Before I watched the anthological TV series, Little America – a show which, inspired by the true stories featured in Epic Magazine, narrates the experiences of immigrants in the United States – I was on Instagram, happening upon a post by actor, Haaz Sleiman, the star of the show’s last episode titled The Son. The Son is one of the eight episodes which tells the story of Rafiq (Haaz Sleiman) and how he is forced to flee his Syrian village of Qardha, following his father teaching him a lesson after he caught Rafiq kissing a man. Rafiq flees to Damascus, and through some new friendships, fears and hopes, he eventually gets asylum in America.

As part of his promotion of the show, Haaz Sleiman posted a clip on Instagram of his character kissing his lover during a rendezvous which he had to lie to get out of the house to meet.


“I had my first kiss when I was 20 years old in Lebanon,” he captioned the above clip. “I thought I was in heaven.”

On that same day, while still insta-hopping, I came across a meme posted by a gay Instagram account. One half of the picture shows a man sprinkling roses on a bed, and the other half is what I presume is a still from a porn scene showing two naked men in a bushy area. The words above the photos are: “How you dreamed it was going to be your first time // How it really was.”

Seeing these posts had me going on a little stroll down memory lane as I thought about my own firsts.

My first kiss happened when I was 13. The person who kissed me was a boy who’d been bullying me all of the three years we’d spent in secondary school. The night he kissed me, he’d accosted me in our dark classroom, after night prep, and I thought he had come to harass me like he usually did. We ran around the classroom, me trying to get to the door and get out, and him blocking my way while advancing on me.

Finally, he got to me, and as I flinched, already anticipating his blow before it came, he simply pulled me to him and kissed me.

That was a surprise.

Before that night, I’d always suspected there was something different about me. While most boys my age primped and preened like peacocks around girls, I felt my heart fluttering with breathless excitement every time Chris from JSS2F walked past me.

I wasn’t ignorant about sex and romance; I’d been watching enough movies to know such intimacies were a thing. But I didn’t experiment like most growing children are wont to do, primarily because my parents sheltered me and my siblings from having much of a social life outside school.

So, that kiss was not just my first kiss. It was my introduction to a whole new world of several possibilities. Of romance and sex. Of attractions and intimacies that could only exist in the dark. That kiss was like a bite of the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Like Eve and Adam, my senses were awakened and everything felt possible.

And because that is the way these things usually happen, I fixated all my brand new energy on the person who introduced me to this new world: the boy who kissed me. I fell fast and hard for him. I was “in love”. We began to meet almost every night, after night prep, in every corner of the school where we could find privacy: the classroom after lights out, the far corners of the football field, the abandoned and sometimes unlocked premises of the laboratory section, the car park.

We were everywhere in the dark, making out and masturbating each other. It was bliss for me. I felt like I was in a starring role in my very own romantic thriller. It never occurred to me that anyone else could be like us, could be doing what we were doing. To me, we were two of a kind. All the other boys were interested in girls, and here I was, here we were, two boys interested in each other, being what no one else was. We were special. This sense of otherness heightened the passions I felt every time we kissed and caressed and grabbed at each other’s penises.

And that’s probably the major reason why I never really felt any self-loathing as I grew older and more aware of whom I am. Because my first experiences of same-sex attraction felt very right. Very meant-to-be. Every time I felt attacked by internalized homophobia, I would ask myself: “But how can something that feels this good to me be such a bad thing?” This rationalization always helped me keep my feelings about my homosexuality in order the older I got.

But I digress. This isn’t a story of my homosexual maturation. It’s a story about my firsts.

In all the time I was intimate with – Okay, let’s call him Obi… All we did was kiss and wank. And as far as I was concerned, that was all there was to boy-on-boy sex. I knew boy-on-girl sex involves the boy putting his penis inside the girl’s vagina. But since there were no vaginas here, I figured masturbation was all we were good for over here in boy-on-boy action.

I would later realize how woefully unenlightened I was.

Till the end of that term, Obi and I carried on with our nighttime trysts. And I was so in love with him, that when we went home for the holiday at the end of the term, I spent endless hours in bed mooning over images of him in my head and doodling his name on my exercise book. For the first time since I became a secondary school student, I couldn’t wait to resume school so I could go back to kissing and touching Obi.

But just as he opened me up to the joys of romance, Obi would soon introduce me to its ugly underbelly of heartbreak. We resumed school the next term – and we were done. Just like that. No warning, nothing. He simply started ghosting me. I wasn’t sure what hurt more – this deliberate refusal to acknowledge my existence or the time when all the attention he gave me was with his fists.

A “relationship” and a “breakup” all at the age of 13 – It was too much. I was devastated. And in my misery, I finally confessed to my friends what had been going on with me. Sharing my grief with them opened my eyes to a new truth: that there was a community out there, in the same school, filled with boys like me. Boys like my friend JBoy, who was carrying on a torrid love affair with a boy in his class. And another one of my friends who was doing it with a couple of JSS2 boys. And yet another friend who was getting chyked up and down by boys in our set who he was too prudish to give the time of day.

There were boys like me. I wasn’t alone. It hadn’t just been me and Obi all this time. There were all these other boys who liked boys like I did. Knowing I had these friends, sharing our stories and experiences – all this helped me bounce back very quickly from my heartbreak over Obi. I would go on to have a thing with other boys, some of them seniors. And all these intimacies never went beyond making out and jerking each other off. A senior boy had even improved my experience by introducing me to lap sex. So, I carried on with my life, believing this was all the sex there was to have between boys.

It wasn’t until I was 15, in SS2, and going steady for nearly a year with a boy, Jude, that I was in a conversation about sex with my friends. A conversation where they stunned me with all these stories about anal sex.

I’m sorry, WHAT!

They laughed over my wide-eyed wonder at their narrations of sexcapades involving dicks going up inside assholes. I was caught between fascination and revulsion as they talked. I had questions, lots of questions. And they couldn’t believe that I’d been going steady with one guy for almost a year, and we’d never tried anal.

“So every night that you spend in his bed, all you people do is kiss and rub?” JBoy said with the kind of sneer that made it seem like my relationship belonged in a museum.

“Yes!” I wailed. “If he knew this, he hasn’t mentioned it –”

“Oh he knows,” another friend interjected with a knowing nod and smile. “They all know. We all know. I don’t know where you came from, but everybody has always known.”

I’d never felt so brand-new in my life. And I was determined to fix it.


Written by Pink Panther

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  1. Black Dynasty
    February 11, 09:23 Reply

    Lool ah the beautiful times of innocence and naivety! I remember these soo well… secondary school was a whirlwind of firsts.

  2. Tristan
    February 11, 10:51 Reply

    Pinky, I might be that Chris and was in JSS2F. Which school did you go to?

  3. Mandy
    February 11, 11:26 Reply

    “So every night that you spend in his bed, all you people do is kiss and rub?” JBoy said with the kind of sneer that made it seem like my relationship belonged in a museum.

    The experience at that age though. This JBoy sounds legendary.

  4. trystham
    February 11, 12:10 Reply

    Well, I didn’t. But having him put his dick between my arse cheeks in JS1 felt soooooooooo good…and that was that.

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