This article was prompted by a documentary on SBS by a woman who investigated the rather ridiculous over-emphasis we place on virginity. It set me thinking about my own unique journey, which was, in many ways, influenced by concepts of social “norms”.
“I didn’t lose my virginity – I know exactly who has it!”
If I have a singular regret about my life, it would be not having sex before 25! The sex act is not there to make life for shy, gawky guys like me an easy thing to approach. It can, in fact, be quite frightening.
Sex was NEVER discussed in our household, and going to school through the late 50s and 60s meant that no help was forthcoming from that educational institution. The only sex education I got at school was the smutty gossip and imaginings of other pre-pubescent boys! At one sports afternoon, whilst dodging said sport (thus making it an art form for me) I got into a discussion with another 10 or 11 year old, who informed me, in a whispered conversation – and fuck only knows how the subject even came up – that women got pregnant by hoys sticking their pee pees into womans woo woos! I was horrified at the prospect – after all, pee pees were for wee wees, and nothing else – told him, after a flustered “liar liar pants on fire” that it was a big fat fib, clutched my head with my hands, and ran screaming home. I wasn’t silly! I watched enough movies to know that kissing was the culprit (the man and woman in the movie would kiss, then things would fade out, then she’d be telling him she was preggers), though nature only allowed strangers you kissed to get pregnant – you were safe if you kissed family. I thought that boy was disgusting, and an idiot!
I was an early bloomer, and by the age of 9 I had not only started to get pubic hair – diligently pulled out by me, as I thought that seeing as no one else had it, I must have been a bit of a freak – but nightly emissions had started, both natural and induced. The mechanics of wanking off with my hand hadn’t occured to me at this stage, but the friction method on the newly starched sheets worked a treat. My poor mother must have been in quite a quandry as to what to do, as she must have known, being the one doing the laundry. After my nocturnal shenanigans had been going on for some time, I awoke one morning to find that Jesus had visited during the night, and had left me some nice Christian literature on sex and procreation! I read it, but all the biblical language of vaginas, vulvas, uteruses, urethras, penis & testicles – without a practical re-enacting of it – left me confounded, and I ended up none the wiser. So much for my sexual education. Is it any wonder I chose virginity for the next 14 years!
It was around this time that my brothe Kevin and I discovered that girls had different bits. Even at this tender age, I already knew that mens bits were much more interesting to me than girls bits, but I decided that the differences warranted further investigation, if nothing else. Diane Cliffe lived two doors up, and wasn’t adverse to a game of Doctors and Nurses, though we could have done without her telling her mother about it. It didn’t go down well, and Diane was banned from visiting (just as we were planning an appendectomy!), though, to give them their due, my parents just viewed it as kids indulging in kids natural curiosity. The subject was never raised, and I knew nothing of the outrage until many years later.
I do remember my first orgasm -which progressed to the nocturnal emissions stage (see above) – as it happened so unexpectedly during a 5th class lesson period. I don’t actually know what I was doing to bring it on, but I was gazing out the window when this wonderful feeling overcame me, and despite not knowing what it was, I knew it felt really good, if not a little messy. I was on my way! From 1967-1969 I was at a Catholic boarding school, and a life of guilt-ridden wanking continued (confession was an easy way to alleviate the gult – “I touched myself, Father”; “How many times, my son”; “A lot, Father!”; “For your penance 10 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Mary’s”, and we were ready for our next run of sinful pleasure). All the boys in the dorm must have been as frantically pulling-the-pud as I was, but I can’t recollect catching out one single person in my three years there. I did get groped in the pool on one occasion, and never let on about it – I sort of think I enjoyed it – as probably did the boy who grabbed it! Unfortunately, there were no circle jerks or sly assignations! My education was at a stand-still! However, it did encourage my fetish for Speedos – the swimwear of chouce in that period.
Things really didn’t improve a lot after I left school at the end of ’69, and started work.The only thing I knew for sure was that I was gay (a poof, to use the vernacular of the times), but this wasn’t a good period for coming out, which was an unlikely thing for me to do anyway considering my upbringing and naive innocence. I’m pretty sure many suspected, but no one tackled me about it. In hindsight, having a couple of the Grace Brothers rather non-discreet, effeminate window dressers in our social group, who were totally accepted, should have hinted to me that nobody would probably have raised an eyebrow if I had outed myself. So, I put up a front, and dated girls. I never was good at the dating game, which probably explains why they never went past the first date. I felt awkward on dates, was never sure of what was expected of me, so it was a pretty well hands-off situation, and if the girls expected to get to first or second base with me…it never happened. I didn’t have a car, so all dating was done via public transport and cabs, which probably didn’t help. But it wasn’t a one way street – I was a fairly good looking boy, and a fashionable dresser, so I had my fair share of girls pursuing me, but I managed to avoid most advances, and they usually gave up eventually. I did have girls as friends, and despite two awkward situations – Lynne Broome professed undying love for me, and Jo Conway…who was to out herself as a lesbian a couple of years later…tried to seduce me in my apartment after I left home, and was the first to see through my facade – I enjoyed their company, and I think that in many respects, they enjoyed a male interaction that was – pethaps oddly – non-sexual.
Jo and I often went out together – my father thought we were dating – and she introduced me…passively…to the sin and temptation of Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. I had at that time (the mid-70s) little idea of just what a huge part of my life was to be played out on this strip in years to come. She was someone I felt safe with, and I have often regretted how our lives grew apart.
By this time, I was living on my own in Allowah. Now, if you think that my apartment was a hot bed of sin and debauchery, with neverending sex parties and orgies, let me assure you – it wasn’t! The only person having sex there was me – with me! I hung out with a large group of straight people- at least, to my knowledge they were – and it had to have been obvious to them that I wasn’t quite on the same wave length as they were. I never turned up at any parties or restaurant meals with a girl/girlfriend in tow, nor did I join in any of the slap and tickle conversations amongst the boys. It was a life of quiet desperation!
There was one notable event around 1972…I would have been 18. It could have been a turning point, but if anything, it slammed the closet door tightly closed. It was a very daring act for me, and I gyess what should have been an eye-opener for me in being accepted for who I am, and that my work colleagues at E.L.Downes at aRoselands didn’t judge, but encouraged the action, so it wasn’t as though it was unacceptable. A much older man – though quite handsome – called Leigh worked downstairs in the Clarke Rubber store. We always smiled and waved to each other whenever I walked past the store, we’d chat, and usually caught the same bus to Kogarah after work. He was obviously gay. During one of our chats, he invited me out for dinner, and I accepred. I thought later that it may have been a rash decision on my part, a spur-of-the-moment thing that I may live to regret, but I went ahead with it anyway. On the night of the date, we got a cab into Kings Cross, and he took me to a very exclusive restaurant called Mrs Beeton’s Tent. My expectation was that I may have to put out, but part of the expectation was that he’d take me home for whatever dalliances were expected as payment. On the cab ride back to Kogarah he held my hand – the first time I had ever had an intimate touch with another man. But arriving back at Kogarah, we got out at a local park, where he informed me that he lived with his mother. The expectation on his part was – sex in the public toilet in the park. I was horrified! I mumbled something about my father expecting me home, and fled! For some reason, he never spoke to me again. Ah, lost opportunities! I may have become a beat queen…
And so it went on until 1978. By this time, it was starting to cross my mind that perhaps – just perhaps – I was destined to never have sex with anyone…of any sex! My habitual reticence and almost obsessive shyness were personality traits that were proving my own worst enemy. By the time 1978 rolled around, I was living in a share house in Granville with friends. I knew Bede from the group I hung out with, and through him I met Sue. She in turn introduced me to Ronnie (Veronica) who was to have a more profound influence on my life than she could have ever believed possible. She was an attractive woman, well dressed, and a single mother. Her daughter Ann was just gorgeous, so it is perhaps not surprising that we hit it off. This was a bad period for me, as I was pretty sure I was gay, but had no idea what to do about it. It was doing my head in! And I was battling it on my own, with no one I could discuss it with, or get advice in regards to my options. So, I dated Ronnie, though only for two dates. I took her out for dinner one night, and getting back home some heavy petting ensued. She was the first person to give me a head job, but sex had to wait, as she wasn’t on the pill. As she was leaving, she asked me if I was a virgin! Fuck…is it stamped across my forehead! I admitted as much – like DUR – and pretty well screamed at her CAN I JUST GET RID OF IT!
I’d worked my way through “The Joy of Sex”, so knew all the mechanics of sex, all the ins and outs, all the do’s and don’t do’s. So, a week later, I went in with eyes open. I can’t recollect being all that nervous, and to my benefit I think I put on a pretty confident and impressive show. It was no Karma Sutra performance, but there was foreplay, I went down on her – which I don’t think she was expecting – and it was a substantial fuck session before I blew. But there was one very big problem, and that problem was to direct the way my life was to play out from that point! To achieve an orgasm with Ronnie…I had to fantasise that I was having sex with a man! If I had been unsure before, by the time she left that night I knew that I was definitely gay. I am still a bit ashamed of myself how I avoided her after the popping-the-cherry night, but there was no way I could have explained to her what was going on without her feeling used and demeaned, so I took the easy way out via avoidance!
In 1978, my father committed suicide, which on its own was a providential event. I was sent to Melbourne by my company in late 1979 to troubleshoot their retail businesses there. No further instances of sexual dalliances had occured over that time, but I went to Melbourne knowing that my path was set. It was just a matter of time, and circumstances. I am not going into my coming out here, as there is an article about it here on my blog, but suffice it to say that with my father dead, in a strange city, away from the prying eyes of family and friends, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to come out, and my desire to do something about it was set in stone. Within 6-months of hitting that city, I finally made my move. Now to lose my gay virginity!
But even that intention proved to be a very bumpy road! Naturally – well, to me, antway – my follow-on reading from “The Joy of Sex” was “The Joy of Gay Sex”, so once again I went into the arena fully prepared…and totally clueless! As noted in my coming out story, I joined Acceptance Melbourne, a group for gay Catholics, as a catalyst to smooth my way into the gay community, That I was no longer a practising Catholic didn’t come into the equation. Any port in a storm, you might say! So, I met Frank at a social, at the University Club (a gay venue on Friday & Saturday nights, in Swanson Street) after a First Friday Mass. He made the move on me, which was perhaps not surprising, being new to the group. He was older than me, and not my choice as far as looks went, buy hey…I was a virgin on several fronts, not the least being that ability to say thanks-but-no-thanks to people you don’t fancy trying to pick you up! It was a lesson I learnt quickly.
So, the end of the night found me in Frank’s car – much to the consternation of a couple of younger members of the group who thought they may have had a crack at me – being driven to some far-flung…literally…suburb of Melbourne. Frank had my cock out of my fly before we even got out of the car park, and proceeded to give me head at every set of lights – many – along the way! Being my first sexual encounter with a man, I think I would have been excited under any circumstances. And I should point out – no one knew I wasn’t a sexually experienced gay man! This was sort of stupid, as it came with the expectation that I knew what I was doing. Nothing was further from the truth! So the blow jobs on the way to Franks were to be pretyy well the highlight of the night. It was all down hill from there! Being a newcomer to the scene I wasn’t familiar with the concepts of a “top” (the active partner, or fucker), and “bottom” (the passive partner, or fuckee), and Frank evidently ex pected me to be the top. For my part, I expected him to guide the proceedings, but it didn’t pan out that way. The night finished with a mutual wank session, before he shuffled me onto the train back to Melbourne city. My first encounter with gay sex left me very disillusioned! Was this all it was about!
My subsequent next encounter with Fred wasn’t a hell of a lot more successful, but it taught me the necessity of taking opposing sexualities into account when interacting with other men on a sexual level. Fred was into light S & M…fuck, I was battling to lose my virginity, let alone take on a fetish…and was heavily into the beat scene. Our relationship was destined not to last. I starred hanging out at “Mandate” nightclub in St Kilda, and that started opening doors for me. I had my first encounter with public sex when I was given a blow job on the edge of the dance floor – yes, the guy was attractive – and I did start picking guys up. I adopted the clone look, and being relatively good looking I had no trouble getting regular sex. My sexual expertise improved, but I was always the one going top! However, all that changed at a First Friday Mass at my flat in West Brunswick. Kevin, a close friend of mine, bought a friend, Barry, with him…a very attractive friend! I was smitten! He stayed to help clean up…then right royally fucked me! I was so turned on by having such a hot guy topping me for the first time that I put on a performance that any porn actor would have been proud of. And it converted me from top…to bottom. My cherry was well and truly popped! I took to it like a duck to water. From that point, I never looked back.
Despite coming out late in life, I’ve had a very interesting and diverse sex life. Despite jokingly calling myself a slut, I have slept with nowhere near the number of men most others I know have. Not being into beats, backrooms (I’ve done that 2-3 times), or saunas (I’ve done that once) my pick-up life has always relied on the pubs and nightclubs, which keeps it a bit under control. You learn to pick that fine line whereby a potential root has had enough to drink to get him interested, but not so much that they pass out. I’ve made a fool of myself a few times, had a lot of laughs, and a lot of great – and memorable – sex. Some of this time has been tinged with sadness, and there have been several “fireworks” encounters. I was flattered to find out that I was considered a good root. I’ve had five serious relationships – one of which lasted for 16 years. I’ve had 3 really beautiful fuck buddies; Paul – who I’ve always been in love with, but careers got in our way – for 10 years; Graham, who I met through a threesome (and who was in an abusive relationship) for 5 years; and Gregg – a married guy with two kids from Forbes, for 3 years. I’m comfortable with my fetishes – jockstraps, Y-fronts, and Speedo’s – and have met nothing but nutters through the sex apps. If this is the future of sex, it’s very sad!
In a way, I’m back to square one. I’ve even gone back to being a top.Except for the good old-fashioned hand jobs, I haven’t had sex with another guy for about 2 years. Being 63 and single, I’m really not expecting them to line up at the door. And if I have to be honest, I don’t really care. I like it that I do things just for myself now. If I slip into a jockstrap, it’s for my own pleasure; when I go to the gym, it’s done to impress me; I no longer have to ply myself with alcohol in a bar to get the Dutch courage to pick someone up; and I can sit in a cafe on my own and not feel lonely. It may have taken me a long time to finally lose my virginity, and there may have been some odd diversions along the way, but it’s been a great, fun journey. And though I may wish that I had started the fucking journey a lot earlier, it may not have been as interesting if I had. I look back on the abstinence years with humour now.
“We live in a world where losing your phone is more dramatic than losing your virginity!”
And that is as it should be!
Tim Alderman (C 2016)