Becoming Men


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Between the ages of 10 and 12, I spent the summers hanging out with Devon and Felix. We would run around in the sun, pretending we were warriors assaulting castles, storming dragon caves for treasure and princesses, sailing the high seas hunting pirates. We would collapse in the shade beneath the trampoline and eat fruit picked fresh from the trees in Felix’s backyard. As night fell, we would set up a tent and gather foam mats, sleeping bags, and pillows. Flashlights illuminated our canvas-capsule late into the night. Comic books and junk food were consumed with equal voracity. Heated debates about super powers and favourite candies occupied our hours, and there seemed little in the world of more import than discussing the various virtues of the girls at school.
I clearly remember Devon started the touching. During the days, as we ran and played, he would swat at our asses with his foam-rubber sword. It was only natural to retaliate, until we all collapsed in giggles, wrestling on the lawn for control of the weapons. When the weapons were flung out of range, well, open palms worked just as well to deliver stinging slaps to butts and backs and stomachs.
Later, in the tent, Devon would muse out loud about how he would sometimes squeeze his own rear, squishing and squeezing, because of the way it made his wiener jump around. He thought it was hilarious, and Felix and I wouldn’t be satisfied until he’d demonstrated. Mission accomplished, rocket ship primed and ready for launch, nothing would do but we begin a count down.
“T minus 10…

And Devon would grasp his cock by the base and chase us around the cramped confines of the tent with his “missile,” intent on nuking us into submission. More wrestling ensued. He was half naked, so it only made sense for him to try to strip us of our pyjamas, too. Thinking back on it, I don’t recall Felix or I resisted overmuch. Then, sweating, naked, thoroughly exhausted by laughter, our play would take a gentle turn.
It progressed in stages. Days, weeks, months… one summer to the next. In time, Felix and Devon and I would touch and stroke each other’s penises, marvelling at the way they grew and hardened. We would compare notes on the new sensations our magic wands were supplying.
I’ve always been more curious than sensible. I began to hint at a thing I’d heard my older brother talking about – something called a blow job. I began to wonder out loud what it might feel like. We’d take turns guessing. Felix may have gotten closest, in his innocent imagination, likening a warm mouth clamping onto his fishing tackle to submerging his submarine in a sea of warm custard. I expressed doubts with his comparisons, asking questions about temperature, relative humidity, discrepancies of pressure, questioning the role of that rude animal who dwells within the cave-mouth: the tongue.
They got the hint, eventually. I wanted to try this thing, and I was willing to perform the act if they were willing to reciprocate. It was at this point that Devon became gun shy. He began to show up to play less often, citing chores and onerous duties levied by his grandparents, with whom he lived.
Felix and I carried on without him.
Felix, bless his awkward soul, was always a follower. I’ve always been something of a hinge, in social circles, friends rotating this way and that about my eccentric and charismatic whims. Not a thing I’ve cultivated, understand, just something that is. It may be my way with words; it may be my incorrigible good nature; it may be my mischievous smile; it may be (in every case but this one) my willingness to own my transgressions and face the consequences of my actions without compunction. I’ve talked good people into some very strange things in my lifetime, and even at that young age this wasn’t new territory for me. Felix had few friends. I didn’t consciously take advantage of that fact, but I knew he would follow wherever I led.
Hand-jobs became blow-jobs. I had already discovered masturbation, and the incredible inversion of orgasms; the joy of briefly achieving oneness with the divine by spilling my entire radiant being through the hole in my penis; leaving behind a vacuum for the overwhelming beauty of the universe to rush in. When Felix discovered ejaculation, it was in my mouth, and while I struggled with the taste of his young cum (how can something that feels so delightful fail to be just as delicious?) he struggled with his sexual identity.
He had begun to wonder if he was gay. Me, I couldn’t be bothered to worry about it. I was what I was, and I liked myself. I never saw any need to question our play. I didn’t feel gay, so I must not be gay. Pleasure was pleasure, and easy for me to accept on its own merits, regardless of the source. Certainly I still lusted after all the girls in school I wouldn’t find the courage to actually talk to until I was seventeen.

Felix felt differently. He was no longer sure of himself. He became distant and withdrawn.
I became increasingly impatient with his reticence, not understanding his ambivalence. He admitted to liking it. It felt good. Why behave as if it was wrong, when we clearly both enjoyed it? No, I hadn’t told anyone, but I didn’t see why anyone needed to know. I didn’t want to fool around with anyone else. Felix was my special friend, my best friend, and it made sense to me that we would share these intimate things.

The real problem arose from the fact that, while I continued to enjoy the overlap of numerous social circles, Felix had no friends but me. And more and more, as he struggled to figure out his feelings, his identity, I was leaving him behind. He continued to follow me about, a sad habit, watching me move easily between social encounters, never quite being accepted by the people who accepted me so easily. He was always just a little too weird, a little too awkward, a little too clumsy, and kids are so casually cruel.
In time, I began to resent him. I had experienced a blossoming of my desire for girls, to the point where it eclipsed any lingering contentment I may have found in the sexual company of boys, and I became firmly rooted in my heterosexual identity. I no longer had any interest in the sort of play we had engaged in as kids. Teenagers now, he was an embarrassing reminder of our clumsy childhood explorations. I knew well enough what people would think if they were to find out what Felix and I had shared. Worse, he was a burden. A lonely geek who held me back from fully engaging with my peers. So I began chasing him away.
It was like throwing stones at a lost puppy to keep it from following you home. He was so pitiful, so pathetic, and I felt it keenly as an offense. I raged at him to grow some balls, to take control of his world, to be himself without shame or remorse, to stop caring what others might think. To stop caring what I might think!
The irony of it, in hindsight, was that I wasn’t being entirely true to myself. I was too influenced by the opinions of my growing circle of friends, too concerned with keeping their positive regard. It would be a long time before I realized the true friend I threw away, but there came a time when, in a black mood, I attacked Felix and brutalized him, giving vent to years of directionless anger that, by rights, should have been aimed at myself. I had been running from my fears for years, and he, in his constant desire to come to terms with those same fears, had come to symbolize that. So I punished him, and destroyed our friendship forever.
To this day, regret lays heavy on my heart. We lost touch when he moved away, and I was never able to make amends. Once, in my mid-twenties, I saw him walking by as I was sitting in a cafe. He was hand in hand with a beautiful, dusky woman, her laughing midnight eyes flashing above bright white teeth in a smile meant just for him.
I had no right to shatter his joy, but I ran to catch up with him. The fear in his eyes when he turned to see who was calling after him smote me like a physical blow. It was almost identical to the day I chased him down to knock him flat and pummel him with fists and feet. The look on his face told me the verbal pummelling back then had damaged him worse than any physical blow I had delivered. The look on his face gutted me, hollowed me out. All my words left me, and we just stared at each other. Like predator and prey.
The lion runs up to the wounded gazelle, who can’t escape, and then the lion can’t find the language to express how sorry he is to have caused such pain.  I tried. God, how I tried. But it could never be enough. The gazelle limped away, watching fearfully over his shoulder.
  And suddenly I was the victim. He was rejecting me.
I swallowed my pride and tried to accept it as my due. I didn’t follow him, though maybe I should have. Kept trying, kept talking, until somehow something made sense. But maybe it was better to leave it alone. I don’t know.

Felix, please understand. I was never gay, and neither were you. We were children. We were ignorant. We weren’t wise enough to consider the consequences. We just followed our pleasure into a labyrinth too complex to escape from until we grew tall enough to see over the walls. Some days I don’t know if I’m actually tall enough yet. Maybe I’m just deluding myself.

Felix, I’m not ready yet to talk about the things I suffered as a teenager. The reasons behind the changes in me. Behind my anger.  I don’t allude to these things now as an excuse. But it was never really about you.  About what we shared.  I just want you to know that, for a time, it was beyond my control. I was as terrified as you, but didn’t have the strength of character and courage to face it as you did, to question it, to keep demanding answers.  The truth is, you were the lion.  I was a mouse.
I was 28 before I stared down my demons and put my feet on the path to becoming the man I want to be. That man would never have hurt you the way I did. That man would have supported and encouraged you. Listened to your fears and concerns. Given you sympathy and compassion. Defended you fiercely against any who thought to belittle your difficult journey through personal darkness. Perhaps that man would never have pushed you into the darkness in the first place.

I know it’s far too late to be that man for you. I have only just become him for myself. I am still becoming him. But I hope, if you can’t forgive me, that you can forget me:
Erase the stain I left on your memories of a bright and happy childhood, grow beyond the damage I did, turn your face towards the sun, and bloom.

I heave a sigh and tell myself I have to leave it at that. It’s hard to believe how raw such a wound can be, years after the fact. If I hurt Felix, I know I hurt myself every bit as much.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. It is catharsis, to share these things.
I want to thank Ben, who sent me an email and shared a story of his own. It was Ben’s story that put my mind on this track, and painful as it has been, it has also been good. A wound can’t heal until the corruption is forced out.

Ben’s story of seduction reminded me of my own explorations of sexual identity. As you will see, though Ben has come to terms with his desires, others aren’t always at that same point in their journey.

Ben writes:

There have been several (he said, feigning modesty) occasions of note in my sexual history; like the time I spent part of a summer as a caretaker in a gay nudist colony; or the guy I picked up by leaving a note on his car windshield wiper; or the twins whose natural body temperatures were 100 point five (talk about hot lovers!). But I think the best example would be to tell you about Walt.

I guess I should preface this by telling you that although I’d had sex with other males since I was 13, it was not until I was 25, in college, still having sex with men while dating a wonderful girl, that I decided to finally face who I am.  I was engaged to a wonderful woman and could not go through with it, as much as I really wanted to.  I knew I could never love her in the way that she needed to be loved.

I graduated college with my new self-acceptance (kind of) and made my way to a job in an eastern US city that seemed too good to be true — and it was.  I was soon unemployed and later found a job at a radio station in a suburb.  I was making friends, being new in town, and got invited to a party by one of my recent acquaintances.  When I walked in, there, slouched in an easy chair, was an extremely handsome, black-to-the-point-of-Nubian-blue stud with a crotch that looked like someone’s fist was stuffed in his Levi’s.  He had a scowl on his face like he was ready to rip off someone’s head, so I didn’t try to engage him in conversation.  It was just a straight, friendly get-together, bar-b-q kinda thing, so I went to mingle with the few I knew and maybe meet a few others.

I asked a friend of mine who the angry guy in the foyer was and he said, “Oh, that’s Walt.  He and Angela are probably fighting again.”
The recollection of his angered face posted a caution note to my libido.  Unfortunately, the more I learned about him, the harder it was to pay attention to the warning.  Walt worked on the production line for a company that made concrete blocks.  His job was to take the blocks as they came off the line and push two together, pick them up, then place them on a palette 90 degrees from their original orientation.  He would build layer after layer and then transport them to a drying room.  His job was a physical workout, eight hours a day, five days a week.  He was five-foot-five and solid, black muscle.

A while later I was in the kitchen when he walked in – not quite as angry, but less than welcoming in his countenance. I stepped out of his way and was getting ready to edge past him when he grumbled, “Just goin’ for a beer in the fridge.”
“I think there’s a few left,” I ventured.
He looked at me and a grin the size of Miami and just as bright lit up his face. His voice had an almost child-like lilt as he said, “Hey, sorry.  Didn’t mean it like that.” He extended a thick, calloused hand, “I’m Walt.”
Mentally shaking in my shoes, I managed a normally resonant, “Howdy.  I’m Ben,” and met his firm but not intrusive grip. What followed was a delightful conversation.  Walt laughed easily and had quite a sense of humour.  We had been talking for some time when he mentioned he had to go see his Mom, but wanted to catch up with me later.  He walked away and I saw a bubble butt from God as his denim rippled.

I have always loved the seduction of sex and being the seducer.  Years earlier I had learned how to massage (somewhat, but it was enough, back then.  It was enough this time as well).  Walt loved playing cribbage and euchre and I was a fair hand at it.  It did not take long before I found myself at card parties with Walt in attendance and our friendship grew.

One afternoon he called me. “Can I come over and talk?”
“Sure,” I replied.
A few minutes later he appeared at my door in a tight t-shirt and jeans, holding a six-pack of Mickey’s wide-mouth Malt Liquor.
He waved it toward me. “I brought some refreshment.  Where are the cards?” He grinned.
I threw a deck of cards on the table and he grabbed a chair, popped a Kool into his mouth and started in about Angie and her little girl.  He grabbed a beer and motioned the carton to me. I put them in the fridge and took one for myself.  Over the next hour we played cards and I listened to his concerns, how something was missing from his relationship.  I could tell he was frustrated and tense over the whole thing.

We finished the second brew and were about halfway through the third when we finished a hand.  The game was rather lack-luster for some reason, so I took the chance and paused.  “Let me just try something for you, Walt,” I said as I got up and walked behind him.  I sunk my fingers into his upper traps and squeezed with my thumbs, applying pressure to his back.
“Ugh!” He grunted in relief as the pressure released tension from his muscles.  “Damn!” he said. “Where’d you learn to do that?”
“Just something I picked up a while back. Now just relax a little.  Part of your problem is you’re carrying all this tension and it comes across. Just relax,” I intoned as I worked my fingers into his sturdy flesh.  The way the tense energy was radiating off him, it was like massaging a wild animal.

I had worked his upper back and shoulders for a few minutes when I paused and said, “Hang on.”  I got up and headed for the linen closet.  I brought out a couple blankets which I folded into a soft mat on the floor.  “Here,” I said, patting the mat, “come over here for a second.” As he walked over, I said, “Just stretch out here and I’ll work on your back.”
Walt sat down, slipped off his shoes, and stretched out on his stomach.  I knelt down next to him. Spotting the massive lump he called a wallet in his back pocket I grabbed it and said, “We need to get rid of this,” and set it aside.  He wriggled his hips as if to adjust himself and turned his head to the side.

I straddled his back at the hips and began to work over his muscles.  He moaned in appreciation.  “Ya know what would feel better for you?” I asked.
“What?” he muttered into his arm.
“Usually feels better working on skin than cloth.”  I slid my hand under his t-shirt and then over it and asked if he could feel a difference. He propped himself up, peeled off his shirt and laid back down.

I worked my way down his back.  Solid muscle — so long worked, so rarely appreciated. I took my time but my brain was away ahead of my hands.  I got to the small of his back and purposely bumped into his belt, creating little jars to the massage movement.  I moved to his jeans and began to apply direct pressure to his glutes.  He sighed with release and I moved my hands up and again bumped into his belt.
“I’m sorry.” I could feel the heat from his thighs radiating into my crotch. “Ya know, this might feel better if I wasn’t bumping into your belt.  Do ya think you could do without it?”
He grunted and rolled on his side to unbuckle his belt.  He pulled it out and set it aside and was about to lay back down.
“You’d probably be more comfortable if you unbuttoned your Levi’s,” I offered.  He unsnapped them, lowered his zipper a bit, and rolled to his stomach.

About ten minutes later I had talked him out of his pants. As I pulled them off I was awarded with the sight of his perfect bubble butt, stark in the contrast of black to white jockeys.  Five minutes later, with a reminder of how skin to skin felt versus cloth, they were gone.  I made my way from his trapezius down, and as I got to his glutes I kneaded the taught muscles and felt them soften as he moaned in pleasure.  I continued down to his hamstrings and gripped each one firmly, feeling them respond as he squirmed slightly.  I went to his calves and then straddled his legs and began the trek back north.  I worked his inner thighs upward, drawing my fingers up as I neared his crotch.  I continued up to his shoulders again, and leaning forward with my weight, started back down.  This time, however, I leaned forward and began to breathe upon his back, creating a gentle breeze of heat, wet with sexual tension, as I worked down his spine.

I neared his perfect ass, exhaling slowly over his firm, slightly-furred mounds of pleasure.  My fingers followed after, stroking his man-fur as I slid ever so slightly into the crack of his ass and continued down toward his balls.  He gave a slight start – almost as if registering an electric current – as my fingers grazed his ball-sac.  I scooted down his legs and looked between them at my target.  The head of his dick was visible as I massaged his inner thighs upward.  When I neared his crotch I allowed myself to gently prod the semi-soft cock-head beneath my fingertips.  It responded with appreciation.

I grasped his adductors and began working them toward his pelvis and watched as his cock began to grow.  My fingers would knead to just below it and stop.  It pulsed and yearned to be touched.  His growing cock was trying to travel down his thigh but the sweat from his anticipation bound it to his leg.  It engorged with blood and began to arch sideways as it tried to force its way down his leg.  I straddled one leg, picked up the other, and moved it out a couple inches.  Switching so I was straddling the outstretched leg, I moved his “stuck” leg out as well.  The motion freed his manhood and it stretched, growing to a beautifully full, rock hard eight inches.  It was as rugged and defined as the rest of his body.  The sight of it was like throwing meat to a tiger.

My hand was gripping his inner thigh and his balls were next to it, moving with my every rhythmic gesture. My breath was behind the motion of my hands as my lips came close to his scrotum. My hands plied the supple buttocks of the hot stud beneath me.  I pulled up and looked between his legs. The head of his dick glistening with pre-cum.

I brought my face to where my hands were and began to kiss his cheeks softly, causing the hairs on his ass to stand.  I kissed each cheek and then wandered inward to the mother-load.  My tongue found its way to the top of his crack and worked in and down at the same time; following my hands — opening this world to possibilities.

I didn’t go deep enough to contact his sphincter.  I teased the territory and went on.  The next thing encountered was his nut-sac and Walt let out a sigh of welcome.  I tongued his nuts, lubricating the sides of his balls as best I could.  They slid aside from his thigh as I forced my tongue further toward his front.  There, I found his throbbing manhood.  I began on the side, shifting to the back of his shaft as I worked my tongue down toward his cock-head, now swollen and black-crimson.  I licked it and tasted his salty excitement.

I stood up and peeled off my pants and underwear, pulled off my shirt, and knelt back down between his legs, forcing them slightly wider. His ass was before me, glistening from the tongue bath it had received — the cherry yet untouched.  I slid my hands up his inner thighs and parted the way for my tongue; contacted his rectum with a hot, wet kiss, and it responded with an immediate appreciative pucker, like it was kissing me back.

Walt began to moan and thrash as his animal essence permeated the room.  His pheromones drove me to assault his hole with a fury — his hip gyrations increased as he raised his ass to the onslaught.  I forced my tongue into his tight sphincter and felt it throb against the sides of my wet probe.

Straightened up, my cock jutted, heavy with desire.  I shifted him to his side and moved his leg to reposition him, rolling him to his back. His staff, in all its splendour, flopped onto his stomach with a smack; laying there, begging to be kissed; swallowed.  And I did just that.

I grasped his legs and spread them.  I hooked my elbows to either side of his ass, placing my hands on his sides, and plunged onto his manhood, pulling his dick as deep into my throat as it would go.  He let out a squeal of ecstasy as I swallowed as much as I could.  His hands found my head and he caressed my skull as I ministered to his cock, pausing occasionally on the upstroke to breathe and admire the shaft before me.

I hooked his knees over my shoulders and raised his hips to expose his ass.  My hands went under his knees and pushed forward, bringing it into range.  Again I assaulted his man-pussy with a wet tongue that was out to conquer new territory and take no prisoners.  I pulled his ass to my face, pulled his body up and toward me as I sat with my knees toward his shoulders.  My body became a ramp for his mounds to find my face.

After driving my tongue into his hole and feeling it relax, I lowered him back down and reached for a small jar of lubricant I had placed on a table nearby.  I dabbed some on my fingers and started exploring his asshole as I inhaled his steaming cock with testosterone driven suction.  While my tongue was dancing up and down his shaft, the finger encountering his cherry hole was met with a happy response. His ass kept asking to be taken further.  I worked two fingers in, feeling the rings of muscle contract and stretch… as though asking for just a bit more.

His cock was leaking, throbbing, too good to ignore.  I swallowed as much of his length as I could, feeling the heat and pulsations in my mouth as he entered my throat.  I worked my tongue along his shaft and satiny cock-head.  My own cock was bobbing up and down, begging to be released.  I stopped rubbing his prostate and turned attention to myself while still trying to suck his nuts into his body.  I reached below and began jacking myself.
“Ugh-h-h-h!” He was grimacing in ecstasy. “I … am…going to….a-a-g-h-h-h!”  He pumped volley after volley of seed into my mouth.  I swallowed it as my cheeks gripped his jerking member.  The pulsations and coursing energy of his orgasm took me over the top.  I blasted his nut-sac and stomach with rifle-shot orgasms.

Exhausted and covered with cum, I let Walt back down on the mat and went for a hot, moist towel to clean him off.  He breathed deeply as I washed his abdomen and crotch.  I got up to put the towel in the hamper and when I got back he was dressed in his pants and pulling on his shirt.
“Uh, I gotta go,” he muttered as he threw on his shoes.  He stuffed his underwear into his back pocket, went to the door, and I watched as he disappeared down the hall, the door softly closing behind him.

You will be happy to know that Walt did, in time, come to grips with his sexual orientation, and Ben and Walt enjoyed years of mutual satisfaction in a happy and healthy relationship before going their separate ways. In followup correspondence, Ben wrote:

You are correct about the guilt issue washing over someone when they realize where they are sexually, given societal prejudices.  At the same time, you can only take so much before you have to accept who you are and say that the world’s opinion is not your concern.  Walt ended up being my boyfriend for a couple years before I moved to the west coast.  I saw him a few years back and he and his partner are quite happy.

Well, Ben, I hope you, too, have found contentment. Thank you for sharing.
And Felix, if you’re reading this… It may be too little, too late, but I am happy and content in myself and my life now. I feel I’ve come to terms with my mistakes, and I can accept the results. Wherever you are, I wish you well.
To everyone else, wherever you might be on that path:
Stay strong, and keep searching.

*Image from Internet*