How a chance encounter with the local oddball led to our intrepid sex columnist discovering the way to ‘relax’

 

When he finally became impotent, Kingsley Amis described the curious joy of waking up to discover that he was no longer obsessed with sex. No more erections. No more smutty dreams. His libido was dead. “And thank God,” he wrote, “because now I realise I’ve been chained to an idiot for the past 60 years.”

Well, with me it has always been the other way round. I feel sorry for my penis, being attached to me. The story I’m about to tell you, which involves me severely injuring my foreskin and then encouraging a paedophile to ejaculate on my shoes, is fairly typical of what I’ve put it through. But, to be fair, on this occasion it wasn’t entirely my fault.

I was 12 years old and a pupil at a draughty Catholic boarding school in Somerset. There were 600 boys and no girls. All the staff were monks who had sworn a vow of chastity, and the only thing they taught us about sex was that if you did it you’d go to hell.

However, in my second term at school, one of the more enterprising boys managed to smuggle in a porn mag. It was a pretty vanilla title – Knave – but it was passed round with the fervour of samizdat poems under Stalin. Now I’ve read most of the great works of literature, from Hard Times to Humboldt’s Gift, but I can honestly assure you that none of them has had the same impact on me as this low rent glossy. I can still picture the centrefold: a blonde woman posing in a barn, with riding boots and a round, tanned arse. It’s like a slice of my brain was removed, covered in ink, and then rolled through a printing press. Indelible.

Unfortunately, though I could not deny the power of the image, I still didn’t know what to do about it. So when the other guys nudged me during break the next day and asked if I had “got a good wank” out of it, I had no idea what they were talking about. A wank? It wasn’t in the dictionary (I checked later), and it didn’t sound like the sort of thing I could ask Fr Alban about, so I just played along with them. Yeah, I sure got a wank, I told them. I got a great big wank.

In the end, I decided to find out from my best friend, Dominic Majendie. But obviously I couldn’t just ask, as that would open me up to accusations of being a weedy loser, so I couched it as an accusation. “Hey, Maj,” I said to him, “everyone in Maths was saying you don’t know about having a wank.” “That’s not true,” he said. “I do. You just rub your stiffy.” I tried to look condescending, no easy feat while evaluating this important breaking news. “Anything else? I mean, I just want to be sure you know it all…” “You rub your stiffy,” he whined. “Who said I don’t know? Was it Stokes? I bet I know more than he does…” So that was it.

As soon as the opportunity presented itself, I took myself off to the Main Yard. That was the name given to the school’s toilet block, which housed a long row of urinals and about forty stalls. The windowless air held a tang of cigarettes and ammonia. Checking to see I was alone, I walked quickly to the furthest lavatory and bolted the door behind me. On the wall were scribbled the usual jibes and diagrams – “Steve Geering swallows”; a sketch of a vagina that looked more like a guinea pig which had been hit with a mallet – as meaningless to me then as hieroglyphs.

Trousers down. An erection in seconds. And… well, hang on, what did Maj mean by “rubbing” exactly? Was I supposed to use a cloth? Did I start at the top or the bottom? Baffled but impatient to begin, I reverted to my cub scout training. I recalled the technique we had been taught to start a fire. The one where you take a stick and roll it between your flat palms and fingers, which are pressed together as though in prayer. The action you might make to show your glee at something, or to warm your hands on a cold day, or to turn Plasticine into a long, thin sausage.

Within moments my penis felt pleasantly warm. The foreskin was being twisted from side to side but it didn’t hurt. In fact, the opposite was true – soon, it started to go numb. I was anaesthetising myself! This was great! No wonder they had magazines dedicated to it! I went at it faster. Below the waist, I was a blur of pink.

Obviously, I had no conception of the orgasm, so my plan was simply to carry on until the bell went for double Physics. I had catching up to do, and the more practice I got in, the better. Then I could be the one bragging with the cool kids at breaktime. But before long I noticed that all was not well. In fact, it was starting to hurt. I released my grip to see that my shaft skin had been chafed red raw. It looked like it had been scorched. This was alarming enough, but just then a globule of clear liquid eased out of my urethra. It was nothing more sinister than natural bodily lubricant, of course, but I didn’t know that. No, it struck me with primitive certainty as being a drop of… precious cockblood!

Oh Christ! I’d broken it! Now, perhaps there are worse things than being a 12-year-old boy at a religious school who has just brought down God’s vengeance upon himself for committing an act of self-pollution in a 40-seater lavatory, but right then I couldn’t think of one. The priests had been right. As I examined my flesh, and saw where tiny shreds of white skin were already peeling away as though from a nasty burn, I knew with absolute certainty that I would die without ever having known a woman.

The immediate result was that I sank into a mild depression, to which I reacted in the customary manner of sensitive, nihilistic young men around the world, by taking up smoking. As my health was ruined anyway, I reckoned I might as well die of cancer. For a junior boy like me, however, having a cigarette was not without more immediate risks than lung disease. Although the sixth form pupils were allowed to puff away legally in their common room, we first years were subject to punishment if caught by a prefect. As well as getting your pack of Rothmans confiscated, you could also be given six strokes of the cane. The safest method was to go for a walk in the woods during lunchbreak, and that is how, with the help of a fellow called Les, I finally learned how to pleasure myself.

Les was a man who claimed never to have done a day’s work in his life, and looking at him you could well believe it. Aged around 45, he had the booze-reddened cheeks of a true Somerset yokel, topped with greasy black locks and bloodshot eyes. His belly stretched his shirt buttons open, so that coarse stomach hairs poked through a vertical necklace of Os. He stank of cider and badly-wiped excrement. Approached upwind, he was a “local character”. Approached downwind, he was liable to make you vomit.

In the wood he’d built a little camp out of fertiliser sacks and branches, and installed in it was a mildew-spotted mattress. His life revolved around drinking, singing to himself, and trying to lure company into this strange little bedroom. In many ways, I see now, he was an eternal adolescent, a pure free spirit, a scabby-faced pungent Peter Pan. But to anyone with nostrils, he was also a grave warning: Get A Job.

Les was part of school legend because he had carried on a short affair with a woman named Bertha who worked in the kitchens. She was both very ugly and very retarded, even by the undemanding standards of the West Country. It had ended badly after a lovers’ tiff, at which she threatened to commit suicide with a carving knife, running around the serving counter and waving it in the air until overpowered by the PE teacher. She had to be taken away to hospital, mad-eyed and sobbing the words “My Les” over and over through spittle-flecked lips.

Anyway, some weeks after my disaster, I went for a smoke with a boy called Ralph, and we happened to meet Les, who was wandering through the trees like a cheery Bigfoot. “Alright, Les?” we said, greeting him without fear. (This was before anyone worried about child molesters.) “Lads. You got a smoke for old Les?” We handed one over from our packet of ten. It was the smokers’ code that you always shared when you had some. He lit up, and then his face did. “You know that mattress of mine? I done that Bertha on ’er.” He chuckled to himself at the memory.

We told him we’d heard. “Course,” he said, leaning closer, his breath a ray gun, “thar’s not to say I don’t like a lad now and then.” We were silent, so he quickly reassured us. “No bummin’, like. Just oral.” In his zummerzet accent it came out as “just aaarl”. Again, though we sensed all was not as it should be, we were too baffled to say anything. (Ralph was no more educated than I.) Les twigged, and started to guffaw. “E got a couple of vorgins, Les. Well, don’t you fret, Les’ll show ee ’ow.”

Glancing about to see that the three of us were unobserved, he opened his flies and began to stroke his prick. It was thick as a snake and it grew rapidly in his fingers. He grunted as he worked it back and forth. I suppose I should have felt traumatised, that I was being robbed of my youth and innocence. But the truth is I was thrilled. It was one of those moments where everything suddenly makes sense, like in a detective novel when it hits you who the murderer is.

Up and down! Not side to side! “You see ’im.” I must have been craning forwards. “Yes.” “Hold there then.” With his trousers round his ankles, Les edged closer to me. I could have put out my hand and touched him. With a groan, he came. The first bolt of semen looped through the cold air and landed on the toe of my shoe. I gazed down at the opaque, pearly comma lying slick across the leather. A thousand thoughts ran through my head, but not one of them was fearful because when I looked up again I could see the broad smile curled across his face. He looked blissful, beatific, like a saint in a stainglass window.

That night I aped what I had seen, and I felt for myself the first electric jolt, that father of so many thousand other climaxes, that nerve-spangling feeling that – so far as I was concerned – put God in his place. It was my first time. And I was grateful. Because now I knew how.