Experimentation as Kids

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Okay, here’s the situation. My brother is about a year and a half older than I am, and one day when we came home from school, he was telling me about how he heard from a friend that gay people had sex by doing each other in the butt. I must have been 7 or 8, and he was either 9 or 10. Can’t remember for sure. Anyway, being the 7 or 8 year old kid that I was, I didn’t really know what to say. So the first thing I thought about saying was, “do you want to try it?” He, in retrospect, kind of reluctantly said sure, but I didn’t recognize the reluctance then. (You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a guy too.)

So we went into the room that we shared, and got naked. We honestly didn’t really do much. Obviously we never got erections because we had no idea what anything we were doing meant, or why people did it. And obviously we never actually did each other in the butt. I would have been very scared if that’s what had happened, but what did actually happen was mainly a lot of touching each other’s butts with our penises, kissing each other’s penises, and kissing each other on the mouth. We would just do this for like 20 minutes a day, and it lasted for about a week. Then we just got bored with it and stopped. We were pretty bored with it in the first place, but it wasn’t until a week after we started that we actually told each other we didn’t want to do it anymore. (Side note – we are both very straight guys. I’ve never had any serious bi-curious thoughts, and I get a very strong vibe that he hasn’t either. We’re both just about as straight as an arrow. As kids, we were pretty stereotypical boys. I was very into sports, and he was very into cars and spaceships and machines and science-fictiony stuff. We even talked about the girls we thought were cute. So we were very boyish boys, pretty clearly not gay. Also, I’m not trying to put extra emphasis on that because I’m uncomfortable, or homophobic. I have several gay friends. I am liberal and open minded, so I’m fine with, and even support homosexuality. But I’m also just very straight and so is he.)

ANYWAY, I digress.

So clearly this isn’t that big of a deal. I do realize that. And no one was at fault for it. We were just kids, and we had no idea what we were doing – it was very innocent.

However, my brother and I haven’t talked about it since it happened. Note, I’m 21 now, so it’s been a LONG time. The memory hasn’t made me super depressed or anything, but it’s just kind of a weight on my chest that I sometimes think about. It’s been an annoying little weight on my chest for a very very very long time I’d like to get it off by bringing the situation up with him, but I don’t know how to do that. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

P.S. Another piece of information that might be good to take into account is that we get along very well now. We’ve always been good friends. In fact, while I’m in his company, I never even think about the memory. It doesn’t even cross my mind. It’s only when I’m by myself when I think about it. I’d just like to find a way to bring it up with him in a comfortable, not awkward way, and also find a way to not have to think about it when I’m by myself.

A: Thank you for your detailed and honest account with your brother. I think there are three things that are important here. The first is that you realize this was not an untoward intention. That is important because it sounds like you believe this was more exploration then victimization. Secondly, you are not pointing to it as a traumatic event, per se, but rather wanting to use your understanding to maintain a relationship with your brother. This, too, is an important perspective as you move forward.

I would highly recommend a few individual sessions with a therapist (check the find help tab at the top of the page) who has experience with children who can help you think and feel through these memories. I would then talk about ways to use your understanding to have a conversation with your brother.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Feb 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Experimentation as Kids. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/05/experimentation-as-kids/