I remember it vividly – like it was yesterday.
I was the summer of 1972 and I was 11 years old. I was already enjoying the sensations from masturbating by this time but hadn’t yet experienced an orgasm and ejaculation. I remember masturbating in the tub and this time it felt very different. The sensations were much stronger and I was very aware of the buildup in my body. Before I knew it I experienced my first ejaculation.
Thanks to some slightly older friends I was expecting this. I was so excited! I wanted to tell the world. Yet I knew that I couldn’t say anything.
I’m curious if this scenario sets a cycle of shame around our sexuality. This is a momentous event in a boy’s life yet very few can talk about it. This event could be a great opportunity to create ritual to celebrate and share wisdom around sexuality. Instead, through fear and ignorance, we use it as an opportunity to reinforce sex based shame.
I’ve heard from some men that their first time was frightening. They didn’t know what was happening and were completely surprised by their ejaculation. Some men have vivid memories that they somehow injured themselves. I can only imagine how such a frightening experience impacted their sexuality.
Yes, my father did have the sex talk with me. Clearly, he came from a different generation and I’m sure he did the best he could. But the talk came a bit late; by the time of the talk I was already aware of pretty much everything he had to say. I could tell he was clearly uncomfortable with this talk and, consequently, I didn’t engage him any further.
I’ve spoken with fathers who are very adept at answering their kids’ questions about life and sex in an age-appropriate, sex-positive way. An initial healthy message would go so far to open dialog between a father and son. With this existing open dialog there’s a increased likelihood that a boy would feel comfortable talking with his father about this important event and setting the stage for a healthy, happy erotic life.
What better gift could a father give his son?