I never really thought about it too much. As a teen, I was often horny and never short of a partner or two. During class, sports or parties, if the sexual temptation hit there was always someone willing to offer themselves to me. Male or female, I was never that concerned with who it was, being the playboy, I was never short of a willing partner. High school, college, it was a breeze and I never concerned myself too much about when or where I was when I felt horny.
That wasn't until I found myself in the ‘real’ world, with a job that demanded my time be dedicated to business ethics. It was then that I began to realize spontaneous erections were not all that pleasing to have.
It could happen in the middle of a meeting, while I was walking to the photocopier or just standing in the corridor talking to my work colleges. It became a point of mine to hide it if possible or take care of myself when and where I could just to get through the day.
My girlfriend at the time, April, willingly put up with my demands for sex morning and night in the hope to stop my arousal's during the day but in the end, even she could no longer deal with my problem.
After she moved out I sort medical help but the doctor refused to prescribe me anything, telling me the medication would cause more damaging side effects. In my mind, my condition only worsened and my fear of embarrassing myself and the people around me made me depressed and withdrawn.
After weeks of begging April to return, in which she refused, and my suffering at work; I finally decided I couldn’t deal with it any longer. At twenty-four, I quit my job and became a hermit in my own home, refusing to leave, falling into severe depression. My parents at this point got involved with my life and insisted I return home while they helped me seek professional help. Never again in my life would I be as mortified and humiliated as I was when I had to tell my parents.
It was my parents who turned my life around. My mother Jane had arranged for me to see a specialist and it was through him that I was able to get medication to treat my condition. He recommended that I use the medication only when required, only once a day, and to limit my exposure to highly populated areas.
Little by little, I slowly got my life back but I never went back into business. My father John, a carpenter by trade, took me under his wing and taught me a trade. One I could do away from people.
Over the next three years, my life was non-existent. I lost contact with friends, I was living in a room at my parents place and the time I was working on constructing furniture I felt normal. Dedicating all my waking hours to my craft, I poured all my emotions in to each piece of furniture I made. Drawers, chairs, blanket boxes – I studied the use of different woods and ways to create unique pieces of work.
In those years, my erection issue was still a problem and I dealt with it on my own. I only used the medication when I had to go out and only when the problem occurred. It made a difference and slowly I rebuilt my life.
Yet, my life was never as it used to be. The days of having sex to deal with the issue no longer existed. I was scared to be involved in a relationship, afraid at how I would be treated because of my condition. My parents made every effort to be supportive but over time I began to lie to them, telling then I was better, that the problem was as they had said, something I would grow out of.
With enough money saved, I purchased a nice home with a large garage. One in which I could use to manufacture my work from home. Moving out of my parents’ home and into my own was a huge step, yet it did not free me from my prison. If anything, it only condemned me more. Never venturing far and always working, my life was at crisis point and finally little by little I came to realize I didn’t want to be alone or isolated any more.
Sophie was one of my regular customers,in her late forties, and owned a boutique, which sold various pieces of my smaller works. Jewelry boxes, serving trays and decorative wooden bowls, it was the smaller items I created that I love to work on. I enjoyed sitting with my crafting tools designing unique patterns into the wood. It became my way of expressing myself and these items became my most popular.
Without knowing my reasons for being a recluse, Sophie accepted me and never bothered asking for details. I had time for her too, the more time I spent with her the more I was able to control my body. I found I looked forward to her visits, which would only be every two or three months, because it gave me the opportunity to learn control.
After a year of knowing her, I welcomed her visits and sometimes invited her over when I manufactured new items, allowing her the first option of purchase. I was happy that I was slowly making my transition back into society. True, it was a slow process, but my confidence was still lacking but I was getting stronger.
My work was also beginning to get recognition from various business and collectors. I was supplying more and more smaller pieces and found most of my time was spent on this. I never once felt it a burden, for I loved every item I made.
After my twenty-ninth birthday, I made a promise to myself that I would make more of an effort to get out during the day. Almost all of my food shopping was done late in the evenings, when I knew the supermarkets would be empty. I considered buying it online but thought I had to make a stand at some point if I was going to reclaim my life back.
The stock I ordered for my work, I did over the phone and had it home delivered. And clothes, shoes and other sundry items were ordered online. I truly had mastered the art of never leaving home unless necessary.
The first weekend after my birthday, I donned on a pair of jeans, a baggy shirt and a blue overlarge jacket, hanging almost down to my knees, which had become my trademark whenever I left the house. Pulling on my shoes and socks, I walked out the door and into the sunlight. My body screamed at me not to go out there, but I was tired of being scared. It was never an issue when I was younger; the condition had not changed from then until now, only my fears had.
Chanting to myself to be confident and strong, I approachedmy car. Climbing in and taking a deep breath, I didn’t want to fight it any more. I didn’t want to be alone and I didn’t want to be living in fear. My pills in my coat pocket if I needed them were close at hand. Starting the car, I was going to see the places selling my craft, and nothing was going to stop me.
Pulling up outside Sophie’s boutique, I was surprised at how big it was. Somehow, I always expected a small, quant little shop, not something large. Getting out of my car, I hesitated before making my way inside. There were several people there and I feltgood, nothing had triggered my arousal, as I made my way over to the serving counter.
The young woman behind the counter eyed me suspiciously; I guessed I did look a little weird in my long blue coat on such a nice day. I asked to see Sophie and told her my name. Her eyes never left me as she moved to one side to pick up the telephone and called Sophie. I waited; conscious of the tension behind the counter and hoped Sophie might be there soon. Coming from the back of the store, Sophie was both surprised and pleased to see me.
“Alex, I can’t believe it, you’re here.” Sophie came forward and embraced me before I could stop her. Not retuning the hug, I held my breath until she pulled away. Letting it out slowly I smiled, grateful my body was behaving. I found I could go around ten days without an issue if I had no contact with people. But any type of physical contact could ruin it all, so I was always careful.
“So you finally did it?” Sophie knew I didn’t like to leave the house and still she never asked why.
“I finally did it, but one wrong move and I might not do it again.” I joked with her, although it isn’t far from the truth.
“Come on, let me show you the display I have. I think you will love it.”
Guiding me back to the front of her shop, in the front corner my pieces of work werebeautifully displayed.
“Wow, I like the way you have displayed them Sophie, the use of the green silk beneath the wood is great.”
“Thank you Alex, I like it too. I don’t suppose you brought anything with you today.”
“No sorry, it took me all my courage just to get into the car.” I smiled down at her, knowing she would understand.
“Never mind. I was going to come over next weekend to see what you have.”
“Only a few pieces. Catherine from Gifts and Cards called during the week and requested several of the pieces I posted online. But if you let me know what you are after I can put them aside for you once I have made them.”
“Thank you Alex, you do look after me. I’ll email you my order during the week.”
I smiled again and then feltconscious of the fact I didn’t have any more I wanted to say. This was never a problem for me once, but now I hated that I had no confidence.
“Well I’ll keep moving then.” I told her.
“Would you like to get a coffee down at the café before you go?”
Shaking my head before she has finished speaking I replied, “No, thank you. Not today.”
Sophie patted my arm, “Another time then.”
Nodding I thanked her and then left. Getting back into my car I struggled with my inner demons but in the end forced myself to visit Gifts and Cards.
Outside of Gifts and Cards, I didn’t get out of my car. This shop was indeed small and I could see my items through the front window. That was all I was there for, so I didn’t go in, instead I returned home.
Entering the kitchen, the phone was flashing with one missed call. Retrieving the message, my mum wanted me to call her back, which I did immediately.
“Hi, honey how are you?” She asked me.
“I’m good thank you. Just got back from seeing Sophie. Have you been to her boutique before?” I asked.
“I haven’t but I’ve been meaning to.”
“You should, you would definitely love it, and not just because I’m selling my work there.”
Jane laughed, “Then I will make the effort to visit. I rang earlier to tell you I had a call from Lucas, who you went to high school with. You remember him?”
“Yeah, I remember him, he was a good friend. Haven’t seen him since he moved away for university after high school. What was he ringing for?”
“They’re starting to plan your high school reunion and he wanted to get in touch with you.”
“Oh, already, wow time flies. Did he leave his phone number I can call him back on.”
“Yes I have it here. I also gave him your number, so he may ring you if he doesn’t hear from you first.”
“No, I’ll call him. It will be good to talk to him again.”
Getting Lucas’ phone number I talked with mum for another few minutes before saying our goodbyes. Walking into the living room, I sat down and stared at the phone number in my hand. I haven’t seen any of my old school friends since leaving high school. There were the small few that went to college with me but none followed me into the work force. By the time I had started working I had new friends and in a way it made me pleased. Those friends, that were there to enjoy the good times I remembered fondly, were never there to witness my downfall.
But could I see them again. I knew they would be shocked to see the person I had become, and I knew they would want to know why. I decided to wait before calling Lucas; in fact, I would wait until he called me.
Three days later Lucas called and I apologized for not returning his call telling him work was extremely busy. Our talk was great, I was taken back to the days when nothing mattered and after talking for an hour about the plans for the reunion and whowasdoing what, Lucas invited me to join him and some of our old friends for a few drink after work.
I guessed he sensed my reluctance and I put it off to the amount of work I had to get done and trying to plan a night outwasnear impossible. Lucas accepted my excuse but I knew he would ask again.
After our call, I sat for some time dwelling on what to do. A part of me wanted to see them all again, that being with them wouldn’t matter. But the reputation I had as a teen would be talked about and the fear of having to endure a night out knowing I would have no control over my arousal's scared me now. I didn’t want them laughing at me orfeelingdisgusted that I had no control over my body.
For the next five weeks until I heard from Lucas again, I fell back into a depression that left me tired and sad. Because, in those five weeks my arousal's still came when I least expected then and I was no closer to controlling them. Turning Lucas down a second time, I knew I was pushing him away and rejecting my past. I didn’t want to but what choice did I have.
One Saturday afternoon almost two months after I had last heard from Lucas, I found him and three other friends, Henry, Mike and Dale at my front door. I blinked in surprise seeing all four standing there, goofy grins on their faces. A part of me was glad to see them; the lower part of me was not. My first reaction was to close the door and forget they were there but instead, I let them in, forging surprise and welcoming them. But I guess some friends know when something is wrong and it didn’t take long for the four to sit me down.
“Ok, what’s happened? Where is the Alex we all know and love?” Lucas asked.
I shrugged and looked away. I could already feel my body betraying me and I wanted to run and hide, crawl into a hole and never come out. I didn’t realize the tears were falling until I felt all four men around me, comforting me, asking to know what is wrong.
I didn’t want to tell them, but I was tired of being scared and dealing with my problem on my own. So I cried and they comforted me until I felt my body calming down and my erection slowly dissipating. The relief I felt was enough to look at my friends and tell them about my time since leaving school.
The constant fear that they would laugh, or think less of me, stopped me from talking many times. But they don’t laugh and every time I paused, they encouraged me to continue. Telling them didn’t lift the weight of burden from me, if anything telling them only made that burden heavier. And after what felt like an eternity I was exhausted and had nothing more to say.
The room was quiet for a long time and then Mike said, “You need to get laid.”
I don’t why but I started to laugh, we all laughed.
Lucas came forward and placing a hand on my shoulder said, “There’s nothing wrong with you Alex. You have an over stimulated sex drive. You dealt with it during school well enough. I mean hell, we were all jealous of the fact you could have anyone. I don’t know what made you think it was a problem, but we’re going to bring back the old Alex.”
The other men in the room agreed, and I just nodded. I wasn’t sure if I wanted the old Alex back but I knew I could no longer go on being the Alex I became.
My friends spent the afternoon and late into the night with me. I showed them my workshop and mywork. Sold two pieces, one to Henry and another to Dale, and talked with them about what they all did and what they had been doing with their time.
The more time I spent with them, the more I realized how much of life I was missing. Although my fears were still close to my heart, the thought of being accepted by my friends made me feel that perhaps things could start changing for the better.
Late in the evening when they finally decided to leave, I politely asked them to keep my condition to themselves. I explained that it was something I had to work through myself and them knowing would take time for me to accept. All four agreed to keep it to themselves but vowed to show me there was nothing wrong with me. I nodded at their kindness but it would take a small miracle I felt to get me back to having a normal life again.
The days after their visit I felt a little better about myself, and all four made regular calls to chat and they didn’t once push me into doing something I didn’t want to do. Instead, they came to visit often and helped me to be myself again. Although when they were around my erections did cause me some discomfort, I found the medication helped and wearing my bagging pants and large shirts did too.
The invitation to Henry’s engagement party was something I had planned to skip. But neither Henry, or the othersweregoing to let me avoid it. It was in a small restaurant Henry’s parents had booked out, it was a sit down dinner, and only close friends and family would be there. Lucas had offered to pick me up but in the end I agreed to come, telling them I would drive myself.
The night of the dinner I received calls from all four friends, making sure I was on my way. As much as I appreciated their influence in my life now, there were still instances I didn’t feel comfortable being in. Dinner in a small restaurant was one of them. When I pulled up in the car park, I may have pulled out again, if not for Mike waiting for me out front.
My friends really didn’t see my condition as a problem, what they saw as the problem was my rejection of living. And I found this difficult to understand. I was afraid to live because of my condition but they refused to accept this.
Making our way inside, Mike chatted about his week at work and I pulled my blue coat further around me when I saw the twenty or so people inside. I had made an attempt to dress nicely for the evening but I wasn’t able to walk about my front door without my big coat.
I greet Henry and his fiancée Clare, and handing Clare my gift, I congratulate them both. Clare greets me like a long lost friend and I chat to her and Henry, all the time my left hand is in my pocket of my coat, fingering the small pill bottle. I was hoping the small container would give me the strength to get through the night without using them. So far it was good.
Before long, we are seated. I am reluctant to remove my coat but do so, hanging it over the back of my chair, before quickly sitting down. Once seated I didn’t need to get up for the rest of the night and in some way I begin to relax a little. Iwasable to forget for a short while my condition controlled me and enjoyed the evening and the dinner. When the night drew to an end I once more pulled my coat on and left, happy I was able to enjoy the night without any problems.
After that night, my friends begin to invite me out to various places where it was small and quiet. Where I could relax and have a few drinks and laugh about the old times. My arousals would come and go, but I found I could ride through them when they happen. I knew my life was never going to be the same as it used to be, but slowly I was getting involved again.
The mind has a strange way of fooling you into thinking you don’t have a right to be the person you are. It had taken over five years for me to go from being an outgoing sexual deviate to a man afraid of his own body.
Once your mindset has been altered in a way where you cannotbelievein anything else, you don’t see the things in front of you that can help you. When I let my friends back into my life and began to talk and deal with my condition, slowly I began to realize it needed to be dealt with head on. Of course I had no idea how I was going to do this, but one morning I woke after only a few hours’ sleep and decide I was tired of living alone. And just like that I was back into the world of dating.
The transition wasn’t as simple as the thought, but now that I had made the conclusion I slowly began the changes to reflect this. Mike and Dale were both single, and it was with them that I began to see a side of the world I had long forgotten. The side of one night stands and sex with strangers.
Like my parents had forgotten all about my condition, so too had my friends brushed it off. My ‘over active sexual appetite’ as they referred to it as, was something they longed to feed. But after several weeks of this my depression had me at my lowest I had ever been. My last night out with them, before I finally snapped, was to a nightclub. I had downed several shots to break my inhibition, as the night became a blur of lust and sex. Waking the following morning in a room I did not know, with a woman I could not remember, left me feeling that was not the way I wanted to be.
But having sex again after so long had stirred the beast inside of me, and it was that beast that forced the change in my way of thinking. With my appetite for sex now awaken and a condition that demanded satisfaction, I was on the hunt for someone who was the same as me. Someone who did not shy away from sex when it suited me or them. I believed that person existed; it was a matter of finding them. Male or female I didn’t care, and with my mind now determined to find that person my outlook on life changed again.
I threw my blue coat out, although I didn’t leave the house for the next two weeks after. Work was still busy and I dedicated a lot of my time to that, which helped me to stay on track. One day during the week, Sophie paid me a visit. She commented on how I had changed and that she was pleased I had reconnected with my friends when I told her the reason for the change.
Her visit was to place her order but to also inform me of a friend of hers, who owned a gallery in the city. This friend had seen my work and was interested in exhibiting some pieces. I had never exhibited my work before and Sophie gave her friend great praise and thought it would be a great opportunity for me. She gave me the details of the gallery and the owner, and I told her I would make contact.
She didn’t question if I would or not, although I suspected shebelievedI would not. If she had asked six months prior, I would have never taken the details from her. Now I was determined to change my life and if I could get my work seen by more people then perhaps I could meet the one I was looking for.
Leaving the house is still an issue and without my coat, it took a lot of talking to myself to get me out the door. But I was more determined to change my life now, that when I made the decision to visit the gallery looking to exhibit my work, I dressed in my best clothes. I took a pill before leaving home so I would not have to carry them with me and this gave me strength.
Located in the center of the city, the gallery wasn’t difficult to find. The large glass face front displayed paintings and sculptures within the long, bright building. I drove past twice before parking the car; the people I saw left me conflicted about visiting. I knew I couldn’t delay, the pill worked several hours but the sooner I saw the gallery the sooner I could return home.
Leaving my car, I focus on my location and walk there paying no regard to my surroundings. Those that notice me I ignore. My looks had not faded over time; I was still attractive and still drew attention to myself. Only it was the kind of attention I hated now.
Entering the gallery, I let out the breath I was holding when I realize no one is there. The deserted gallery was a blessing, leaving me to walk through to look at what was on display. Hearing footsteps behind me, I turn to come face to face with a man slightly smaller than me, wearing a grey suit; with the most adorable face I have ever seen.
I couldn’t help but return his smile as I introduce myself.
His name is Patrick and the friend Sophie had told me about. He had been talking with her and my name came up in conversation. I listen to Patrick explain to me about how he had visited Sophie’s boutique and fallen in love with my work.
“I love the detail of your work, there’s something about it that draws you to it. I would to exhibit it in my gallery.”
“You own this gallery?” I ask somewhat embarrass by his words.
“Yes, my father owns the building, but I own the gallery. I've always loved art but was never good at it and so I put all my efforts in to finding amazing artists and holding exhibitions for them.”
I shift my feet; a suddenly feeling of discomfort engulfs me and Patrick seems to notice immediately.
“Sophie explained you were somewhat of a recluse, but I was hoping I might be able to persuade you to consider an exhibition. “
I look around the gallery ignoring his mention of my being a recluse. I’m uncomfortable enough now I don’t want to do or say something I might regret. Not sure if an exhibition was what I really wanted for my work; I look back down at Patrick and his eager face. He made it hard to refuse as I found myself replying, “I might have some pieces you could use but I really just make whatever the customer orders. I don’t make anything for the sake of making it.”
“I totally understand. Sophie said as much. I thought perhaps I could come and see what you do and make some suggestion as to what to display.”
I look Patrick over, I don’t really want to disappoint him, he seems like a nice man.
“You can come over and look at my work but if I do exhibit, I’m not likely to be at any opening night you have. I’m not good in crowds.” If he and Sophie had been talking then he would understand.
Patrick nods, “That’s fine, we can work around that. When would be a good time to come passed, is the evening fine?”
“The evenings are fine, tonight is good if you want to come over.” I tell him wanting to get it over with sooner rather than later.
“Tonight is good, after eight is that’s not too late for you?”
“No eight is fine.”
After giving Patrick my address he extends his hand and I shake it. His long fingers give a powerful shake and I feel that beneath his fine exterior is a strong person. Letting go, I bid my farewell and leave. Making my way as quickly as possible back to my car, I think about exhibiting my work. I’d never had thought my life would come to this point. Had my condition not taken over my life I would still be working in an office without the flexibility I now had. And the fact I was doing something I truly loved, I guessed there were some positives to come out of what had become of me.
I visit my parents that afternoon and tell them of the request from the gallery to show my work. My mum is extremely proud and my father too. We talk about the type of pieces I should supply and with my father; we talk for several hours about the types of woods I should use. He and I were closer now that when I was growing up and on the drive home, I reflect again on my life.
Takeaway for dinner was not something I did often but with Patrick coming over at eight and not getting home until seven, led me to pull into the drive through on my way home. The meal is average and suffices, as I worked around the workshop until Patrick arrived at eight exactly.
Arriving in casual clothes, he looks quite young and when I mention this to him, he laughs, informing me he is thirty-seven. The look on my face made him laugh again.
“I get that a lot. I guess I’m fortunate that I’m able to hold my age well.”
“Very well. I bet the women are extremely jealous?” I tell him.
“I guess.” He replies and I sense from his tone it may be a sore point, and one in which I don’t choose to follow up.
I led Patrick to my workshop, which he is very impressed with.
“You keep your work place very clean.”
“Thank you, I like it this way, and if my father saw it any differently there would be hell to pay.”
Patrick laughs and again I sense a part of him that doesn’t quite fit his appearance. I stare for a moment, then turn and make my way across the room.
As I walk over to where I store my work I suddenly feel my arousal begin and I stop in the center of the room. I move forward again immediately, as I feel my walls falling around me. I fight it because I don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to myself but I know my behavior must already be noticed by Patrick.
Coming to the bench with my finished pieces, I look at them afraid to turn or look at Patrick. I’m hoping he’ll look and chose the pieces he wants and be gone before he notices my behavior. But to my surprise Patrick notices me but in a totally different manner.
“You’re uncomfortable with me because you know I’m gay.”
It is then that I look at him and see the disappointment in his face. And as I look closer I can see in him the pain I too have known. The fear, the disappointment, the rejection, the struggle to be accepted.
I don’t want to have to explain my reasons for my behavior but I also don’t want him to think his sexually is the reason I’m behaving the way I am. Patrick shakes his head when I don’t reply and turns to leave. I instinctively reach out and stop him, my hand on his shoulder. Feeling him stiffen as he comes a stop I don’t want to have him to leave feeling he did something wrong.
“It’s not you.” I quietly tell him as I remove my hand, knowing my holding him there is not helping.
He turns to look at me over his shoulder and I turn back to the workbench.
The room is silent and I don’t know if he intends to stay or go, but I can’t bring myself to face him again. When he comes back over to the workbench he looks at the pieces and reaching out takes one and studies it.
I know that if he looks in my direction, especially my groan area the possibly of him noticing my erection are high. I can’t hide it and I’m too scared to move. Patrick takes another piece to examine and then placing it back down he turns to me and asks, “Are you attracted to me?”
I can’t look at him, my fears are drowning me, and somehow he realizes something is not right. I know he’s studying me, trying to work out what is going on inside my head. When he reaches out to me I close my eyes as my desires begin to take control of my body and all I can think about is having sex with him and what it would feel like to have him under me.
I know it would never be fair if I did something like that to him. We’ve only just met and I refuse to allow myself to do something that could ruin me.
Squeezing my eyes shut tight, I tell him, “I have a condition where I suffer from spontaneous erections. It can happen at any time. When I was younger, I would screw anyone who was interested but I can’t work that way now. I can’t just screw anything to satisfy my constant arousals it’s not fair on those people or me. I don’t want to be like this but that how I am. I hate it.”
My grip on the bench is tight and I feel like I’m holding on for my life.
“Does having sex control the arousal's?” He asks.
Slowly I began to relax my body, my grip on the table weakens and I slowly open my eyes. Turning to look at Patrick I reply, “It does, but I haven’t been with anyone for over five years and I’ve tried one night stands and I now refuse to have sex with just anyone to appease this condition.”
Patrick looks up at me and asks, “You want a partner that can live with your condition and understand your needs.”
“If I could find someone who loves sex that much, it would be a dream come true. Then I would be one step closer to removing the stigma I have placed on myself.”
Patrick looks at me deep in thought, then turning back to the workbench goes back to looking at the items. I look at him for a moment longer before moving away from the table to stand across the room from him. After several minutes, Patrick has chosen seven pieces he wants to use for the exhibition and requests three new pieces, slightly larger and different from what I was currently making.
I offer to show him some of the pieces of furniture I have in my home, all the time we both ignore my condition. It is a strange situation to find myself in but I show Patrick the kitchen and living room and the pieces I have there. He suggests a chair, a nest of tables and a small footstool, in addition to the ten other pieces, which I agree to make.
I enquire at how soon he would like then and he gives me four weeks, which I tell him is long enough to get them completed. When our business is done, I expect him to say goodbye and leave but instead he surprises me. Once our agreement is complete he comes to me and says, “I’ve had some bad luck in relationship, most times I want more than my partner can give. I’ll admit I’m needy and like to take control. I think I might like to help you. If you are not bothered by an open relationship with me.”
“By open you mean dating where everyone knows.”
“Yes.” He replies.
“And you’ll take care of my needs, even if that means moving in.”
“Can I think about it?” I ask, not wanting to rush my answer.
I walk Patrick out and after he is gone I make my way to the bathroom, because my erection is throbbing ready for release and as I take care of myself Patrick is who I’m jacking off too.