From 4 to 14
- a memoir and a reflection - Part 7

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 - please do send your comments and your own stories.


Phil was a friend and companion at school: constant, committed, the very best kind. I once heard him sneered at for having me as a friend, given that I was a year below him - but he was unperturbed, showing in expression, in body language, and in words, that I was his friend and he did not care one jot for the judgement of any outsider on that. I liked him a lot. And he liked me too.

His being a year older made our relationship far more equal than most. In friendships with my peers I tended to be the bossy controlling one. Phil liked that in me - amused by my younger forwardness. But then his extra maturity meant that I could look up to him and admire him, and he could more than hold his own. The result: a genuinely affectionate equality.

That summer was the year in which he would move schools - but I, of course, would not. If our friendship was to survive - and we certainly both wanted that, wanted each other - then it had to move out of the school playground and into our homes. And so the summer holiday was spent with the two of us cycling between our two homes, rebuilding our friendship to a new design, that it might survive the end of daily shared schooling.

Every day we spent together that summer was like an adventure, perfect in itself: cycle rides, games, long walks - to all of my favourite places, and to all of his, a small town being an adventure playground of pathways and hidden play spaces. And all the time we would be chatting and talking, mostly just enjoying each other's company.

Sometimes we went to the swimming pool. Observations from the changing room: Phil wore a string vest. I had always thought these the preserve of the ancient. But under his trousers was something yet more strange: string underpants. Opaque cotton formed a discreet triangle at front and at rear, but the body of the item was string. There was a full clear view of tasty buttock sides. I thought it polite not to look too much, but I was intrigued. This was sexy. And was it deliberate? Who could know.

Phil was broad and fairly muscular. His hips were clearly a good sized frame for a broad, solid, square arse. I had seen outer cheeks, but no crack - I looked away.

I certainly knew I would never have him. We were far too old for me to talk of anything like that and get away with it. But it was a very tasty sight, as much as I dared to see.

And then, in the entirely natural course of things, the tent came out. Phil was to stay over in the garden: a camping adventure. There was camping food first. Then camping supper: hot stove tea. And then into the tent, and talk until very late, and finally time to undress. I knew nothing would happen. I was certainly not going to give any hint of past or present perversions to my senior friend Phil.

That very first night, he paused as soon as all his clothes were off. He was balancing, naked, crouching on the balls of his feet, not quite facing me with his body, but looking me in the eye and smiling pleasantly. He waited in silence until I too was naked, and I too paused, ready and more than willing should anything more happen next, though I had no idea of what it might be.

He smiled like a grin, and pointing to each of his nipples and his penis in turn, said: "Milk, milk, lemonade..." and stopped. A Pause. "Let's have a look at yours then."

I looked down at myself. I was kneeling now and sitting on my heels whilst he still balanced on the balls of his feet. I turned so that he had a clearer view of my cock. We were still askew to each other, like two people sitting in easy chairs: we each had a view of some buttock side if we wanted it, me of his right, him of my left.

He began again, pointing to himself: "Milk, milk, lemonade," and this time, "round the corner chocolate's made," pointing round the back of his right buttock, and twisting his hips to indicate. I smiled slightly pathetically, and watched. The two boy-erections had grown confidently stiff by now.

He carried on, smiling at his own humour. "I could be like a vending machine. Put the coin in the slot," - indicating his mouth, and swallowing - "tits spin round," - twirling actions with forefingers - "press the button," - belly button - "to choose lemonade or chocolate," - pointing again.

I was just watching and smiling. He looked me up and down - face, chest, stomach, erection - then looked down at himself, handling his cock - "Lemonade." Then he let his knees go down to the floor, and leaned forward from the knees, properly sideways on to me now, his right side facing me, arse off his heals: "Chocolate," touching his own right arse cheek. He watched for my reaction. What he saw was me looking at his buttock side. "Touch it," he said, twisting round some more, and pointing to a low bit of off-centre buttock which was certainly arse but neither back nor side. I touched with the back of a finger nail as though I were idly pointing. "Properly," he said; and he took my wrist and turned my hand to place it flat, fingers spread, palm to arse, where he had pointed.

It felt wonderful. It felt so natural. It seemed so long since. I let it rest there. I enjoyed. I was amazed: how could this be happening?

What was most amazing was that this was him, not me: his initiative entirely, and none of mine. A second miracle, a second blessing, I was thinking.

Up to that day, all my naked play went back to Adam: he was the messiah of whom I was the apostle, with around me a handful of the redeemed. There was no other messiah, and as far as I knew no other apostle either. All salvation came from him, from Adam. Now suddenly here was another messiah, his liturgy different, but his god and his faith and his route to salvation fundamentally the same. And he was evangelising me, not I him. Oh the privilege to be granted a hearing of this sacred message even once: but oh the unspeakable wonder to be hearing it now proclaimed anew by Phil, by Phil, by Phil, ELEVEN. This was hope reborn for the future: a faith which might live into adulthood.

I was ashamed that I had given up preaching the faith so completely, and yet here was Phil, proclaiming. I had sinned against my messiah, abandoning his gospel - the guilt of it - and yet here was new redemption, forgiveness, salvation: glory to god, a second messiah to redeem me. I was speechless at the privilege. Phil just carried on.

He was on all fours now, arse facing me square on, and he was encouraging me to touch and to feel. His arse was fair and broad and square, its valley not a crack but just a dip in the broad landscape, with him being bent over like this. The softer folds of arse hole flesh were not hidden in the depths but rather fully exposed, a perfect darker circle, flat like a coin, its closed pupil at its centre.

Phil's encouragement only had to deal with my penitence - not with reluctance, of which there was none. And yet I did not dare to let this messiah know that I had also had another. I obeyed instructions, and gave nothing away. My head went nowhere near him: I fondled at arm's length. "Have a closer look," he said: I dared, but not too much.

That night Phil displayed himself, and offered himself, and asked to inspect and to touch me: all active. I watched his display, took what was offered, and acceded to his requests: all passive. I do not know why, but that is how it was. Perhaps if I had shown more willingness we could have done so much more, but I just did not dare with my wonderful favourite senior friend and companion Phil.

...not even the next night, which was this.

Safely in our sleeping bags, Phil talked about his girlfriends. Well, not quite true. He mostly talked about the gorgeous older French boy they were going out with now, and with whom he could not possibly hope to compete. A crush on the boy and not the girls, me thinks: it seemed entirely natural to me, even there and then, to be more interested in him than in them. Phil bitterly called him Big Nose, but hinted at other things going on: was he perhaps going naked with them, sleeping with them, which Phil had not done?

Big Nose dealt with, came the full story of the girls: sisters, and he dated them both. In the double seats in the very back row of our town's old fashioned cinema house, he would sit in the centre with an arm around a girl on each side. In happier days they would find a hidden place in an out-house or a barn or some secluded wooded corner, to lie together in the grass or the hay and there to kiss: him the one and then him the other in turn, or the both of them him all at once. He thought he was good at it. Big Nose must have cheated so much to win them both. The bastard.

Phil was good at kissing. He had satisfied two girlfriends at once. I registered these facts. I had had his body the night before. The privilege.

I spoke briefly of one ex-girlfriend, for form: of Alison.

"I could teach you to kiss," said Phil. Now there was an offer: to be taught how to kiss like a real two-girl-catching expert. To be taught, by Phil. Phil would teach me how. Not the awkward untutored mutual pecking of my new year affair with my brother, but real kissing, as taught by ... my messiah. Teach me.

"Yes please."

I did not yet know that teaching meant practising on each other. But it did.

"OK," he said, "come over here." We shuffled in our sleeping bags until we were close side by side. We fixed our gaze eye to eye: affectionate, trusting. Both inquisitive. Different questions: "What Now" facing "Will He".

"You pretend I'm Alison, and I'll pretend you're the sisters."

No resistance from me, he placed a strong kiss full on my lips.

We settled into a rhythm. This was unimaginably better than with Brother earlier that year. These were no mutual pecks: these were long and ponderous and gentle kisses, lips fully moistened and pushed to their softest, slow moving and sensuous. Noses were no longer in the way, but were nuzzling cheeks and the sides of each other. And there was no endlessly repeated approach and retreat: this was a single melting together, and a staying there, drawing the pleasure of each other's lips. And there was silence now: no instruction, no lesson, just Phil and me bonded together by kiss.

"You're good. I've no idea why Alison gave up on you. She was daft to." I glowed with pride. I might have made some crumblingly humble response, free of any hint of self-esteem, but the kissing had already resumed, and Hey, Phil rated this.

After a while we surfaced for breath once again. "I'll teach you to roll."

Arms were out of sleeping bags by now, touching arms and sides. Now he demonstrated how to lie on top, and then roll both partners over on to their sides. This was the boy's role, apparently - to be on top and to lead the roll - so having quickly shown me how, he let the boy student take the dominant role, giving instructions as well: stay on top a good while kissing there, and kiss as you roll, and kiss there as well. I tried it, and he encouraged me, urging me on: not yet, a bit longer, try now, excellent. "You're good. You're really good. Again. Take longer this time." And then silence, and just kissing, just passion. And kissing, and a roll. And Phil on top, and a slightly different roll, and me on top, and that roll, and Phil on top - and so on, just kissing.

No more rolls to teach. Just embracing now. And kissing.

"Let's get out of our sleeping bags."

No nakedness, and no touching down below, but oh so much closer an embrace, arms wrapped around each other, and the sense of erection by erection, and the kissing going on and on, dizzy with passion, losing all sense of time: just Phil and me, merging, in the universe, Phil and me.

Pure passion. Profound fulfilment. It was so ... right. And going on and on.

Phil, spoken so very gently, affectionately: "You know this means we're poofs, don't you."

Me, also gently, but with total conviction, totally true: "I don't care." And kissing at once resumed.

Definitions in dictionaries do not make words mean what they mean: they merely tell us what they mean already. Defining moments in our lives do not make us who we are: they tell us who we are already, and only work because deep down we recognise that their definition is already true, and has always been so.

Far too young to know better, I once asked my mother what Queer meant - a good sounding word for an early talker to get his tongue around. She said that it - get that, "it" - that it was a man who wanted to live with another man, instead of with a woman. I remember thinking and knowing, "that's me." How I knew, I have no idea. And I knew none of its implications - only that, as baldly stated, that was certainly me: yes, by preference, I would chose to share a home with a man. I had picked up enough disapprobation to know not to say. I put it then to the back of my mind - but a defining moment it was.

This now was a defining moment and I knew it as it happened. Poofs, yes; boys who kiss boys, yes; I had not made the connection myself, but now that it was pointed out to me, clearly it was true. Brother had defined the two of us out of this class with "It's all right because we're brothers;" but now, with Phil - which was far better than Brother had been - we were two boys kissing each other entirely for the pleasure of it: any pretence of lesson long forgotten now, this was entirely for us.

Poofs, yes, we are poofs: two boys kissing each other. I would always know it now, always have to live with knowing, that I had kissed Phil and had loved it, and that that made me what they call a poof. But why should I care what they call it? Kissing Phil was wonderful. They were the ones missing out. Knowing inside that I fitted their definition of poof was not just "a price worth paying" - it was nothing, nothing at all. I truly could not find it anywhere within me to give a damn. I did not care; did not care for their prohibitive censorious miserable self-denying hatred. Did not care. It was all true, right there, right then, a defining moment.

"I don't care."

And there were no more words. We were embracing and kissing, for ourselves, for each other, for this.

Perhaps the reason that neither, highly contrasting night was ever repeated, even in part, is that I hated Phil on both of the following mornings. This was not because of what we had done. Quite the opposite: it was because of what we did not do. We did not do anything the following morning. Let me explain.

With Andrew or Stephen in that tent, the next morning would always be a friendly, happy time - just like the night before. I would happily have done all our naked things all over again there and then, but I would bide my time: there would be another day, another time, and the happy, friendly atmosphere was the promise of that. A knowing smile or a grin at shared nakedness whilst dressing was an extra guarantee, the bond of fidelity. So the morning after night one with Phil I wanted to play all those rude games again, right there, that very morning, as the tent day began. And the morning after night two I wanted to begin the day with extended kissing and embracing to put the seal of the future on to the experience of the night before. Neither morning was remotely like these hopes and dreams.

Phil was not a morning person. Not only did he fail to be bright and fresh and breezy - something which could be relied upon with Andrew and Stephen and myself - he was actually the far opposite: nine tenths asleep, grunting, grumpy, incognisant. He disgusted me. Perhaps if each morning had been more like an Andrew morning, we could have fused the play sex of night one with the genuine passion of night two and been lovers for years. Instead, each morning after took the shine off the night before. The pleasure of the memory was undiminished, but the momentum was completely destroyed: back to a stationary square one.

In my mid teens, when I dreamed of the raunchiest sex that I could imagine - all about body bits and nothing about love - it was nevertheless a basic fantasy requirement that the partner manage a little encore in the morning and be smiley through shower and breakfast. An absolute requirement. Phil had failed.

I kept sleeping in the tent as summer continued, night after night alone. It was a strange obsession. It went on and on. Into the new school year - lonely without Phil - I kept on sleeping out night after night. I moved the tent each weekend ready for another week. It became a challenge through all weathers as the nights drew in and the temperatures dropped. I went right through the winter, through rain and frost and snow. It became spring again, fresh in the garden air, and I was still there, night after night alone.

Phil never came back to the tent after those two nights. Perhaps I never invited him. Perhaps he thought I did not want him. But I recognise now what that camping obsession really was. I was paying homage to where Phil and I had been: where we had touched nakedness, where we had embraced with such passion. He was gone, and we did lose touch, and the experience was gone, but at least I was there, where it had happened, paying homage, night after night.


My daily year-long vigil in the tabernacle paid off. An unimaginable mid-summer miracle. Andrew, eleven, two years on from our last silent touch and sight and scent: "Do you remember when we used to have the Rood Club?"


"Don't you think it would be fun to start it up again?"

You need to ask? You do not need to ask. Second thoughts, you knew that.

"Yes." A pause. "We could start tonight. You could camp out with me in the tent." That was our historic place. And I was still out there every night, keeping vigil.


He did not want the tent. I guess it had too many childish memories. I guess his emotions now were ... more adult. He wanted something different from that: not codes and secret games, but the raw animal emotion of the original: Rood.

The warm night gave the solution: his garden, under the stars.

We laid out our mats and sleeping bags on the grass in the dusk of the evening. He said we should wait until it was properly dark: "midnight," he said; the magical hour. We dozed and we talked, preparing the way. The agenda ringing in my mind was his exact proposal as spoken: start Rood Club up again.

We were eleven.

We talked permissions and prohibitions. I wanted to know just what was on offer, just what he had in mind with his Rood proposal. What were to be the boundaries, if any? So we talked about memories of Rood, smiling and laughing about different times: do you remember The King And The Wishbone, yes; do you remember the time with Stephen, yes; do you remember our secret language - ten a circle.

"Oh I wouldn't want to smell it," he said. I took note. This was a boundary.

Did he remember the night when we knew that there must be more? Solemnly: Yes. So tonight could be the night to find out.

So what did he want to do? "Oh, you know, just whatever, looking and that."

As we were partly reminiscing, I took the opportunity to tell him all about Phil the year before - the start of my present tenting marathon. He listened in silence to the story of both nights - perhaps envious once again.

"Perhaps we could do some of those things tonight," I ventured.

He thought, and answered slowly, "I couldn't kiss you. Not on the lips." Another boundary. A real disappointment. But later on I would discover that he could kiss me more than ever somewhere else.

It may not have been midnight, but it was certainly late and fully dark. We moved by the orange sodium glow of street lights. We climbed out of our sleeping bags, and stood face to face, and reverently lowered our pyjama trousers to reveal two confidently expectant boy-erections. Now we both smiled: the liturgy was under way at last.

I showed him how one of my balls now hung lower than the other. This might have worried me, but I made out that it merely amused me. He had no such problem.

So we had looked at cocks: what now? "Bum to bum," he said; so we both turned around, and pouted our bums, and rubbed them together: my first touch of his arse - and his of mine - in two years. Now we were on our way.

Assertive: "Lie down and let me look at your bum." And he did, fully prone and exposed. Now I had to choreograph what would follow, a liturgical dance which would satisfy, without causing offence. I was still unsure of the boundaries. Apparently "smelling" was not approved. I knelt over him and touched and felt and massaged, looking, looking, looking, adoring that beautiful sight, and then I dared to lower my head and place one kiss at the top of the valley of his arse. As I did this I inhaled slowly and deeply - so that he would not know - and caught just the faintest, sweetest aroma of closeness.

He did not flinch at the kiss, but it was all I dared for now. As ever, our mutual timing was perfect: he spoke, just as I was about to speak. "OK, my turn." I lay down for him, fully prone and exposed.

Clearly he looked, and touched, and rubbed. He also kissed all around, and confidently, finally, lay his head on my arse as a pillow, just before a brief encore of kissing and rubbing and then: "Your turn again." It was happening. It was all happening. Two years on and it was all happening once again - and this at his behest.

As turns were taken, one and then the other, he spent so long admiring my arse: looking and touching and massaging, kissing all around with his lips, laying his head on the softness. How could he do all this and yet refuse - as he put it - to smell? It would be like taking a restaurant meal with the nose deliberately blocked. It was impossible that he had smelt nothing. He would have been unavoidably surrounded by the delicate aromas of that special chosen intimacy, and that fragrance clearly formed no compulsion for him to pull away. Indeed, by all appearances, he was as enchanted as ever. Perhaps he only sought that delicate aroma, rather than the drug-crazed pheromone snort that I craved - and which later I took.

I do not know how many times we changed places, but that is what we each did that night: mutual worship of the other's arse with eyes and hands and lips, and lying prone receiving that adoration with tender appreciation. Each turn lasted longer than the one before as we gave each other the gift of time - and we had all night, all the hours we could dream. At times it was almost as though I really could drift in and out of sleep with my head on the pillow of his arse, or with his head on mine. Certainly as the hours passed I worshipped him more deeply.

We were eleven.

This is how I remember him. Eleven, fully prone, arse exposed, under the stars in the sodium light, giving me all the affection and time and friendship and respect that I could hope for - along with his arse. Stillness and worship and time, late in the night.

He looked angelic.

This is how I remember him, eleven years old. Every memory of earlier times has that arse looking cute, a miniature, a foretaste, a scale model of this full flower (its nectar so sweet). Every later glimpse seems over size in the memory. This was the night of nights, the divine revelation, the eternal ideal.

I would wander over the mounds of his arse flesh, kissing as I went, and then take a full circuit around: the small of the back, the hips and the dimples, the lower buttocks and upper legs, returning by the other cheek to the top of the crack, to kiss that place where back became definitive arse. And then deep down the valley, both sides and even - and especially - the valley floor, stopping just short of the border where regular skin becomes soft folds of deeper brown, then rising to move along one valley side, returning to the valley centre once the oasis was passed, and on towards valley end down between thighs. Perhaps then along the sensitive and thrilling creased line which, on each side, divides buttock from thigh, and back each time to the centre to return then to the valley top taking the other diversion around the central well. And sometimes just kiss and kiss the valley sides and valley floor as close all around to the heart as I dared, round and round the outside of the circular rim of that moist and beautiful place, the entrance way to unimaginable, unutterable, unknowable pleasures. Some inviolable respect drew a line around the tender untouchable holy place itself, but its fragrance filled the whole of the space that I enjoyed, and in its very untouchable being it was itself the one true Sacred Heart of my devotion.

Eventually I inhaled as deeply as I ever had. I did not make too much effort to hide it by then - I had snatched deeper and closer breaths at each progressing stage of the night - though I still made no particular point of letting him know. He was happy for me to massage the flesh of his arse in all directions. He was happy for me to spread cheeks and lay wide open the view of the holy well. He was happy for me to kiss around it all the way to its rim. All I had to do, invisible and unheard, was to hover my nose above the source as my lips kissed somewhere beyond, below - and breathe, and breathe, and breathe.

We played until we were spent and almost sleeping. We slept with our erections and in the morning we smiled, but after that day it was never mentioned, never once, and it never did happen again.

My lonely tenting vigil continued from the very next day, on towards the autumn, when finally it expired.


One of the reasons the vigil expired was my boy cousin Timothy. Timothy was my brother's age, two years my senior, THIRTEEN. It was he who finally told me what bumming was - and I was mortified.

He was visiting our one remaining shared grandparent, who lived now in my home town. Three nights, we both slept in his downstairs front room on "Lilo" inflatable mattresses.

Night one, we talked about sex and cocks, and he flashed me enough of his own for me to confirm now that it was still the cock of a boy, not of a man. "You know when you've come up," he said, "because all these little white bits come out of the end of your dick." He was making it up. But sexy talk there was: of girls and sex, putting it in there, "having it off". This was apparently a key life goal for any approvable boy. And there was home spun porn: tales of tasteless inconsiderate conquests, whereby boy gets fuck.

Next day I hatched a plan. It went like this. "Timothy, you could get two balloons, and press them together, and push your dick between them, and it would feel just like the real thing, just like having it off, with a girl. We could do it tonight, if we could find two balloons. Yes? Yes! OK, no balloons. Timothy, given the tragic absence of balloons, we could loan each other's buttocks in turn as a favour instead - strictly in place of the missing balloons, you understand, an emergency measure in urgent circumstances and for an entirely worthwhile reward: you could push two buttocks together, and push your dick between them, between the buttocks, laying it in the arse crack, and it would feel just like the balloons, a bit like having it off, with a girl. Perhaps even better than balloons, and strictly to pretend that it's a girl. To experience this key thing that every real boy longs for. To experience it now, right here, tonight, as much as we want, instead of waiting years and years more for it. Taking turns. As a favour to each other, and a secret."

The real plan was to see and touch and feel his arse. The explanation was just an excuse.

The dick-in-crack bit was genuinely new: "dick to bum" before now had really been "dick to buttock," bashing stiff cock against mound of flesh. What we had always wanted of arse was sight and touch and scent, but this new thing which I had just invented in my mind seemed more and more alluring as the day wore on: Timothy and me, both ways, repeatedly, that night.

I waited hopefully that night for the opening which would allow me to enact my plan. It was a certainty to work if only the conversational opening came. But Timothy took the conversational lead, talking about sex - bragging about knowing - describing the crazy things that some men and women did, every heterosexual extreme. And then: "Do you know what bumming is? Two blokes do it."

"No. What is it?" I only knew that it was the most despised sexual practice of all. What it was I genuinely hadn't a clue, beyond the assumption that it must include a bum.

"I'll show you," he said, and he grabbed a newspaper and a pen. On the edge of the page he drew an arse - side view, one curve for each buttock, two simple lines giving such a clear impression of cheeks and crack and form.

"You can't do that! He'll find it!" I was horrified by the creation of this artefact, convinced it would convict us, with consequences unspeakable.

"Oh shut up. I'll throw it away. Look, this is one guy's bum, and this" - drawing a half torpedo, pointing towards it, one simple long half-loop of a line - "is the other guy's dick. That's bumming."

And now I was speechless: not at what I had seen, but at the knowledge that that very day I had invented this unspeakable thing for myself; and not only invented but so desired, and even - oh the utter humiliation so narrowly escaped - intended to propose.

More dirty talk. A peep at cocks. And sleep.

Night three was not planned, it simply emerged, and the end was very nearly that intended at the first - though God forbid that the mental connection between the two should be made. In retrospect, I cannot believe that Timothy's mind failed to make it, but he joined in with gusto just the same.

Not talk of sex, but silly games. Lie between two lilos and get squashed: boy in sandwich of inflated rubber breads, weight on top to press down (another boy). This we did repeatedly to great shared merriment, and then I pulled the plugs so that rubber would deflate, Timothy in sandwich, me on top. Gently I descended to the place of recent dreams (both of us giggling for cover as I went): the form of his prone arse rising up into my crotch, my penis erect, there to rest. And then furious blowing up of inflatable beds: Timothy's turn on top, "to squash me" - to fuck me? Giggling for cover as he went. And the form of my prone arse rose gently into his descending crotch, there to rest; then leap to reinflate.

The pause for reinflation was the foreplay to savour. One more go each and then this from me, me on top again: "OK. With trousers down this time." The excuse was sheer giddiness. The reason was two layers fewer in the way. He consented at once. And we did it this way. Over and over again.

I neither properly saw nor touched nor certainly ever smelt the arse of cousin Timothy, but our giddiness was covering a lustful passion; our interest was sex and flesh, and the potential of our silent tangential sexual negotiation which neither could even quote against the other. And what we each very deliberately had was naked arse in naked crotch, body to body, boy on boy, with only rubber inbetween. So successful was the ploy, we even played at home in broad daylight next day - fully clothed, but giggling as we went.


We all met up again through Scouting: Andrew, Peter and I all joined the troop where Phil and Stephen were members already, one year above. That summer, 1979, we prepared for our first proper camp.

The new boy, Peter, had arrived in our street and into my year at school two years before. I had been smitten straight away. I even pretended to take his sister as a girlfriend - she was so like him in looks and in character.

They came from over the county border - almost as exciting as coming from abroad. Peter was cute: small for his age. And he was pretty. And he was sweet. The first time we played we played hopscotch - a bit feminine, I feared, but a contact point.

The night that Andrew and I made out under the stars, we discussed whether Peter might ever have "diddled". We decided that everybody had at some time, and that Peter most probably had with the over-the-border childhood friend that he had had to stay - a butch and gruff and hunky male for his age. Evidence in favour of the thesis was the night the three of us shared a tent on an adventure to a campsite a long cycle ride away, when it was Peter who began a live commentary on the waxing and waning state of his erection - a conversation which we had both joined in, but which had no momentum to lead to anything more.

The year before, as a Scout troop, we had had just a one night bivouac camp: build your own shelter from what you could find. I had latched on to Phil as my partner in this, and hidden us away behind a dry stone wall. I had it all planned, but sod him, he slept like a log, and there was no quiet of the night in which to play, as several others - and I joined them - spent the whole night awake by the campfire. The plan failed - and I had felt like he owed it me too.

As far as Stephen and Phil were concerned, Scouting was acquaintanceship renewed - no more. In terms of watching the boys, I was actually most enchanted by the camaraderie of the older boys - fourteen and fifteen - with their authority, their deep voices, their mischief, their cigarettes and their near adult forms. I longed to be a part of their group, but could only aspire to their approval - any occasional hint of which was sure to make my week. I was besotted.

The time for the first proper camp came around and the first night set the tone. The camp was divided according to age to sleep eight to a decent sized tent (all new). That meant that there were only three "extras" for padding in a tent which was occupied by Andrew, Peter, Stephen, Phil and me. And strangely it was not us, but definitely the three, who led catcalls and wolf whistles and strip tease music as people tried to discreetly undress and to get into bed. And there we slept, eight parallel boys, in our bags, on our mats, on the floor, one tent, with dirty jokes and rude talk and unlikely bragging into the night - from the three.

Night two, Phil rose to the strip tease challenge, being last back to the tent, after a pee, the rest of us ready in bed. "Give us a flash," yelled one of the three, and Phil decided that he could oblige. Teasingly turning his bum to us all, watching us over a shoulder, he pushed out his arse and gave us a flash - just one corner - to cheers and applause.

I was watching dumbfounded, not only entranced by the sight, but wondering how he knew how: how he knew how to be so seductive, how to enslave me with one glimpse of flesh.

Phil stood there glowing with pride at the heart of the cheering and the applause. "Again!" A bigger flash, and more cheers.

"More! More!"

"No. Somebody else."

"Show us the front!"

This he did: smiling coyly, he lowered his pants, revealing a boy erection - hairless flesh of smooth white crotch, boy size cock standing to attention, small balls hanging in the crumpled sack below. And this was not a flash. He held it there. This was a show.

"Turn round!"

This he did. Playing the seductress again. Once. And then once more. Then he pulled them back up, but remained on his feet: show girl, or prostitute, or ring master, of this circus of captivated boys. "Someone else show us now," he said.

First was one of the three, then another. Neither stood. We crowded around them, they sat on their bums, they pulled away covers. Four or five torches picked out the details of one boy erection, then another: tall stiff small but sexy dicks against white flesh of stomach.

Phil still standing, master of the game; his boys back in their places.

Me now: "Someone give us a bumming demonstration."

Multiple calls of approval: "Yeah!"

"Who'll do it?" I would have loved to, but I just did not dare - for the shame of it. Perhaps someone else could be persuaded. I was happy to be the voyeur - at least at first. So who will do it?

Enquiring eyes shot around the tent, looking for the likely showmen. This went on for a while, these enquiring, pleading, persuading looks, an eyebrow raised, a dirty nod and a jeer and a grin. Phil, the showman, was giving them time; then perfectly timed: "I will," he said.

It now needed only one more volunteer. The suggestion had been mine. They were calling my name now. They wanted for it to be me. "No!"

"Well show us your dick then. Come on!" And they crowded around.

Peter on my left was faking sleep. "Come on Peter, you're missing all the fun," - but he said no. Andrew on my right had been sitting out as well, silent, staying in his place; but the prospect of my cock now brought him fully into the game. Stephen was behaving like a half detached elder statesman, looking on, peering over other's shoulders silently to see.

And so my cock had a formal audience of six, as I climbed out of sleeping bag, sat on my arse, and pulled down trousers properly for the viewing. Cock pointed away from me, still smooth, still boy size, a textbook model of foreskin, glans and shaft - for a boy. Someone reached in and lifted it, assuming a cock should point to the sky, but found it fully stiff and staying right where it was. "Any hairs?" asked one, and more than one hand stroked where they might be found, examining and then proclaiming the presence of several colourless sprouting bristles, quite distinct from the down around them.

"Andrew, let's see yours." And six boys with hard ones peered at another; and then, for near completeness, at the third of the three.

Peter slept. Stephen kept silence. Seven boys had seen six cocks as six boys had displayed them, each one erect and hard and fleshy and stiff and fully aroused and straight and hairless and uniformly - it must be said - prepubescent.

Attention returned to Phil, still standing, who gave us another strip tease and a twirl. One of the three met the challenge to copy with the fastest pull down and quick turn he could do (buttocks flat like two bags, but precious none the less). Thinking him a likely candidate now, the cat calls returned for a demonstration of bumming, but he protested: no demonstration was in store.

As encouragement and erotic entertainment, I told of my fantasy of planet zog where the species had only one sex: male organ in front, and receiver behind, and orgies conducted upstanding in lines - or even in complete circles. "Shall we all do it here?" No!

The evening was fading but one treat remained. Stephen finally spoke. "Come look at this."

We gathered around the top of his sleeping bag and torches lit up the inside.

There against his lower belly was a sight which left every one of us breathless. Its base emerged thick from somewhere out of sight between his legs, via a wide and spacious sack of crumpled flesh containing two huge accompanying balls. It continued long and thick and white and wide and deep across a large round nest of thick black curls of hair. It ran on and on towards us, both deep and broad and hard inside and sheathed in soft ripples of illuminated smoothness. Still in full proud girth it carried on past his belly button, arching above it by its own rigidity, and it carried on fearlessly towards us, on and on. Somewhere near the softness of his lower chest, it swelled in a great ridge to its incredible utmost maximum girth, and then peered out huge through a foreskin ring to taper to a slotted point, one end of a phenomenal bright heavy thick stiff soft-coated cylindrical mass, running nearly a foot engorged from his deep crotch to its point.

There were gasps.

I had seen the promised land.

Six erect boys looked on, looked on at this man cock. The night was concluded.

Predictably unpredictable, the next day Stephen tried to provoke a reaction from his respectable older brother by telling tales, in public hearing: "Phil did a strip tease last night; showed us his dick and his arse."

"I thought Phil was a nice boy." Or used to.

Several weeks later, again in a public place, Stephen mentioned that night to me. "Did you like my willy at camp?" Could it have been a come on? Could it have led to more? Or was he just playing, saying anything at all, for a reaction? "All those hairs, they all come out when I'm sitting on the loo. Ping, ping, ping." I was frightened by his raising it - as fearful at the potential for an awesomely pleasurable replay as at the potential for an awesome humiliation. Stephen was Dangerous To Know.

I had seen the promised land. But like Moses' spies, I was frightened of the giants. Needlessly, of course - like them. And so another needlessly celibate winter ensued: forty weeks wandering in the wilderness.