Printable PDF version (in Italian)

Before we begin, it is fair to premise that this story has rough elements not veiled by any linguistic artifice. Therefore, those with heads, mouths, and ears open and unfiltered can continue. Others are better off abandoning the reading and trying again, perhaps with another story or at a different time.

Mark was nine years old and was to receive the sacrament of first confession. His parents had presented religious education to him as a formality, a duty that does not burden anyone but benefits the well-being of the spirit. Mark was nine years old and only knew, with some disappointment, that he had to appear before a priest to confess, that is, tell, his “sins” for the first time.

The catechist prepared the group by distributing a short booklet outlining the steps to a fruitful examination of conscience.

Mark read it twice: the plot was based on the Ten Commandments and their absurd claim to stand as a universal law. He had never stolen in his life (not even a few coins from his mother’s purse), had not killed except perhaps a few lizards, respected his parents because there was no alternative in that regard, and sanctified (reluctantly, this is true) parties, he did not desire anything belonging to others (and in this the significant contribution was made by his wealthy economic status) and so, ultimately, after straining his imagination so as not to disappoint the expectations of those who would initiate him into being a sinner, he realized that he had no idea what to tell the priest and therefore tried to work hard on his imagination.

The first confession and

He had the third position on the appointed day in a similar sequence to group vaccinations. When his time came, he approached the priest, Father E., a tall, skinny man, more like a skeleton inside display cases than a real man. He knelt as every penitent must do (and already in that act, he understood that the pain in his knees was a sign that the penance was much more natural than symbolic) and listened to the old man’s automatic and confused blathering. Eventually, he understood only the stern imperative, “Tell me all your sins.”

I have committed impure acts,” replied Mark without hesitating, trying to speak softly because God always had good ears anyway.

Alone or accompanied?” immediately pressed him, mechanical as an industrial press, Father E.

Marco thought about those strange words and then suddenly understood. “Alone, father,” he replied sadly.

It is very serious what you have done,” began the priest. St. Paul taught us that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we should treat it as a relic concerning the Tabernacle. Do you understand? You must never do those things again!

Marco had masturbated the night before.

He had recently started. He was usually unable to achieve orgasm, but after a few attempts, he realized that by associating an image of a woman with that gesture, everything succeeded more easily. She had thought of a substitute teacher from the fifth D class, with her acting not as a teacher but as a punisher.

He had seen her in the act of forcing him to strip naked in a broom closet and then beating him hard on the butt. The image had aroused him, and after a few minutes, he had reached orgasm.

The first time had been a bizarre moment, the explosion of an unfamiliar world at a life stage when you are sure you know everything. The second, the third, and so on until that evening, the orgasm had always been pleasure without explanation. A gift beyond all logic and ethics: whether homework was correctly done or everything went wrong, whether he was alone or with company, his little penis always remained there, ready to harden and do its new duty, even in a hurry in a movie theater bathroom.

I got it…” he absentmindedly replied to the priest, thinking that a little later, he might try out some new computer games.

If you are repentant, go and sin no more,” Father E. said pompously, “And remember to recite ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys.” After that, he fired him.

I doubt that Father E. had never had erotic instincts, but to arrive at that kind of repudiation requires no small amount of work. A man (even if a priest) of another stamp would indeed have exclaimed, “Marco, I asked you for the sins! If you have nothing to say, don’t waste my time!

Instead, Father E. did his canonical duty and asked Marco to stop breathing just because a phantom intangible spirit liked to mock such material oxygen so much.

Paraphrasing what Lacan wrote: Father E. said the Holy Spirit had to dislodge nature! Even so, at the next mouthful, which was indispensable if full of sinful microbes, the procedure was now clearly defined: one went to the priest, reported everything, listened to a rant (always the same one), and mechanically recited prayers addressed to the flies flying in the church.

But allow me a digression on the meaning of the adjective “accompanied” within (antiquated) church doctrine. Indeed, looking around within the Christian world, one cannot help but notice that any form of “accompaniment” is always the accentuation of a natural distance: one “accompanies” a coffin that, being passed away, is beyond any possible contact. One “accompanies” the liturgy with singing. Still, the latter exists “above or below” a liturgy and never alongside it, for if it did, the value would have to be shifted to the notes and no longer to the deeper meaning of the words. The father of the bride “accompanies” the latter to the altar to detach himself from it permanently (and tears are by no means uncommon on such occasions), just as the godfather or godmother “accompanies” the little one to the baptismal font so that it, detaching itself from its original sinful state, can attain spiritual communion.

It is clear, therefore, that even when Father E. asked Mark whether or not his impure acts had been “accompanied,” he meant (consciously or unconsciously) to ask whether they had produced a union or a separation. What, then, is masturbation? Is it an act that unites or separates? And most importantly, is having “accompanied” sex, by ordinary standards, establishing a state of non-separation?

In much simpler terms, but by no means ineffective for the purpose, Mark wondered unsuccessfully as he hurried home.

The question remained unanswered for a long time, mainly because perhaps it could not receive a worthy answer outside the mechanical aspects, which Mark understood only in terms of “absence.”

He imagined the woman, but not as the man who had already penetrated her. Instead, he considered its footprint dug in the sand, within which something, before his awareness (or without his knowledge), had unearthed (i.e., unveiled) that mysterious ritual. Thus, the parent’s bedroom, that is, the brothel closest to a crib, was “dark” during the night, and their sexual act was always consummated and only beyond the door, in that darkness which is, indeed, “re-veiled,” that is, covered and hidden from prying eyes. He could have entered the room during the day, but he would not have discerned any sign except a “big” bed where, perhaps, the two parents had mated. An empty shell on which, if you leaned your ear, you could still hear the rhythmic sound of the ocean.

Sex, in its wondrous symbolic value, was thus for Marco precisely the empty bed, the absence or, at most, the presence only of himself in his little room, which did not differ much from the poetic but intangible “darkness” where the moans of his parents were sometimes produced like the songs of a group of nymphs.

His first contact with sexuality had occurred as it usually does for almost all children of that age: through a pornographic magazine found in an undeveloped field and kept by the group as a relic in a “secret” place.

Marco and his playmates would pick it up every afternoon after homework and, having gone to the shelter from the prying eyes of adults, leaf through it until the paper was consumed. Most braggarts sometimes ran through it and, having found the right image, rubbed the giant vaginas on their pubes. Everyone else associated the scurrilous (but common) words like “cock” or “minchia” with a dirty world to keep away from. But just as electrical outlets are as dangerous as they are attractive, that newspaper, with its images so “revealed,” so sweetly placed in readers’ arms, could only keep both the level of danger and the aphrodisiac level of pleasure high.

The first masturbation, as mentioned above, had been unsuccessful. The jouissance, which was disproportionately hinted at in the magazine, was still formless because, after all, the image of the woman, with that extraordinary part of her, was formless. Even some pictures showed enlarged buttocks in the foreground, and many of Marco’s companions associated them with breasts, thinking that the vagina was located there in the middle but was only open in women who had not yet had children. Immediately afterward, however, they wondered how the “re-opening” worked, as quite a few had siblings. Mark thought that at a certain age, he was irreversibly wondering, and since his mother was not very young and he was an only child, his chances of catching a glimpse of any hair between that woman’s breasts were very slim.

For that and many other reasons, Mark, with all the courage bestowed upon him by that experience, decided to take a leap and asked his mother directly for clarification on the subject.

He introduced himself to her with the swagger of a nine-year-old boy and said, “You know, in the yard, we found one of those particular magazines…”

Peculiar, in what sense?” asked the mother, “You mean pornographic?

Enlivened by that apparent state of licentiousness, Marco added, “Yes… But everyone looks at them, and it doesn’t gross me out… I’m not like many…”

The woman looked at him and nodded, “Of course,” she said, “And it’s also right that you should know certain things for good. I think it’s time.”

For this reason, animated by sincere goodwill but being far from a woman of the world, she decided to take the safe path of biology and procured a book where the male and female genitalia were described in scientific terms.

So it was that Marco, accustomed to technicolor vaginas and “cocks” of excessive length, found himself bewilderedly contemplating the chaste illustrations in an old book for post-fascist high school students. The gleeful glances, the gaping mouths in the act of mimicking an irrepressible orgasm, the iridescent ejaculations, and all the other wonders that taboo had made such became sterile descriptions of meaningless anatomical parts.

When a man and a woman love each other,” Mother always began, “they can make love, that is, become one.”

That oh-so-useless (and, by the way, now stripped of all biology) leitmotif became the standard-bearer of sex and soon began to let manifest the blatant inconsistencies with what was clearly shown by the crumpled magazine hidden under a rock.

Did all those couples “love each other”? Not. Maybe love had to do with sex? Love was a familiar thing to Mark: it declined in sometimes the strangest ways, but it was still love, overt, bright, exposed to the sunlight. What was instead nebulous, hidden, lacking that security of experience was precisely sex. There was necessarily an inconsistency, a chasm between his mother’s words and his own experience, and Mark, with some disappointment, soon realized this.

He would have liked to ask his mother to show him her vagina, but he knew the answer would be no (although the story of Oedipus, read years later, would show a very different plot). So he simply accepted its “wisdom” that differentiated him from his comrades, who still wondered where the “pussy” was hidden.

He discovered enjoyment during a rainy day in the early afternoon. His parents were both away from home, and Mark tried to masturbate differently: he took a slightly damp sponge (the color of which resembled the pinkish color of real vaginas). He began rubbing his small penis, lying blissfully on the bed. For a long time, nothing happened. Then suddenly, as must happen to infarcts, he felt a powerful sensation of heat, which soon expanded from his pelvic area to his head. He felt sudden jolts as if something inside him wanted to come out. He stood motionless, his heart racing and his breath catching, and finally, after a few seconds necessary for awakening, his penis pushed out a couple of whitish droplets, just like when he failed to pee and stood still in front of the toilet for a few minutes.

Noticing the strangeness, he stood up sharply, “Here,” he shouted, “I knew it! This is enjoyment. Who knows what must have happened to me?” and began to worry.

In fact, not much had happened to him. His testicles and prostate, not yet accustomed to that then-so-common job, had been delayed, and his ejaculation had been all too “dry.” From that moment, however, he realized that jouissance had little to do with love and that all he needed to do was to work on his imagination to achieve something that had remained unknown and dormant in the bowels of his body until then.

He never told his mother about his increasingly frequent masturbatory activity as the days went by. Still, once more to tease her than out of genuine curiosity, while bathing, pointing out to her the dirt that had formed all around his glans, he asked her if it was semen.

The mother looked at him astonished and somewhat frowning, paused in doubt, and then instinctively exclaimed, “But what’s that got to do with it! Don’t talk nonsense“.

But then what is it?” asked Marco, alluding to the patina in his penis.

The mother understood the opposite of what her son wanted, so she began her monotonous nursery rhyme, assuming that he had already forgotten her: “I’ve already told you how much a man and a woman love each other…”

The little boy interrupted her as a college professor tired of listening to nonsense: “No, don’t say that. I mean this…” With his finger, he pointed to his glans.

That is simply dirt!” cut the woman short, and it all ended there.

However, a twofold problem remained open: it seemed that sex was an inherently dual act, and Mark’s very trivial experiences had refuted this; secondly, again in that magazine, there was talk of “faggots,” that is, men who sought out other men (he later learned that the female equivalent was “lesbians”) and so the account did not add up at all.

He realized that the latter was a far more mysterious situation than the now “well-known” sex following a strange incident that happened to him in the following months.

In the same parish where Fr. E. preached, there was a middle-aged monk, Friar P., stocky and short, with a face that was always ruddy and jovial. He was fond of petty electronics and, perhaps, too shy to stretch his hands over female bodies (which he could have procured at not excessive prices), but he tried to lend his wisdom to the little boys who attended catechism in that parish.

He was not a pedophile unless one wishes to speak of true “filia.” He was just a man who, perhaps out of poverty or ineptitude, had ended up in a convent, wearing a robe with a stinging fabric and a string of vows he didn’t understand much about. His coarse manner of approaching sexual topics revealed how harmless his spirit was, and, probably more out of personal deprivation than genuine aberrated interest, he occasionally asked prying questions.

“By now, you are entering puberty,” said Marco once, “Are you beginning to have black hair around your genitalia?

“Yes,” replied the little boy shamelessly, “In the backyard, we also found a magazine with several pictures, and my mother taught me many things I didn’t understand…”

Friar P. smiled, as, moreover, he often did, “And have you ever seen them having sex?

Clearly, such a question should not make one cry out in scandal but make those who hear it laugh heartily, but some parents, more bigoted than intelligent, thought better of it after such a question was asked repeatedly of their children to report Friar P. to the curia so that he could be removed immediately.

Perhaps, if all pedophile priests had been like that man, we would now have only frustrated little boys who, hoping to glean some rough detail, would have gone home with their tails between their legs, thinking that the exam question was out of their reach. Unfortunately, the job of the taboo is not to preclude access to it but to create the predisposition for a new fear, a fear that perhaps will never have a chance to present itself.

Mark replied lyingly, “Yes, once. Together with Philip — in a car.

This was not true, mainly because he also said he had seen that sinful car in a very central place where no pervert would ever dream of doing anything.

Friar P. believed him (who knows if he did) and, letting out a “normal” tendency in a man so “castrated” from childhood, said, “That’s called anal coitus.”

Marco did not understand. He knew what the meaning of the adjective “anal” was but could not connect the sexual act with a variant of it that allowed what he later discovered was homosexuality.

He told his mother as her mother was finishing a phone call. She made a disgusted gesture and, covering the telephone handset, whispered, “What filth! Then we’ll talk about it-now go wash your hands for lunch!“.

He later explained that Brother P. referred to a “sick” act that had nothing to do with genuine love. In addition, to make his attitude more credible, he reprimanded Marco for telling the friar those tall tales, giving him a platform for his unacceptable lucubrations.

I have already told you, Marco,” the somewhat impatient mother exclaimed. “And don’t make me repeat it, that when a man and a woman love each other, they can make love. That crap that Brother P. told you about is something where there is no form of love“.

As mentioned earlier, however, the little boy was interested in love just as an adult may be pleased to have a weekly allowance. It was sex, the “weird” kind, that attracted his attention, and the fact that there was no love in the “homosexual” (too heavy a word for a little more than a child) act made that practice, however unpleasant, the object of a far more pronounced transgression.

It remained peaceful, however, that Marco deeply hated male effusions. In particular, Friar P., perhaps for the reasons stated above, out of simplicities, “demanded” to always be kissed on the cheek.

A playmate, Rino, much more “immature” than Marco, did this naturally, almost flaunting a particular pride. When they were together and met the friar, Rino would come close and let his lips snap over the almost glabrous surface of those vast cheeks, and Marco felt an intense disgust at that practice. Thus, when it was his turn to greet the friar, he pulled his face together, as generally done among adults.

Rino kisses me,” Friar P. once said. “But you don’t! I noticed that you know?“.

Marco niched, horrified by that observation, which was as evident as it was out of place. He would have gladly kissed a young woman, perhaps sinking his lips to her cheeks or even to her lips, but with that monk, the effort was considerable. He tried anyway.

The next time, he kissed him, noticing the smile paint itself on the useless half-man’s face. He got grossed out but soon forgot what had happened and started chatting about electronic topics.

Once, before the very boring Sunday service his mother forced him to attend, he left Friar P. a technical magazine he had just bought. It was full of circuits and various projects, and the idea that he could have a mentor to teach him a few tricks had galvanized his interest to go to the tedious eleven-thirty mass that day.

As soon as the blessing was given and everyone hastily began to leave the church, Mark immediately looked for Brother P. He found him outside, sitting on a step. She approached him and asked him what he thought of the projects and articles.

You can make the battery tester,” replied the friar, “I already have one, but it will be easy for you.”

All right, but can you explain how it works? What exactly is a diode?” Marco asked impatiently.

The man looked at him expressionless. He didn’t quite know what to answer either, so he decided to play it safe: “I’ve noticed that Rino is very shy about sex. You should talk to him, who is quite a bit more mature.”

Marco was displaced for a moment: “Me? And why?”

Because I’ve noticed that you know many things, and you should tell him too,” was the dry reply.

The little boy had gone to the friar only to find out what secret allowed two LEDs to flash or how the mysterious transistor worked. Instead, ironically, he had to teach a playmate a sex lesson.

I’ve already talked to Rino,” said the monk, smiling like a dummy, “He will listen to you.”

Seeing his friend approaching, Marco nodded, bowed to that strange will, and tried to seclude himself with Rino. He quickly mixed what he learned from the pornographic magazine with what his mother told him. He offered it to him without hesitation, hoping to enjoy his reward then and thus be able to talk electronics with the friar.

Rino, unlike Marco, had always been significantly inhibited by images of explicit sexual intercourse because his mother, a woman as pious as she was ignorant, had dismissed him by saying, “It’s a sin,” appealing to her son’s good-naturedness. The latter, therefore, had decided to listen to something about it only because a clergyman, a holder of divine law, had invited him to do so. She had thus listened to Mark just as an old woman hangs on the lips of the priest who, a few days later, will give her last rites and the access code for heaven.

However, by the time they returned to Friar P., it was almost lunchtime, and the electronics were again subordinated to a far more important duty.

That sucks!” exclaimed Marco turning to Rino, “I wanted to get an explanation of how that radio control circuit works!

Both of them, however, amid uncertain sexual images, diodes, and broken dreams, returned to their homes for the obligatory Sunday lunch, and the day ended in that grotesquely unsatisfying way.

After some time, Brother P. was transferred. Of course, the reasons remained unknown to most, but it was evident that some parents, frightened by those unpleasant interferences, had approached the bishop, threatening to set off a powder keg. Everything had then suddenly returned to its flat normalcy.

Mark delved into the mysteries of sex as well as (almost) any other kid: between hypotheses, bluster, and pornographic films (an extraordinary leap). Once, he even bought a compilation of computer games that featured the title “Porn Show.” Excitedly, he ran home and loaded that modest little program, nothing compared to the evidence of short films found here and there.

The game was based on a somewhat abused idea in the video game field: you had to center a moving vagina with a penis that started at the bottom of the screen and reached the top of it. The enjoyment was nonexistent apart from the thrill of the illicit he had experienced upon purchase, preferring that cassette to another with perhaps much more exciting games.

On another day, however, a computer enthusiast schoolmate arrived in the small courtyard where the students gathered, took Marco under his arm, and confided to him, “I found a crazy program — Strip Poker. You play, and with every hand you win, she (the opponent) takes off one thing: her blouse and her bra.

And then what?” asked Marco, excited by that mixture of risk and sexuality.

It should take everything off, but I haven’t gotten there yet. The computer always wins…

Of course, computers always win the last hand, so they could never get to that coveted prize.

Computer games and the Internet are a means of spreading all forms of knowledge even among the youngest

But what was being talked about? A low-resolution image of a nude woman-nothing compared to the vivid turgid vaginas and super duper penises that appear in pornographic films. So why so much interest? The answer is probably related to the symbolic value of sex: discovery, the unknown that never ceases to be so. Marco knew perfectly well (albeit as a passive spectator) what an accurate female genital apparatus looked like. Still, every tiny detail, added perhaps by a very trivial computer program, adjusted the shot and made the panorama that never stopped swirling in on itself more vast.

Just as when, at an aunt’s house, Marco read a few pages of a book where they talked about pregnancies and contraceptive methods, a photograph of a woman with her legs spread apart on a gynecological couch was reproduced on a glossy page. Every detail was omitted, but that strange position, inviting as an embrace, struck him and left him staring at that black-and-white image for several minutes, trying to figure out its real meaning.

When he went back to masturbating, something he does almost daily now, he thought back to that strange position, and a tremor ran down his spine: the stranger had removed another veil, just like the computerized woman in Strip Poker.

The discovery of condoms, however, occurred in a much more complicated way. At the pharmacy, he often saw those colorful boxes that sometimes depicted couples during amorous effusions and wondered what they were. After the unexpected “lectio magistralis” given to him by his mother, he felt strong enough to ask that age-old question as well.

The first response was evasive: time did not permit a thorough explanation. In contrast, the second was much more fruitful.

They are pieces of plastic that the man puts on the penis so as not to fertilize the woman,” the mother replied.

Marco imagined them as small caps but soon realized that that hypothesis was bizarre. Then he shifted his imagination to lupine husks and thought that a condom was something like a foreskin, which had to be placed over the glans. Much later, he saw a used one on the street and realized he was wrong. Once again, the unknown of sex had not allowed him to rest on stale beliefs.

The rest of his sexual evolution is not noteworthy. So, like every boy, he overcame the various stages of development and came to know the true meaning of pleasure, which is not consummated and which, unlike hunger or thirst, is sometimes accentuated precisely by its consummation.

The rest of the story is useless. After weaning, even mice become edible, and perhaps, who knows, even that mysterious pleasure begins despite itself to conform to parades of prepackaged flavors.

Filed for legal guardianship with Patamu: certificate

If you like this short story, you can always donate to support my activity! One coffee is enough!

Share this post on: