Do you remember your first time? You were curious and nervous and just couldn't wait to get it over with, right? And when it finally did happen, you were all sweaty and clumsy and the whole thing probably lasted all of about three minutes. I'm not talking about the first time you had sex. No, I'm talking about that more special "first time." The first time you made love to yourself.
It, along with your first wet dream, is a sexual milestone, whose memory many of us have banished to the dark recesses of our minds. It is nothing to be ashamed of, though. Nay, masturbation is something that should be celebrated and promoted like a fine Hungarian wine so that we may better understand our bodies and ourselves. This then is the story of my own deflowering.
My first summer back from college, I applied for a job at the local multiplex in the Bronx and was hired on the spot. I guess they liked that I had a high-school diploma and some college book learnin' in me. The pay was pathetic, but the prospect of seeing every movie that summer (a magical blockbuster season that brought us Dick Tracy and The Exorcist III) seemed a whole lot more promising than three months of watching Whats Happening re-runs at home. During my orientation session, I was given a placement questionnaire and it was decided my solitary demeanor would best be utilized making popcorn. Thankfully, this task meant I'd be working alone and
wouldn't have to deal with any dumb-ass customers. It did, however, mean I'd be secluded in the bowels of the building, working in a hot, poorly ventilated room, dumping cartons of yellow dye No. 5 onto buckets of molten corn. For those of you unfamiliar with ol' yellow No. 5, it's a powdered chemical used to give popcorn that rich buttery color (you didn't think that was real butter, did you?) and it slowly began to eat away at my fingertips and turn my hands a healthy Velveeta glow.
My only salvation in the room came from a grease-caked super-bass boom-box that cranked out classic rock gems during my long, lonely night shifts. The work sucked, but I soon settled into a pattern of seeing movies all day and working all night. Things were getting just barely tolerable when my manager threw my schedule into a tizzy by making me come in two mornings a week to unload the refreshment delivery truck.
Another hapless co-worker and I were given exactly one-half hour to unload a UPS-sized truck stuffed to the rafters with 50 lb. barrels of cooking oil, 40 lb. sacks of popcorn kernels, howitzer-shell canisters of soda malt and mammoth boxes of Goobers and Gummi Bears that could feed a family of ten for a month. We'd unpack the truck at break-neck (and break-back) speed, and then had to lug it all up three flights of stairs to the storage depot.
I'm a scrawny guy and was even more so at the time, so after a month of this punishment, my body began to ache in ways I never imagined possible. My testicles, in particular, would burn during and immediately after my delivery shifts. I ignored it at first, but soon the pain was lingering into the night and sometimes even lasting well into the next day.
After much procrastination, I decided my problem was serious enough to tell my parents. If you've ever been embarrassed watching a video with your parents and a sex scene comes on, I assure you it's nothing compared to having to discuss your own genitalia with them.
I was taken to the family physician and when I explained my symptoms, his first suspicion was that I had a hernia. He told me to strip and when I was fully undressed, he proceeded to handle my testicles like a pair of Chinese relaxation balls and then administered a full rectal examination, in which he boldly plumbed the depths of my keister in ways that I never want plumbed again (barring abduction by alien life forms, that is). Bent over like a freshman prison bitch, with my cavity being violated by his rubber-gloved digits, I was helpless to do anything but try not to whimper. His hernia theory was unfounded, however, and he instead recommended I see a specialist.
The following week my mother took me to Albert Einstein Medical Hospital where we met my urologist (a field of medicine that I previously thought was devoted to the study of urine). With his over-gelled, mullet hairdo and pumped biceps protruding through his white lab coat, he looked less like a doctor than a pro-wrestler. After a quick rundown of embarrassing questions (When was the last time you had sex? What kind of underwear do you wear?), he brought me to the examination room, gave me a tissue-paper
hospital gown, and told me to strip off my clothes and get on the table. I hurriedly did as he said and when he returned he spread my legs apart with one hand, grabbed a handful of ultra-sound jelly with the other and then liberally greased, rubbed and fondled my testicles with more vigor than I had ever done myself. Lying in that prone position, being medically molested by Hulk Hogan's tag-team partner, I closed my eyes and quietly thought that this was quite possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life. But the worst was yet to come.
When he was done, he informed me that he felt a "varicose seal" on my left testicle (basically, a very large, constricting vein) and that he needed a sample of my semen to see if it was affecting my sperm count. It was humiliating enough being manhandled by this steroid-poppin' goon, but when he suggested I go to the bathroom right then and there and fill up a specimen cup with my baby batter, I was positively mortified. I mutely declined even after he offered to get me some Vogue and Redbook magazines from the lobby to help "get me started."
There was more than just shyness behind my reluctance to step up to the plate, however, for not only had I never had sex before, I had never even masturbated. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was 18 years old and had never jerked off before. I suppose it was a combination of being a late bloomer and some of that old-time Catholic-school-boy guilt.
Most of my elementary school career at Holy Family Academy is a blur (possibly because of the lead count in the classroom's paint), but I distinctly remember one moment from my sixth grade health class. One week in the throes of spring, we were given a crash course in sex education and in between abstract-impressionist, chalk drawings of fallopian tubes and testes, the teacher decreed one day, "You should not play with your genitals because playing with yourself is a sin." Being a naive 10-year-old, I honestly didn't know what she meant by "playing with yourself." Did she mean how sometimes during baths I would hide my penis between my legs to make it look like I had a vagina? Surely God could see the humor in my little joke. Could that be a sin?
Later in my adolescence, some friends and I had gotten our hands on a porn tape that someone's careless dad had left in the sock drawer. The movie was called Puss in Boots and the only thing it had to do with the children's story of the same name was that they both starred something very furry that liked to wear thigh-high leather boots. In one sequence a naked woman sat on top of a man's face while he stroked his penis. It was here that the true meaning of "touching yourself" was finally revealed to me, but the time never seemed right for me to actually attempt this act myself. God could be watching me after all (on the Playboy Channel up in heaven where he watches every sexual act around the world).
Back in the examination room, I was still refusing to fork over a sperm sample. All I wanted to do was go home, scrub myself with a Brillo pad and watch re-runs of Whats Happening for the rest of the summer. After an awkward standoff, he told me to meet him back in his office once I got dressed. I covered up my nakedness, walked into the next room and was shocked to discover my mother sitting down with the doctor discussing my testicles and semen as if they were casually discussing a new Jell-O recipe. After explaining to my mom about my varicose seal, he told her we must both return the next morning with a cup o' my sperm and stipulated that it must be delivered no later than an hour after I'd personally milked it from my love utter because sperm dies off quickly when exposed to the outside world.
The next morning, I was rudely awakened at the crack of dawn by my Dad who pushed me in my zombie-like stupor to the bathroom and told me to "get crackin'" cause my mother was waiting for me outside with the car running. Adding to this pressure was the fact that the rest of the family would soon be waking up and wanting to use the facilities. How's that for performance anxiety? I quickly ran to the living room, grabbed one of my sister's teen magazines (with a cover story on Justine Bateman and "Celebrity Pets") and absconded to the bathroom.
I'm not sure if it was the Justine Bateman photos or the picture of Kirk Cameron's pet dog Ginger that turned me on, but needless to say, I discovered my "special purpose" that morning and somehow managed to get most of my specimen into the cup. I emerged from the bathroom riding high on an equal mixture of embarrassment and relief. I put the cup into a brown paper bag, went downstairs and hopped into the car with mom. We drove to the doctor's office in silence, both pretending to be intently listening to lyrics of the Lite-FM songs blasting from the stereo. I handed over my paper bag to the doctor's receptionist and 30 minutes later Dr. Studio Gel emerged with the good news. My varicose seal was not serious and it was in no way affecting my sperm count.
To top it all off, he brought me into the lab, and let me look through his microscope under which he had MY SPERM SWIMMING AROUND ON A SLIDE! Before this, I had only semi-believed that these mythological creatures were living inside my penis, but there they were, larger than life, swimming around in a drunken Busby Berkeley water ballet extravaganza. To this day I can't stand the smell of movie-theater popcorn, but I'm thankful to it and the medical community for introducing me to the joys of masturbation.
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