It's past 8 p.m. and the heated arguing between Justin JJ Doyle's Mom and her boyfriend Hank has become long and irritating. An opportunity presented itself. The mop-haired brunette 11-year-old boy slipped his right hand down his blue pajama pants and moved it slowly, careful not to bump his elbow into anything lest he make a noise drawing Hank in or give himself away. Too much movement or sound would make the gross pig suspicious, and to be found out for something like this is not only embarrassing but potentially destructive. He'll think JJ is a total queer, and that was just as good as dead in the crack-reeking house they were in, especially when it comes to matters of the bedroom. Or maybe he'll get it and leave him be. Hell, what guy hasn't had to get his rocks off when shit became too hot?
Even worse, maybe he'll finally say the words JJ's been dreading the tattooed animal say since JJ first became conscious of the fact his Mom's a drug addict. That he's a piece of crap. He's going down the same road as his Mom. He's a street rat.
JJ lifted his wrist away from his white body. He's careful to keep his breath from becoming a pant, even as his pulse quickens, but this took too much concentration. The boy's body yearned for the convulsion his mind closed off. There's no letting go here though. This orgasm is a fiery, liberating, wanton experience.
JJ has masturbated in this way next in the encompassing darkness amidst all the scary, unstable and disturbing experiences he witnessed as his Mom bounced from one drug house to the next. In some cases, as expected, it was because JJ wanted more release than what the marijuana, he tried could give him. He's been called insane and wild one too many times. But this has not always been the story. Yeah, JJ did have an incredibly high sex drive, but even in relationships where he had awesome wet dreams various times a week his nighttime stealth for self-pleasure had remained.
His former enemy-turned-friend Mark- a big-boned, spiky-haired brunette and misfit, had the rising sex drive and rebellious streak typical of most eleven-year-old boys. The two smoked and jerked off every chance they got, but even still, JJ wanted more, something only he could give himself. One afternoon, after his Mom and Hank had fallen into a deep post-sex slumber, JJ serviced himself with his second, third, and fourth orgasm beside him. That was the first time he'd experienced such a level of both secrecy and kinky shame.
His Mom had made a promise to JJ after the last house they lived in was raided by cops, long before they even crossed paths with Hank, to be honest with each other. She no doubt known he had been a compulsive masturbating machine since discovering a worn-out Playboy magazine in his room one day. She knew about his growing interest in how human nature worked and how it often set off the hardcore mood swings her son often went through. She knew about the bad habit her son picked up of listening to gangster rap music and throwing punches at or stabbing at walls until he'd finally calm down and pass out spent — and that JJ rarely ever spent time in the house when he knew she was high. This JJ believed, for a long time, that his anger made him a scary person, a bad person, a person nobody would love. A week later one day after school JJ told Mark these things from the start because he met him at a time in his life where he was ready and open for change. Because he liked Mark so much (plus the fact JJ earned his respect punching him in the nose after a snide comment about his Mom) that he wanted to love the punk. Because JJ felt that the only way to love him, and be loved by Mark, was to be himself.
"What's your favorite porn scene?"
The goth-looking delinquent boy who had pissed him off less than a month ago asked JJ this question as he lied partly naked and chill beside him. They had just masturbated together and although JJ was half naked too, it wasn't until this moment that JJ felt just as vulnerable and confused as him. While it might seem crazy to some, JJ knew instantly that this was a moment of great importance for them. It was an opportunity to finally come into their own.
The possibilities run through JJ's head.
He could describe something classic: This one where a black girl gets banged by a suave Bieber-looking dude. Or perhaps something a bit dirtier: These two hot teens swap their big brother's cum after he made them stay late in his bedroom. Chances are Mark get hard again and they'd end up abandoning the conversation for a second round. These are harmless answers. Expected answers.
Plus, they're all lies.
The possibility of revealing the truth not only made JJ nervous, but also physically sick. He felt a constriction in the back of his throat, a flutter inside his belly, a tremble in his private parts. After all, they've only been experimenting a couple of months and Mark didn't love JJ yet. If JJ were to tell him, will he feel the same?
"Why you ask?" JJ reached for the sheet, damp with sweat, a tangle of 300-thread-count cotton across their pre-teen limbs and yank it up to cover his groin.
"I don't know," Mark said. "Curios?" He turned over on his side and propped his head up on his left hand. His gray eyes are wide with wonder.
"Sounds like a weird question." JJ tucked the sheet into his armpits and scooted his body a little to the left so their bodies weren't touching each other. The tone of JJ's voice had become defensive and Mark could tell.
"It's just that I usually pick the porn," Mark explained. "Do you like what I get?"
JJ could see what he's doing. He's trying to be cool about it since they'd just beat off together while staring at Mark's iPhone screen after searching terms of his choosing: BDSM, bisexual, fellatio, orgy.
Maybe he felt bad for getting off to them instead of his pal, even though JJ's the one who suggested they watch some porn in the first place. Even though JJ was always the one who suggested they watch porn while they jacked each other off.
"Yeah, totally dude." JJ looked up at the ceiling. "They're sweet."
"You sure man?"
JJ exhaled wishing he'd stop getting under his skin, but he realized something else is happening here. Not only is he trying to be honest; he's also trying to get to know him. The past couple of months has allowed them to cover most of the basics — what subjects in school they enjoyed the most, what their parents are like, what they hoped to do with their lives in the next few years — but there's still a longing for something deeper, and JJ couldn't think of anything deeper than knowing his new friend's favorite porn scene.
It surprisingly spoke volumes. For one scene to stand out above the rest, when so many others more exciting are available, there must be something below the surface. What's the secret to its appeal? What keeps a person coming back to the crazy, dark fantasies of a lonely night? Perhaps the answers to these questions are a big storm of shit. JJ never thought of revealing those kinds of answers to anybody, and especially not somebody like Mark, somebody he really started to like. It seems far too scarp, mind-blowing creepy even.
It also seemed right. Too many of JJ's past friendships were doomed by his fear and inability to tell the whole truth, to really be himself. Now he has the chance to go there, and to say to a somebody, "This is me. Are you cool with it?"
"Well, there's this one gang bang," JJ started, looking over at his face to see a reaction of surprise and interest register at once.
"Dang, sound hot…go on."
JJ took a deep breath and proceeded to tell him, first slowly, then gradually faster about the scene. Like a bombed water tower, JJ could hardly hold back the rush of descriptive details flowing from his mouth.
"Two teens in a warehouse. One dangling from a harness. The other right under him. Both are waiting to take on twenty horny people…" and on and on.
JJ watched Mark's face the whole time, not pausing when his smile becomes a gaping hole, his eyes squinted as if it hurt to look at JJ.
"Afterward, the teens leave the warehouse, covered in cum, through a back door while the gang keep the party going."
For a long moment after JJ finished talking, there was silence between them, but there's also a sense of relief on his part. JJ had revealed something so dirty, so upsetting, so tainted in shame, and Mark hadn't stormed out and left. He is still there beside JJ, propped up on his left hand, naked and exposed, and so was JJ. Mark smiled at him and JJ saw Mark seeing him and they were in a new world.
But then Mark said as a joke, "I kinda wish I hadn't asked." It's all JJ needed to hear to send him into a foul mood. Not just small, lightning-quick insult, but frustrated groans. JJ could feel when a tantrum was coming on. While he was confused, Mark pulled JJ closer to him, laughing nervously at his abrupt change in emotion. JJ tried to pull the sheet completely over his head, but Mark pulled it back down and covered his face with apologetic kisses. He can't possibly understand why JJ was on the verge of crying. He can't possibly know what type of rage JJ's been grappling with. "What's going on? Dude, what's wrong?"
He knew he had to tell him.
Anger management and addiction to masturbation are often merged under general sex addiction because they all have to do with escape via stimulation, physical gratification and orgasm, but JJ always felt more pathetic about his predilections. Lashing out and cursing at people — even those he didn't really like — was volatile, dangerous, but universally understood and accepted. Though JJ had periods of fury since learning about his Dad's death when he was six, his biggest issue has always been with what he does alone when the anger takes hold.
There's something so crazy, sad, calming and creepy in imagining a person hidden away in a dark room, ear plugs inserted connected to an iPod, turning the volume up high, swearing, punching, jacking, slicing stuff, wincing, coming HARD.
All to realize that person is him.
But JJ's yearning for solo aggressive pleasure had strong, stubborn roots. He'd lost his virginity to a Ripple dildo shortly before his twelfth birthday. He had his friends Craig Edwards and Liam Finch to thank for that life-shaking experience; it was their late-night Friday Game Night at Craig's house that served as JJ's primary means of sex ed during his pre-teen years. This technique was one of the many things he learned, but he had a whole other kind of education going on, which had long filled my head with other more risqué ideas — sex is something that happens between two people who love each other; those who say masturbation's a sin. You know, your typical God-fearing stick-in-the-mud Christian guilt cautionary stuff…they're idiots.
Just as oppressive as the Christian guilt train was JJ's unpredictable rage. Not many kids in his class were talking about masturbation and sex. JJ had no company with whom to share his new activities and interests. In turn this silence and emotional turmoil morphed into a new vexation. JJ had become a pervert, a loose canon, a sinner.
He tried to stop himself from taking long baths, from late-night secret activities, from being alone too long, but the more JJ obsessed about stopping, the more he couldn't. He merged the emancipating shame, secrecy and pleasure in a daily orgy, whether JJ was tired, bored, angry or sad. Whether he was single or in company with others, it didn't matter. Getting off required all these components and JJ needed new, more gratifying methods to stay engaged — more hours killed watching progressively harder porn like the orgy video, complemented with dabbles in dark alleys, night clubs and steamy classrooms. It became nearly impossible to get off during sex without fantasy, his young body over-stimulated to numbness. JJ was irritable unless he was lashing or masturbating or planning to do either of these things. Life revolved around purging his body to the impact of any kind of harsh trauma in his private and social life.
He knew he was out of control.
Little did JJ know that describing his favorite porn scene would be the first of many future admissions that would help peel back, layer by layer, a long and exhausting history of pent up anger. Mark and JJ quickly learned that watching and reading porn during jacking off wasn't a harmless kink for them; it was a method JJ had long used to remain disconnected from his Mom, Hank and everything else that pissed him off. It took much discipline and patience for them to expel it from their friendship cold turkey, though every now and then they slip up.
Talking about his habits led JJ to examine them, which ultimately led to his desire to change for the better. Holding in secrets coupled with anger for too long is like being unable to speak at all. Looking at his reflection, JJ didn't want to feel this way anymore. He needed to share — often and with 100% honesty — what had for so long been denied in order to become a better person than he was underneath his addiction. He wanted to be able to live, breathe and be himself again.
Eventually JJ and his Mom found relief in counseling sessions, withdrawal programs and anonymous meetings, seeing therapists they both trusted, attending personal development courses and sharing their stories with other people in crisis. Once they became stable in a new neighborhood, JJ managed to move away from drugs and resorting to anger for the most part, but when it comes to his sexual addiction — to something he didn't have to seek out or buy — control is like a flying arrow and his hands were always hitting the right spot.
JJ sometimes struggled with whether he should give up porn completely, but until he found different ways to draw a line between it, he found video game and movie nights with his pals more enjoyable. He wished he could just watch it occasionally without getting worked up, as some sort of substitute to his active sex life, but the whole ritual of watching porn and jacking off got tied in with so many other negative feelings and emotions. Watching porn and masturbating took JJ back to be that troubled kid alone in his bedroom, feeling despondent and helpless to stop it. He couldn't just watch one clip without needing to watch another after that, and another, until hours have passed, and he was back to binge on a nightly basis.
If his Mom or grandmother left him alone all day and idleness lead him to masturbating, it's the first thing he'd happily revel in before they came home. Sometimes JJ didn't even have to say it. They could tell by his down-turned eyes and my noticeable red cheeks. His Mom often shook her head and enveloped JJ in her arms as he made another promise to try to curb his urges. When JJ went to a classmate on a recent weekend when his grandmother was on a trip out of town, she seemed more amused than upset about the whole thing.
Unfortunately, JJ had yet to be as kind. If he found Mark watching porn without him, when he struggled to keep his cool for a stretch of time, he reacted with what might seem like nonsense rage. The frustration could only sprout from envy.
Masturbating beside Mark while he slept was the last secret JJ kept from him. Although he started to fear that it's just the latest secret he had. JJ's hesitance in telling him only proved how tough recovery is. This week it was masturbation. But maybe next week it's back to porn binge. Or jamming out to gangster rap music not caring who would hear. Or lying about his whereabouts. Abstaining from these dissident habits, when so readily available, without abstaining from sexual pleasure entirely, or the shame JJ long held to it, is a battle the 12-year-old faced daily.
That's why he needed to tell Mark.
Not because JJ needed his ear, his forgiveness or to offer him some form of camaraderie. But because he needed his friend to see him. To understand. The hardest part of telling the truth, especially about something that made every boy ache coming into manhood, is often the only trial they need to overcome.