From 4 to 14
- a memoir and a reflection - Part 9

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.

FOURTEEN - The Epilogue

The things that we shared, my partners and I. We had so much sex so young: every boy in the street and a good few more besides. As they, and I, looked and touched and sniffed and kissed and more and so often and for so very long: what did it mean then, and what does it mean now?

For myself there is no doubt whatsoever that the entire story - from four to fourteen - forms an unbroken continuum from its beginning at four to my adult sex life at thirty today. There was no day, no year, between then and now, when it stopped being one thing and became something else. It is the same now as it was then, even at four. It is the same today as it was the day I met Adam. Sex is what it is now, sex is what it was then. I lust now, I lusted then. I have sex now, I had sex then. It is profound and fulfilling now, it was profound and fulfilling then. The words that I would use to describe the role that sex plays in my life now are the same words that I would use for the role that sex played in my life from four to fourteen. It has always been about respect, and intimacy, and friendship, and affection; and sexual, erotic love; and lust. It was then, it is now. At no age has it been any different. It has always been the real thing, from four to fourteen to today.

Contemporary western society has trouble with this. Amongst the over-thirties it is the celibate who are regarded as suspicious and unstable and abnormal, but anyone under thirty who is having sex is regarded as rather self-indulgent, and anyone under twenty as positively sick. This is completely ridiculous - sexual practice being a sickness at one age, sexual abstinence being a sickness at another. It is a societal attitude completely at variance with actual individual human experience: the older imposing bizarre untruths on the younger. Is it revenge? Is it envy? Whatever the cause, the assertion fails the reality test. Teenagers are full of healthy sexuality and are perfectly capable of healthy sexual practice. Sexual play and sexual intercourse are normative and natural long before the thirtieth birthday.

Most gay men first have sex at fifteen. Some at fourteen, thirteen, twelve; one at nine, of my recent acquaintance. I, we, had it at eight, at seven, at six, at five, at four. Why not? It all makes perfect sense to me. Why is the standard so different for children? At what age, precisely, is human sexuality supposed to change from being a sickness to being compulsory?

There was an extra wonderful thing about being four or a little bit more, and that was this: that we discovered the joys of sex years before we discovered the western adult disapproval of ... well, frankly, sex of just about any kind. Most boys do not have that privilege. Their first knowledge of sex is of dark secrets shrouded entirely in disapproval and ridicule, and then later it is in boasts of shameful and abusive conquests where women are objects to be fucked and despised. Sex finally happens when that universally indoctrinated sexual self-loathing is finally overcome by hard-won personal growth - or perhaps, tragically, merely overpowered and then reinforced by lust alone. In contrast to this repulsive state of affairs in most of the modern western world, our first knowledge of sex was of a nameless game which seemed to be the very essence of friendship itself, an entirely positive force for pleasure and for good which we would share, and then go on to defend whatever the world would later say - though the battle got rough, and tragically I lost it for a while. Far better this joyful play than the pointless and harmful indoctrinated self-loathing which western society seems to prefer for the young. It was wonderful to enjoy sex before that western neurosis took hold. Many people never escape that neurosis once it begins, and therefore never know the deep pleasures that we knew then.

The contemporary hysteria around children and sex denies children and teenagers their natural healthy sexuality - denying not only their right to it but even its existence. It commends only sexual repression and dishonesty, the two very things which cause all of our western sexual neuroses and dysfunctions in the first place.

My childhood sexuality was real and wonderful and beautiful. I deeply deeply resent those who, based on a false, sexuality denying, new puritan ideology, insist that it cannot have been so - because it was. It was all real, so very real.

I speak from my own experience. I cannot speak for those who experience sexuality, in childhood or in adulthood, as abuse and not pleasure. I cannot speak for those who had childhood sexual interaction with adults rather than other children, although there are those who speak with enormous gratitude of such experience as well as those who recall it only as pain and distress. I do know that in many cultures not only child-child but also adult-child sexual interaction has been normative; in contrast to this, in contemporary western culture, adult-child sexual interaction is so abhorred that the risks related to discovery, or to the child's later reinterpretation of actual pleasure as theoretical "abuse", could be even greater than the risk of the experience being non-pleasurable in the first place. But in this I am no expert. I only know what I know: that from four to fourteen I was just as sexual a being as I am today; and so, it would seem, were those around me.

There is just one remaining mystery. For me, this story forms an unbroken continuum from its beginning at four to my sex life today - which is an exclusively gay sex life in thought and in deed. There was no day, no year, between then and now, when it stopped being one thing and became something else. It was real gay sex then, it is real gay sex now. It was real gay lust then, it is real gay lust now: no change. I am, and I always was, the total Kinsey 7, the out and out bender, the bum boy, the queer, from four to fourteen to today. My pleasures then form a perfect continuum with being gay today. So what about the other boys: was every one of them gay?

It is with Kinsey that I now make sense of having had sex with so many boys - every boy in the street, and a few more besides. Kinsey saw us all on a 1 to 7 scale, from totally straight to totally gay. Most people look at the practice around, and assume a huge bulge at one end - full of boring straights - and a smaller bulge at the other, and almost nothing in between. In terms of practice this is probably true. In terms of actual orientation, I genuinely think not. I have seen and heard so much, in my own precious younger years, in conversations of intimate adult honesty, and in formal scientific research: whole cultures of ritualised and approved homosexuality, one third of white men and two thirds of black men having sex whilst in prison, the experience of the English public schools. To make sense of all that, I honestly now believe that the population spreads absolutely evenly right across Kinsey's 1 to 7 scale. And this is how it works.

I used to wonder why there were so few bisexuals - why virtually everyone seemed to be 'monosexual', either wholly gay or wholly straight - especially when my anti-sexist politics insisted on the irrelevance of gender, and logically should therefore only 'approve' of that rarest thing of all, namely bisexuality. Now I realise that only a tiny minority is 'monosexual': that as the human race, uniquely, we really are spread right across the Kinsey scale.

I now assume that those of us who are glad to be gay are just a minority of the Kinsey 7s. Far too many of our Kinsey 7 sisters and brothers are still suffering in self-hatred all alone, unseen and unheard. Far too many are in tragically-entered marriages.

Meanwhile, virtually the entire sweep of Kinsey 1s to Kinsey 6s have found themselves sufficiently heterosexual to play the exclusively heterosexual games which society has demanded of them and made so easy for them - and they have found them largely satisfactory. But some of them had sex with me or you first, or afterwards, or along the way, and they enjoyed that too. They may hate to say so, even to themselves, but it's true. Virtually all those 1s to 6s insist in public on their exclusive heterosexuality. They probably even do so to themselves in the dullness of their unexamined lives. So also do too many of our Kinsey 7 sisters and brothers - those gay brothers and sisters who are 'out' neither to others nor to themselves. Virtually all of those of us who have made it 'out' have only gone to the trouble of it all because we really are totally Kinsey 7, all the way, exclusively gay. And so the false appearance is that the whole world is monosexual - but in reality, that supposedly straight guy is really enjoying the sight of your ass, and would have a go at all kinds of things, given the chance and a guarantee of no come back.

And where do 'out' bisexuals come from? They are exceptional heroes like Phil, for whom a true and rare libertarianism allowed a Kinsey 6-or-less actually to admit what is in fact true for almost the whole population.

It is the only way I can explain it: every boy in the street, the things they happily did to me.

[The end]