Every superhero story has an origin. Some of those, in my opinion, are even better than the crime-fighting, action-packed parts. I love witnessing the events that shaped and molded our heroes: the tests and trials but also the discovery of their powers or other giftings.
Now, I don’t presume to say that I am a superhero, though I wish I were one. But I do believe that my sexual origin story mimics a lot of our superhero beginnings.
For many of us, “becoming sexual” (the whens and hows) significantly affects our sexuality. It sets us on a path to a healthy sexuality or an unhealthy sexuality. Many of us here may be on an unhealthy course.
Becoming sexual is a complicated phrase.
Becoming sexual could be the first time we saw a naked body and had a physiological response, or the first time we jacked off. It could be the first time someone touched us in a sexual way; it could be our first wet dream.
In my case, I became sexual when I first experienced masturbation. I was nine. That’s the when. The when is important. It is.
I was nine — the peak of boyhood.
I was old enough to have abstract thoughts, but young enough that it wasn’t odd for me to spend my time playing imaginative games of superheroes, Peter Pan, epic Bible stories (Christian kid), Jedis, or my favorite Power Rangers.
I’m serious, 9 to 11 is the peak of boyhood — infinite possibilities, secret worlds, and fun birthed from our fertile imaginations. Plus, parents trust you enough to play in the neighborhood, unsupervised alone or with other kids.
In my case, the where of my becoming sexual was also very important. Some people might have become sexual in their bedrooms, a bathroom, or in front of their family computer. Places that we expect these things to happen. But for others, it happens at a friend’s or relative’s house, a camping trip, a car, a theater, or even a pool.
Many of you might have become sexual because someone abused you or because you and a friend got curious. These instances typically affect the where. Because my story takes place at a pool, it sounds as if I were abused. But I wasn’t.
It was all me.
I became sexual because one summer when I was nine, playing Spiderman at our neighborhood pool, crawling around the concrete sides — until I found one of the jets.
I was playing. Playing like any young boy would be. And then bam.
My boyhood was interrupted by the gentle pulse of a public pool’s jet pump. Literally, my boyhood and my game were interrupted by that jet, by my curiosity, and by my uninformed choice to stay in that spot, holding on to the hot concrete.
Here is part of a poem I wrote that speaks to the impact of this moment:
When I was nine at a pool, The lifeguard, she, I think, saw my twitching eyes and my little boy body gripping the concrete edge, half submerged in water too deep for me.
As far as anyone else is concerned, it was an innocent and curious explorative act.
Peter Parker, Rogue, Magneto, and the kid from the hit Disney Channel Original movie The Thirteenth Year — their lives drastically changed after they made their self-discoveries.
My discovery, my interruption, led me down a path of addiction, self-loathing, confusion, isolation, and turmoil. I wasn’t too different from many of our favorite superheroes.
After becoming sexual, I didn’t lose all trace of boyhood; I didn’t even lose most traces of boyhood. It just became more complicated. A new part of PK was discovered.
I could still be the green ranger and save the world. I could still train my Digimon to defeat whatever I conjured to threaten the Digital World.
I was nine.
But I also knew that another pleasure existed and could be accessed. My obsession didn’t come until later. It took a few years for me to decide it was more fun to masturbate than play.
Yet, I often wonder: would I have become a masturbation addict if I hadn’t become sexual until thirteen or fourteen?
I don’t really know how things could be different, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking: what if?
I wasn’t abused. I didn’t mess around with my brothers or cousins or neighborhood friends, but my boyhood was interrupted. I became sexual too early and was set on a path toward an unhealthy sexuality.
Colossians 1:19-20 says:
For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Even my interrupted boyhood is being reconciled to Christ. I am being redeemed, my sexual beginnings and all.
Sure, addiction was born out of this summer day at the pool. But what was also born was my involvement with Your Other Brothers. Christ also interrupted my life. He used my experiences to bring me here.
He has also used your story.
You are here probably because something didn’t go right with your sexuality. You too, like me, are included in the “all things” that Paul writes about in Colossians.
And that, friends, is good news.
Do you remember “becoming sexual”? Do you feel that your boyhood was interrupted when you became sexual? Without being too graphic, what was your origin story like? In what ways do you see your sexuality being redeemed?
* Photo courtesy catharticflux, Creative Commons.