“With the rise of millennials, we’re all realizing that it’s time to rethink the archaic and outdated dogmas of masculinity, beauty, and even sexuality. An important part of that revolution requires us to be be fearless and open about our own experiences, so every man knows it’s safe to simply be, without fear of judgement.”
– Keith, creator of The Pillow Talk Project
During one of my favorite interviews with Cameron, a late-twentysomething bass-baritone from New York now living in London, he shared a story that few men tell: his first sexual experimentation with a member of the same sex:
Dré was my best friend/next door neighbor when I was with my father and first stepmother. We did everything together, and I mean everything. We played video games. When he rode his bike, I roller skated. We did everything boys did after school. At some point, I can’t remember what age, we decided we were going to play “house.” That didn’t even phase us when we were around 8.
It was decided that I would be the wife and he would be the husband, and I was like, okay. There was no negotiation about why. So we proceeded to play. Under the bed was where our house was. I would pretend like I was cooking and I had just got done cleaning. He would be the hubby who was home from a long day of work.
That’s when he got under the bed with me. And that’s when we shared our first kiss. Under the bed in his room. After that, we ate “dinner” and then it was night time. I don’t know how we knew about sex, but that was next. So clothes were taken off, but we kept our tops on.
We were on our sides and we ended up spooning, with me as the little spoon. We might have been too young for him to get hard, but we were grinding and that’s when we got our first experience of watersports. He peed on me and it stained my pants that were down at my knees. Afterward, we just laid there. At some point, his grandfather walked into the room because he was checking on us and to make sure we were safe. But luckily he didn’t look under the bed.
So that was our one and only experience like that. It wasn’t awkward. The awkward thing was when I went home. I smelled like piss. I don’t know what excuse I came up with, I just know that I got off Scot-free. We never spoke about it, but we were connected.
When I first heard this story, I was struck by how simple and innocent it was. Over the years when I’ve had similar conversations about first sexual experiences, playing “house” is often the culprit of all kinds of experimentation for members of the same and opposite sex.
Like the childhood games that teach us how to understand the world around us, playing “house” in its purest sense is how young children re-enact the gender roles they see around them, and where they attempt to discover their own place within them.
Playing “house” becomes more than just a game; it’s a collaborative exploration of identity and self-making that plays a vital role in giving us all the physical and verbal vocabulary we need to understand ourselves and the people around us.
I must admit, I’ve had my fair share of playing “house.” And although I wasn’t always the person who initiated the game, I was always down to finish it. I remember that no matter who it was with–girls or boys–it was a secret that everyone knew about and looked forward to.
Whether they wanted to admit it or not, it was a game where we all wanted to show how well we could occupy the roles around us. It was ultimately the playground to which we hoped to channel our future selves, whether or not we even knew what that was or not.
It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I began to realize that everyone had played this secret game. But that wasn’t necessarily the secret. I think most people can remember rolling around and dry humping with someone when they were younger. Randomly kissing people you liked without warning counts, too 🙂
The secret seemed to be that, although men never talked about it openly, they all had experimented with other boys when they were younger. This didn’t become clear to me until overhearing a conversation of a group of older men who summed up that whole period in their lives by saying, “boys will be boys.”
You are what you choose to be. And if you have experimented sexually with a member of the same sex and choose not to identify as same-gender-loving, that’s fine…
From that point on, I’ve been extremely curious about young sexual experimentation for the simple fact that I think it proves a very inconvenient truth when it comes to societal standards of sexuality: we’ve all experimented with members of the same sex, and sometimes quite often. But we don’t talk about it. In fact, we may vehemently swear up and down that such a thing never happened out of fear of being labeled as gay. But that simply isn’t true.
At the end of the day, you are what you choose to be. And if you have experimented sexually with a member of the same sex and choose not to identify as same-gender-loving, that’s fine. No harm, no foul. And if you do find that you like to do it more often than not, that’s even better. You choose you, and that doesn’t mean you have to choose a label.
With the rise of millennials, we’re all realizing that it’s time to rethink the archaic and outdated dogmas of masculinity, beauty, and even sexuality. An important part of that revolution being fearless and open about our own experiences, so every man knows it’s safe to simply be, without fear of judgement. If we do that, we’ll find that the world is a lot more beautiful and welcoming than we ever thought it could be.
Do you have more to say on this topic? Would you like to share your own story? Fill up the comment section or send me a message. I can’t wait to hear from you.