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Boston After Dark in 1975: My First Time

My grad school ID at Tufts' Fletcher School in 1975

BAMMER47: The first time I had sex with a guy happened after, with much trepidation, I answered a personal ad in the After Dark section of the Boston Phoenix underground newspaper in March 1975. I was 22.

I’d played college football, rugby, and pole vaulted on Brown University’s track team. I belonged to a fraternity. For Christ’s sake, I couldn’t be gay!


But, secretly, I’d been attracted to guys, only certain ones to be sure, since I was 5. And, women didn’t elicit the same physiological response/excitement, no matter how much I prayed for that to happen.

Finally, away from all my buddies, in grad school in Boston, a college town where the sexual revolution was fully underway, my hunger to find out if I really was gay crested.

I didn’t know how to find out and be sure. I couldn’t ask anyone I knew to have sex with me. I didn’t want anyone I knew to be aware of my quandary, especially if I didn’t end up enjoying it. And I didn’t know where I might meet an attractive gay guy to experiment with.

Eventually, I answered the referenced ad, which had been placed by a 21 y.o. med student who desperately needed $$ to pay his tuition and who said he was willing to do anything for it (with men or women). We traded letters via post office boxes (It took a week back then to connect.) and agreed to meet in Harvard Square at a swank businessman’s bar late one afternoon.

Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck. After all, it was going to be my first time having sex with another guy... if I went through with it. Fortunately, my suitemate in my grad school dorm was away, offering me the privacy I needed.

We met. He was good-looking, with longish hair over the ears, fit, and 21. I was only 22. We jumped in my car and drove to my grad school dorm, while I trembled with nervousness.

In those days, I was only attracted to specific guys who were physically my type and whose charisma drew me to them. So, as handsome as Paul was, not knowing him was a barrier (later, like most gay men, I learned to separate emotions from physical attraction, as unattractive as that may sound).


He never discussed money. We decided we’d proceed, but I was inhibited and was having difficulty relaxing. So, we smoked some marijuana. Then, we entered my small bedroom, both lay on its single bed, and he proceeded to go down on me, giving me a blow job.


I was almost 23 and had never had sex with anyone. Naturally, I exploded and it was very pleasurable. I recall having an almost “out of body” experience: I was up above, looking down at him on the bed fellating me. Then, he did it to me again (Ah, to be 22 and capable of sequential orgasms!:-). After, I made a token offer to reciprocate, though I wouldn’t have known how, but he told me I might not like it and dissuaded me from trying.

I gallantly drove him home, 40 minutes in each direction, late at night, and dropped him off. I concluded that, even though it didn’t feel special, had I done it with a guy I was emotionally involved with, it might have been amazing.

So, I might be gay, but it would be another year before I’d be fully ready to come out.

Post-mortem: Paul never asked me for money; then, a week or so later, he contacted me through the mail, seeking to get together again. I was so frightened by that (and in the midst of final exams) that I ignored his letter and moved on.


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