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I remember a burning desire overtaking my body around the age of ten or eleven. It was hot, aching, arching, tingle that covered me and coated my insides. Every sensation was amplified. I would imagine CUTE BOY, and kissing , full-bodied kissing, pressure through clothing, scalp hot and crawling, like I might rip apart. What to do with this feeling!

This is where masturbation first began – tentative humping of lumps in the bed, and hand pressed into my underpants, eventual probing with a brush handle (how do you work this thing? What is this heat all about). At night I would make out with my pillow. I would French kiss my bear’s nose, the hard little plastic ball would smell like dried breath. I felt so exhilarated, secretive.

One Christmas Eve I had been in the bathroom, looking at myself with a hand mirror, using a brush handle to see if I could find this mysterious spot I had read about in Cosmo, when my mom knocked on the bathroom door and told me to hurry up. She hung around outside the door, wiggling the handle. I came out sheepishly. She sniffed the air and looked at me with disgust.

From my room I could hear her say to her boyfriend, “It smells like fuck in here. I should have a talk with her father.” I was mortified.

That night at the family Christmas party I could barely look at anyone. I knew they knew about me, particularly my father, who I hardly ever saw anyway. What was he thinking of me now, I wondered. I thought everyone was sneering at me. There was more than one uncomfortable silence when I would enter the room. No one ever said anything to me directly, but much was implied. I figured they were all wondering, “Who the hell would jack off on Christmas Eve! Don't you have any respect for Jesus!”

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