From 4 to 14
- a memoir and a reflection - Part 1

This story contains detailed reminiscences of childhood sex play between boys. If you do not wish to read such material, go away now.
I am happy to receive correspondence as (take out the nospam.) - please do send your comments and your own stories.


How old do you have to be to have sex, and both of you mean it, and both of you enjoy it? Thirty? Twentyfive? Twenty? Eighteen? Seventeen? Sixteen? Fifteen? Fourteen? Thirteen? Twelve? Eleven? Ten? Nine? Eight? Seven? Six? Five?

I was four. This is my story.

FOUR (i)

We were born within weeks of each other and lived just a few doors apart, so Andrew was a playmate since before I can remember. We were still friends at fifteen - two boys who had known each other "for life".

Most of a child's life is a given: parents, home, schooling, even clothes and toys. But into this dictated place comes a force of breath-taking power for the child - the power to create an entire world which no adult defines or even knows. It is the world of play.

Children's street games have been passed on from child to child for centuries, always changing yet always the same. Today it will be some version of tag or hide or hopscotch or scoring stones - tomorrow another, or something else altogether. And so ever onwards, with infinite imagination, the games change and evolve and combine, ever ancient, ever new.

And then there is pretending. Children create pictures in their minds and make stories together: creating them, moulding them, repeating them, changing them, acting them out, playing the role, going along with the creative work of others to create something new together, repeating, honing, swapping roles, changing roles. The timeless mythical building blocks - princesses, dragons, countries far away - become stories with titles to be extended, added to, varied, remade, replayed, repeated, expanded, discarded and begun all over again. A single game can go on for days, or weeks, or even years, continuously changing and developing: the rules, the script, the direction made up as a joint effort as the play goes along. Whole new themes and ideas and elements can be woven into the thread of the game - and onwards it goes.

This imaginative play belongs to children. Adults have no part in it at all. Only the child can understand. It is the mirror of the adult world which also has its secrets: scandals and taboos only hinted at to the child, who picks up the nuance but sees the boundaries, asks no questions - perhaps ultimately does not, need not, care. The adults have their own world, the children have theirs, and the overlap is far smaller than either.

Knock knock. "Is Andrew playing?" And off we go out to play: the two of us, and anyone else who is around. Today we have been out scoring stones, and then running some complex version of hide and tag, the rules emerging as the game goes on, with a name we made up ourselves. For the adults: simply "playing out." Or we have been in, playing Pretend: acting fictional roles from life as seen or from fantasy as imagined, creating kingdoms and planets and cities and street scenes and pathways around the upstairs rooms and through the cupboards and under the beds. For the adults: "just playing." It is our private world. It is not sinister that we do not tell: we just do not tell; that is just the way it is. It is not their world: it is our world. It is play, that is all: for us, not for you. It is play. So let's play.

Let's play planets. Let's play cities. Let's play indians. Let's play warriors. Let's play hideouts. Let's play anything. Let's just play.

FOUR (ii)

I remember the day I met Adam. We were going past the post box in opposite directions. I was four, he was five. Somehow we just took to each other immediately: friends at first sight. We were both several hundred yards from home, so I guess we must have had mothers with us, somewhere up above our heads. Our families did not know each other, so they must have been just meeting as well. All these years later I have this lingering impression - which I probably also had at the time - that my family did not quite approve of Adam's. They were not quite 'it', not quite 'us'. But two small boys were suddenly absorbed completely in each other's attention, and a mother could hardly want more: so, no doubt, mums discussed and made acquaintance, and later that same day I was at Adam's to play.

I made my own way there, even that first day, at four years old. There was a distinctive white garden wall, so I could find the right house, and there was a large and well established garden around. Knock knock - is Adam playing - a pause - a shout - and we were playing out in Adam's garden, absorbed in each other's attention, friends at first sight. And let's play.

FOUR (iii)

Oil fired central heating had been popular a few years before, so Adam's garden included a huge box-like oil tank. This was twice hidden within the spacious garden: it was round the side out of the way, and it was surrounded by both a white wall and a high dense hedge of fast-growing firs. Plenty of space was left immediately around the tank to make a path for access for servicing. The result was the ultimate kids' den: lots of secret space, a secluded pathway entrance, airy with bright daylight from above, and yet totally, securely hidden, a play space completely invisible to any prying eyes from the adult world. Adam took me there to play almost straight away on that very first day. He took me to the hidden entrance. We brushed past tall fir trees, and then emerged into the bright invisible den.

And this is where it happened: low wall, fir trees, oil tank (green), daylight above, no line of sight and hardly a sound connecting with the outside world; enclosing us, womb-like, cocooning, and yet spacious and light and fresh; our place (we had already become "us", friends at first sight, that very first day).

We were both crouching, balancing on the balls of our feet. Adam turned away from me, put his knees on the floor, and in a single move - easy with those five-year olds' elasticated waist bands - pulled down his pants and his underpants together, and then fell forwards away from me, supporting himself on his hands as well, and showing me his arse. He turned his head to look round back at me: arse here, head beyond, trousers round his knees.

My eyes were on his arse, his back, his legs. In the brief seconds before he spoke, I was already finding this novel sight both captivating and compelling: a beautiful and intimate prospect of my wonderful new friend, something never before seen or imagined, and offered now as a special gift, this intriguing and affecting sight, this privileged vision. I was enchanted and transfixed: this delicate and noble and charmingly proportioned form exposed now between crumpled clothes. The sight of it was strangely comforting and harmonious, and tender and honourable. And sacred and secret and comely and enticing and tempting and engaging. And worthy: worthy of our new and immediately familiar friendship. And soothing: any nervousness about such an enthusiastic first day with an entirely new friend dissolved in this intimate moment, this pleasurable sight.

Some anthropologists argue that the buttocks are the primary sexual display - and therefore the primary focus of sexual attraction - in all mammals, and certainly in all primates. It is clearly so in the higher primates, and so, by logic, must be true in human beings, at a profound, pre-conscious, pre-human level. They even argue that because, in humans, standing upright and face to face has largely removed the buttocks from the natural line of sight, the female breasts have deliberately evolved to mimic them, and thereby artificially catch the interest of the naturally buttock-focused male. But the primary sexual display - at a profound, pre-conscious, pre-human level - remains the buttocks, not the breasts.

O Adam. In those brief seconds before he spoke, I already knew that this display had bonded us irrevocably together. I just looked. I just ... enjoyed looking. In fact, I could not take my eyes off him, this captivating new sight. The sight was moving me at that profound sexual level which I certainly could not name then and which few people understand even through adulthood: this indulgent, luxurious, sensuous sight.

O Adam: you are my best friend already since we met just this very morning. I want to be with you. I want to play all the games you want to play. I want to do all the things you want to do. You are showing me an incredible treasure I have never seen before. I want to play. I want to be with you: your buddy, your play mate, your partner. I want to be us. I want this, this. Tell me more. Show me more. I want to play what you want to play. You're gorgeous, and I'll do anything you say.

My eyes moved between his arse and his eyes (lingering here, glancing there): this tender place, and his gentle features; this intimate flesh, and his already familiar smile; this delicate and inspiring place, and his inviting eyes; this enervating vision, and his lips, about to speak.

Speak to me, Adam.

Into my silent new state of veneration came his voice. "Smell it," he said, most kindly, most gently, as though it were a treat.

Mysterious request.

I just looked some more, watched some more, worshipped some more at this tangible new shrine to friendship, took my time in paying loyal homage to this compassionate sight.

But he had said these words, and he was waiting. Still crouching awkwardly on the balls of my feet, I leaned forward just very slightly, from the neck, not the waist, and sniffed the air in his direction.

"No, properly," he said.

I moved my head towards his naked lower back, somewhere near the top of the crack of his arse, and sniffed again. I was taken by the hint of something appealing in the air.

"Right down in the middle," he said.

I was close enough to see detail. Yes, it had a middle: a darker, softer hollow at the centre point, the focus of the beautiful surrounding forms, with, as its focus in turn, an opening, with the alluring promise of unknowable further secrets beyond, an inner temple, beauty beyond this beauty, consecrated beyond attainment, only to be revered, never to be known. So this was the place, the focus, the source, the middle.

I shuffled awkwardly to move towards the focal point, putting a crick in my neck as I still crouched on the balls of my feet. Without ever touching him, the tip of my nose was within the valley of his arse and moving down towards the soft dark centre. I was exhaling gently, preparing to inhale. I pushed my chin forwards to angle my nostrils towards their target.

As close as I could come to the mark, I inhaled.

We scrub and shower so much today that they are hardly ever there at all: the odours of the human being. And in most cases it is no bad thing: head hair smells stale; armpits bitter to the point of repulsive; cock and balls vaguely warm but mostly just sour. Oh but the arse: the arse alone is a pure sweet musky addictive irresistible utter delight. O Blessed Saint Adam, friend at first sight. "Smell it," he said; "properly ... in the middle."

Nothing could have prepared me to make this discovery. I mean, it is not what you expect, this power punching perfume, this scent of all that is beautiful and lovely, affectionate and divine, rousing and satisfying, so strangely hidden away - and yet now so generously offered.

My head was right by his naked backside. My field of vision was almost entirely taken up by the elegant curves of his buttocks and his lower back (the rest was our wonderful secret den). I steadied myself. I inhaled.

Cautiously, the first time.

A scent in the air, like a flavour in the mouth, can be arresting almost at once, and yet will take a moment to develop the full detail of its entire bouquet. That first breath of this fragrance was a cautious one, and yet as it began to fill my consciousness...

One third of the way through a cautious inhalation my cautious mind identified this fragrance as good, as very good. Carry on.

Two thirds: this is exquisite; heavenly; heartening. Carry on.

Fully inhaled now; have to stop; time to savour: cheering; mystical; nourishing. I could never have anticipated anything like this.

But I had caught only a trace of this aroma's full character. And like any scent before it is identified and named, it was fading too quickly from the senses, leaving only a momentary shocked and intense sensation of the most profound fulfilment - and the hint that there could be so much more. I just had not exhaled nearly enough to begin. But what now - another chance?

"Again," he said.

Instant obedience. O sweet command. Again. Exhale. Properly this time. Take your time. No hurry. Deeper breath. Inhale now - capture this, all of this, savour this. Properly this time. Again. In the middle. One third: exciting; touching; stimulating. Two thirds: healthy; invigorating; majestic. Full, and savour: exhilarating; enrapturing; serene. And savour. And what now?

Silence from Adam as I continued to bow before this immaculate sight, this new divinity, with its perfect fair contours, its holy, graceful, handsome symmetry, the soft folds of flesh at its darker secret centre, the focus of devotion; the moment enhanced, perfected, completed, by the lingering extravagant aroma of the new carnal bond of pleasure between us. A bonded friendship in sight and scent. Exhale. Reflect in the silence. I caught his eye.

So far - to great pleasure, it must be said - I had only been obeying instructions. Now there was silence. This time I would not wait to be asked: the silence and the trust in our eyes were invitation and permission enough. I would assert my right within the friendship. This one was to follow no instruction. This one was for me. Closer still, and deeper still: inhale. Adam, my friend at first sight, this very first day, I am up your arse.

One third: giddying; delicious; thrilling. Two thirds: nutritious; precious; intoxicating. Full, and savour: refreshing; peaceful; this miraculous distilled treasure.


And he pulled up his trousers turning back around and saying, "Now you do the same." No hint of hesitation: I went where he had been, and he went where I had been, shuffling around each other to take our positions, there in our bright and airy and secret and secluded outdoor place. I turned away from him, put my knees on the floor, and in a single move pulled down my pants and my underpants together, and then fell forwards away from him, supporting myself on my hands as well, and showing him my arse. It felt good: head exposed here as usual, arse somewhere behind as well just for Adam, this fair exchange of gifts, our special bond; trousers round my knees, unable to move, his entirely willing captive, arse exposed between crumpled clothes. I belonged to a new religion now, a new life, a new era; I was a person remade, entirely transformed. This is where I belonged now, making obeisance to this new god. I felt his eyes on me, and I liked that, this exceptional intimacy. I guessed that he would be feeling now, at the sight of my freely offered nakedness, what I had felt only moments ago at my initiation into this new age. And I felt him moving around behind me, taking his position, preparing to take his turn drinking in from me whatever essence it was that he had just granted to me from himself.

He steadied himself with his hands on the small of my back. The tip of his nose was touching sensitive points in the valley bottom of the crack of my arse, moving down towards the heart but stopping just short; and there he inhaled deeply.

He shifted on his feet to better his balance. His hands moved down from my back to the rounds of my buttocks - 'where I sit,' I thought - and he was pressing gently, feeling the suppleness, spreading cheeks. The tip of his nose settled more confidently in that point just above the softest mark which it had chosen, and there he inhaled deeply a second time.

He shifted again on his feet. His thumbs explored the lines which mark the boundary between buttocks and legs. The tip of his nose was in the same place but more confident still. He inhaled. A pause.

He spoke. "You have another go." And he was already alongside me on all fours, pulling down his trousers and underpants again. I sat up, straightened my clothes awkwardly to cover myself, and moved into position to pay homage once again. I did not use my hands, but now allowed the tip of my nose to brush the reciprocal softness of the valley bottom of his arse, coming to rest just above the powerfully mysterious centre, that source of balm.

As they say on aircraft: put on the mask and breathe normally. I balanced as close in as I could, nostril to arse, and breathed slowly and normally, steady breath after steady breath filling my entire being with the delectable sensation. After a good part of a minute I leaned back to catch his eye. He smiled. I smiled. A pause. He spoke. "My turn again."

We swapped places and he took his pleasure in my nakedness once again. I was as keen to give as he was to receive, but we both had an internal clock which said that adults would be wondering where we were, out of sight for too long. After my second more confident, competent offering, we stood up and straightened ourselves, smiled, and brushed past firs one behind the other to return to the garden and to more conventional garden games.

"You'll come back tomorrow." You bet.

FOUR (iv)

The sun came up on day two of my new beginning and it was a long morning until I went to call for Adam after lunch.

I had a plan. I knew a place where we could play without worrying about the time, where adults would not need to keep checking where we were and would leave us all alone: the private world - and it is an entire world - of the child's bedroom. I knew nothing about Adam's - I never did see inside his house - but I knew about mine. And that was the plan.

I made my own way there again, identifying the house by its distinctive white wall. "Does Adam want to play at my house?" But of course. The parent of a five-year-old could want nothing more. We were smiling as soon as we set eyes on each other, and heading towards my place. And into the house, and up the stairs, and along the landing, and into my room, and with the door firmly closed behind us.

It was only day two of our friendship. We knew only one game. In the comfort of a bedroom, he pulled down his trousers and underpants, and lay over the bed, knees on the floor (trousers around them), upper body relaxed on the bed, arse exposed and accessible: no difficult balancing, no chilled air, and no hurry. The beloved sight which cheers.

Perhaps a word of explanation is due for those who have no experience of the very adult pleasures I am describing - the very adult pleasures I was discovering. Perhaps you have never considered the bottom as good for anything other than the loo. It seems to me, for example, that populist homophobia of late has only two remaining resonances: something ridiculous about a false god called Fammly, and the idea that bottoms are dirty. They are not.

Consider that other versatile organ, the mouth. It is used for both eating and talking. Neither function is considered offensive in itself, but we do recoil if somebody tries to do both at once and speaks with their mouth full - a most unpleasant sight. But we are so content for the mouth to do each in turn at different times that we even allow the two functions into very close proximity, as when we celebrate both together in a formal dinner party: fine food and pleasant conversation.

The mouth is also used as a sexual organ, for kissing and for more: a third and distinct function, not to be combined with either of the others, but no less luxurious and wonderful for sharing the same organ.

And finally the mouth is used for vomiting: not something we would like to dwell on, but it is so used. It is an occasionally necessary bodily function in which the mouth which eats and speaks and kisses plays an essential part. As long as the owner of the mouth cleans up properly afterwards - a wash and a rinse and a gargle - we have no problem in readmitting them to the world where mouths are used for the pleasant functions of eating, and speaking, and kissing as well. Yes, kissing: we are quite happy for them to use these multi-functional organs to kiss our lips, to kiss our torsos, to suck gently on our genitals, to explore...

And so to the bottom. Compare: like the mouth, it too has four key functions, each quite distinct. It is for sitting, and it performs this function very well. It is also a primary human sexual display, for catching attention at a distance and for worship close to. And then it is also for fucking.

These three are all pleasant functions. The mouth has eating and speaking and kissing; the arse has sitting, and fucking, and sexual display. It is a clean and pleasant organ for all of these functions, outside and in. After its intimate internal contact with his partner's primary sexual display, a gay man's cock is likely to be just as clean as if it had been sucked by mouth to climax (but perhaps even happier).

And then as a fourth function the arse is used for shitting. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody does it. It is done in private and it is over fairly quickly. It can feel very refreshing. Clean up properly afterwards - toilet tissue alone will do a perfectly good job - and the arse can return at once to its other perfectly proper functions: sitting, and fucking, and sexual display. The mouth has to vomit, the arse has to shit; but each can soon be readmitted to the clean and wholesome worlds of eating and speaking and kissing, and sitting and fucking and being adored.

I had a teenage friend - whilst in my teens - who, like me, was taunted as gay. When I came out to him he masturbated five times in twenty-four hours at the thought of the two of us 'doing it' together - and then decided to be straight after all. We met up ten years later to talk about life, the universe and everything - but mainly religion and relationships and sex - and he said he still could not allow his girlfriends to kiss him "there", even though they wanted to. Anywhere else, but not "there": it would 'prove' he was gay. As we embraced and parted, we swapped advice. Half of mine for him was: for goodness sake, let one of your girlfriends kiss you there - and soon. It is a clean and sensitive and beautiful place. It is half your sex life. Take it like a man.

It is a primary sexual display. Enjoy the sight of it, whether clothed or not. Cherish, admire, appreciate, and more, whether clothed or not. And offer it up for adoration.

So there was Adam, relaxed on the bed, head on one side, totally trusting, knees on the carpet, trousers and underpants around them, arse exposed and accessible. And this time I knew I had time to look, time to enjoy this privileged sight, enjoyed for the very first time just less than twenty-four hours before.

And so, in the privacy and comfort of my own room now, I bowed before this princely masterpiece to examine its ideal form, the shapely whole, the dark jewel at its centre, the impossible promise of the entrance way, fascinated and drawn by the perfect curves and folds of the entire intricate piece: the back merging into the valley and the cheeks, the crease marking the place where leg becomes buttock (where firm becomes soft), and creases and valley meeting at that deep central well of countless softer darker folds and who knows what secrets in the invisible depths beyond: this whole, blissful, praiseworthy vision, and not just a vision, but right here in the flesh, Adam's gift.

I dared to touch this time, to realise the vision: hands on back, then outer cheeks, then soft mounds. Adam shifted appreciatively. I pushed gently outwards, and the sides of the entrance way peeled apart a tiny portion further. I moved in for a closer view. I wanted to become one with the whole experience, to enter it with every one of my senses and have it fill me right through. I looked some more, and then placed my nose...

OK, the scent. You want to know about this obsession with the scent. Having established that it is clean, that it is definitely nothing at all to do with the smell of the latrine, what is it? Some scientists may want to argue, but let's face it, they know less about human sexuality than they do about the sex life of the fruit fly. For myself, I am perfectly convinced that this sexual display gives out a human pheromone, somewhere in those folds of skin around the crack of the arse and the back of the gonads, if not actually right around the anus itself. We know other mammals have scent glands there: witness dogs sniffing each other up. Then think about me and Adam, and look at this definition of pheromone [gleaned from more than one source]:

PHEROMONE: chemical substance produced by an organism which affects the behaviour of other organisms of the same species; found throughout the living world, from single cell organisms to mammals, pheromones are the most ancient form of animal communication, used primarily to stimulate actions related to reproduction; analogous to hormones within the body which send specific chemical signals between cells or organs causing them to perform a certain action; recently discovered to play a major part in the lives of primates.

Ants use them to share all kinds of information; and detecting them, they act on them. Ants do not choose to work in teams: the scent leaves them no choice, it is all pre-programmed. The whole colony is like one big brain communicating with itself.

Just about every living thing uses them to set in motion the cycle which leads to copulation and reproduction. The scent goes out, and those who detect it have no choice: they are taken over by it, they act upon it, it is all pre-programmed, they have no choice. Two members of the same species become like a single organism which is communicating with itself by these chemical signals to bring about the result: the pheromone of the individual becomes the hormone of the species, which then goes through its pre-programmed instinctive near-involuntary motions, its perpetual ritual dance. And as an extra guarantee, nature even reinforces the necessary action by making it pleasurable for each party in itself as then experienced: pleasurable sex; succouring proximity; sweet musky addictive aroma.

If you never found it so, perhaps your partner washes too much, or too little, or has bad diet, or simply does not produce; or maybe the mad hormonal changes of puberty abolish it or change it irretrievably. I only know what I experienced for myself that day and those years.

Pheromone "affects the behaviour of other organisms of the same species ... causing them to perform certain actions."

I was admiring the beautiful details of his arse. I dared to touch: hands on back, then outer cheeks, then soft mounds; he murmured happiness. I pushed gently outwards, and the sides of the entrance way peeled apart a little further. I moved in for a closer view. I wanted to become one with the whole experience, to enter it with every one of my senses and have it fill me right through: the pheromonal instinct to become one with him, one unit, one flesh. I looked some more, and then moved my face right up to him, flesh to flesh; I touched the tip of my nose into the softness of the valley of his arse, brushing it slowly down from its beginning at his back all the way to the border of the darker virginal heart, where I gently pressed it into place on the light side of the border, the nostrils as close to the enticing well as they could be. And I inhaled.

The incense of friendship. The delectable perfume of this special intimacy. The tangible essence of our shared passion. The aromatic pledge of absolute trust. Silence held as my lingering veneration continued, my devotion deepened, the pleasure flowed through me, the bond between us strengthened. It seemed like many minutes at the shrine of that potent controlling fragrance - the shrine of Adam - before he began to shift and I knew that it was time to pull down my trousers and give him my arse. So I pulled down my trousers and underpants and lay over the edge of the bed with my knees on the floor and my arse exposed and he straightened his clothes and knelt down behind me to enjoy.

It proceeded much as the day before, except now with the unhurried luxuries of endless time and total comfort. I was extraordinarily comfortable lying over the bed like that - not a position I had ever assumed before - head on one side, shoulders back, arms by my sides, spine supple and appreciative, all completely relaxed, with my upper clothes pulled up around my stomach, my trousers and underpants around my knees on the floor, shackling me into that one obeisant role, and the pleasant cool sensation of air moving freely around my exposed lower back and buttocks and thighs and, even as he inhaled - especially as he inhaled - around that most sensitive and appreciative point, my gift to him, as his hands, and even the cheeks of his face, explored the forms and the softness of my naked acquiescent flesh.

That day I lost count of how many times we exchanged positions, each taking our fix and offering our gift, always gentle and measured - and increasingly confident. And from that day onwards every day followed the same pattern. We would meet in the early afternoon. I would collect him from his place or he would come straight round to mine, we would go to my room, and there for a full hour we would play the only game we knew - with breaks in the hour, but not many and not long. For the whole of the rest of the summer. The full hour. Every day.

I never did see inside his house. And we never did play any other games.

Summer came to an end and full time school began. This was new and a diversion. Adam was at a different school and too many streets away for autumn evening play. When half term came around, we immediately renewed our programme of identical daily appointments, but mother complained that "you always come here" and I sensed an additional unspoken disapproval. It gave our passionate uniquely bonded friendship the extra frisson of minor rebellion, but it was the beginning of the end: the end of Adam, but definitely not the end of what we had shared.