My parents told me the facts of life very young, with frogs and dogs as prime examples. The result: when I was about five my mother and I were walking past a church when a bride and groom and their guests came out. We stopped to look and I asked in a loud, clear voice: ‘Mummy, when will the mating be?’ She blushed scarlet and hurried me away.
If I could have gone to school with girls I think I would have related to them very naturally. Until I was eight I was at a mixed school in the village. I thought boys were rough and noisy and silly, so during break, while they played at jumping on an old car at the bottom of the garden, I sat on the grass with the girls making daisy chains and telling stories. Then we moved to London and I was sent to a boys’ school. Calamity!
When I was thirteen, at my own request, I was sent to a boys’ boarding school in the country. I had a heavy crush on an older boy in the first year, and on a younger one in the second year. If some authority figure had told me at that time that I had to ‘accept my sexuality’, I might well have decided that I was homosexual. In the third year I met my little friend’s sister and transferred my affections to her, but she always seemed like an unattainable goddess.
Out in the world I longed for a young woman, but I could never ask one for sex. It was not that I did not know the theory; as Richard Feynman said ‘You just ask ‘em.’ But I was always interested in women as whole people and not as sex objects, and I felt as though asking would demean them. For that matter, when women offered themselves to me I ran a mile. So I arrived at thirty a virgin and then became a faithful husband. Very boring! I just thought I’d say, in case anybody wondered.
Added 2016: I saw recently that a local authority circulated parents telling them they don't need to specify the gender of their primary-school children. Confusion about sex and gender seems to have reached insane levels. What a pity Jung is not more widely read! His notion that everybody, irrespective of sex, has a masculine animus and a feminine anima resolves the problem. No boy should think it abnormal to be girlish, nor should any girl think her boyishness means she is in the 'wrong' body. On the contrary, it would be a better world if all adults recognised the 'opposite' sex in themselves, and saw that the proper relation of the sexes is not opposition but collaboration. Instead of that we have thousands of people suffering years of surgery and hormone treatment to change what does not need to be changed.
Another manifestation of the same confusion is the multiplication of sexual categories - LGBTX etc. I don't believe there is good evidence for a genetic basis for sexual orientation. There are identical twins of opposite sexuality, and the frequency of homosexual behaviour in single-sex institutions, in prisons, on ships suggests that environment is preponderant. It seems to me unhealthy that we should know about people's sexual behaviour at all. If two men or two women choose to live together it is not a matter of public concern what - if anything - they do in bed. Civil partnership is an excellent innovation, but it should never have been equated with homosexuality; it should have been opened to mixed sex couples, to pairs of brothers or sisters - to anybody who wanted to share their lot. 'Gay marriage' is biologically meaningless and unnecessarily provocative to people who believe marriage to be religiously sanctified. I believe that it will worsen prejudice against homosexual behaviour in countries where it is already condemned.