Finding Tim

by Charlie

Episode 183

Fowlers

This is Charlie writing, but this is going to be Helen and Arthur's story. I looked over the last two chapters and decided that we needed to learn more about the Fowlers, and how they viewed the events of their daughter's life. At first, Helen was going to write the story, but she soon realized that for some parts we would need Arthur's point of view. However, we'll start with Helen, who will be our main narrator.

Both Arthur and I grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, one of the Tri-Cities, or Quad Cities, of Iowa-Illinois. Why it had to change from Tri- to Quad, I'll never know, and why Tri-Cities always has a hyphen and Quad Cities doesn't is a total mystery. As for the number, the folks in Iowa thought there had to be equal representation so they insisted on adding Bettendorf, Iowa, to the list that began with Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Illinois. Of course, I lived on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. My father worked for the Rock Island Post Office and Arthur's father taught high school in Moline. Both of our mothers were housewives, as they were called then. Now they don't "work outside the home," unless you insist that that term denigrates housework. My God, I can't keep up with the way people want to force language to change. They ought to look at a little linguistic history. It is very difficult to force language changes. So, I'll just claim title to that old term, housewife, and proclaim that that's my role in life, and it's one that I'm neither ashamed of nor wish to change–despite a lot of other changes in my life that I've agreed to tell you about.

I was a high school debater, and I'll lay claim to being a pretty successful one. Beginning in my junior year my regular debate partner was a really smart, tall, quite handsome boy named Raymond Blighly. We spent a lot of time together, preparing and practicing our debating, and going to various debate tournaments around the Quad Cities, sometimes getting to events sponsored by the University of Iowa, about an hour to the west at Iowa City. Most of our trips involved four debaters (Ray and I as either the affirmative or negative team and two others on the opposite side) and our coach, Dr. Erlich, who would drive us in his station wagon. Some events accepted two person teams, and Ray and I would go together with Ray driving his mother's car. Events were either after school or on Saturday.

During Christmas vacation of our junior year (1975) Ray asked me to go to the movies with him. I think that was the first "date" we had–the first thing done together that didn't involve debating. That was followed by a few other dates (movies mostly) but also going to the big Spring Dance at our high school, Rock Island High. I know this is supposed to be a sexual history, so I'll simply have to be specific, there was none, no sex, no talking about sex, and I don't think even any thinking about sex–at least with each other. We were debate partners, and that pretty much was that. We had a most successful year debating, winning a lot more debates than we lost.

Things continued pretty much along the same path in the fall of our senior year. The dating became a little more frequent, and more varied: we went both roller and ice skating, attended some community theater productions, and double dated a few times with other debaters. I have to brag: we were undefeated throughout our senior year–the only pair who could claim that in the entire Quad Cities. But we weren't state champions–it takes a four person team to win a major debate tournament, and while Ray and I, debating affirmative on that year's question, were never beaten, the negative team, who were juniors and much less experienced than Ray and me, did not have as good a record, and we just missed qualifying for the state tournament.

This story really is going somewhere, specifically to a student theater production of the Caucasion Chalk Circle at the University of Iowa. We left right from school and headed to Iowa City. It was early February and quite cold, but the roads were clear, and snow wasn't predicted. We had dinner in Davenport and headed on to Iowa City. We arrived in plenty of time for the play. We had great seats and enjoyed it thoroughly. However, at the end of the performance a man from the box office came onto the stage and said, "Before you leave, I have an announcement. There has been a light freezing rain in the last hour, and the roads are extremely icy and dangerous. We just got word from the State Police that Interstate 80 is closed both east and west of Iowa City. Please be extremely cautious on the way home."

I-80 was our route home. Ray called his parents and told them of the situation. They'd been watching television and had seen the weather bulletins. They told Ray to get to a motel and not attempt to drive home. That was exactly what he had intended, but I knew that he wanted to get parental permission well in advance of going to a motel with a girl. We made a similar call to my folks, and everyone agreed that we needed to get to a motel. This was before the days of credit cards for teenagers, but also a time of much cheaper motels. Between us we had enough to pay for a motel. On the other hand, finding one with a room proved to be a problem. The first three we tried were completely filled, mostly by people stranded like us. The fourth was a Howard Johnson's that had one room with one queen-size bed. Ray looked at me with a funny look on his face, and I nodded, "Yes." We didn't have any choice.

Under any other circumstances I'm sure that the clerk wouldn't have rented us the room, but he was well aware of the weather, and Ray's driver's license made it very clear that we couldn't get home that night. The room cost $16 plus tax, and we split it 50/50, since neither of us had the full amount. (Yes, I know, in today's world the clerk wouldn't have blinked at the room sharing, but we might not have had enough cash to pay the over $100 that the same class motel would charge today.)

As we very slowly drove around to the back of the motel where our room was, Ray said, "This is going to be a little awkward. I guess I should sleep on the floor."

"You have to drive tomorrow; if anybody is going to sleep on the floor, it's going to be me. But I don't see any reason why either of us has to take the floor. We can share the bed."

We parked and went into the room. We had absolutely nothing but the clothes on our backs and heavy coats. Ray said there were blankets and a few supplies in the trunk, but nothing useful. By now it was 11:30 in the evening, and we were ready for bed. I said, "Well, I guess neither of us has pajamas. I guess we sleep in our underwear."

Ray fooled me by answering, "I never use pajamas. I sleep in the nude. I have as long as I can remember. Oh, God. That didn't convey the message I intended. Please don't make anything of it."

I answered, "Why not? It makes you seem a lot more human."

"OK, if that conversation makes me human, what do you sleep in?"

"A bed."

"Very funny. What do you wear when you sleep in a bed?"

"Not much."

"Not much, what?"

"Just panties. I wear a couple of sizes larger for sleeping, otherwise they pull."

"I think we're both on information overload."

"But it's fun information. OK, what're we going to sleep in tonight?"

Ray got a little red in the face and said, "I guess underwear."

"I told you, my regular size panties pull, and I'm sure as Hell not going to try to sleep in a bra."

"You're suggesting that we sleep nude?"

"Yes, I think I am."

"So, I'll go into the bathroom, take off my clothes; you undress in here, turn out the light, get in bed and I'll join you."

"Have you ever seen a naked girl?"

"My sister."

"Nobody else?"

"No."

"Would you like to? Come on, be honest."

"Sure, I'd like to. Any boy would. But we are talking about you and me, friends but not lovers, stranded in a motel, not setting up a one night stand."

"I liked it when you just said, 'Sure, I'd like to'."

"Helen, where is this headed?"

"Where would you like it to be headed?"

"I'm not sure. Yeah, OK, boys dream of making it with girls. I think we all do."

"Believe me, girls dream of making it with boys."

"Dreaming and doing aren't the same thing. I'm not sure we're ready to go where you seem to be heading."

"Why not? We're seniors in high school. Very few of my friends are still virgins, or a least they've gone a lot further than you and I have. I'm sure that the same is true of your boy friends. And, for your information, I have no idea where I'm heading with this. Right now I'm thinking that I'd like to see you naked, and that you'd like to see me naked. What might come next isn't yet on the table."

"I'm not sure that if we both got naked and climbed into bed, that I could leave you alone all night."

"I'm not sure I'd want you to."

"Whoa. That sounds like you're thinking about what might come next."

"No, I'm just thinking that something will come next. Come on, sissy, take your clothes off." With that I opened my blouse and let it drop to the floor. I turned my back to Ray and said, "Unhook my bra."

He did, very hesitantly. I turned and looked at him and his eyes couldn't leave my tits. I said, "OK, buster, let's get you stripped to the waist." I started unbuttoning his shirt, but he gently stopped me.

"You're really serious about this, aren't you?"

"Yes. So, it's up to you. Are we or aren't we?"

"I guess we are." He continued unbuttoning his shirt and it dropped to the floor, followed by his tee shirt. He said, "Let me kiss you."

We had kissed, never very passionately, following almost all of our dates. Kissing wasn't a big deal. Well, it is when two naked torsos rub together for the first time. My tits felt so good rubbing up against his strong body, I almost lost it right there. We broke apart, and he sat on the bed and took off his shoes and socks. I sat in the only chair and took off my shoes and anklets. We both stood, and I walked over to him, took the end of his belt in my hand and said, "May I?"

"I think you will regardless of what I say. But, yes, you may."

I opened his belt, the top button, and his fly. I was totally inexperienced and it took a little fiddling to get it all open. He asked, "Do you want to pull them down, or do you want me to?"

"You." He pushed his pants down and stepped out of them. He stood facing me in a pair of boxers that were tented with an obvious erection. I think that was the only word that I knew for the phenomenon. I'd learned about it in health class (the school's euphemism for sex education) where it was always an erection. I don't think I'd ever talked about it with my girl friends, and certainly not with boys. I pushed down my own slacks, but a girl doesn't have the problem in her panties that a boy has in his boxers.

I pointed at his erection and laughed. At the same time I pulled off my panties and stood naked in front of him. He moved much more slowly, but bent over and took off his boxers, and even more slowly stood straight in front of me. He was very red in the face, and obviously nervous. I said, "That is normal for an aroused penis, right?"

"Yes."

"And you are aroused, aren't you?"

"Yes."

"Well, so am I. On a girl you look and see how pointed her nipples are."

He stood there silently, taking all of me in. I said, "Can I touch it?"

I was afraid I'd pushed too far, but he very hesitantly said, "Yes."

I touched the tip, and then wrapped my hand around it and gently squeezed. The physical reaction was very noticeable and arousing. But a little voice inside me whispered, "Caution."

Out loud, I said, "We need to talk. I have no idea where this is going, but I can see it moving forward fairly quickly. And a lot more quickly than either you or I expected when we drove over here to Iowa City. I know you aren't sexually active, so you don't have a little pack of condoms in your wallet. Am I right?"

"Yes."

"Good Boy Scouts are supposed to be prepared."

"I never imagined needing a condom tonight, and it still seems unlikely."

"You couldn't imagine my squeezing your penis tonight, either. Now, I saw a drug store just a little ways up the block. Put on your clothes and go buy condoms."

"Seriously? You think we're going to fuck tonight?"

"I don't know, but I don't want to get to the point of no return and find we aren't prepared."

He was back in about fifteen minutes. I asked him about the weather out, and how much snow and ice he had had to slog through on the way to the drug store.

"Not much snow, but it's very slick. I almost fell down a couple of time."

"Did you get what you went for?"

"Yes."

"Show me."

He answered, "I'll get them out if we need them. But I really did buy them. I've never been that embarrassed."

"Did the clerk say anything?"

"Just, 'Have a good night,' as he handed me my change."

"That could've been innocent."

"Not with the smirk he had on his face."

"Get your clothes off, again. I want to play with your dick."

He complied, but said, "When do I get to play with you?"

"When I get bored playing with you." I pushed him down on the bed, knelt between his legs, and played to my heart's content.

Or almost. After a while he said, "I assume that you understand that if you keep that up there will be no need for a condom tonight."

I'm not sure just how much I did understand back them, but I laid over on my back and said, "Your turn."

As I'm sure you can imagine, he was confronted with a problem that a girl isn't confronted with when approaching a boy. There is nothing to see or touch except pubic hair, until you push things aside and insert a finger or fingers. Ray had no idea where to start. But I did, and I showed him all around a girl's anatomy, allowing him to explore it with his fingers as much as he wanted. As he got into it, he wanted to very much!

Then he rolled over onto his back and gave me a tour of his private parts, with particular attention paid to where he was sensitive and what actions most aroused him. I practiced until I got a seond warning about not needing the condom.

I stopped and we hugged tight, with our bodies tight up against each other. He said, "Do you want to go further? Shall I get out the condoms?"

I said, "Yes, if you want to, I want to. But I don't want to do something that you're going to regret later."

"What about you regretting it later?"

"I thought a lot while you were out at the drug store. I'm not going to regret this night. Honest."

"Neither am I." He took the little drug store sack that was on the table next to the bed and took out two packages of condoms. One was a Trojan, as invisible as possible. The other was green and covered with little bumps that were obviously designed to completely arouse a woman.

I said, "I want to try the green one. Do you know how to put it on?"

"Yes, but you're going to put it on me." He opened the plastic, took out the green condom, held it against the end of his penis, and said, "Roll it down."

I did, and I don't think I've ever been as aroused, before or since.

He said, "Shall I turn out the light?"

"No, I wan't to see what you're doing. Now, do it."

I don't think that anything other than the traditional man-on-top-and-pumping position occurred to either one of us. Ray made a couple of attempts to insert his penis in my vagina and failed. I told him to guide it with his hand, and he still failed. I took his penis in my hand and guided it in as he pushed. Success. My God those green bumps felt good. Too good. We both had orgasms much too quickly. We lay there for a short while, hugging each other very tightly. Soon he said, "I need to get this condom off and clean up. We don't want any babies made tonight."

He was soon back in bed, and we slept in each other's arms. It'd been quite a night. It was quite a morning as well. The almost invisible and unfelt Trojan, and the fact that it was a second round, slowed things down somewhat, and we had a less exciting, but more satisfying, experience the next morning. The icy roads had cleared, and we headed home.

On the way home we talked about the experience of the night before. We agreed that it'd been fun, and both of us used the term educational. But we also agreed that we really didn't want a further sexual relationship in high school. We talked about whether we could continue as debate partners after the last night and decided that there was no reason not to. We concluded that we could continue dating, and agreed that if circumstances forced us into the same bed again, we'd fuck again. But except for that possibility, we decided that we wouldn't continue a sexual relationship.

We continued as debate partners–having the undefeated season I told you about; we continued to date for the rest of the year; we never had to share a bed again; and I haven't seen Ray since a last date following graduation.

Arthur and I both went to Rock Island High. We knew each other casually, but not very well. It was pure happenstance that we both decided to go to the University of Illinois at Champaign. The funny thing was, neither of us knew that the other was there until we happened to be in an English class together the second semester of our freshman year. We recognized each other, and the common bond of the same home town and high school led to coffee, conversation, casual dating, and finally more serious dating. That progression took more than a year, but by the end of our sophomore year we were getting pretty serious, and were beginning to talk about just how serious we were, and whether marriage was in our future.

During all of this time sex never raised its head. Arthur never made any moves and never raised the subject. I guess he would have at some point, but I got impatient and decided that if he wasn't going to make a move, I would. The move that I made certainly fit the conventions of the Gang, but at the time I'd never heard of the Gang, nor any of its rules. But in my own mind, "Talk first," made good sense and I decided that talking is where I'd begin; asking a question, specifically.

"Arthur, how do you relieve your sexual tensions?" It was asked over coffee at a downtown Champaign coffee house, following our watching a baseball game. Clearly I caught Arthur off guard, and he was very slow in responding. Well, he didn't respond at all, so I followed up with, "It would seem that there are five possibilities: With a girl, with another boy, by masturbating, with wet dreams, or–at least for farm kids–with an animal. I guess we could add group sex as a separate category. Which is it?"

"What if the answer is that I don't?"

"That's the wet dreams answer, because if you don't, Mother Nature will."

More silence.

Charlie here. Arthur wasn't being silent because he was shy and/or embarrassed. He really wasn't certain how to answer. To understand that you'll need to know some of his story. I'll let Arthur tell it:

I grew up in Rock Island, went to Rock Island High School, got pretty good grades, played high school baseball and got a letter in my junion and senior years, never touched a football or basketball, dated only a little, graduated just at the bottom of the top ten percent of my graduating class, and headed for the University of Illinois with no specific career plans. I guess I'm leaving out some details, but you'll have to take my word for it that they aren't really exciting. But Charlie wants to know about sex. I've read the previous chapters, and I can assure you that my story is far from being the most interesting. I'll start right out by saying that I never had any sexual relationship with any girl until Helen. Well, there's one exception, and I'll get to that soon.

Ours was a solid middle class home, my father a teacher and my mother a housewife. We lived in a 1930's two storey, three bedroom, two bath home in midtown Rock Island. I was the middle of three children, with a brother, Johnny, two years older and a sister, Alice, one year younger. I shared a bedroom with my brother, and my sister got one to herself. This story begins when I was about age twelve–I can't be exact on the age. I became aware of a strange rhythmic noise at night, usually coming not too long after the light had been turned out. I could tell that it was coming from Johnny's bed, but in the dark that's all I could tell. I'd ask him about it and he'd say, "Nothin'," which in teen talk means, "I don't want to talk about it."

I got more and more curious, and finally to satisfy that curiosity, one night I very quietly got out of bed, crawled over to Johnny's bed, and clicked on a flashlight. There was Johnny with his pajama shirt pulled up to his chin and his pajama pants pushed down below his knees. His dick was hard and his hand was pumping on it. He immediately stopped and pulled up the covers and said, with some considerable anger in his voice, "Get back in bed."

I did, but the cat was out of the bag. I told him, "I'll get back in bed now, but tomorrow afternoon we talk. And I don't want any bullshit."

Anger still in his voice, he said, "OK."

The next day I knew that he'd try to avoid me after school, so I made a beeline to his locker and met him there. I said, "Let's walk home together." He knew what was coming, but he also knew that he wasn't going to be able to avoid me. He managed to have us walk most of the way home with a group of students, so we couldn't talk. But as soon as we got home I said, "Let's get a soda and go up to our room."

Up in the room, I said, "OK, I want to know exactly what was going on last night, and many previous nights. And the answer isn't, 'Nothing'. Clearly something was going on."

"I was jacking off."

"You're going to have to do better than that. Jacking off doesn't mean a thing to me."

"Arthur, just how much sex education have you had?"

"I had that stupid course in sixth grade. Is the one you took in eighth grade any better?"

"Not really. You do understand how your dick and balls work, right? When you fuck a girl sperm comes out of your dick and goes into the girl, where it tries to find one of her eggs and make a baby."

"That's a little crude and simple, but, yes, I know what you're talking about."

"Well, when you don't fuck a girl your sperm builds up in your balls. You begin to feel horny or sexy. If you don't do anything about it, you'll have a sexy dream and it'll come out into your pajamas. Or you can do what I was doing–jack off. You rub your hand on your dick and it thinks it's inside a girl's cunt, and the sperm comes out. God, it really feels good."

"Can I do it?"

"Yes, and it'll feel good. But you're probably a little young for your balls to be making sperm yet. So nothing will shoot out."

"You mean that if I hadn't interrupted you last night, eventually sperm would've come out of your dick?"

"You got it, kid. That's called jacking off."

"I want to watch you do it tonight."

"Not a chance."

"Does Mom know you jack off at night?"

"Of course not."

"If it's as normal as you make it out to be, why doesn't she know?"

"You just don't talk to your parents about those things."

"But if you don't let me watch tonight, you'll be talking to Mom about those things."

"You little shit."

"It's called blackmail."

"You little shit."

"Tonight, just leave the light beside your bed on, or turn it on when you start."

We really got along better than that conversation implied. I watched him that night, and he was very embarrassed. But he did it, and I did see him shoot cum all over his stomach. He cleaned it up with his underpants, looked at me and asked, "Satisfied."

"For tonight."

I won't drag this story out. One thing led to another, and soon I was helping him, and he was playing with my dick. About six months later I had my own orgasm as he played with me. It became a nightly game: either we'd jack each other off, or watch each other jack off. It never led to anything but masturbating or hand jobs, but it continued until Johnny headed off to college at Northern Illinois University at De Kalb.

At this point I have to back up a little. Johnny and I had a little sister, just a year younger than me. She started having her periods just about at the same time that I was able to masturbate. I guess she wasn't quite as shy as I'd been about sexuality; she came and asked Johnny and me about the blood she'd found on her sheet. Our sex ed, either from teachers or other students, had been good enough that we knew what was going on, and we told her that it was normal and that she had to talk to Mom about it. She did, and she managed to get her through her first period. She learned about Tampax, tampons, and all that sort of thing that I'm still rather hazy about.

However, that opened the door of curiosity, and she came to Johnny and me to find out more about her sexuality. Why us, and not our parents? You wouldn't have to spend a lot of time with my parents to know why. They were completely up tight, and never said a word to any of us about sex (except how to deal with a period–that's one lesson you can't avoid). Well, Johnny and I were absolutely the wrong people to ask about sex. We knew very little more than what had been taught in eighth grade sex ed, and that was damn little. For starters, the teachers never mentioned masturbation, homosexuality, oral sex, or birth control. It was purely biological, as if we were studying rabbits or bears and their mating habits. Intercourse was discussed–it can't be avoided if you're going to talk about babies, but it was something that occurred after you got married.

Alice, Johnny, and I decided that we needed better sex education. It became a two-part project. First, we hit several public libraries, and found some pretty good books that moved from biology to the social settings of sexual relations. Decent stuff on birth control wasn't hard to find, and was useful–at least in a theoretical way. But there wasn't much help on the matter of: should we or shouldn't we.

Then Johnny got hold of a little paperback by Albert Ellis called Sex Without Guilt. Its first chapter was on masturbation, and it not only said that there was nothing wrong with masturbation, rather it was a good thing–relieving sexual tensions. It noted that it was widespread, if not almost universal, among men and women, and that the only serious problem with it stemmed from guilt brought on by a society that insisted that it was evil, abnormal or, at best, not harmful. Ellis seemed determined to eliminate that kind of guilt. He dealt similarly with petting (to him, almost any sexual activity short of intercourse), and premartial sex. In regard to adultery he basically argued that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with it if both partners accepted it, but that it was so condemned in our society that it would best be avoided. He said that, even with both partners accepting, the guilt imposed by the society would be overwhelming. On homosexuality he wasn't condemning, but his views would today be considered antiquated.

For young teenagers in the Midwest in the 1970s it was a breath of fresh air. We read the chapter about masturbation several times and talked about it at length. It was particularly liberating for Alice to read that most girls as well as most boys masturbated. We understood that the term masturbate applied to both men and women, but we weren't sure whether jack off could apply to a girl. So we only talked about masturbating. (Johnny and I, however, jacked off.) At first, we weren't able to be of much help to Alice on the question of how a girl masturbates. However, I indicated that our self-education was a two-part process. The second part was physical exploration of our bodies. On an afternoon or evening when neither of our parents was home we'd gather in our room (it had two beds), take off our clothes and explore our bodies. This involved looking, touching and manipulating. In particular Alice quickly learned that both her vagina and her clitoris were very exciting and could be the avenue to orgasm. She also learned that one finger in her vagina and another on her clitoris brought the quickest, most exciting orgasm–whether it was her fingers, our fingers, or both. And we learned that having someone else jack you off was generally more exciting that DIY. This all continued after Johnny had headed off to college, but ended in the next year when Alice found a boyfriend that, she assured me, excited her a whole lot more than I ever did. I was a little jealous.

In the fall of 1977 I headed off to the University of Illinois, with plans to live in the dormitory. We filled out a questionnaire that was designed to match us up with a compatible roommate. It seemed to focus on three things: smoking, bedtimes, and how neat you were. Well, I guess the university had found that those seemed to be some of the worst deal breakers, and it was possible to get fairly good information from a simple questionnaire. Of course, nothing was asked about sexual proclivities.

My roommate was Phil Markly, a very nice young man from Springfield, Illinois. Neither of us smoked, we both tended to be night owls, and were fairly neat in our room, but not fanatics. Luckily we'd both filled out our questionnaires honestly, and it seemed to work. We got along fine, had no classes together, but did socialize together in a very congenial group of friends that slowly developed during that first year.

I was, of course, curious about whether, and when, Phil masturbated. After a couple of nights I pretended to be asleep and soon heard the teletale rhythmic noise of meat being beaten. The second night I took a big chance and when he had started to jack off I asked, "Can we talk a little about jacking off?"

He was quite startled that (1) I was awake, (2) I had heard him jacking off, and (3) I wanted to talk about it. He admitted later that number three was the most startling of the list. He hesitated some and then said, "I guess so. What do you want to talk about?"

"Why is it that such a normal and universal act is taboo to talk about?"

"I've never talked about it with anyone. Well, as kids we'd kid about it, but never in a way that admitted that we actually did it."

"But you did do it, right? And pretty often, right? Daily, or more often, right?"

"On all counts."

"And you felt guilty about it. Just like you feel guilty about being caught tonight, right? And I would guess that caught is the right term."

"Right."

"OK, let me give you my perspective. I don't just think masturbating is normal; I firmly believe that it is a good thing. That without it we'd be frustrated, and much more likely to be engaging in sexual activities that we might regret later. There's no reason to ever regret masturbating."

"That's refreshing. I guess I believe that, but it goes against everything I was taught as a boy."

"Taught by whom?"

"My father, the youth minister at church, books I've read."

"You've read the wrong books. I'll share my favorite sex book with you; it's called Sex Without Guilt."

"I like it already."

"I'm going to push this one step further. My brother and I masturbated together all through high school, often jacking each other off. Believe me, having a second person involved makes it a whole lot more exciting."

"And that's what this conversation is leading up to, right?"

"Only if you could participate without feeling guilty about it."

"I'm going to have to think about that. Not tonight."

"OK, but you get started. I'll head off to sleep–for real this time–and you can take care of your needs. I took care of mine this afternoon while you were at your chem lab."

The next evening Phil asked, "Just exactly what did you have in mind last night?"

"When you're ready for bed skip the pajamas, and I'll show you."

"How about now?"

"Get your clothes off." I took mine off immediately, beating Phil, but only by a little. Being naked in front of each other was no big deal, but the hard-ons were at least a little bit of a deal.

Phil lay down on his bed and I simply jacked him off. Well, I let my hand roam around his body to get him warmed up, but I mainly just jacked off his dick. He delivered a sizable amount of cum, shooting about two feet into the air before it came down over his stomach and chest. He grabbed a towel and started to wipe it up. I said, "Slow down, relax. The fun doesn't have to end instantly." I put my hand in his cum, spread it around his chest and down his leg. I was pretty sure that he wasn't ready to eat it, though Johnny and I'd long since gotten to that stage.

Before long I let him wipe it up. When he finished he asked, "Now would you like me to do that to you?"

"If you're OK with doing it."

"I guess I am. I sure enjoyed your doing it to me. Turn about is fair play."

Well, he wasn't as skilled as Johnny, but I still enjoyed it a lot. This was my first sexual experience with anyone other than my siblings, and that certainly had to heighten the pleasure.

The events of that evening were the harbingers of similar events for the full four years of our time at the university. At first Phil felt a little guilty about the whole thing, but we talked quite a bit, and he decided that there was nothing to feel guilty about. Who were we hurting? In our sophomore year Phil had a girlfriend, and he'd get back to the room almost in a state of heat and desperately ask me to take care of him, which I always did. Before too long their petting got to the point of orgasm, and he wouldn't need my hand to give him release after a date, but he'd always take care of my needs. Then he and his girl broke up, and he needed me more than ever!

That was the background to my hesitation in answering Helen's question about how I relieved sexual tension. I always thought of it as masturbation, but it was with another man. My answer could go either way.

My answer to Helen's question was, finally, "I fit two categories: masturbating and with a boy."

Charlie again; let's turn this back to Helen.

"All at once; you mean you masturbate with a boy?"

"Yes."

"You mean you masturbate and he watches, or he helps you and you help him?"

"Both, but mostly we jack each other off."

"Any boy-girl sex?"

"I'll be completely straight with you, Helen. Masturbating began with my brother, Johnny, and eventually included my sister Alice–all through high school. We never did anything but masturbate each other, but we did that pretty often. All three of us. I don't regret it. I don't feel guilty about it. It was fun and satisfying. I do the same thing with my roommate, Phil, now, and have been since very early in our freshman year. There, it's all out on the table. There's nothing else. And, yes, if this is leading up to the idea that it's time for us to be involved sexually, I agree."

"Wow, that really puts it all on the table. I think that I'm going to have to tell you about a trip I took to Iowa City during my senior year of high school. With that behind us, I think we can more forward."

I told him the story, in more detail than I shared here, and he shared a lot of detail about his experiences with Johnny, Alice, and–later–Phil. We both agreed we were ready to move forward. Neither had any regrets about our past, and neither of us was bothered by the events of the other's past.

I'm not going to try to give you a blow by blow of our sexual progression. I will say that we certainly didn't move as fast as Ray and I did, but we had a lot more time than was provided by a one-night ice storm.

Our sex life was much more conventional from that point on. We both admitted to a somewhat unorthodox past, but there was nothing at all unorthodox from that point forward. I will note one thing, because it's going to come up again later. Never did Arthur try oral sex with Johnny, Alice, Phil, or me (at least not before we were part of the Gang). Well, yes, they tasted each other's cum, but mouths never touched dicks; there was no sucking, not even kissing.

In spite of our unusual early sexual history, we generally inherited the attitudes of our parents toward sex, and that included a general inability to talk to our daughter about sex. The conversations that Milt has told you about were the first conversations that we ever had about sex with Vivian. I'm embarrassed to say that, but it's true. Today it's a much more embarrassing part of my past than is my letting Ray fuck me. But all of that is part of who I am today.

I'm now going to jump way ahead in the story to the time when Milt and Viv (I've always called her Vivian, but I'll call her Viv, since that's what she prefers) were beginning to date. We didn't know much about Milt, and some of the stories that Viv told us were pretty wild. I mean, not many kids his age run a very profitable business, have a successful artist and novelist for parents, and have acquaintances that include famous UND football quarterbacks. We sort of got the message that Viv was running in the big leagues, and it wasn't lost on us that those big leagues might include sex. We had pretty conventional attitudes toward sex, but we realized that we couldn't expect Viv and her boyfriends to be chaste. But we were worried about her getting pregnant. We weren't fooled by this business about Lego blocks–well, we ended up totally fooled when their spectacular model of the high school was displayed for several weeks in the front hall of the building–and that led to Arthur's saying to Milt, "There ... will ... be ... no ... pregnancies. Do I make myself clear?"

Viv and I were a little startled. I was sure that Milt would be completely offended and that it might even ruin his relationship with Viv. Instead, Milt handled the situation like the mature young man he's proven to be, even complimenting Arthur on his concern and willingness to bring up a difficult subject. When they'd left I said to Arthur, "That is a most extraordinary young man. I certainly hope that Viv is able to keep him."

Arthur said, "I'm quite convinced that we can trust him. No, I'm convinced that we can trust them. I agree with you: I hope she can keep him."

We watched our two kids–we'd begun to think of Milt as one of our kids–with delight. Milt was just the opposite of almost every teenage stereotype you can imagine. He was ever so kind to Viv, and seemed to enjoy conversations with us–certainly he never avoided them. Considering how much time they spent at his house, and the conversation that we'd already had, we were pretty sure that they were sexually involved. The growing openness that we experienced with Viv didn't extend to our being willing, or able, to ask her just what she and Milt were doing. Then, completely unexpected, came Milt's conversation about the pill. Well, you can imagine our shock at that. First of all, we'd more or less assumed that Viv and Milt were having sex. We were sure that he knew how to use a condom, and we were aware that Viv could get a prescription for the pill without our knowing–the law was very clear on that. So that assumption was proved wrong. Then the idea that Milt would initiate the conversation with us was certainly unexpected, though thinking back to our previous conversation it shouldn't have been. His being willing, no really eager, to go to the doctor with her simply blew us away.

I guess some parents would've been very upset at that conversation. I've said that our attitudes toward sex and parenting were pretty conventional. That we weren't upset I guess indicates that we weren't as conventional as we thought. Well, up to Viv's meeting Milt we certainly had been, but our willingness to accept Milt, and all of the change that he brought with him, suggests that we were always open to new ideas. That seems to match each of our early sexual histories. We came out of the pill conversation convinced that Viv and Milt were serious, and probably on the road to marriage. And we considered that something to celebrate in a big way. As we saw Viv lead Milt up to her bedroom for the first time, something that would never have been possible for us when we were teenagers, neither of us were concerned.

After they were upstairs, I asked Arthur, "I'm interested in your question about oral sex. We've never tried it; I don't know why. Does it bother you?"

"At one time the answer to that question would've been that it very much bothered me. I really have a hard time with the idea of Milt's penis in Viv's mouth. But, I don't know; a lot of people seem to like it. I hear it mentioned a lot recently–in the newspapers and magazines, and in casual conversations."

"Are you ready to try it?"

"Maybe. Imagining what those two are soon going to be doing is making me horny. I'm ready for something, and I think it ought to be something different than the last few times."

"I don't think you mean the last few times, but the last great majority of times. We've been in a rut, and you're right, thinking about those two is very likely to help us out of the rut. Tonight I'm going to suck your dick."

Well, I did, and he liked it. It took a while before he was willing to put his tongue into my vagina, and he stills prefers stimulating my clitoris with his tongue to going into my vagina. But we've come to enjoy using our tongues and having our partner's tongue used on us. The trouble is, while we think of that as very unconventional, I fear that much of the rest of our world thinks of it as conventional. I don't quite know what we would have to do for it to be considered unconventional these days.

Time passed. The kids got married. Some of our friends were very critical of our letting Viv get married so young. We could've responded that she was of age and could make her own decisions, but while that was certainly true, we knew that it wouldn't be fair to either Viv or Milt. If we'd opposed the marriage, they would've waited. We'd been allowed to share in the decision process of when they'd be married. No, our response was to share unbridled enthusiasm for the marriage and for the timing. The kids were ready, clearly mature enough to handle it, and it was time. Their decision to live in both our house and Milt's was a little surprising, but it worked out wonderfully. We truly didn't lose a daughter but gained a son–to use a trite old saying that completely applies to our family. And what a delight it was to have Milt around the house.

I need to highlight what we consider to be the greatest thing about Milt. He treated Viv, and Arthur and me, as complete equals. I have to assume that he learned from his parents (and in our later housing arrangement I found that to be true) but to Milt there was no special role for women and another for men. If the dishes needed doing, if dinner needed fixing, if the lawn needed mowing, if a button needed sewing, Milt was ready and eager. When we came home on a night when they were eating dinner with us, we were as likely to find Milt in the kitchen as Viv, and as likely to find Viv raking leaves as Milt. I'll admit that it took Arthur a while to get used to Milt's willingness to help with "women's work," and it took me a while to accept Milt's willingness to sit and watch Viv do yard work. But they were truly equals, and if I rest from my work and sit watching Arthur cut the grass, then Milt could do the same. Decision making in their family seemed to be completely shared. There truly was no "head of the household."

Over the four years of college they gradually shared stories of the Gang, and we were introduced to and got to know many of the members of the Gang. They were as interested in us as we were in them, and this might be a good time to quickly catch you up on how we got from Illinois to North Dakota. Both Arthur and I had been interested in history, but were well advised that that wasn't necessarily a good way to earn a living. In particular, one of our history professors in our sophomore year pointed out that it would be extremely difficult for us both to get jobs in history in the same location. So we explored other options in the social sciences and ended up in public administration, with an emphasis on local government. We were both pretty good students, and had a number of job offers following graduation. We had both sent our resumes as widely as possible, but only to places where we might both find jobs. We ended up in the least likely place, Grand Forks, North Dakota, the only place where we both got offers–Arthur with the Grand Forks Planning Office and me with the office of the Grand Forks County Clerk. We're still working in the same places, but Arthur is now the Chief Planner, and I am the Assistant County Clerk–the top non-political position.

Despite all we'd learned about the Gang, and in particular, Merle, Tina, Bud, Jennie, and especially cute and loveable Max, we weren't prepared for Max's discussion of future housing for Viv, Milt, and all of us. But Max was certainly serious about proposing a grand commune for the nine of us, plus however many children Jennie and Viv produced. Arthur and I certainly found the idea tempting; Tina had been exactly right that we weren't looking forward to living in an empty nest–particularly after the wonderful four years we'd had with Milt and Viv living with us.

Three days after the group's second dinner meeting, we got a call from Max. "I'd like to invite myself to dinner tomorrow night, if I may. Viv and Milt will be eating over here, and I'd like a chance to get to know you two better."

It didn't take any brains to realize that Max didn't organize evenings like that just to get to know us better. Clearly he had an agenda, but we realized that we'd have to wait for him to arrive and spell it out. In our wildest dreams we couldn't have guessed in advance.

I fixed Max a nice dinner and he ate most heartily and was very appreciative. The conversation was very general, and only seemed to approach his agenda when he talked of his dreams of how wonderful living with the group of nine would be. Over dessert he started approaching his point. "You know, the Gang is a pretty sexy bunch. And the group that you would be joining are all sexually involved with each other–except for parents with children–including children-in-law. Everybody was being honest the other night when they said that you'd be welcome, even if you chose not to join in the games of musical beds that are certainly going to develop. However, I think you should think very carefully about whether you'd want to be a part of such a group, but not a part of the sexuality–especially since most of us think that the sexuality is key to the success of the other such groups in the Gang, i.e. the Circle, The Lighthouse Keepers and the Mauraders."

I responded, "So your agenda tonight is to talk about sex in the commune?"

"Exactly. I couldn't have put it more precisely."

"And you aren't saying that we wouldn't be welcome without the sex, but that we'd find ourselves feeling like outsiders without the sex."

"Exactly. I couldn't have put it more precisely."

"That's a pretty simple message. You could just have put that thought on the table the other night."

"There's more."

Arthur said, "Aha! There had to be more. Just where is all of this heading, dear little Max?"

"You can't guess?"

I said, "I wouldn't dream of trying. Besides, I'd rather hear it from you than try to guess."

Max was never one to beat around the bush. But his response was certainly more direct that either Arthur or I expected. "I don't think that you two have had any experience with extramarital sex. I firmly believe that a positive experience might help you consider just what involvement with our suggested commune would be like."

Arthur: "And?"

"I'm available."

I said, "Whoa! Wait a minute. I believe that you're suggesting that we all have some kind of sex. Tonight?"

Max looked like the idea had been all mine and said, "Why, I think tonight is a splendid idea."

Arthur said, "Well, I don't."

Max asked, "Why not? Look, you wouldn't be cheating on your wife, because she'd be right there. And she wouldn't be cheating on you, because you'd be right there."

"I'm not interested in a homosexual liaison."

I guess I spilled the beans when I exclaimed, "Well, it wouldn't be your first."

Arthur responded, "What do you mean?"

"Well, there was your brother and then your roommate."

"That wasn't homosexual. We were just masturbating."

"You're quibbling about definitions now. You and Phil gave each other hand jobs, you're both men, that's a homosexual experience, by almost any definition. And you liked it. And you did it for about four years. And you told me all about it; it didn't bother me then, and it doesn't bother me now. And I don't think your doing it with Max would bother me; and I'll have to admit that I'd like to watch." My God, did I really say that? Arthur swears that I did.

He said, "Let's slow down a little. What about you? Would you like to give Max a hand job? Maybe a blow job?"

"No, if Max and I are going to do anything, he's going to fuck me, just like Ray did, as you well know."

Max cut in with, "Hey, I don't want to mess up a marriage. I've always perceived you two as being rock solid, or I would never have been here tonight."

I said, "Max, not to worry. Arthur and I are rock solid, and we aren't passing around new information. But we are reminding each other of interesting pasts, and they may be relevant here."

Arthur said, "Basically then, Helen, you're saying that if what went on before we were married was OK, then the same sort of thing after we're married is OK, provided it's all out in the open. Have I got that right?"

I said, "I think you do."

"So, are we ready to take Max up on his offer?"

"Yes."

Max said, "Wonderful. I think the way to start is for me to get my clothes off."

I said, "By all means. You clearly have a gorgeous body, and a lot younger one than either of us is used to. I would love to ogle, and I'll bet Arthur would, too, if he'll admit it."

Max was naked before Arthur responded with, "My God, I'm getting a hard-on looking at a boy. I can't believe it."

Max said, "We have a saying in the Gang, 'There's at least a little straight and a little gay in everyone, if they're willing to admit it.' I think that applies here."

"Well, I'll have to admit it. Can we all go upstairs."

I said, "Max, you'd better bring your clothes with you."

He said, "Why, so Milt and Viv don't come home and find them on the floor here in the dining room? Keeping it secret from them would be just as bad as keeping it secret from Arthur."

Arthur said, "He's got you, Helen. If we go on with this, are we going to be willing to tell Viv and Milt all about it? They've been willing to tell us what they've been doing."

Max said, "Exactly."

I said, "Come on, Max. Leave your clothes on the floor there and come upstairs to the bed."

When we got to the bedroom, I said, "Look, Max. Here's what I propose. Let's stay within our range of experiences tonight. Just being here and doing something with you is quite enough. We can explore new things to do later. Arthur, get your clothes off and get on the bed, and Max will jack you off. I'll get my clothes off as well, and I'll watch. Then you can watch Max fuck me. Max, I'm on the pill, so there's no danger."

Max was an expert. He aroused Arthur, kept him on a high plane of tension, but didn't let him come for quite a while. Then he pumped his hand hard and licked Arthur's balls at the same time and Arthur shot cum up over his chest and onto his face. Arthur exclaimed, "That was fantastic. I've never had an experience like that. Holy shit."

Max said, "From my reading, particularly of Masters and Johnson, masturbation, or–more specifically–hand manipulation, brings the most pleasurable orgasms, but not necessarily the most emotionally satisfying. You really responded well. Clearly there is a little, or maybe a lot, of gay in you."

"At one time I would've been very upset to think that, but my outlook has changed. I'll take that as the compliment that I'm sure you intended."

Max said, "It isn't a compliment that you're gay. That you accept and are pleased by the fact that you're somewhat gay is very important."

I said, "Well, we don't have the right personnel in the room to test me on that, but I'd love to be fucked by only the third man in my entire life."

"And I'd love to be the third man to have that privilege."

Max was as good at fucking as he was with his hands. Arthur watched and his only comment was, "I need to take lessons."

Max simply said, "At your service, but perhaps not tonight."

When we came downstairs, Milt and Viv were sitting in the living room. They'd picked up Max's clothes and put them on a chair near them. Milt said, "You left something on the floor."

Viv said, "Are we to assume that Max wasn't the only one to lose his clothes this evening?"

Arthur said, "That would be a reasonable assumption. But, honestly, I don't think Helen and I are up to talking about it. Max will give you all of the gory details."

Milt walked over and sat down on Max's pile of clothes. He crossed his arms over his chest and said, "Good idea. Max, spill it all. Then you can get dressed."

Max sat in another chair and turned to Arthur and me. He said, "It appears that either I have to spend the night with you all, Arthur has to loan me some clothes to get home, or I have to tell a story. Which shall it be?"

I looked at Arthur and got no hint of an answer. So I said, "Tell your story."

He did, in meticulous detail. He made it sound like Arthur was the most wonderful male lover Max had ever encountered, and I was Fan Tan Fannie. Viv was absolutely spellbound; she kept looking from Max to Arthur and me with total astonishment on her face. When Max finished she said, "That's the most amazing story. Oh, Mom, Dad, welcome to the Gang."

Milt and Max, almost together, said, "Hey, that's our line."

We knew we were ready to join the commune and eventually the Gang.

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