To say that my parents were puritanical in their raising of me would be too kind. To the best of my recollection, they brought me up in the "It's evil! Don't talk about it! It'll go away!" school of thought. Yet when I started cutting pictures out of girlie magazines with an X-Acto knife, and keeping them in my room ... I thought it odd that sometimes only certain pictures would go missing.
I do believe I was my father's hook-up for free porn.
It wouldn't surprise me. Though my parents rarely touched me, they were were affectionate in all the right ways -- what did I know? but the thought of them actually being intimate like I saw in the magazines was, in a word, wretchedly revolting. Okay, that was two words. I had to do it -- one word would not be enough for how wretchedly revolting the thought is. Trust me.
One of the ur-memories I have of my childhood is of my mother, coming through my closed door while I was masturbating. She came to me, a tornado on two legs. With one vicious swing, she scarred me by striking the hand giving me pleasure, hitting my dick in the process. Then there was the screaming. There was lots of screaming, lots of verbal invective. And later that evening there was a sound thrashing of my behind, with the dreaded wooden spoon. That was a euphemism for the Instrument Of Punishment, a discolored plastic kitchen utensil.
Now that I think about it, there's actually a more accurate word for the way I was brought up: Catholic. Roman Catholic, where sex is bad, pleasure is evil, and guilt can be had all the time!
Later, there was a long string of short and ill-remembered liaisons, none with much in the way of love, affection or companionship. Precious few of those were with girls. I was a young boy with "good energy," naive to a T. I'm sure I was worth at least two notches in the belt of Jack, my father's academic adviser trainee, who seduced me with some indescribably attractive lure -- likely that of free porn.
This repression -- I mean, non-education granted me my sense of Sexual Ethics, such as they are. It served to saddle me with an inordinate amount of guilt and shame about the whole affair. I never thought my parents were "right"; I was too headstrong for that. Besides, I was young and hormonal. I kept on doing what I was doing. I just learned to hide it better.
To this day, though, I act but I don't talk about it. These are very important issues to talk about with loved ones, but when I try, my insides become a clenched fist. I feel sick. This is one of the reasons rhianwyn says I can't be polyamorous -- I feel I could; I love easily and I love strongly. But that requires scrupulous honesty, which is something I am not sure I am capable of at this time. I have to break down walls first, and I have yet to find a wrecking ball big enough.
I still have lots of questions about things, questions that may never be resolved. Why does love have to be so complicated? Why can't people just love each other, without the specter of jealousy? Why can't we be more tolerant of each other's private choices? Why do parents not teach properly, allowing their kids to have kids?
I have made many mistakes in my life. There's been a failed marriage. I've shared a bed with roughly forty women, but only the slimmest fraction of these I still talk to. I have a condition that is minor in me, but may have caused cancer in one I love. Others of these mistakes I am still paying the price for. It's hardly pleasant, but it's the bed I've made, it's the lot I've cast.
edit: And a no-trace-of-sarcasm thanks to those who commented on my previous entry. You helped this solidify in my head, which I deeply appreciate.