How Being Radically, Unapologetically Open About Sex Freed Me

I spent a decade building a separate life as an A-grade dress-wearing, dick-sucking moral vagrant. Then I realized that the secrecy only served to deepen my shame.

This story appears in VICE magazine and Broadly's 2018 Privacy and Perception Photo Issue. Click HERE to subscribe to VICE magazine.

I'm in the toilets next to my primary school classroom, on my knees, sucking off my two best friends. I’m seven; it’s the late 90s. It’s our daily break-time ritual: a milk carton, then this.

When I get home, there’s a newspaper on our kitchen table detailing a story in which seven men are arrested, prosecuted, and publicly shamed for having consensual group sex in my hometown of Bolton, England. Although I’m not aware exactly of what this story means, a kernel of anxiety begins to form in the center of my stomach. After that, playtime with my best mates swiftly becomes less public, consigned to midnight sleepovers or bushes in parks. Eventually both of them sprouted pubic hair and never spoke to me again. (They’re married now.)

As my first lovers ascended into puberty and burgeoning heterosexuality, I leaned into the left side of the spectrum. From day one, I averaged a perfect six on the six-point Kinsey scale, and I found exactly zero queer peers with whom to work out my adolescent desires.

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