David L. Riegel (12 Dec 1931 - 12 Apr 2019) was an independent writer and researcher on the topic of sexually expressed boy/older male relationships, and an advocate of what he describes as Responsible Boylove. Riegel is known for a small number of self-published books, journal articles and the mild controversy surrounding them. Due to his behavior on Bulletin Boards, Riegel achieved what can be described as inverse cult status.
In 1999, after already having retired twice from dissimilar fields, Riegel - as a member of the online Boylove community, was recruited by a McGraw Hill textbook editor to submit an essay on the Rind controversy. This was accepted by the editor but withheld from publication by the management until 2005. In 2000, he published the first of his four paperback books. In cooperation with several others on the now-defunct SafeHaven forum, Riegel developed a Philosophy of Responsible Boylove, which is hosted on SafeHaven Foundation.
BoyLove Media Watch and Review was a little-used but influential journalistic watchdog site operated by Riegel and another volunteer. BLMW encouraged its readers to politely lobby journalists after they published articles on boys' sexual relationships with older males. As more and more news sites began to host comment sections, the project achieved genuine wide scale successes, after numerous readers were encouraged to make contributions. However, an onslaught of less sympathetic comments disturbed Riegel so much that he published disclaimers on BLMW (linking to it from articles on which he commented), and soon pulled the project altogether. Soon after, Riegel planned to publish a Journal of the Sexuality of Boys, but this attracted little interest, and was pulled like its predecessor.
One of Riegel's last websites was Peer Support Exchange, which seeked to connect "Boy-Attracted Pedosexual Males" with one another. The site has been intensively promoted by Riegel on the BoyChat bulletin board.
Whilst the nature of Riegel's work is widely understood to be polemical and advocative in nature, Riegel himself has been uncomfortable with this perception. A small number of mainstream and academic articles by parties as disparate as Dallam and Yuill, have described Riegel as an advocate of pederasty. Whilst he was happy to describe himself as an advocate, Riegel disputed the validity of terms such as pedophilia and pederasty, often perceiving criticisms of his theories as ad hominem attacks.
A small number of academics have criticized Riegel from a non-victimological perspective, most notably Richard Yuill. Queer and Foucaldian critical analysts such as Yuill describe Riegel's philosophy as overly rigid and dogmatic. They allege that Riegel is proposing as many "oughts" for men and boys, as there are currently "ought nots", that he has little-to-no understanding of queer theory, and that he neglects the rights of women and girls.
In addition to this, Riegel's casual comments on bulletin boards are sometimes criticized as misogynistic and ageist. Some examples sent via a mailing list follow:
- "As I have pointed out before, as a woman you have no experience at being a boy, and consequently are incapable of empathizing with, or understanding, a boy's sexual interests. I would further note that as a woman you have no legitimate roll to play in discussing the issues of boyhood sexuality." (BoyLover.net)
- "The notion of "youth rights" has been around for many decades, and in many forms, e.g., schools where children were supposed to make decisions about social order, subjects to be studied, etc. These schools and similar movements have all failed, and "youth rights" have never materialized, because in reality, children do not have the experience to make informed decisions on matters which are not intrinsic to them.
- Sexual interest and desire, on the other hand, and especially boyhood sexuality, which tends to be more overt and active than that of girls, are, in fact, intrinsic qualities and behaviors. As such, they do not need to be encouraged or taught to boys, indeed, the principal thrust of our sexually misopedic society is to suppress these intrinsic qualities and behaviors." (BoyLover.net)
Behaviour on discussion boards
Riegel frequently used boylove-related internet message boards to advance his ideas. Here, he seeked to publicize his books and websites, using multiple nicknames such as Researcher, Bridgebuilder and Passer By on BoyChat. Riegel's intensive strategy was often criticized, most notably when he used one identity to support the other. Riegel often got involved in heated discussions with established members of bulletin boards, usually as a result of self promotional activities. Opponents also allege that he had a tendency to insult others when his opinions and purported credentials were challenged.
Among the more spurious attacks to have been directed at Riegel, are those relating to his age. Riegel took up writing on his chosen topic after many decades of his life had elapsed. This perhaps helps demonstrate how hard it is for younger authors with fresh postgraduate degrees to write on related topics, when the risk remains that they may be discredited or even raided by police.
- Bruce Rind - Similar coverage.