I had sex for the first time on May 3, 1979. Funny how you always remember your first.
It was with my sister’s best friend. I was 17; she was 16. Everyone in the neighborhood swore we were already having sex, but we weren’t. I really wasn’t interested in her or any other girl for that matter; even if I was, I wouldn’t have known what to do anyway.
That year, Florida introduced sex education in the school systems. I was the only senior in biology that year; everyone else was a sophomore or junior. Parents had to sign permission slips for their students to attend the class. My mom refused to sign my permission slip, so every day during biology I had to sit in the hallway.
I can’t tell you how humiliating it was to sit there as the only person in class not allowed to know about sex. I don’t even know if it was explained properly.
Once that week of Sex Ed ended, I was allowed back into the classroom. A couple months later my mom, stepfather, and sisters went away on a weekend trip. I decided not to go. My sister’s friend came over. It was raining, and I was watching television. She asked if she could come in and I said, sure.
Before I knew it, we started having sex.
I wasn’t sure what to do. It’s a good thing she did. And just like in those romcoms, it was over pretty fast — except I didn’t have anyone to brag to since I didn’t have any friends in high school. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy it. I went right back to watching television, and she left.
I’m sure part of the reason I didn’t enjoy my first time having sex was because I didn’t know what I was doing; the other, because I really wasn’t into girls.
Two weeks later I was sitting downtown on one of the benches and saw this guy watching me. I thought to myself, He can’t be interested in me? He’s too nice looking.
We kept doing the eye-thing back and forth until I finally got up the nerve to talk to him. We talked a bit and went off somewhere, and I had my first sexual experience with a guy (not including my rape when I was 8).
If I’m honest, I enjoyed sex with a man way more than I did with my sister’s friend. But I was living in the Bible Belt, raised in the Black community where being gay was taboo (I guess it still is, but not nearly as much as then).
I had to prove to myself that I wasn’t “one of those people,” so I had sex with my sister’s friend again. Sex with her a second time was better than the first, but I still didn’t enjoy it.
All I could think about was having sex with a guy again. I went back to the bench downtown since it was the only place I knew I’d have a chance to hook up with another guy. At least, that was my hope. Turns out I was right. It wasn’t long before I saw this handsome guy, and we went off to have sex.
Later that August, I became a Christian. It was bad enough when I was wrestling with the thought of being gay as a non-believer, but now that I was a Christian I dealt with a mass amount of guilt or conviction; either way, it overwhelmed me.
I knew being gay was wrong because that’s what the Church and my culture said, but in my heart it didn’t feel wrong. I ended up having sex with my sister’s friend three more times. Even though I was fornicating, I justified it because I figured I was doing it for the right reason: to make myself straight.
It didn’t work. Because I never took Sex Ed I never learned about condoms, so my sister’s friend ended up pregnant — and had triplets.
Yep, I’m a dad. And I blame my mom. She should’ve signed the permission slip.
Though I had sex with my sister’s friend again, it still never meant anything to me. I never had feelings for her, and I definitely never felt straight. All I could think about was being with men, but it was killing me. This internal battle went on for a couple years while I tried to keep the outward appearance that everything was fine.
One Sunday on the way to church, I told my then best friend that I was struggling with homosexuality. I trusted that he wouldn’t tell anyone, but I was wrong. Once we got to church he went over to the singles’ director and told him what I said, and I was kicked out of church. In his defense, I think he was looking to get me help because he wasn’t sure how he could.
After all this I joined the Army, thinking it would make me more manly — I somehow thought this would make me want to be with women. I had sex with three different women while in the Army, again, to prove to myself I wasn’t gay. But it was a lie.
Since I was stationed in Germany with no Christian support, I found myself immersed in the world, the life of homosexuality. It started downtown in the city where I was stationed, then to different places I learned about meeting other guys. Before I knew it, I was looking for guys almost every day when I got off duty and all day on weekends.
And of course, I had to do it all in secret because I was in the Army.
To be continued . . .
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
Psalm 34:17 (ESV)
Have you ever tried to prove to yourself (or others) that you were straight? Did you learn about sex in school, or from parents, or somewhere?