Michael Cunningham's first novel, a 12-year-old boy gets his first kiss from a young man in San Francisco.
  • Played with in Havemercy. Roy is older and definitely a mentor for Hal, but is reluctant about entering a relationship with him for precisely that reason. He doesn't want to take advantage, and in fact, it's Hal who ends up as the pursuer for much of the novel.
  • Kim, min elskede (Kim, my Beloved), a Danish novel by Jens Eisenhardt. A troubled 28-year-old teacher and one of his male pupils, aged 14, fall in love with each other. The relationship continues into the boy's adulthood. There's also a sequel.
  • Heavy Subtext of this in King of Shadows, a children's book by Susan Cooper. Nat Field is a gifted actor and gymnast of about eleven who joins the Company of Boys, a group of boy actors eleven to eighteen years old which is going to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream at the reconstruction of the Globe theatre in London. Nat, however, finds himself transported back in time to the original Globe in 1599, playing Puck in the first-ever performance of the play. He meets William Shakespeare, and because Nat's father killed himself a while back and Shakespeare's son Hamnet died two years before at the same age as Nat, the two find that they fill a void in one another's lives. The whole thing seems rather homoromantic. This is doubtless partly attributable to the time where it's set, a time where sodomy was illegal but where boys dressed as women on the stage and it was perfectly acceptable for men to call boys "sweet" and "pretty" and for unrelated males to kiss. However, Cooper confirmed that "I had intended King of Shadows to be a book about...a homosexual relationship...between this boy and Shakespeare, and it wasn't spelled out in the book. And one of the nicest things anybody has ever said to me about a book is when a friend of mine said, 'I wish I'd had that book when I was a gay boy at ten.' So it was there—something—it was as if it was still there in the book for someone who wanted to take it out."
  • Gary Shelhardt's Kite Music. A young American postgraduate student of teaching goes to Thailand on a teacher-exchange programme. There, he agrees to allow two 12-13-year-old boys to live with him since this will permit them to attend school. The teacher and one of the boys fall in love with each other and have an affair. The boy initiates the sex, climbing into bed with his teacher one night. Their relationship survives intimidation from American officials and blackmail threats. Eventually the boy becomes a monk.
  • Anafiel Delaunay and Alcuin in Kushiel's Dart. Alcuin has to do a bit of convincing to get Delaunay to notice him, as the older man did see himself in more of a parental role... although as he had already trained the boy to work as a prostitute, he couldn't exactly claim Alcuin was too young or too innocent.
  • Fernando Vallejo's semiautobiographical La virgen de los sicarios (Our Lady of the Assassins), which was later made into a film, portrays the love between a 50-year-old writer and a 16-year-old hustler and hitman in Medellín, Colombia.
  • In The Lantern Bearers by Ronald Frame, young, brilliant composer Euan Bone lives with a somewhat older man who runs his life and is protective of him. Bone, in turn, is revealed to have been sexually involved with a young teen boy. Fourteen-year-old boy soprano Neil Pritchard falls for Bone while staying in Bone's house so as to sing a piece Bone is writing.
  • Le visiteur de hasard (Chance Visitor) by Patrick Drevet. A high school teacher, hitherto heterosexual, married, loving father to a son, becomes passionately obsessed with one of his students, a not particularly remarkable lad of seventeen or eighteen. In the end they have sex.
  • Les amitiés particulières (This Special Friendship), Roger Peyrefitte's classic novel set in a Jesuit Boarding School for boys. Fourteen-year-old Georges has this kind of love affair with twelve-year-old Alexandre. Georges also has a friend his own age, Lucien, who's involved in a similar relationship with sixteen-year-old André. Georges and Alexandre remain chaste; Lucien and André do not. Georges looks up Greek and Roman pederastic poems, relating them to his love affair with Alexander; the père de Trennes, an archaeologist, talks about Greece, "where for once in the history of mankind, beauty and purity were united", and says that Georges should know about Greece, that he deserves to. The novel won the Prix Renaudot. Peyrefitte's much later, rather trashy novel Roy is about a thirteen-year-old boy prostitute who has a lot of sex, including sadomasochistic sex, with the rich men of Los Angeles, including the police chief.
  • Les Garçons, by Henri de Montherlant, another tale set in a Jesuit school for boys. Relationships following this trope are common and accepted, even encouraged, among the boys. The heroic sixteen-year-old protagonist is very anxious to be a good mentor to his fourteen-year-old beloved, to the point of being willing to sacrifice the sex and even the relationship itself, and disapproves of the attitude of some of the other older boys, who are just in their relationships for the kicks.
  • In Stephen Fry's The Liar, the main character writes a play with a Victorian setting, in which a man rescues a 14-year-old boy from prostitution but then, to his horror, kind of accidentally sleeps with him. Said main character is in love with a slightly younger boy at his boys' school and also spends a while ...or does he? as a prostitute working Piccadilly Circus, picked up by older men. He's in his later teens at this point; some of the other boy prostitutes are as young as 11.
  • Lolita is, of course, chiefly about a man sexually attracted to girls 9-14 years old and his passion for his 12-year-old stepdaughter, whose life he ruins. The homosexual version crops up with a minor character, a French expatriate named Gaston Grodin, who becomes friends with Humbert Humbert, the protagonist. Grodin is a professor of French at the local college. He and Humbert play chess together (Grodin is a terrible chess player) and Grodin kindly gives Humbert various presents, surpluses from gifts given to him by the neighbourhood ladies — he's popular in the neighbourhood. He also has a liking for young boys, which nobody seems to have noticed except Humbert. He keeps, and shows to Humbert, an album of snapshots of the local lads; in his basement, he has pistols and tiger-skins and other things likely to appeal to the boys, whom he invites round. Once, he and Humbert go to the theatre together, Humbert taking Lolita and Gaston taking a local boy, whose father is away that night. Humbert says that Grodin eventually got involved in a sale histoire (a nasty business), "in Naples of all places", and got into trouble.
  • Lover / beloved affairs are also the done thing in Lord Dismiss Us, another boys' Boarding School story, from England this time. The trope is subverted in that sixteen-year-old Allen is more mature than eighteen-year-old Carleton, his boyfriend, the story's protagonist. Also, Allen comments, "With us it's different to everyone else. It's usually the older one who loves more. But I love you more." Twenty-four-year-old Ashley went to the school as a boy and there had a love affair with a younger boy, mirroring much of what is going on between Carleton and Allen, but has had no contact his former boyfriend since. He has now returned to the school as a literature teacher. Carleton wants to be a writer, and Ashley helps him with a story he is writing. Carleton has no idea about Ashley's affections and is initially shocked and repulsed when he finds out but softens his opinion later. Some other men among the teachers at the school are also attracted to the boys and have little coteries. Amusingly, the chaplain has a taste for rather unwashed lads, whom he has to tea in his study. He keeps art of naked boys around, but never actually lays a finger on the real boys; their proximity is enough. He tells Allen, who wants to be a clergyman, that homosexual sex is a sin, but is fine with homosexual love. Carleton and Allen have independently decided to keep their relationship chaste. Carleton also remembers that when he was a small boy at his preparatory school, a teacher there used to sit on his bed and talk to him at night, sit Carleton on his lap, and touch Carleton's bottom.
  • The 1990 novel Love and Death on Long Island is an updated riff on Death in Venice, but rendered less squicky and more humorous by the fact that the beloved is a Teen Idol actor in his early twenties.
  • In Magic's Price of the Heralds of Valdemar series, Vanyel's Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest, Stefan, is much younger than he is. Initially Vanyel plays the mentor role to the young bard, refusing even the slightest hint of sexual attraction, but eventually the lifebond between the two becomes impossible to deny.
  • In Magpie Murders, successful crime author Alan Conway and his "boyfriend", a prostitute who is young enough to be his zon.
  • Isabelle Holland's The Man Without a Face. 14-year-old Chuck persuades 47-year-old Justin McLeod to tutor him over the summer so he can pass the entrance exam to a boys' Boarding School, which will get Chuck away from his mother and older sister, whom he hates. Needing a father figure, Chuck becomes attracted to Justin, who mentors him, and Justin probably reciprocates the attraction, but Justin tries to keep things within strict bounds. It's hinted that when Justin was a teacher at the same boys' boarding school Chuck wants to go to, he may have had some sort of a relationship with a boy Chuck's age, who was killed in a car crash when Justin was drunk driving. Justin ended up in prison over this and feels deeply guilty about it — both things for reasons not entirely spelled out.
  • Marguerite Yourcenar's Mémoires d'Hadrien (Memoirs of Hadrian) deals, among other things, with the relationship between fifty-something Hadrian and teenaged Antinous.
  • Invoked and subverted in Ursula Zilinsky's Middle Ground, set in a Nazi work camp for male prisoners. The 33-year-old commander, Johannes von Svestrom, and a 16-year-old prisoner, Tyl von Pankow, fall in love. Tyl describes Svestrom as his "father, friend, lover and beloved". Svestrom later says that he does not believe love is possible except between equals. Svestrom has previously had a relationship with Tyl's uncle Gabriel, whose commanding officer he was; Gabriel, seven years younger than Svestrom, has been killed in action. Various of the camp guards have "favourite boys" among the prisoners. At least one of these relationships turns from exploitation into a committed mutual love. It begins when the boy prisoner is fifteen.
  • The Moralist, by Rod Downey. 50-year-old professional spin doctor Richard 'Red' Rover is a self-proclaimed 'boylover' and has had sex with several boys. He joins a creative writing mentoring programme and ends up mentoring 12-year-old Jonathan, with whom he falls in love. Jonathan points out, "You like to hang around me, because it makes you feel like a kid again." Over the next year and a half, Red becomes friends with Jonathan's parents, takes Jonathan on outings, buys him presents, photographs him, and offers to pay for his orthodontia — but does not have sex with him. Then Red's best friend's house is burnt down by a group of vigilantes, so Red defiantly talks about his private life on TV, and he and Jonathan end up interrogated by the police.
  • The Nightrunner series has Seregil in the mentor role and Alec as the student. Interestingly, it was the inequality in this pairing that kept Seregil distant for some time. After two books worth of subtext, they finally received an upgrade. In an inversion of the trope, it is Alec's increasing maturity and skills that bring them together.
  • Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which two somewhat older men fall hard for a very beautiful young man. Wilde also wrote a short story, The Portrait of Mr W. H., in which the main character is convinced, for various elaborately explained reasons, that the unknown "Mr W. H." to whom William Shakespeare's sonnets are dedicated was Willie Hughes, a boy actor, and that the sonnets to the "lord of my love", "lovely boy", "sweet boy", "master-mistress of my passion", etc. were written to him.
  • The Priest and the Acolyte, a short story by Oxford undergraduate John Francis Bloxam, who had also written a couple of romantic poems about boys. In the story, a 28-year-old Anglo-Catholic priest and a 14-year-old acolyte (all acolytes were boys then, of course) fall in love with each other. The boy is the one who starts their relationship: he comes to the priest's room at night and confesses his love. They don't have sex, but they kiss and hug and at night they spend hours together in the priest's rooms, the acolyte sitting on the priest's lap. Their love brings them both happiness and helps them conduct Mass better too. Eventually another priest, the protagonist's superior, discovers them together, whereat the protagonist responds to this other priest's condemnation with a passionate defense of his own nature and his love for the boy. Afraid of the fallout, and wanting to be together forever, the priest and the acolyte commit suicide together by drinking poisoned Communion wine at a two-person Mass, said by the priest and served at by the acolyte, for the repose of their own souls.
  • Subverted in Tony Duvert's Quand Mourut Jonathan (When Jonathan Died). An artist, Jonathan, has a four-year relationship with a boy, Serge, aged six to ten, twenty-one years younger than he is. Serge takes the lead in everything; Jonathan does whatever Serge wants. Jonathan is described as a "disciple" to the little boy, who sometimes sees Jonathan as being a child even younger than himself. The novel was inspired by a vacation Duvert had had with a neglected boy. Duvert's other novels also discuss sex between adults and children and criticise bourgeois society, particularly the power of mothers over their children. They are Récidive, Interdit de séjour, Portrait d'homme-couteau, Le voyageur, Paysage de fantaisie, Journal d'un innocent, L’Île Atlantique and Un anneau d'argent à l'oreille. Paysage de fantaisie, a sort of fever-dream set around a brothel in which the prostitutes are small boys, received the prix Médicis, thanks largely to the praise of literary theorist and homosexual Roland Barthes.
  • At the beginning of Paul Scott's Raj Quartet, set near the end of the British Raj in India, Ronald Merrick, a policeman in his early thirties with repressed homosexual and sadomasochistic tendencies, becomes strongly attracted to a young man of 22. This young man is good-looking; he is stuck-up; he is Indian, whereas Merrick is white, and feels superior for it; he was raised in Britain, in a much more upper-class milieu than Merrick's, so Merrick feels's a perfect storm. Merrick ends up ruining the young man's life. Someone else comments that Merrick "chose" Kumar because he was "unable to love. Only he was able to punish." In a later book, an older Merrick reappears, and it emerges that he has been sleeping with young Indian men. In between we meet Count Bronowski, an urbane elderly Russian who falls in unrequited love with young men; he recounts how he once loved an 18-year-old boy who loved a girl, and he is currently just as hopelessly in love with his young social secretary, Ahmed Kasim. There's also a rare gender-swapped version of the trope in which an aging lesbian falls in unrequited love with younger women. The trope is averted with Pinky, a 20-year-old gay man: he is frequently offered boy prostitutes on the street but "it wasn't a boy he wanted, but someone of his own age."
  • Reasons of the Heart, by Bron Nicholls. In Australia in the late 1960s, 25-year-old Fred and beautiful 11-year-old paperboy Jonathan meet, and over the next year, a relationship develops between them. Jonathan lives with Fred from age 12 to age 17, when he leaves to be an artist. Ten years later, Fred is not over Jonathan and lives alone, but then Jonathan, who is now widowed and has a son with Down's Syndrome, reappears in Fred's life.
  • Return to Innocence, which the author later adapted into a movie. 13-year-old Tommy has been mistreated by his mother for years; among other things, she prostituted him and made pornographic videos of him to put on the internet. When this is discovered Tommy is sent to a group home for mistreated boys. The head of staff there is Glen Erskine, a married father, and a respected expert on male adolescent sexuality. Tommy has a relationship, including sex, with his counselor, another middle-aged married man with kids. The relationship is discovered and shortly thereafter the man dies in a car accident. Tommy, believing Erskine is responsible, lashes out at Erskine, falsely accusing him, and Erskine ends up on trial for sex with a minor.
  • The Romance of a Choir-Boy, the story of Philip Luard, a young man studying to be a priest, who falls in love with Teddy Faircloth, a beautiful boy of twelve and a half. Recognising the exceptional beauty of Teddy's soprano voice, he arranges for Teddy to attend a famous London choir school. Two years later, when Teddy is fourteen and a half, the two have a friendship, Philip mentoring Teddy and resolving, in spite of his sexual attraction to Teddy, to keep the friendship on a chaste footing. The author, John Gambril Nicholson, a teacher at boys' schools, also wrote Uranian poetry.
  • Angus Stewart's Sandel is about the love between Tony, a 13-year-old choirboy, and David, a 19-year-old undergraduate, who is reading English but is also an accomplished musician. David becomes a teacher at Tony's choir Boarding School. When 17 and at school himself, David fell in love from afar with a younger boy but never acted on his feelings. Tony is quickly growing up and the breaking of his voice, the growth of his pubic hair, the development of his adolescent coarseness of mind and manner will put an end to the boyishness that attracts David to him.
  • In Seraphina, Seraphina suspects that Viridius, the elderly court composer, and his protégé Lars have this sort of relationship, and it’s ambiguous for a good part of the novel. Lars is definitely an adult and at least older than Seraphina, but the age difference is at least several decades.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell; although never said outright, they were possibly in this relationship during Loras' time as Renly's squire. A less extreme example as Loras is only 4 years younger than Lord Renly.
  • Frederick Rolfe's Stories Toto Told Me, in which the Roman Catholic Don Frederico and his teenage acolytes walk in the Italian countryside and the head acolyte, sixteen-year-old Toto, tells stories about the saints, who in the stories behave more like pagan gods. These Toto stories contain pederastic elements; Corvo represents this as the 'Greek love' that all educated men of his time knew about from their reading of the Classics. In a later novel, The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole, Rolfe presents a slightly disguised version of the trope. Nicholas Crabbe, a very Corvo-like figure from a highly autobiographical earlier novel, Nicholas Crabbe, rescues a 16-year-old girl from the Messina earthquake and employs her as his assistant and gondolier. To avoid scandal, he has her wear boys' clothes. Crabbe ends up getting a book contract which assures him a lot of money and declaring his love to the girl. Earlier, as a young man, Rolfe had written sentimental poetry about boys swimming naked, boy martyrs, and so on.
  • Swordspoint: The Fall of the Kings centers on the relationship between 28-year-old university professor Basil St Cloud and 20-year-old nobleman and student Theron Campion. Basil is The Bear and Theron is a Pretty Boy. Avoids the Squick factor due to the characters' ages and the fact that it's not quite a conventional Teacher/Student Romance, as Theron isn't Basil's student, but the age difference and mentor relationship are there, not to mention the focus on Basil's intellect and Theron's beauty.
  • In Plato's The Symposium, one character opines that there ought to be a law against courting young boys, as opposed to older boys, because if a man goes after a young boy he is wasting his efforts on an uncertain prospect.
  • In Tall Cotton, by Charles G. Hulse. Tots, a boy growing up during the Depression, has sex with boys and girls his own age, and with men. His male cousin, a few years older, then reveals that he is in love with him.
  • These Words Are True and Faithful initially plays this straight with Ernie and Sam, who, over the course of the book, are 39-41 and 26-28, respectively. However, it is later deconstructed, as Ernie lacks the emotional stability to continue in the role that he has adopted, and Sam eventually has to assume the role of teacher.
  • Played with in Uncle Sean by Ronald L. Donaghe. 14-year-old Will meets his beautiful Uncle Sean, whom he has not seen for the past eight years, and falls in love with him. Sean is gay and devastated because his boyfriend has been murdered by his own side in Vietnam. Sean becomes reciprocally drawn to Will but is alarmed by his own feelings and refrains from acting on them. He tells Will that it is very important to find the right person to love. In the sequel, Lance, Will does find love, with a boy his own age. In the next and last book in the sequence, All Over Him, Will, conducting a Long-Distance Relationship with Lance, lives with Sean while going to university.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Doctor Who, Vastra's and Jenny's relationship is a lesbian version of this. Vastra is a very old reptile warrior woman from the dawn of time, and Jenny is younger and acts as her "squire" and back-up fighter, as well as her maid as far as the general public are concerned.
  • Possibly subverted on Glee. Blaine is initially set up as Kurt's Sexy Mentor, and he helps Kurt deal with bullying, but it's later revealed that Blaine is actually younger than Kurt.
  • The latter half of season three of Hannibal reveals this as its endgame for Will and the titular psychopath. While Will is an adult in his early thirties, he's about a decade younger than Hannibal, highly vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation, and quite easy on the eyes; Hannibal in return is older, highly educated, appreciative of the Classics in art, music, and philosophy, and has rather epicurean tastes. What starts out as an amusing side project to see how far Will can be pushed before he snaps becomes something else entirely as Lector becomes more and more obsessed with proving to Will that they are the same. Hannibal instructs Will on a wide variety of subjects and the two have a series-long, protracted debate about the ethics of murder, and artistic perception and appreciation of suffering as divine. Ultimately, Will capitulates, working with Hannibal to violently murder another serial killer and afterwards admitting that he thought of it as beautiful, before embracing Hannibal and throwing them both off a cliff and into the sea. Season three's Italian setting and continual references to Greco-Roman art, philosophy, and aesthetics cement the connection.
  • Parodied on In Living Color!, as in the first edition of Men on Film Camp Gay critic Blaine Edwards says he disliked The Karate Kid Part III because it had too much fighting and no romance between the two lead characters. Given the terms he uses, Blaine is clearly describing this trope. Although co-reviewer Antoine Merriweather, also Camp Gay, felt the violence made the movie more arousing to him, he agreed with Blaine that having this sort of relationship between the two main characters would have been great. Notably, it's the only sketch to feature the duo that had anything to do with this trope.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In vampire terms, Lestat de Lioncourt is Louis de Pointe du Lac's maker (the vampire who turned him), and his express purpose for doing this is so that Louis becomes his eternal lover. "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self" focuses on Louis' experience as a fledgling vampire with Lestat (who is much older than him) as his teacher in vampirism, while also being involved in what Lestat calls a "vampire romance."
    Louis: [Lestat] was my murderer, my mentor, my lover, and my maker.
  • Luna Nera: In a Gender-Inverted Example, the elderly chief witch Tebe is in a relationship with the middle-aged Janara, whom she taught magic.
  • Queer as Folk (US) had this kind of relationship in the alpha couple after a while, although it didn't follow the classical formula of the older guy being the more enthusiastic.
    • Part of the point was that the younger guy was very enthusiastic and sure of what he wanted; it was a deliberate subversion. Another part of the point was to have the younger guy be just under the age of consent and the school-leaving age, so he was 17 in the American version, 15 in the British version. As is often the case, the impact of the boy's youth is softened by using Dawson Casting: the actor playing the boy in the UK version was 18, and taller than his adult lover; in the US version he was 23! In the UK series the adult lover, who is 29 in both versions, says that a teacher had anal sex with him when he was 12.
  • Rome:
    • There is a rare Gender-Inverted Trope example with Servilla, in her late 40s to early 50s, teaching a teenage Octavia about the joys of sapphic love. It doesn't last long, though, as Servilla is very clearly manipulating Octavia for political purposes.
    • People also believe that 50-year-old Caesar and teenage Octavian were a thing because they saw them leave a lonely room at the same time. Turns out Octavian was just helping his great-uncle with a seizure. It's made even more awkward in that his mother congratulated him on his "catch."
  • Tipping the Velvet (2002): A number of the rich lesbians in Ms. Lethaby's circle have partners much younger than them who are kept women. Nan is Diana's Beloved ostensibly, though she's more essentially a sex slave.
  • Technically, this fits for Ianto (early to mid-20s) and Jack (around 170 when they first meet) on Torchwood. It's implied that, even though he wasn't a complete ingenue, Ianto never had a boyfriend before Jack. And he does expand his skills and grow quite a lot as a person while working for Jack. Jack for his part seems to have hired Ianto mainly for his good looks and good coffee. Subverted a bit in that Ianto set out to seduce Jack first, and only after Jack found out why and forgave him for it did they start having anything approaching a real relationship.
  • Will on Will & Grace found himself in a relationship like this, by accident. At first he thought he had just made a generous new friend, but freaked when he realized what he was getting into, then decided it actually wouldn't be a bad thing, THEN found himself to have been quickly replaced by an even younger and more attractive man.
    • Earlier in the series, Will, then probably 35, briefly dated Scott, "23 and 3/4" — though when Scott initially asked Will out, Scott said he was 24 and thought Will was 27. Will felt embarrassed about Scott's age and broke it off with him.
    • Married, middle-aged Beverley Leslie has a long-term relationship with his much younger "business associate" Benji.
      • The finale has Jack become Leslie's new "associate" for purely financial motives (until a gust of wind carries the tiny man off a balcony and he inherits his fortune).

  • Mozart's first opera, written when he was 11, and of which four of the five main parts are for boy singers, tells the story of Apollo and Hyacinthus. It also introduces a sister of Hyacinthus', Melia, whom Apollo eventually marries. Schoolboy morals mustn't be corrupted, after all.

    Religion & Mythology 
  • Achilles and Patroclus, arguably. Complicated/inverted by the fact that while Patroclus is older, Achilles is the leader and teacher in their relationship. They start falling into this trope in the 5th century when erastes and eromenos was the social norm.
    • Even in Homer, though, while Achilles is the greater fighter, Patroclus is the one who trains him to be a warrior before the Trojan War kicks off. Later Greeks reversed the ages of the two; Aeschylus' The Myrmidons makes Achilles the elder, Patroclus his beloved younger boyfriend. Homer, for that matter, does not state that the two were lovers, but the later Greeks assumed they were.
  • Pang Zhang and Wang Zhongxian, a couple in a legend originating in China during the Zhou dynasty. Pang Zhang is a writer, Wang Zhongxian his student. They are a devoted couple for the rest of their lives, they die together, and when they are buried a tree grows out of each grave and the trees intertwine, as in Tristan and Iseult.
  • Zeus and Ganymede, Apollo and Hyacinthus, Poseidon and Pelops, and lots of others.
  • David and Jonathan have often been thought of and depicted as this kind of couple.
  • Christ and St John have sometimes been seen this way, e.g. in the poem 'Whom Jesus Loved'.
  • Emperor Hadrian and Antinous; Hadrian had Antinous deified after he drowned in the Nile. Hadrian was also deified after his death, as customary for Roman Emperors. The Cult of Antinous was quite popular for several centuries afterwards.

  • In Julian Mitchell's Another Country, which was made into a film of the same name, a boy at secondary school is deeply in love with a boy about a year younger and nobly protective of him.
  • Simon Gray's Butley. The eponymous protagonist, who like Gray is a lecturer in English literature, is thoroughly unproductive at his job. He has recently married and had a daughter, but he and his wife separated after a short time together, and she tells him she's leaving him for another man. The same day, Butley's boyfriend also tells him that he's leaving him for another man. The boyfriend (with whom Butley may never have had sex, because Butley is not keen on being homosexual, which is also why he got married) is younger than Butley by ten years or so and used to be his student. Now he is a colleague, working as a lecturer in the English department of Butley's university and in fact sharing his office. The man he leaves Butley for is about his own age, which is late twenties, or if he's older it's not by much, but this man is clearly the dominant one in the relationship.
  • Christopher Marlowe:
    • At the beginning of Dido, Queen of Carthage, Ganymede is seen sitting on Jove's lap coquetting away in order to get more presents from Jove.
    • In Edward II, a character recites a list of famous male/male couples, justifying homosexual relationships by saying that "The mightiest kings have had their minions...And not kings only, but the wisest men." Most of these are lover/beloved couples: Hercules and Hylas, Tully and Octavius, Socrates and Alcibiades, Achilles and Patroclus — Achilles and Patroclus are not said to be lovers in the Iliad but were seen as erastes and eromenos by later Greeks, although in the Iliad Patroclus is the elder. Alexander and Hephaestion, who were coevals, are also mentioned in the list. The historical Edward and his boyfriend Gaveston were actually the same age, but lover/beloved was the predominant homosexual trope in Marlowe's day: people learned the trope from the Greek and Roman classics they read at school, as the list shows.
  • Harold Pinter's The Confession is about two couples: James and his wife Stella, both in their thirties; and Bill, in his twenties, and his boyfriend Harry, in his forties. Stella and Bill are both dress designers and the plot revolves around a one-night stand they may or may not have had.
  • Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane. A sister and brother in their thirties both have the hots for a young man of eighteen or nineteen. They end up sharing him.
  • Gender-Inverted Trope in Christa Winsloe's Gestern und Heute (Yesterday and Today), about a young teenage girl's experiences at a strict single-sex Boarding School. The girl falls for a young female teacher, who loves her back but sticks to a chaste mentoring role. Things come unstuck because of the harsh, unfeeling way the school is run. The play, also called Ritter Nérestan (Knight Nérestan) and Krankheit der Liebe (Sickness of Love), was very popular. It is based on Winsloe's novel Das Kind Manuela (The Child Manuela), itself based on Winsloe's own experiences at boarding school. It was later filmed as Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform), with a screenplay written by Winsloe.
  • Henry de Montherlant's play La Ville dont le prince est un enfant, which has the same plot as his novel Les Garçons. Sevrais, sixteen and six months, is deeply, nobly, self-sacrificingly in love with Souplier, fourteen and three months. He longs to help Souplier grow up to be a good person.
  • Latin! or Tobacco and Boys, a rather 'rude' and humorous play that Stephen Fry wrote when he was twenty-two. The main character is Dominic Clarke, a Latin teacher at a boys' preparatory Boarding School like the one Fry attended. Clarke hated going through puberty with its acne and pubic hair, and wishes that he were still a boy. Sometimes he even wears boys' clothing in secret. Clarke gives 'extra Latin' to thirteen-year-old Cartwright, a boy in one of his classes. In reality, of course, this is a cover for sexual liaisons with the boy, which are the only way Clarke can feel that he himself is a boy again. Clarke plays favorites outrageously with Cartwright and is discovered to have cheated for Cartwright on Cartwright's Common Entrance exams to get into secondary school. He is sacked, and he and Cartwright convert to Islam and go to Morocco, where pederasty is more acceptable. The other boys in the class then decide they want to go to Morocco too. The title is a reference to Marlowe's "All they that love not tobacco and boys are fools."
  • Briefly mentioned in The Lion in Winter. King Henry says to his mistress Alais, "In my time I've known contessas, milkmaids, courtesans and novices, whores, gypsies, jades and little boys, but nowhere in God's western world have I found anyone to love but you." Richard The Lion Heart and Philip II of France are depicted as having had an affair two years before the action when Richard was 24 and Philip was 15. Philip tells Richard that he is no longer "the boy you taught to hunt... you running first, me scrambling after."
  • Über die Stufen von Marmor (Above the Marble Steps), a one-act play, one of John Henry Mackay's Books of the Nameless Love. In Venice, a young German sculptor and a sixteen-year-old tourist, both male, discover that they are in love and, during a one-hour interlude with the stage curtain drawn, have sex.
  • Gender-Inverted Trope of this in one of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, "The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could". A 13-year-old girl who when she was younger was violently raped by a man is given vodka by a 24-year-old woman who then gently seduces her. She describes the experience as positive and concludes, "Now I'll never need to rely on a man." In response to the controversy this caused, Ensler later raised the girl's age to 16. The girl adds defiantly that some people would call this rape, but "well, I say if it was rape, it was a good rape." Ensler removed this line, again because it caused massive controversy. Ensler herself was raped by her father as a child.
  • William Shakespeare:
    • In some interpretations, The Merchant of Venice. There's a lot of Ho Yay between Antonio and Bassanio and Antonio, who is somewhat older than Bassanio, guarantees a big loan so that Bassanio can marry, in the process putting himself at risk of death at the hands of Shylock, whom he despises for being a Jew. In some readings the relationship is seen this way: Bassanio has a good male buddy his own age, but his boyfriend is the older, richer man Antonio. The rather reckless, youthful Bassanio is sincerely fond of Antonio but is also well aware that he has Antonio wrapped around his little finger; he wheedles money out of him and then proceeds to go off with a girl. The self-sacrificing Antonio, who loves Bassanio more than Bassanio loves him, watches and even facilitates this, keeping a lid on his own private pain over his love for Bassanio. All this is classic Lover and Beloved. Other readings, however, see a fully mutual love affair between Antonio and Bassanio, with Bassanio marrying Portia largely for her money, though he does declare his love for her. Still, other readings see no sexual or romantic relationship between the two, with Antonio's love for Bassanio wholly unrequited, and yet others interpret Antonio and Bassanio simply as Heterosexual Life-Partners.
    • Achilles and Patroclus in Troilus and Cressida probably are an example of this. At any rate, Thersites refers to Patroclus as Achilles' "masculine whore", and Patroclus is highly offended at the insulting choice of words but doesn't deny it.

    Video Games 
  • The Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: The Da Vinci Disappearance single-player DLC depicts the relationship between Leonardo and his young pupil Salai. Leonardo tries to dance around the true nature of the relationship in front of his friend Ezio; Ezio has no reason to think it's wrong, as his philosophy is basically anything goes. Or more precisely, "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted."
  • In Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, Plachta is Sophie's Really 700 Years Old alchemy teacher. Their relationship is extremely romantic in tone, especially after Sophie uses her alchemy to give Plachta a humanoid body. By the end of the game, they're "looking forward to spending more time with each other." In the next game, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey, they're travelling to the Examination together, though by that time their relationship is one of equals, as Sophie has become a master alchemist in her own right. However, the later-released Interquel, Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream, has Sophie describe Plachta as "like family", which might make the nature of their relationship more ambiguous.
  • This is the dynamic between Gulcasa and Nessiah in Blaze Union, where Nessiah plays the role of caretaker, confidant, and kingmaker to the more inexperienced and emotionally vulnerable Gulcasa. Of note is the fact that while Nessiah is definitely much older, the two are about the same age physically, and Nessiah is also the smaller and more delicate of the pair. Over time, the two of them shed this trope as Gulcasa becomes more emotionally dominant and Nessiah more dependent.
  • Marty's title in the credits of Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 is "The Man Who Dagda Loved", Dagda being one of the game's Crutch Characters and being old enough to have a daughter who is also a player unit. Due to Thracia 776 being famously low on character development for minor characters, however, this dynamic is somewhat of an Informed Attribute.

Alternative Title(s): Erastes Eromenos