My first love experience was when I was 13. A boy at school, same age as me caught my interest. I did not understand that my feelings for him was based on love, but I suspected him to understand I was in love in him. I did all I could to be close to him, played football and other games together. Sometimes I felt free and touched his body. I sentenced that my feelings were not mutual, sometimes he drawn back from me. Something that made me sad. In my dreams he answered my feelings, but unfortunately that was only in my dreams. I still wonder how it would felt to kiss him. In the Arabic world closeness between men are a bit indefinable. Men can kiss on the cheek and can hold hands walking in the street. The distinction between sexuality and friendship are marginally and easy to misunderstand.

But my feelings for men started many years before. As early as five years old I remember my admiration for our neighbour. Today I can describe the feeling like I was in love. I liked to be close to him, look at him. Sit on his laps and touch him. Similar experiences I had through my adolescence with other men, but never as a sexual experience.

I liked sports and played a lot of football together with the boys in our street. Sometimes the ball punctured and I was the one that volunteered to go to the garage close by. I was twelve when I noticed that the man in the garage was coming close to me physically. He was known for liking young boys, but since he was the man who took the initiative he was not considered as gay. I remember he asked me to sit on a chair in front of the table. He came close to me from behind, I felt his body pressed to my back and how he touched my shoulders and hands. For me it felt pleasant and I noticed a tension in all my body.

I was also fond of wrestling and had a lot of fights with different boys at my age. I was occupied of the situation, the manhood and to be close to another man. But it was older men who got me sexually aroused. As an example, I was in love with one of the male teachers in high school, in the distance. It happened never anything between us, but I still have contact with him in social media.

In Damascus there is a park that was known as a meeting place for gays. Many other people visited the park so one had to be careful in contacting other men. It could easily be some misunderstanding and dangerous if you fail.

Once I sat on a bench there and there was a man opposite who looked at me and smiled. I looked back to him and smiled back. I felt my heart beating. He waved at me and asked if I would sit down for a talk. I did and we started talking about neutral things. After a while we had got an understanding and he invited me home to his place. I agreed and we took a bus, not to his place, but to a forest outside Damascus. We went into the woods and suddenly he grabbed me and hold me tight. I noticed his horniness as me quivering in all my body. We were fully dressed and it took only some seconds until we both were satisfied. This was what I consider as my first real sexual experience with another man and I got a strong feeling of guild and shame. I was sure that God never would forgive me. At that time there were no mobile phones or Internet. In people homes it was normal to have one phone for sharing, so it could be dangerous to tell the phone number. I knew however where this man used to frequent, and I met him again sometimes. Sometimes in the forest, other times in his fathers or brother’s apartment if they were out.

This experience gave me new hope to cope my homosexuality. I also learned about how to meet men, especially using the eye contact. I met someone else and once I met one that brought me to a Hammam, places I considered as risky. Therefore, the enjoyment in Hammam was reduced because of the fear to be recognised

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