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First of all, I think it is important to explain how this situation came about:
I grew up and spent my whole life in a very traditionalist society, on the island of Corsica, where a man is expected to be, tough and emotionless. Every man around me embodied this image. And it was emboldened by my education; I was raised by a single father, who was very charismatic in general, especially with a woman. He seemed to have a different girlfriend every month, so you can imagine the kind of education he was passing on to me!
It was something like: be a man — don’t show your emotions (actually, if you don’t feel at all, it’s even better), and be a womanizer, but a respectful one.
A respectful womanizer… it seems paradoxical now that I write it, but it made complete sense when I was younger, and there was no one around to provide any other perspective on what relationships between men and women could be.
At age thirteen, my father and I went to Phuket for the winter holidays. For months prior to the trip, he would joke about taking me to a brothel in Thailand if I hadn’t managed to lose my virginity before then. And as always, with him, I knew it wasn’t completely a joke…
There we were, walking into a hotel-like place, with flashing lights everywhere; But I wasn’t worried at all — in fact I was thrilled! One phrase echoed in my mind: Finally, this is it! I had thought about having sex for years, even before I technically knew what sex was.
As we walked into the main area, the manager offered us a look at his “shop”. Behind a window, about twenty women danced in swimsuits, sending us kisses with numbered badges pinned to their bra.
I didn’t really take the time to look at all of them as I was a little embarrassed by the whole situation. Even back then, shopping for a girl seemed disrespectful to me.
After I submitted a random number, the manager called the girl, and she took my arm, leading me to a room while my father paid.
As excited as I was, my confidence disappeared as soon as she asked me to take my clothes off. Suddenly, it all became real and I grew shy. She noticed and came to help me, undressing me with slow and sensual movements.
A minute after that, both naked in the bathtub, she started lathering me with soap. I wanted to touch her but didn’t know if it was the right moment, and I was afraid of being inappropriate. I didn’t really know what to do, so I didn’t do anything. After washing almost my whole body, she started touching my chest, then everything else. I felt very hot, and my nervousness slowly vanished replaced by excitement — my heart racing. I decided it was time to reciprocate. If my movements were indelicate, she didn’t say anything about it.
After drying me, she then invited me to join her on the bed. As she began to pleasure me, I started to feel ashamed. Not because I was with a prostitute, but because I was being selfish: a woman pleased me and I did not please her back.
So I decided to apply the very little knowledge I had from internet articles and comments I’ve read, and go down on her, feeling it was the right thing to do.
After a little less than 10 minutes, (and because I was likely providing little more than tickles), she gently pushed me on my back, put a condom on me, climbed on top.
My whole body was boiling! I tried to move at first, but quickly understood my pace didn’t go well with hers, it was like I was trying to dance for the first time…
Besides being amazed and overwhelmed by the pleasure she gave me, I was concerned for her pleasure; I wanted her to enjoy it. In retrospect, I don’t think it was out of concern for her, out of compassion, but really more out of ego. I think I just wanted to know I was able to please a woman.
It didn’t take long before I came, and I remember feeling ashamed of it.
I find it crazy that, instead of simply appreciating my first time, I was exceedingly concerned with my ability to please her. First thing I did outside of the brothel was call my friends. After all, I was the first among us to “become a man”.
During that trip, I returned to the same “bar” every single day. Except, without my father. Not only did he know about it, but he was still the one paying for it. Every visit made me more confident. I wanted to get better at pleasing women, I wanted to know I could do it. So, following my father’s advice, I asked the girls to explain to me what they would like me to do. They were all amused by it, and they took it as a game, teaching me, showing me what I had to do in order to give pleasure. Every year, it was the same destination for our winter holidays, and the same “bar” schedule, my dad paying for at least one prostitute a day.
I was sixteen when I had the first consensual sexual relationship. A brief encounter with a girl who was visiting my town for a few days. It wasn’t any different for me than my previous experiences. At the time, whether I had to pay for it or not, it didn’t change the way I felt about it, it was just sex.
In the years that followed I witnessed all of my friends start relationships that lasted for months and years: high-school love, university girlfriend, etc. All the while the only relationships I had were one-night-stands, quantity being the main goal. Although, the more I had sex, the more it felt empty and boring.
In a quest to find a connection, I decided to try finding an older woman thinking the experience would alleviate the boredom. Of course, it didn’t work.
At about the same time, I decided I wouldn’t have sex with prostitutes anymore on my yearly Thailand trips. This stemmed from realizing I could appreciate a woman’s company in more than just physical ways. So I started having longer conversations, deeper conversations, that led me to be open about myself more and more. Although I found I still had trouble feeling.
Not being able to feel any attachment towards a woman troubled me for years, and, as I travelled for several months per year, I was surrounded by open-minded people sharing their stories and emotions, increasing my desire for attachment even more.
Despite all that, I never tried to force myself into anything unnatural.
It was at 27 when I first met someone who allowed me to feel a connection and overcome some of the stoic traits my dad had taught me were natural to being a man. I can’t say I’m proud of how I used to consider women but I know that what I went through made the person I am today.