I grew up in the East End of London in the 1950s, and I can identify my earliest recollections of sexual arousal as being due to us having no bath or shower. Instead, my mother would stand me on the kitchen table and first shampoo my hair, then give me a complete wash-down, missing out nothing from top to toe. Around 8, 9, 10 years old, my little pecker would stand to attention. Mother would say, not scolding but just in a matter-of-fact sort of way, "Leave yourself alone" and although I was not embarrassed, I still couldn't bring myself to say what I was thinking: "It's not me doing that, it's doing it by itself!" Taking a bath was something I did only on sleepovers at my grandparents' house or at my cousin's, until I was 10 1/2, when we moved to a new place with a proper bathroom, bath, and handbasin.
I was in Cubs (now it's called the Cub Scouts, but then it was the Wolf Cubs) and transferred to a different pack nearer our new home. On my first evening there, we were taking part in a game outside, and I ran with several other boys between the back of the hall and the boundary fence, overgrown with grass and weeds. We stopped for a moment, and I realized these few had gathered around me. Then one of them said, "Prove you're a boy." This seemed to me a valid request, as if I had been a girl I should go and join the Brownies. The only way that I could think of proving it would be to show them, but this was the first time I'd met these guys and my only fear was that it might be a trick question to somehow make me look silly, so I turned the tables by replying, "You prove it first." Straight away he lifted up one leg of his shorts and pulled his out to show me, so then I knew that they weren't trying to trick me and I was happy to do the same and prove to them that I was a boy likewise.
My discovery of masturbation happened one Friday afternoon in December 1962. By now I was 11 1/2, and whenever I was at home on my own, I would love to unzip and free my penis so that it would poke all the way out of my trousers while I carried on doing whatever I was doing, especially if it was the washing up although I have no idea why I enjoyed it most while doing that. After school on Fridays I would sit at our table doing my homework to get it done before the weekend while my mum always went shopping at the market. My dad wouldn't be home from work until later, so there I was, my mind on mathematics, pen in right hand, fly open with my left hand gently squeezing the foreskin so that the head of my penis slid back inside, and then releasing so that it slid forward again. I had been doing this subconsciously for what must have been a while, when I suddenly sat bolt upright from the powerful shock wave that surged through my penis and engulfed the whole of me to my toes, scalp, and fingertips. WOW! And then a feeling that I needed to pee urgently. So I dashed to the loo [bathroom], but when I got there I couldn't "go." Nobody had told me anything about puberty, but thankfully, that first dry orgasm didn't scare me on the contrary, I felt that I had discovered a really enjoyable new experience, and immediately I put my homework aside to do it again straight away.
I soon got around to doing this in bed at night, using just a thumb and two fingers to slide the skin up and down over the glans. It would take me ages to get to an orgasm, because I would lie totally still and the only movement was my fingers on my penis, which was still small as I hadn't started to grow in that department. Sometimes I would just give up trying if I didn't just fall asleep. By a few years later my equipment had got bigger, so I was putting my whole fist around it, and I had learned that it helps a lot to move around a bit, especially thrusting the hips, but to this day I still cannot orgasm just by stroking alone. I know because I've tried from time to time to see if I could get to a climax by keeping motionless and just using manual action and mental stimulation, as I know some others can, but although I get so close I just can't finish until the muscles in my legs and buttocks get in on it, too.
At summer camp in 1966, age 15, we slept 6 to a tent, and I know I still couldn't ejaculate at that time as I would slip into my group's tent during the day for a quickie, perhaps 2 or 3 times on some days. And yet, would you believe it, I still never gave it a thought that anybody else did this and that it might be fun to do it with friends, and none of my friends suggested it to me, either.
I wish I could remember my first ejaculation, but I can't remember it at all. I know I was older than 15 by the time it happened. The two places I used to masturbate at home were on my bed or in the bath, so I think it must have happened during bathtime; otherwise the clean-up would have stuck in my mind. After all, I had no idea that an ejaculation would one day happen, so there is no way that I would have had anything to hand for dealing with that. Whatever, thankfully again, although I didn't know what this sticky stuff was, for some reason it never worried me. I just enjoyed playing this game with myself.
What I do remember very clearly is that I did all this very quietly, never making any noise. My bedroom was next to the living room ("lounge"), and my bed was against the wall with the living room just on the other side. I didn't feel fear or shame, but it simply never dawned on me to make any noises while masturbating. That all changed after I left home at age 25, and suddenly a whole new experience opened up as I found myself grunting and groaning and making sounds that I eventually found out are normally associated with this sexual self-pleasuring. Ah, yes, and I also discovered lubrication, so you can now add those squishes and squelches, too. But I'm getting ahead of myself . . . .
One thing I very much regret from school is a missed opportunity. I guess I was probably 14 when I and another boy from my year were asked to help do a stock check by counting the various textbooks that were kept in store. During the lunch break for a whole week, after we had eaten, we were to go into this room, stacked high with books on shelves, and one of us would count the books while the other wrote down the numbers. We decided to take it in turns each day, and the first day, he was a few rungs up the ladder counting, while I had a clip board to write down the numbers he was calling out. His hips were just about level with my shoulder, and after only a few minutes he looked down from his perch and said, "You know what would be really nice right now? If you undid my zip and got it out to play with" and then as if to clinch the idea, "You'll be up here tomorrow, and then I'll do the same for you." I got the zip down okay, but was a bit clumsy trying to get his penis out from inside his Y-fronts (which was the only style of underwear that we all wore then, similar to American "tighty-whiteys"), so he stopped for a moment and got it out himself, and then we had a wonderful time for the remainder of the lunch period with him up the ladder counting while I played with his penis in between writing down the numbers. The next day I did indeed enjoy the feeling of his hands getting mine out to be played with in return as our roles were reversed. Both of us had grown more by then and had something big enough to grab and to fondle, and we both got very stiff erections while playing like this, but that's all we did! Naive or what? Why did it never occur to us to take this further? Why didn't I suggest it? Why didn't he suggest it? I had already discovered masturbation without knowing what it was, but the thought never even crossed my mind that other boys were themselves doing this, too. What fun it would have been if we had found somewhere more private out of school where we could have masturbated together!
I always had pajamas for bed, cotton in summer and winceyette in winter, but it was absolutely forbidden to keep on any underwear at the same time because it was regarded as very unhealthy to wear in bed anything we wore during the day. But on returning from that summer camp in the summer of 1966 I thought, Hey, why bother putting on anything at all? And I found it sooooo comfortable to sleep naked that I've been totally bare in bed ever since: summer, spring, autumn, and winter!
As soon as I had my own place, I immediately started to stay nude after getting out of bed in the mornings, going naked around the house and not dressing until it was time to open up the curtains. I live alone, and when friends stay overnight I always tell them that's what I do, and it is great when they sometimes join in and do likewise, enjoying the fantastic camaraderie of male communal nudity together.
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