Case Narrative

A Consenting Juveniles narrative is a first-hand account reporting the words of the research subject on his or her experience.

Kirk Read

The most mutual, consensual act in my life

Source:   How I Learned to Snap: A Small-Town Coming-Out and Coming-of-Age Story
by Kirk Read
Hill Street Press, 2001

Kirk Read was a high school junior when his play Ropeswing was selected for production by a professional theater company. In a coffee shop where he agonized over rewrites of the script, he met a man who soon became his lover. Eleven years later, Read published How I Learned to Snap, which told the story of that relationship and several others from his youth.

Read is vague about the ages of his man-friends. He was 17 when he met Walker, the man in the coffee shop, whom scattered hints in the book place at being in his 30s to early 40s at the time. Reflecting back over his high school days, Read recalled feeling angry “every time I saw a girl wearing her boyfriend’s class ring, knowing Walker could go to jail because of me.”

Walker was Read’s second adult lover. When he was 13, he met and befriended Rich, a college student. Read writes, “I started hanging out with him almost every day. We went on drives through the mountains and played squash. We talked about philosophy and music. He challenged me in ways that kids my age just didn’t. … What with all my family’s drama, he calmed me down on several near-suicidal occasions.”

In the following passage, Read describes the night about a year into their friendship, when he was 14, that things first turned sexual. Hints in the book make Rich about 19 at this time.

I hugged Rich almost every night before I walked home from his apartment. If I’d been crying, the hugs lasted a long time as he blew cool air on my neck. Then, whether I was upset or not, they just lasted longer.

This was one of our longest hugs. R.E.M.’s Chronic Town EP was playing on Rich’s stereo, which automatically flipped over cassettes at the end of each side. We’d already heard the twenty minute album three times that night, but we just let it keep going.

Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, don’t get caught,” repeated the singer.

The window shades were all the way down, as they always were. We were both shaking, and our hands slowly slipped down each other’s backs.

Gentlemen, don’t get caught.

We didn’t kiss. We could feel the hard-ons through our pants. We’d felt these same protrusions for months. A few weeks before, I had hugged him goodnight while wearing a pair of shorts and popped a mortifying tent in his front yard. Finally, our hands came to rest on each other. We unzipped and finally, tentatively, we touched.

I could live a million.

We stroked each other slowly, then frantically, like dogs. We’d been living with this unnamed tension for a year now. We couldn’t hold off any longer.

We stumble through the A ... B ... C ...

My cum hit two metal folding chairs by the window. It sounded like a bird falling to its death on a tin roof, then bouncing. Comets dancing with broken feet. We laughed as we wiped it up later, my first evidence that there was a life outside the city limits of Lexington, Virginia.

That album goes everywhere with me. Every time I see it, I buy it. I have it on vinyl, CD, and cassette. I never tire of the murky lyrics, most of which I can’t make out. Obscure, muddy, buried—the perfect soundtrack of a burgeoning adolescence.

That embrace was the most mutual, consensual sexual act I’ve had in my entire life. Everything since has felt less pure.

Limited excerpt reproduced under fair use doctrine for noncommercial, educational purpose.