My son 'Jerry' is thirteen. A few weeks ago I noticed that he seemed either ill or troubled at dinner, but he would not acknowledge that anything was wrong. Later, at about 10:00PM, I had a call from 'Mrs. A', a neighbor and the mother of a 17-year-old boy, 'Bud'. I wouldn't have considered him a friend of my son's as they were rarely together, except both were sometimes playing ball games together in larger groups. Mrs. A was very upset and asked me if Jerry had told me. I had no idea what was about to come. It seems she had returned home unexpectedly earlier in the day to find Jerry lying with his pants down on her couch, and Bud, kneeling beside him with his penis out. Bud was masturbating my son. She said she had immediately 'paddled' Bud, and told Jerry to go home and tell me what happened, so that I could deal with it. She also told Bud he was not to be alone in the house or anywhere with Jerry any more. I didn't know what to say, but thanked her for telling me and told her I would deal with Jerry.
Now I grew up in a different climate so far as masturbation goes. First, I lived in a small rural town in the Bible Belt and my parents were 'religious' in the worst way. We were taught that masturbation was shameful and sinful. I masturbated anyway, but felt terribly guilt ridden afterwards and agonised trying (always unsuccessfully) to stop. I never got caught, but my brother kept on being found out because he was more careless or indifferent than I was. When he was discovered, he would be spanked (bare-butt, we only had to drop our pants for the very worst offences). I was frequently spanked for other things but never for that. Although I broke away from the views and attitudes of my family (and of most other families in that community) I am still uncomfortable about masturbation and despite my education and attitudes, I was concerned about this episode with Jerry and had no idea how to handle it. So I found your excellent site. I read many of the stories in your archive. One side-benefit was that I got some wonderful boners in the process. But the main benefit was that I can see the kind of experience Jerry and Bud had seems very common and harmless.
I felt I had to address the event with Jerry and not just pretend nothing occurred. So a few days later when we were both alone and in a good mood, I told him that Mrs. A had told me what she saw, and I thought we needed to talk about it rather than ignore it. He instantly teared up, broke into a sweat, and turned fire red. The first thing he said was 'I'm not gay!' For heaven sakes, that was the last thing in the world I was thinking about. I have always gone out of my way to never say or do anything to make my children think I harbored any concern about their sexual orientations. I told him that I never thought, that and it wouldn't matter to me anyway.
I think he felt a little better. He seemed to calm down a lot. Then he said 'I just wanted to know what it felt like.' I told him I wasn't there to scold him, and that what Mrs. A said he and Bud did was not bad or shameful in my view; and that I thought most boys did things like that. I explained that it made Mrs. A uncomfortable, and as Bud's mother she gets to call the shots so far as Bud is concerned.
Then he asked me if I ever did anything like that when I was growing up. Ooops. I really felt I couldn't lie to him at that moment, and I would have felt like chicken shit if I refused to answer. The fact is that I did do 'something like that'. But I never even told my wife about it. When I was 19 I spent the summer on a student exchange program in the Netherlands and lived with a local family. They had a beautiful and sexually precocious 15-year-old son, a lot more experienced than I was, who teased the life out of me, until I finally started experimenting with him. I was terrified that Jerry would probe for embarrassing details but when I told him that I had masturbated with a boy over the course of a few months when I lived in the Netherlands, all he asked was our respective ages at the time. That seemed to satisfy him.
He didn't seem to want to talk about all this any longer, so I just left it at that. In some ways I think it was not really resolved but I hope I didn't mishandle the situation too badly.