I wish I had had a Dad like you are but I come to this from another angle. When I was 15 me and my dad went on a father and son YMCA canoe trip. In those days all the camp showers were open and no one worried about who showered with who. At the end of the day, my dad asked me if I wanted to shower first or him shower first even though it was communal showers. I told my dad to go first ,but after he had headed to the shower room, I decided I would go in while he was in there so we could see each other. I guess I wanted him to see that I was maturing into a man. Up until then we had been modest in front of each other, but I think if we had been more open I wouldn't have felt the need to walk in on him in the shower like that. I just walked up to the shower head next to him and without a word turned it on. He was surprised and said he thought I was going to wait. I think I embarrassed him and embarrassed us actually. I guess because the situation was exciting to me in some way, I started to chub up a little and I'm sure my dad noticed. When we were driving home, he told me it was ok if I was gay. I told him I wasn't (still not). I think if we had been more open, then I wouldn't have felt like I had to sneak to see him and see what I would look like when I got older.
Christopher (great name, btw), thanks for sharing. I hear a lot of regret in what you are writing. Just please know that you did nothing wrong. I understand how something like that can feel super embarrassing, and I know what it's like to have a dad who was also maybe overly modest about such things. Your natural curiosity and desire to bond with you dad as a young man and being proud of your maturation as a guy--all of those things are pure and innocent and good. You don't want to make you dad feel awkward or embarrassed because you love him, and that's good. But know that you yourself did nothing wrong, his feeling embarrassed by the situation was totally on him. You cannot control how another person feels. If anything, you were the mature one by not feeling that you two should treat each other any differently than you would the other guys there. The fact that you got a semi was, like you said, just part of being an adolescent and being in a new situation like that that involved things that are associated with sex. As you said, it had nothing to do with your sexual orientation, and I am so sorry that your dad even had a doubt in his mind about that. I'm sure his comment in the car to you was his way of saying that he loved you no matter what, but man, that must have felt awkward and hurtful for him to express doubt about you like that, like he didn't really know you, and the sad thing is, maybe he didn't know you as well as he should have.
I am not a father, but I know that as a son, acknowledging one's sexuality with their parents can feel awkward if one wasn't raised in an environment where that kind of thing was discussed openly and spoken of positively. There must be something in many dads where they have a hard time acknowledging that their boy (or daughter) is becoming a sexual person, an adult. They know it, they recognize it, but on some level, they would just rather keep it as an "out of sight, out of mind" kind of thing. But that is not the fault of the child, they are just following the course of nature. It is on them, and their need for growth and maturity in how they think about sexuality and their children. Again, you did nothing wrong, in fact, you did what was right; your dad should have seen that as an opportunity to be able to open up more about those matters, to affirm you as a man, and to use that as a bonding and teaching moment, like the OP did. I hope that when, Lord willing, I become a father some day, I can be that kind of Dad. As a Christian, I hold pretty conservative sexual values, but one of the values that I hold is that our sexuality and gender is good and is God's idea, therefore, we should embrace and celebrate it. We reserve sex for marriage not because it's bad or dirty, but because it is so good, and special, and bonding. There is nothing to be ashamed of for having a penis or boners or being horny; we are supposed to! We are men, and we should celebrate each other's manhood, and the womenhood of our sisters. Men can have a special, brotherly bond bec we "get" each other and understand the joys and trials of being a man, and fathers and sons share that as much as friends. If anything, fathers need to guide their sons into living out a healthy sexuality and self-image and how they treat women, etc. To pretend like our penises don't exist doesn't help that process.
Anyway, release yourself of any guilt or condemnation, forgive your dad, and seek to be the kid of man who keeps on walking in that kind of confidence--don't let this situation be a set back to you. Confidence frees other men up to walk in confidence, and that is the definition of a leader. You lead because it's the right thing to do, not bec people always like it or follow your example. The right ones will.
Thanks other Chris for the kind and inspirational words, The situation was awkward and embarrassing and there really is nothing to change about it. I had this very strange idea that I wanted my dad to see how I was maturing and developing in to a man and I guess honestly I wanted to see him too so I would know what that would look like. I'm sure my dad thought I shouldn't be getting a boner in the showers but we can't really control those things at that age. I really was embarrassed that he saw that and it ruined the whole male father and son bonding experience. I thought about the whole thing when I read the initial post. My face still turns a little red when I think about me doing that.
This just seems all too normal of a situation. We are males, its good you got to have a talk to your son about some of the biological things that will happen that are normal for him while he is becoming a man. If your LUCKY, this situation means that you and he have established that it is OK for him to talk to you about these things which he will be experiencing as he gets older. Since it happened to you it makes you more vulnerable which is good cause he knows you can be honest with him. Since you didn't have those experiences with your dad just know that is better for his development to be able to discuss these things with someone and the best person for him to talk those things through with is his own father. It's just a part of coming of age. Same for a girl and her mother.
This account makes me rather envious. Though I grew up in a Christian family, my dad was happy to let secular schools and books guide me through puberty and adolescence and never showed any desire to talk to me directly. When he did eventually give me two books on puberty it was about three years too late!
I never had any friends who I could talk to about personal stuff, and in the days before I had ready access to the internet, normal questions about my body, which could have been answered quite simply and put my mind to rest, ended up being persistent long-term questions, and I feel like I've never really been able to shake off the insecurity that developed as a result. I always found it frustrating that school textbooks and medical encyclopedias would happily show photographs of fully naked women, but when it came to illustrations of the male anatomy, they resorted to drawings - which never showed the precise detail necessary to answer the questions I had about whether I was normal or not.
I had a tight foreskin as a young teenager. I never even knew I had a foreskin until one night I woke up with an erection. The foreskin had retracted for the first time, the head of the penis was red and swollen, and it was painful. And I didn't know what I was looking at. I'd never seen my penis looking like that before and I didn't know what had gone wrong with it. I was afraid. I'd never seen the v-shaped frenum before. To me it all looked completely wrong - and for years I wondered if the frenum was meant to be like that. To me it looked like I must have had an operation and the surgeon had accidentally sown the skin into the head of my penis. That, together with the scar-like ridge of skin that runs down the underside of the penis made me wonder if I had had an operation on it as a child. It looked like it had been torn apart and sown back together. On the night when the foreskin first retracted I was afraid but I just had to muddle through and after a bit of fiddling around, trying to work out what had gone wrong, I managed to get the foreskin back over the ridge of the glans so that it looked vaguely like normal. I then went back to sleep hoping it would be back to normal by morning - which it was. I guess that over the years the foreskin has naturally stretched a bit, and I have grown used to it, so it doesn't cause the pain or anxiety that it did the first time it happened. But it would have been such a relief to have had someone to talk to about these things.
I often longed to be able to converse with my dad about such things. At school some of my friends would occasionally tell me that I needed to start shaving, and one day my older brother said the same thing over the dinner table. My mum immediately jumped to my defense with, 'He doesn't need to shave if he doesn't want to.' In my mind I was crying out, 'You must me joking! Of course I want to! - But I've no one to show me how!' I said nothing, but my brother's words must have woken them up and the following Christmas I was given an electric shaver. But I wasn't shown how to use it. It might sound stupid in retrospect but I didn't know how it worked. I was a thirteen year old kid and had this gadget in my hand with blades whirling round and I didn't want to risk tearing my face to shreds. My fourteenth birthday was approaching and I wanted to be able to start shaving before I reached that age so that eventually forced me to approach my dad and ask, 'Can I use this on my moustache'? He looked at my like I was crazy and said 'Yes'. The fact that he issued no warnings of how dangerous it could be led me to just hesitantly take the plunge, and in the event everything turned out alright and I discovered how safe and easy shaving was - but how was I expected to know that?
On the rare occasions when my dad and I ever went away anywhere together I used to wish we would talk about stuff. To me it always felt like to see each other naked was the easiest way to break down barriers. Once you'd done that then it felt like psychologically there would be nothing more to hide and it would be easy to start talking about stuff, openly and honestly. If we were sharing a room, I would change my clothes in the same room (with my back to him) - but he would always go off to the bathroom. On one occasion I was in my pyjamas and had an erection and I made no effort to hide it. He saw it but then just looked away and pretended it wasn't there. I often felt like I was making opportunities for him to speak to me about certain subjects, but he never took them. And then in my late twenties I wrote him something very personal and frank about an issue I was struggling with. He did converse immediately afterwards, and he did speak with more frankness than he had ever used before, spoke words which I had never heard him utter before - uncomfortable though he clearly was with it all. But the sense I got from the whole conversation was that he was out of touch. He genuinely couldn't remember what it was like to be young. He couldn't remember back to his own experiences of adolescence forty or fifty years previously. And so he had little to share from personal experience. It was rather a disappointment. I kept a journal from my late teens onwards and so many of my memories were recorded and kept alive, whereas my dad's memories were simply forgotten. I don't know which is for the better. I often hope that if I were ever to have kids, I would be able to relate better to them than my dad ever was to me. I often wished he had been there to guide me through growing up and to show me what I was going to become.
I think many of us had similar experiences growing up, which is why this story resonates with some of us, including myself. I also grew up in a religious household, and while I appreciate that, one of the few negative things it brought about was a great reluctance for my Dad to discuss anything about puberty or sex with me. I chose not to go through the sex-ed classes at school because I felt I knew enough already. I reached this decision with no help from my parents, who said they'd let me make my own decision. I went through a lot of the same frustrations about shaving and needing deodorant and all that, but really had no one to guide me through it. Unfortunately, most of what I learned until about age 18 to 20 or so came from the few male friends I had. I have a little girl now, and look forward to having boys should that time come. If I do, I fully intend to talk with them about this stuff so I can help them feel secure and confident as their bodies go through all those changes. I don't think it is best for boys to learn this stuff from their peers as I did.
My best friend in High school's dad was a preacher. But his dad was also a very manly guy. His dad was always open about sex and how the male body works. Hell he would even answer any question I had when I stayed over there. It never felt weird or strange at all. I had very few questions because me Dad was just the best. He always took me camping and once we had the opposite thing happen to us. LOL I was the one with the big erection and he was staring at me !! LOL Being from the South, I think he was proud that he produced a son who was growing into a man. We talked about that camping trip for years until he died. That day he tried to tell me everything he knew about sex and being a man. Best camping trip I ever had with him!!
Thanks Christopher, I always felt like he was a great father and also a great man. He has been gone a couple of years and I miss him everyday. I have 5 children, 2 daughters and 3 sons. My sons have been raised by me exactly the same way. I have always answered their questions honestly. I just pray they think of me the same way I think of my dad. I have tried to answer my daughters sex questions also but my wife does much better with them. LOL I am just a little embarrassed with them much more then the boys. My grandson is being raised the same way.
I think you handled it well.