Rejection from a paedophile and a joyless tryst with a hooker leaves our sexual sage feeling philosophical

 

I lost my virginity at the age of 20. But, according to the police, it could have happened a lot earlier. Let me explain. A while back, I got a phone call from a female detective working with the South Devon Constabulary. She seemed to know an awful lot about me. My name, my age, and the fact that, during the ’70s, I had been a pupil at a boarding school in her area. It was a place called Buckfast Abbey and I had been sent there at the age of eight. My parents, both devout Roman Catholics, had waved goodbye to me at the gate, a small, weepy boy with a suitcase, before driving back to Hampshire. They were entrusting my education to the small community of Benedictine monks who worshipped at the Abbey, hoping that they would fill me with wisdom and an undying faith in God.

Anyway, as I spoke to the detective, fear and guilt began to creep through my veins. The law… they were onto me! I was busted! And I was too weak to survive in jail! But then reason returned. I paused for a moment and thought, “Hang on, what did I ever do wrong in Devon?” The only crime I could recall committing was stealing a bar of Cadbury’s Old Jamaica from the tuck shop in 1973. Having watched a few episodes of CSI, I know they can do amazing things with DNA these days, but surely this case was too cold even for Grissom to crack.

All the same, I was quite ready to confess when she suddenly said, “Let me get to the point. I’m calling about Operation Bowman.” “What’s that?” I quavered. She put on a concerned tone. “Several boys who were at school with you have complained that they were sexually abused by a monk. We’re ringing around to see if anyone else can corroborate their story.” Golly. Had I been fiddled with? Was there some shameful incident that I had suppressed for more than 30 years? I racked my brains, trying to conjure up images of a sinister, leering monk lifting his black cassock or luring me into the belfry. But there was nothing. I was sure of it. She thanked me and rang off.

A few weeks later, the case came to trial at Exeter Crown Court. It turned out that the guilty man was my old Latin teacher, Father Philip. The jury was told that he had touched boys under the cover of their desks during classes, and also while giving them piggyback rides. Before sentencing him to 15 months in chokey, the judge said, “I am satisfied there was an element of grooming and favouritism among the boys you selected by giving them sweets and treats.” When I read the reports in the newspaper, I felt very angry. Not at Father Philip, who I had rather liked and who had always been very gentle with me about my failure to distinguish between the ablative and dative. Not at my parents, either, for packing me off into the clutches of a predatory paedophile. (After all, how were they to know that a group of men who wore skirts, hung around with pre-pubescent children, and had sworn not to have sex with women would be in any way dangerous?) No, my anger was at being left out.

I mean, seriously, why not me? I was pretty back then, before the teenage horror of spots and puppy fat ruined my looks. So why had I not been offered “sweets and treats”? Why was I always the one left out of the piggyback rides, forced to look on enviously while the other boys were carried around like knights? This strange feeling of rejection got worse when I learnt that another monk from the school had also been imprisoned. Father Benedict’s crimes were far more serious, earning him a stretch of ten years. A sentence that severe could only mean one thing: he’d been properly buggering boys. I remembered him well. He was young and had taught us religious knowledge. We nicknamed him ‘Beano’. And while I was glad that I hadn’t been sodomised by him, I again felt a curious pang of unhappiness, as though lots of my friends had joined a club to which I hadn’t been invited.

Thinking about it in the months that followed, I began to wonder if it explained my low self-esteem. Had I known from a young age that I was less sexually attractive than other males? It made sense. Carrying a burden like this in my subconscious would explain a lot. Why I had to prove myself by sleeping with loads of women, even if it meant cheating on girls I really liked. Why I thought of myself as unworthy of true love. And why, most of all, I had such a bad relationship with my penis.

Ah, my penis. When I look at it, what do I see? At best, it looks a bit like the celebrated television comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli, his squat hairy body being the shaft, his purple turban being the bell-end. At worst, it looks like the shrivelled wand of an evil wizard. Mind you, I can’t just blame my schooldays for all these self-esteem issues. As regular readers of this column will be aware, the modern world has also chipped in.

Take my most recent sexual experience, which happened on a trip to Zurich and, sadly, involved yet another whore. I had a free evening there after finishing a job, and as I had money in my pocket and my flight home wasn’t until the next morning, I decided to treat myself to a proper night out. I dined in a pleasant restaurant with views of the lake, then took a taxi to one of the brothels that advertised quite openly in the local paper. It was called Club Aphrodisia. Inside it was kitted out like a normal bar. Two or three men were sitting on stools nursing pints of beer. But there was one vital difference between it and your local pub, namely that there were also eight beautiful women standing around wearing nothing but skimpy lingerie. I smiled at them as I took a seat, and wondered which girl to go to bed with.

I savoured their good points exactly as I might when considering which food to choose from a fabulous menu. Eventually, I made my decision. I went for the slim blonde in black bra and pants, entranced by her icily Scandinavian good looks. I beckoned her over. “Would you like to go upstairs?” I asked, the bottle of Moselle I had drunk at dinner making me bold. In the spartanly furnished bedroom, I took off my clothes and lay on the bed. Usually, I would be shy and want to do this in darkness, as my naked body is unlikely to attract wolf whistles. But when I am paying for sex, I figure the girl will cut me some slack.

Sadly, my blonde didn’t seem to agree. When I tried to kiss her, she turned her mouth sharply away. I wasn’t too worried by this at first, as many prostitutes won’t snog clients, and I realised that my breath was probably still carrying the echo of the cabbage and bratwurst I’d eaten at dinner. But then she stood up again and handed me a towel. Apparently, my personal hygiene was so bad that she wanted me to take a shower before we had sex.

Eager to be a gentleman I played ball and, once in the cubicle, gave myself a proper hosing down with scented gel. It’s a weakness of mine that I need to think a hooker is enjoying herself in bed with me, or the experience is ruined. So I made every effort to scrub up nicely. However, getting back into bed, I found her colder than ever. When I nuzzled her long neck with my lips, she tensed up. Touching my fingers briefly between her legs, I found that she was drier than a Dead Sea Scroll. It got worse. When I subtly moved little Hardeep up the bed, into the general vicinity of her mouth, she jerked away from it. And when I gently took hold of her wrist in an effort to prompt a handjob, she wasn’t having any of that either. I began to wonder how exactly she was intending to bring me off. Was she going to stand on the other side of the room and use chopsticks? Or telekinesis? Eventually, she reached for a condom from the bedside table and snapped it over my barely erect manhood. Only when it was fully covered would she deign to touch it. She did so with all the eroticism of a doctor handling a dangerous biological toxin. I felt like the virus in Outbreak.

After five minutes of humourless tugging, she saw that she wasn’t getting anywhere. No doubt keen to get the whole sorry business over with, she lay back, opened her legs, and guided me inside her. In press-up position, I gazed down at the bland perfection of her body. The flawless skin and pert breasts would normally have had me raring to go, but in this case their allure was cancelled out by her eyes. Those eyes… they were almost dead, staring glassily over my shoulder. Having sex with her was like trying to make love to a shark.

When I finally did come, spurred onto orgasm not by desire but by awareness that the experience was costing me nearly two days’ wages, it could hardly be classified as a climax. Frankly, I’ve had more arousing sneezes. The only good thing about it was that it meant I could stop. Walking back to the Marriott, I felt far more abused than I had by the whole paedophile near-miss, that gross breach of trust that I’d been party to at school. Sex is supposed to be fun, to be uplifting, to be filthy, but I had got none of those things from a woman who was paid to be great at her job. I’d been cheated.

Later that night, I lay morosely in my hotel room thinking about it. The things we go through to satisfy our urges, the whole danse macabre of fucking, the bitter human comedy. Father Philip, the Swiss hooker, me… all of us swept along and damaged by our libido, powerless to do anything but keep revisiting the source of our pain, like waves crashing again and again into the rocks. I took a Valium and tried to go to sleep. Bad little Hardeep. Bad.