You’re probably sitting in your health class wondering why you didn’t drop out and join the Navy. The problem is that it isn’t 1941, when military recruiters might look the other away at an underage kid who wanted to join up and show Hitler, Tojo, or both what happens when people fuck with America.
Instead, it’s 1995, and you don’t believe in America. You don’t believe in God, either, but that’s not why you may well be the only male virgin in your high school class. Joke about the girls with the purity rings taking it up the ass if you must, but you’ll be able to wear white at your wedding.
The problem is that you don’t really need this “health class” because you already know damned well what happens when a fertile, healthy, heterosexual man and woman get together and fuck often enough. The woman gets pregnant, usually at the most inconvenient possible time.
Your parents drilled this into your head before you were even old enough to beat your meat to the Victoria’s Secret catalogue (and this was back when the models were attractive, and not underfed and dependent on Photoshop to cover up little imperfections like their ribcages). However, they added a little twist. You see, Dad was double-bagging it, and Mom was on the pill. They still got stuck with you.
And, quite frankly, you were a weird fuckin’ kid. You preferred to read instead of socializing with other kids, so you might have been able to sound like a little genius talking about the difference between general and special relativity at grown-ups’ parties — “Oh, how adorable! He’s like a little professor!” — kids your own age might as well be from Mars.
The problem was that you’re the fucking Martian, not them.
So you never learned to make friends or keep them. You learned instead to be self-reliant. You learned that other people weren’t to be trusted. And now you’re neck-deep in adolescence and you feel like a walking, talking priapism even when you have the time and privacy to jerk off several times a day.
You’d think this class would teach kids something useful, like a reasonable protocol for dating. There’s no such thing (and it only gets worse over time). Nor is there any mention of the importance of consent for both parties, and certainly now how to make sex enjoyable. Finally, there’s nothing that says it’s OK for you to want sex, and that girls your age probably want sex as much as you do, and that’s also OK.
So, you scratch your own itch when you think you’ve got some privacy. Fortunately, your parents have the good sense not to make it obvious that they know you jerk off, even when you do your best to keep quiet. You might talk to girls, but you don’t ask any of them out. You don’t have a car, and while they have upper-middle-class mommies and daddies, you’re a middle-class schmuck from the wrong part of town, and you ride your bike from Sayville to Bay Shore to work at a shitty supermarket after school. You don’t have time or money to date.
And besides, it’s not like Sayville girls do it for you anyway. You’re not gay, though, even variations on your name like “Gaybosch” are the default insult; the fact that the Victoria’s Secret catalog gets you hard and not Calvin Klein men’s underwear models ought to be proof of that, but you aren’t all that interested in sex with other people — just like you aren’t all that interested in other people in general. For the most part, they and their demands are just a nuisance.
Still, you’ve got enough self-awareness and emotional intelligence to wonder if perhaps something isn’t profoundly wrong with you. You wonder if you’re even capable of loving somebody else — or if the only emotions you can feel when it comes to other people are fear, which rapidly metastatizes into rage and hatred.
Soon you’re done with high school. Nobody bothered to teach you how to make friends, and nobody bothered to teach you how to win a woman’s affections, either. They figured you’d figure it out on your own, but did your culture provide reliable information? No, of course not. That would make too much sense.
Instead, when it comes to connecting with human beings, you grew up like a mushroom: kept in the dark and fed bullshit. Sure, your father tried to help, but his experience was so grossly different from your own as to be inapplicable. He grew up in a different America, and had a car and access to recreational drugs. The message you heard growing up was “don’t make the same mistakes I made, son.”
Fair enough, but you’re damn well gonna make some of your own. Like going to college. You didn’t want to, but you’re doing it anyway because what else are you gonna do? There isn’t a single form of work on the Devil’s green earth that appeals to you; nobody’s gonna pay you to read books, play video games, and listen to heavy metal.
You’re not a patriot, you’re nearsighted, and you’ve got serious authority issues; that mean’s the military’s most likely a no-go even though the sensible thing to do might have been to join the Coast Guard. At least then you wouldn’t be fragging brown people to make the world safe for neoliberal capitalism. And you’re an atheist, so the priesthood or monastic life are right out despite your Catholic background.
So, you go to college. And because society doesn’t make sense because society (like Soylent Green) is made of people, you decide to study computer science. What the hell; it’s the late 1990s, the dotcom boom is going strong, and at least you’re good at it even though you don’t love it and you’d rather be writing that novel that’s really nothing more than a shitty Lovecraft/Moorcock/Blue Oyster Cult/Final Fantasy/Shin Megami Tensei fanfic. It gets you access to a Unix account, and it gets you free internet access.
Now shit gets interesting. You kinda missed out on BBS culture and USENET, but no biggie. The Web is in, and social media consists mainly of web forums, ICQ, AIM, shitty hand-coded web pages on sites like GeoCities or (where you ended up) theglobe.com. You start a shitty little board on Excite’s forums called — of all things — The Vampire Connection. (That’s what you get for reading Anne Rice in English class, schmuck, and no, she never quite recovered from Memnoch the Devil.)
The Vampire Connection actually got some traction, and you met a girl. Her handle was “parisienne”, but as you got to know her via email, you found out her name was Naomi, and she lived in England. You exchanged pictures. You thought she was gorgeous. She thought you were handsome enough. You decided you just had to meet her, so off to England you went.
We didn’t have sex, unless her grinding on me or making me go down on her counts. She certainly didn’t concern herself with whether I got my rocks off. In fact, she seemed to rather like the idea of using a man for her own pleasure while giving no consideration to his. Turnabout being fair play, I suppose.
The less said about that venture, the better. Let’s just say that if by some miracle I ever meet her again, and she doesn’t shoot me on sight, I owe her an apology. No, I didn’t force myself on her, but I mistook my infatuation for love and never realized she was just using me as a pre-university fling.
After that, you moped. You were emo, only without the fashion or the music (not that you ever had the figure for skinny jeans, even when you rode a bike 10–20 miles a day). Nobody ever taught you how to handle the end of a relationship, even one as misbegotten as the one you just fucked up and ruined, so you had no idea how to cope with loss in anything resembling a rational manner. Instead, you wrote a lot of shitty sci-fi and went through several second-hand copies of Rage for Order and Operation: Mindcrime by Queensryche, as well as getting deep into bands like Type O Negative, The Cure, and The Sisters of Mercy — all bands Naomi liked — as a last link to those memories.
You dropped out of college; it just didn’t seem worth it any longer, and because you were commuting you didn’t have the support network that other students had (no friends, remember?) and took the first shitty programming job you could get just so you could have your own apartment.
Once you had your own apartment and a dialup connection, you found your way back online. You found your back to web forums, but this time they were Yahoo! forums (and FARK) And, again, you met a girl. This time her name was Catherine, and she was from Australia. This time, however, you didn’t rush yourself and you didn’t rush her.
At least, not until you met in person a little over two years after meeting online, and the first thing she did at the airport was kiss you three times and hold you close. Being kissed by a woman who enjoyed kissing you was great; that much you figured out fast.
That being naked together was also pleasurable was something you and Catherine figured out fast, but nobody ever told you that you would not only not have much confidence in your own physical, sexual appeal as a man, but that a woman can find a man sexually appealing even if he isn’t some movie-star Adonis.
And nobody ever told you that after years of jerking off, your little friend might not want to wake up and say hello to your girlfriend. Fortunately, by then you knew other ways to help her feel good, but it wasn’t until you got married in 2004 that you managed the old in-out in-out.
Know what else they didn’t tell you? They didn’t tell you that fucking a woman, even one you love, isn’t all that great in and of itself. Frankly, kissing her and holding her feels better, and lasts longer too. But that’s not what she wants, so you’ll do your best but wonder sometimes why you bother. And then you’ll come up with ways to allay her concern if she guesses that it wasn’t all that great for you.
Because what are you going to tell her? “I enjoy your company but I like it better when we just make out and jerk off together?” Yeah, that’s a great way to keep a marriage going strong.
Oh yeah. You’ll have to figure out how to be married as well, while not letting your marriage become like your parents’ marriage, or that of her parents’. Good luck with that, because nobody’s gonna give you any useful advice on that front either. All I can say is be patient with her, because she’s probably exercising the patience of a bodhisattva.
But the upshot after all of this was that the assholes you used to fight were right, for the wrong reasons. You are a queer. Not because you like cock. That would be too easy. No, your problem is most likely that you’re demisexual. You won’t even learn the term until somebody reading your shit points out that your main characters tend to be demisexual, too.
Here’s the deal: you only get hard for somebody you know, trust, and genuinely care for. Chasing pussy is out, love at first sight is just a myth for you, and she’s more likely to cheat on your than you are to cheat on her, unless you come to love somebody else the way you love your wife.
Given how sociable you are, you’ll win the Nebula, the Hugo, or the World Fantasy Award before that happens.
I wrote this on Medium first. Silly of me.
You’re a Demisexual Mushroom, Kid