Intergenerational sex saved my life

Author and performance artist Kirk Read writes in his memoirs about his relationship with a man when he was 13 years old. He criticizes the concept of abuse as it is used today.

*Taken from the collection Positive Memories, compiled by T. Rivas.

It concerns a gay journalist, Kirk Read, who wrote the autobiographical book ‘How I learned to snap’. Here are a few lines from a review of this book by ‘Trevor’

In this, Kirk Read’s first book, the nationally syndicated gay journalist explores his own childhood and adolescence, and coming to terms with his gay identity in the Bible Belt of the Shenandoah Valley.

Read finally found that longed-for relationship, at thirteen years old, with an adult neighbor named “Rich,” which, he attests, “saved my life.” He feels that this, and other intergenerational relationships in his youth, greatly contributed to his sexual development, and goes into some detail on the subject.

He states:

“If it hadn’t been for sex at such a young age, my questioning phase could have stretched on for years, and would have gotten really tedious.

Sex with an older man probably sped up my coming-out process by years. If it hadn’t been for Rich, I might have turned into a mopey Goth kid. The horror, the horror. Had our relationship been discovered, Rich could have done time in jail. During the time we were having sex, it never dawned on me that he was literally risking his freedom over me.

American culture’s only frame of reference for sex with minors is abuse. I don’t deny that abuse occurs, but it should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. A blanket approach that criminalizes all sex between adults and minors undermines the fact that for many gay teenagers, sex with an adult can be a beautiful, life changing experience. It was for me.”

On the German page [] ( there is a short interview with Kirk Read in which he is asked about his relationships with men as a 14 year old:

Interviewer: Are your stories about the relationship you had with an older man as a 14-year-old a kind of confession?

Kirk Read: There’s paranoia about teenage sex. I had very positive sexual experiences as a teenager. My relationships with older men helped me develop into an adult. Especially in the US, the notion that an older man and a teenager have sex is as terrifying as the Antichrist. It’s radical to say that this relationship didn’t harm you. It is seen as heresy when you make the claim that it could have a healing effect. When I was 10 and 12 I had sex with guys my age. It was miserable! In puberty I wanted an experienced man who showed me how to do it. I think if the communication is right and everything is based on mutual consent, everyone should be able to do what they want.

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

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.