My Experience with Rape Culture as a Gay Man
So, before I begin. I apologize. And I know this may be hard to read as it is for me to write, but I am about to expose something I haven’t shared in many spaces. I was molested. But, for me, that's not the bad part. The bad part is how many lives I have fucked up because of it.
A couple years before my mom passed, she let me know that the reason I had very little connection to my dad was because she found him masturbating as a young kid with me in his arms. She attributed my sexuality to that experience and had a hard time forgiving herself for allowing that to happen. I have been to a therapist to try and retrieve those moments but I was obviously too young to retrieve those kinds of memories. Still, that is no excuse for some of the things that transpired thereafter.
I will say that, even though I don't remember it, the situation had to contribute to my psyche around sex. As a kid, I didn’t have any reservations about having incestuous relationships. Many of my male cousins and one of my female cousins and I had semi-sexual relationships that I was introduced to early on; not penetrative or involving any type of coercing but playing house and dry humping was a norm.
Fast forward to the age of about twelve and I was extremely involved with wanting to have sex with the same sex. And I was a smart kid; I would move into situations seamlessly to approach neighborhood kids my age about sex. Whether it was women’s nude magazines, dick size contests or introducing one of my beautiful girl friends to the group to entice the boys in the neighborhood, I had a lot of intentionality around getting a peek at the goods and, most times, a taste.
One of the easiest ways I found to get into a dude’s pants in the next couple years, was through games of dare. Well, not necessarily truth or dare as that was too public for the most of my peers I met, but with games such as hide and seek. I would tell them that, if I found them, we would have to perform oral sex with each other. I got good at the act and could talk people into it almost with a 100% effective rate.
The game was simple.
“If I find you, I get to rub your booty or you have to suck my thing.”
“No, because my mama will be mad if she found out,” they would most often respond.
“She won’t find out because it’ll be our secret. I won’t tell anyone because if anyone finds out, I will get a whooping,” I would then respond confidently.
I had gained their trust. What is interesting about situations that we deal with in the present is that we, most often, don't think about the effects long term that this can have on people.
As it progressed, I moved from just oral sex to penetrating one of the guys who had just graduated high school in the church parking lot adjacent to our house. I was just dry humping him on the ground with him lying face down and, before you know it, I was inside him doing what I had seen in the magazines. It was as if I couldn’t hear his screams of pain as we hadn’t used any spit or lube, I was too in the moment. It was raw, painful and our first experience of gay sex. We had sex on and off for months until I graduated high school and left the city.
I hadn't seen much of him other than him walking up the street sometimes when I was visiting family. We never spoke and I put my head down when he looked at me feeling ashamed that I had introduced him to something that he now is ashamed of.
Well, in the past year, he hit me up to come and meet up with him. Now, married, with kids and aggressively heterosexual, he wanted me and a “shemale to come dig inside him like I used to” (his words). He doesn’t consider himself gay, but he wants to suck a “shemale’s” penis and get fucked by a man and he didn’t say it, but I knew he meant raw. Now, 30 something years old, he still hasn’t dealt with the experience I introduced him to right in high school and he was willing to put more than himself at risk for the pleasure. Now, I get tested regularly, but I have had much more raw sex since then both insertive and receptive. And, like most men I’ve interacted with who were married, he would probably go home to his wife and fuck her stupid so he could try and erase the memories he had just enacted with me.
I know you are probably laughing and/or think this is hot, but this is so problematic to me—and I am the problem. Being a kid who was potentially molested, I then coerced several young men into sexual relationships with me thinking that it was okay. Now, almost two decades later, he is experiencing the after-effects of this.
I do understand that this wouldn’t be considered rape, but I do believe it is part of the culture. In essence, these guys use to tell me no, but through coercion, I would get them to have these experiences with me. I know many of them have some trauma— just as I have— around these experiences to this day.
How does the rape culture in our society affect us? How does it make us feel about being open about our sexuality when we were introduced to the sex long before we had figured out what it meant to be gay? How do these systemic conditions hurt the plight of the movement for gay men?
I mean, I have been in many scenarios where I was sitting across from one of the people I had coerced into sex and thought, “Does he remember what used to happen at his grandma house? Or the ROTC building? Or the abandoned house I use to live in with my mom?” Even some of my incestuous relationships that I was introduced to give me pause as an older guy with a specific moral compass. So, I know they remember, but until recently I had never thought about the fact that I had translated my own internal issues around incest and molestation to the next person.
Now conflicted about his own desires, this particular guy is willing to be dishonest about me to experience what I introduced him to. The mental rape that I had given this man had fucked him up more than it had fucked his body..
I take this serious. Many of my friends and community have been introduced to sex too early, a great majority of our family have blamed themselves and our sexuality for this and more of us have become desensitized to it and connect our desires to our natural selves. Or at least that’s my narrative.
For the collective to move forward, we must first deal within our realm of control. I can’t reach back to my kid self and change anything or alter my experience, but I can tell your adult self that I am deeply apologetic if you were introduced to sex too early. This is where the healing starts.