Gregory from Hong Kong and Canada
When I was ten I moved from Hong Kong to Vancouver, so there was a real break of my life into two phases. In Hong Kong, most people focus on pushing their kids to study non-stop. Everyone give grades and what rank you are in the class a lot of value. That means the typical routine of not a lot of play; just studying, work and a few hours of hanging out with my parents. I never had friends in Hong Kong. Suddenly in Vancouver, I was like “What? What is this thing called a birthday party where you get to have all of your friends over!?” The social dynamics were totally different.
I was good in school but socially I was kind of a stuck up kid and on top of that, I just didn’t understand the social dynamics of friendships and recess. The whole idea of mainstream masculinity also gave me a lot of trouble with the guys at school. Overall, there were a lot of topics that I didn’t feel comfortable with. I didn’t get a lot of joking references, I would always be the last to get it.
Since I was already ahead in every subject except for English, for the first time I was given free time after school. That was the time where a lot of things started to happen and I was wondering and exploring. By the time I was ten or eleven, I was starting to get the language enough and I started hanging out with some of the neighbourhood kids. They would play games like “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine,” and that sort thing. I had really weird feelings about it and would start repeating what I had been told about “private parts.” I just didn’t have much curiosity towards the body.
My only real draw to the body was that I have always been really cuddly. From pretty young I would hang out and cuddle with my mom. I think most of the time I was reaching to her for physical touch but eventually I just stopped. That was probably a lot of masculine culture, boys don’t cry, boys don’t need their mommies. I was still always interested in cuddling and touch though.
One time I was over at my friend’s house and I saw my friend’s older brother cuddling with his girlfriend and I was completely blown away. I was so fascinated by this and wanted more than anything to experience it myself. The idea of having sex was interesting, but I always thought cuddling was very, very important to try and it was the first thing that I was really excited to do with my first girlfriend.
One of my more formative experiences as a kid was around a show called “Herman’s Head,” it was a kind of geeky show about this guy and his psyche. The different parts of his personality were represented by figures in his head, his confidence, his sensitivity, his intellect and his shyness, all fighting it out over what’s going on in his life. The show would switch back and forth between what was happening in the real world and these personifications in his head. One episode was about a company retreat for the staff to all getting to know each other better.
The retreat was run by a woman, who at some point, got them all to take their clothes off as an exercise in practicing openness. I was really fascinated by that. Of course it was still daytime TV so the people were always either holding things in front of them or standing in a certain way so you couldn’t see much. I started touching myself a little bit and then my mom walked in on me. That was the first, and last, time something like that happened. She yelled
“what are you watching! I can’t believe they would put that on TV, it’s totally corrupting!”
I was so mortified. Hong Kong is not super conservative but my mom lacks the ability to talk through these things with any reason. Like other moms from China, she just expects to be able to say “no,” and the kids to do what she says.
She tried to talk to me about it a while afterwards. She sat me down and said how wrong what I was doing was, without explaining much about why. She said it will lead you in bad directions and you will be screwed up and a pervert. I kind of believed it, but not really. When I got older, she started telling me,
“You need to be careful if you have sex because you can’t trust women, they will manipulate you.”
She would tell me stories about how women can trick you and get pregnant, then you are in debt to them for life. Or, when something goes wrong, women can cry rape then you’re really fucked for the rest of your life.
When my body started responding more to sensations, it finally started being really interesting. I still remember first time I pulled my foreskin back when I had an erection. I was like what! What is that!? I didn’t know it was supposed to do this. It was always down and I just thought that was just the way it was.
Being a geek, I also started wondering how my body interacts with all of the interesting things around me. From this I started to develop this curiosity about mechanical things in particular. You know how you can stick your finger in a box fan and the blades kind of stutter on your finger; well at some point I decided that I wanted to know what it would feel like to put my penis in there. I was looking for strong sensations but at first it was too intense. I realized I need a little bit of protection, which is how I first tried putting masking tape on my penis. It was still too intense, so eventually I added a bottle cap to shield the tip.
That’s actually how I had my first orgasm. Nobody had ever told me about orgasms at that point and for a moment, I thought I had died. I had no idea that my body could do that. After the first orgasm, and what I was sure must have been a near death experience, I wasn’t sure if I should try it again, but I wanted to.
I started finding lots of different objects around the house wondering what they would feel like. Another one that I liked to try was the CD tray that pops out then retracts back in. It would never fully close because of the sensors, just pinch a bit. I was looking for restriction, some kind of loss of control and intense sensation. I wasn’t particularly going for pain.
Since we didn’t have snow in Hong Kong, that was one thing I found quite interesting in Vancouver. Behind our townhouse we had a patio where we had a fence, so it was private. One night I got curious. I snuck downstairs during the middle of the night, went outside, took my pants off and sat down in the snow and gathered it around me, burying my hips and my crotch. Besides being cold, it also felt exciting. It was fascinating to see how my penis would go from shrunken to erect, then back small and how my scrotum would shrink and shrivel as the compacted snow had its effect.
I was shivering but it didn’t hurt, it was just intense. I sat there for about ten minutes until it got too cold for the rest of my body. The following weeks I did it once or twice more, but those times I was just seeking an experience. The sensations were similar and interesting but the fascination wasn’t the same.
After using the tape around my penis to protect me from the fan, I got really into it. Masking tape, some duct tape, I liked the way that it pulls your body together. It was all about the feeling of restriction, pressure and being held, even if only by my own body. For a while I was trying to tie my body into all different kinds of shapes with the tape.
There was also this thin string that I found really interesting. Once I started having erections, I thought there was something strange about them. I had this shame about having an erection and I really didn’t want people to see it. So I thought maybe I could hide them with the string. I would use it to orientate my penis and my body in ways that felt better for me. Maybe that was just idealization of bodies playing out some how.
Once I even asked someone else to tie me up, it was the son of my mom’s friend, kind of the default people you hang out with as a kid. I got into a really strange mood and I asked him to tie me to the chair with some rope. He was very clearly weirded out but he went along with it a little bit. It wasn’t quite what I hoped for, I think neither of us were sure how to deal with the situation and I didn’t have a plan for what to do after I was tied. It was just something to do. I never asked anyone else to tie me up again but I tried doing it on myself quite a lot. I liked the feeling of helplessness and releasing control of what’s happening. That has always been the key experience that I’ve always been searching for.