As I attempted drifting off to sleep last night, my brain hyped up on caffeine, I thought back to something I hadn’t meditated on for ages — my childhood. It hadn’t been as traumatic as junior high or high school, so it’s not something I think about often. When I ask myself why, I don’t have an answer. I must have simply packed it away, like Christmas clothes I never planned to wear.
There were moments that stuck out — like my attraction to certain Disney princes (I’m sure you’ve had the same fantasies) — Aladdin (that bare chest), Yang from Mulan (such a Dom), David from Lilo and Stitch (surfer dudes, amiright?), and even Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove (I still don’t get this one). I also thought Chris Evans as the Human Torch was everything I could have dreamed of. His pink nipples peeking out from a forest of chest hair will get me off no matter what.
The first time I was made conscious of my enhanced attraction to guys was in 5th grade, when I underwent the dreaded puberty. After this, my body changed, and my attraction to guys became more pronounced not only in my nether region but throughout my entire being.
The first time I was sexually attracted to a man was when I starred as the lead in the stage production of “Pinocchio”. There was an older guy in the cast (probably 20 years older), and we shared a dressing room. He was tan, possessing sapphire eyes and curly brown hair. Every time he took his shirt off, his supple nipples flashed underneath the subpar dressing room lighting, beckoning me to touch them, just once. As a young 5th grader, I didn’t know what to make of my animal passions, but I did know that I wanted to be closer to him. Nothing came of it, of course. He was 20 years older than me, for crying out loud!
Around this time, I also started jacking off more. The first time I noticed my own cum was in the shower one night. My initial reaction was panic, as I had no idea what cum was at the time. I wondered, “Is there something wrong with me? Does this happen to everyone?” I even sniffed it, wondering if it was something I needed to tell my parents about (I never did).
My Marvel encyclopedia was a godsend. I could stare at muscular depictions of guys all day long and pass it off as something “masculine”, because all guys liked comic books, right? Of course, I was also drawn to the DC Comics universe in Superman, whose hairy chest and rippling biceps sent me (I had a Superman comforter, too, so he would greet — and embrace — me every time I went to bed).
Besides the over-exaggerated muscles, I think I sensed an affinity with superheroes. Just like them, I also had to wear a mask to hide who I was. I just didn’t know that’s what I was doing.
Eventually, I started to notice other guys, too (who were actually my age). Whereas before, I simply had an innocent fascination with males. After undergoing puberty, my body yearned to not only be near guys but to touch their bodies. I began noticing muscles, and abs, and tits. Oh tits. Throughout my gay existence, I have realized that tits are the initial draw for me — their shape and the variety of nipples (Did they hang directly below the pec? Were they centered on the pec? Was one nipple higher than the other?). I guess one could say I was (and still am) a tit connoisseur.
One of my friends at the time — for the story’s sake, we’ll call him Gym Rat — was really muscular for his age. During one of my birthday parties, I invited him and a few other guys to stay the night in a hotel (with parental oversight). There was a pool, so of course we took advantage of the moment. When Gym Rat took his shirt off, his pecs were much more shapely than I expected. As he and my friends played Marco Polo in the pool, I couldn’t help but steal a glance at his perfect wet pecs every chance I got. I doubt he even knows how much I wanted to squeeze his rock-hard pecs at the time.
There were other instances. One time I had a sleepover with a couple of guys, and one of them asked if any of us slept shirtless. I said no, but looking back, I wish I had said yes. He is now one of the hottest guys I know, and I could have been half-naked in a room with him for a whole night.
There was church camp, too. What a perfect place for me, a blossoming homosexual. I was literally shacked up with a bunch of guys, while being told, “It’s sinful to sleep with another man.” My every day was filled with temptation, but that made it more fun. I not only slept in the same quarters as these guys (and the much older, athletic counselors), but I showered with them, too. (Just kidding. I didn’t shower with them. It was a little too much for my modest self.) But I did swim with them, and the view was everything I needed.
As for the guys at my school, there wasn’t much to see. Remember, this was before junior high, my first candy store, so I had very little to fawn over. I can only remember one guy, and he was a grade below me. He and I played together while our parents worked at school (he was straight as could be), and after puberty, I saw him as attractive. He was shorter than me, and skinny, with a trusting smile — his main physical draw. He was also a guy’s guy. Even then I knew he would be engaged in every school sport once he made it to junior high. Alas, we remained friends, but I wasn’t surprised.
I wondered if I was the only guy like me in Leachville. All the other guys seemed to be attracted to girls and pursue hobbies deemed “acceptable” to society. Of course, this was a time when social norms were less concrete, and our societal roles were less defined, so I didn’t feel as much pressure to conform as I did in, say, high school. But this was the beginning of my isolation from the world, when I realized that there was something different about my disposition.
I became invested in the church, attending sermons every week. I even skipped out on kids church so I could sit among the adults, listening to the hardcore lessons, like adultery, and murder, and (the biggest one) homosexuality. I became bored with the kids in my youth department, as none of them seemed to relate to me. They all seemed absorbed in sports, and they attended schools in different towns, so I knew nothing of their social schedule. So transitioning to “big church”, as some refer to it, was seamless (and my family adored my devotion to the Church).
Whenever the pastor spoke about homosexuality, I would tell myself that yes, I had the desires he spoke of, but I never acted on them. Years later, I would wonder if masturbation could be deemed as “acting on sin”, so I abstained from even that in hopes that God would take my sinful desires away. Three months was the longest I went without masturbating (I know. I couldn’t do that today). Once the wet dreams came, I realized my body would find release in its own way, so I resumed my masturbation sessions shortly afterward.
I even spoke to my Mom about my desires and how I could only find pleasure when thinking about men. She would always nod, asking “Why do you think that is?” I would say, “I don’t know. But I’m trying to get away from it.” We had those conversations multiple times throughout my childhood, but I don’t think either of us thought I was actually gay.
I also spoke to my Dad about masturbation once, after I had worried that I had been engaging in sinful behavior for years. He told me, “It’s natural. Boys have to do it so they won’t go out having sex with every girl they see.” He made me feel better, even though I’d never have sex with a single female. After our conversation, I came to peace with the fact that masturbation really was a natural process for every human being, and that’s what I needed to hear.
I could go on for much longer, but I think I’ll stop here. All in all, my childhood was fine. I see it as the beginning of my journey as an isolated individual. I was forced into this meditation with myself, about myself, in which I had to reckon with whether my natural feelings were indeed a reflection of my spiritual well-being, or if they were there because they were meant to be. It was the beginning of chaos but also of a beautiful journey as the out and proud gay man I am today. I’m thankful for my childhood, because without it, I wouldn’t be me.
Until next time. Kisses.