This is the first installment in a series of brief writings about my sex life as it manifests today, offered only as a single perspective of one man’s experience of a life of erotic engagement.
Masturbation was not my first sexual experience. Before masturbation came erections, which I don’t recall having a “first time.” As far as I know, I’ve had erections since I was a small child.
Also before masturbation came an intellectual curiosity about sex. I was a precocious child and read adult books, even though I didn’t understand everything I read. I loved words and absorbed them into my brain hungrily.
In 1967, my parents’ suburban Chicago bedroom included two night stands full of grownup stuff for a curious kid to explore, including books. I remember a volume on Addiction in which I learned how heroin pills could once be purchased at a drug store then ground to a powder and snorted… I also read—cover to cover—one How to Talk Dirty and Influence People by Lenny Bruce. The impact of that story on my attitudes wouldn’t become apparent for many years but it absolutely left its mark.
I don’t know which of my parents had this but I also found a plain, dark blue hardcover without a dust jacket entitled, Love and Marriage. It was a sex manual and oh my God how I ate it up. I was fascinated to the point of fixation and returned to that book repeatedly throughout my ninth year.
I should mention that I hit puberty just before my 9th birthday. My mother was alarmed and whisked me to the pediatrician, terrified that her third child was going to be a giant. Dr. Lesser reassured her that I was simply an early bloomer and would just be a little ahead of my peers for a while. I got my Safety Pop from the bowl and rode back home, completely unaware of why we’d been there but curious. I didn’t feel sick…
Love and Marriage included a chapter on “Autoeroticism,” as I recall. Beyond my enjoyment of the word itself, picking apart its roots and adding it to my vocabulary bank, that section didn’t really hold great interest for me at the time. What completely hooked me was the chapter on “Sexual Intercourse.” In that chapter I found descriptions of all the hows and whats of fundamental sexual operation and was delighted to imagine what I had to look forward to, not so much getting my penis inside a vagina, but experiencing what these intense physical pleasures—this “ecstasy” of orgasms—felt like.
And there came the day that I was re-reading about Sexual Intercourse, specifically about how the wife’s vagina lubricated to provide a slippery vessel for the husband’s erect penis, and I had a thought: Could I simulate a lubricated vagina and “fool my penis” into thinking it was inside a vagina? Could I possibly experience that “ecstasy” through a simple trick of physical subterfuge?
I carefully returned Love and Marriage to the nightstand, walked across the hallway to the bathroom and locked the door. I took off my pants and ran some very warm water in the sink. I took time to warm my hands in the water for a good long time before reaching for a bar of soap and lathering up my hands. I wanted this trick to be convincing.
Forming a two-fisted tunnel and stabilizing it against the top of the sink, I took my penis, which had grown in anticipation of the experiment, and slid it into the sleeve, feeling the slippery warmth, and immediately felt a sudden stiffening. I took that as a promising sign.
I began to deliberately but slowly rock my hips to slide my penis in and out of my simple faux vagina, held steady on the edge of the sink, all the while feeling entirely new sensations mounting inside me as I rapidly approached and entered my first sexual plateau, noticing an odd tightening growing through the shaft and a sharp tingle in the head that was strangely uncomfortable but compelling and really, really pleasant.
I don’t know how long it took but I clearly recall the moment of that first orgasm, the involuntary spasming behind and inside my penis and the wonder of witnessing a completely new, pearly white substance emerge from the slit of my penis. By adult standards, it was very small volume but I had no reference and it was, to me, amazing. A gift of new knowledge about something my body could do that it had never done before. I felt like I’d entered new territory and indeed, in terms of my life, this was the start of something huge: My sex life had begun.