It was this ritual, with my mom. My earliest memory of it (so far) was when I was four or maybe five. It happened most every time she gave me a bath. First she'd fill the tub up to my waist or maybe a little higher, then she'd grab a washcloth and soap and give me what felt like a normal sort of bath. But after, while she was rinsing off my body (still with the washcloth in hand), she would fondle my penis and my balls. It was weird to me because I knew the bath was over and this was something else, but she still used the washcloth, like she was making like she was still washing me. I remember it felt good. But it made me feel sick inside. I remember being angry about it, and hating my mother, but having no idea why.

Crazy as it sounds to me now, I was the one who put a stop to it all, when I was still just five. I remember sitting in the tub one night dreading her arrival to give me a bath. That night she came in and took her blouse off (which she often did; she said it kept me from getting it wet. But I never liked seeing her in her bra. It felt wrong somehow and made me uncomfortable). I decided that I had to find a way for it all to stop. She gave me a bath as usual, but when it came time for her to fondle my privates I covered my dick with my hands and said, "I can do it myself. I want to do it." Like I was a big boy now and didn't want her help to wash myself...but I knew we weren't talking about bathing. And so did she.

She made a weird face and I laughed nervously and took the washcloth out of her hand and starting rubbing my own privates, smiling the whole time at her like "See? I can do this so you can stop fucking with me now please!" She said, "you wouldn't prefer that I do it?" And I said "No. I don't like it when you do it." She laughed and said something about how I didn't understand any of it. Still, she didn't press it anymore that night, but I could tell she was not deterred and would keep doing it the next time I got a bath.

Over the next few days I tried to think of a way to stop it from happening again. I decided I needed my dad's authority to make it stop (I was raised in a very strict religious home, very traditional roles, submissive wife and all that), and so tried to think of a way to get him involved. I was terrified to talk to him directly about it--to accuse Mom of something to him would bring a beating for sure--so I had to find another way.

What I landed on was something only a 5 year old could think was a good idea. I took a big dump right in the middle of the bathroom floor...the same bathroom where the abuse would happen. In my reasoning, doing something that bad would warrant a private reprimand and punishment at the hands of my father. And I thought if I could just get him alone maybe I could somehow find a way to let him know what was going on, or maybe (I really hoped for this bit) maybe he would just "know" that something was wrong, that my pooping on the floor was a cry for help, and he would intervene and make it right.

Unfortunately that's not how it went down. For whatever reason, my mom and dad confronted me together about the bathroom poop, and because Mom was standing right there when Dad asked me why I did it, I said, "I don't know." The weird thing is, they didn't punish me at all for it. They just sent me out of the room, and didn't even make me clean it up.

So, plan B. My dad had a habit of working in his home office late at night before bed. So the next night I climbed out of bed and sneaked over to his office to talk to him. I remember my heart was pounding out of my chest when I knocked on his door. I wasn't supposed to be out of bed that late, and just standing there could get me a beating. But when I knocked he didn't get angry right away. He asked me what I wanted and I said, as bravely as I could muster, "Would you tell Mom I don't want her to give me baths anymore?" He turned back to his desk and shook his head. "Tell her yourself," he said. That's when I started to cry. "I'm scared," I said. But he said, "There's nothing to be scared of. She'll understand." Still crying, I asked, "Will you go with me?" But he shook his head. "I don't need to go with you. Talk to her yourself. Now go back to bed."

So I went back to bed. I remember being full of anger at my dad that night. He was never around, never spent time with me, never had time for me. And this was no different. So, on to Plan C...which I guessed was my last hope. I would do as Dad instructed, I would tell Mom myself. But I would wait until Dad was in the room too. And hope that he would back me up.

I did it the very next day. All I remember is that Mom was in the kitchen and Dad was sitting at the table. I think we were about to eat a meal. And that's when I said, loud so Dad would hear it behind the newspaper he always hid behind, "Mom I want to start taking baths by myself. I don't want you to give me baths anymore." She made that weird face again, a kind of flustered mockery, and said "Well what brought this on?" And I remember thinking "you know exactly what brought this on," but I just looked at Dad, who had (thankfully) put down the paper and saw the pleading look on my face. And he said something about how I had come to his office the night before and told him I didn't want Mom to give me baths anymore. And she kind of chuckled in this awkward way and did her best to make light of the whole thing. But I could tell the threat had gotten across to her: "If you do this again, I'll tell Dad everything." And she waved her hand like it was no big deal and said, "Well if that's what you want..."

And it never happened again after that.

But that was just the physical incest part. The emotional incest was much worse, and went on for many more years to come. I could never think of a way to stop that part of the abuse. Perhaps I will write about it another time. But the results have left me, 40 years later, still so traumatized by anything resembling feminine need or affection that I have never been able to marry, never be able to fall in love, never even been able to have sex. I shut my sexual self down rather than risk being abused like that again by a woman. Now I am doing everything I know to reawaken my sexuality, heal the wounds from both my mother and my father, and reclaim the full sexual life my mother's abuse so royally fucked up.