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?
Thank you for sharing your experience here. So relatable, vulnerable, and accessible. It’s something that I see myself pondering back on until “part 2”. Was left wanting more.
Your other sister,
Michael, thank you for your raw, honest sharing. I can feel the pain, confusion, and longing in your share, and can relate deeply with those feelings in my own journey with sexuality.
I can certainly relate to trying to prove to myself that I was not attracted to men (my awareness of same sex attraction and desire arrived very early in my life, as early as 7-8 that I can recall). Usually, it was through engaging in heterosexual fantasy/masturbation as I was far too terrified and lacking confidence to ever approach a girl sexually. Being homeschooled and isolated with few friends didn’t help, either. Even in my adult years and within the context of my marriage, I have masturbated to fantasies/memories about times with my wife in an effort to “curb” the gay part of me. All of it has ultimately felt like fighting against the tide.
What has helped more has been a recent development of having experiences of Jesus (not simply thoughts or ideas, but experiences that include my heart, body, emotions, and soul) loving the gay part of me and not shunning or hating or even trying to change that part of my being.
I enjoyed reading your post, Michael. I, too, had similar experiences, so as I was reading, I was relating to a lot of it. I can’t wait for part 2 of your story.
I relate to this story very much and it makes great points I have not seen in this forum before. Did you know there are over 6 million Christians alive today who feel LGBT? That means this group and others like it are a tiny fraction of all the Christians who experience same-sex attraction and all the other stuff that goes with feeling LGBT. Enjoy the support. Don’t beat yourself up if you are not perfect. And if you have other issues, like being molested or raped as a child, don’t be afraid to seek help from a therapist. If the teaching of Jesus to “Love others as you love yourself” is difficult for you, it may be because you never learned that second part – to love your self. Christian author Brennan Manning said, “You can only love your self as you are right here, right now. Loving the self that “should be” is loving someone who does not exist.”
You’re such a rich tapestry of stories, Michael. I learn something new every time I read a post from you or talk with you. Your Sex Ed story reminded me of my own Sex Ed experience in 9th grade (Christian education, no less). So awkward, but actually a little encouraging to realize that even the tough macho straight guys had no idea how sex (or the female body) worked. I can only imagine the emotions involved with sitting alone in the hall. UGH. My heart went out to you there.