When I was in China, still a student, travelling far away from Tianjin and Beijing – to remote and rural Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Anhui, Sichuan, and beyond – I met many men and women who had been separated from their wives or husbands, merely as political discipline, for re-education for their incorrect class orientations. Some of them also spoke of their children.

As a foreigner, with four-skill proficiency in Chinese, and a strong 北京味儿 in my speech, not only was I no threat to them, but it was felt that I could be addressed in confidence. This happened in the cities, too, of course, but, hundreds of miles away, their futures uncertain, no restraint was felt. Many times, their confessions, revealing their loneliness, as they were outsiders in the communities in which they then lived, and my sympathetic reactions to those confessions, encouraged them to behave towards me as they never would have had the courage to behave had they been back home in Tianjin or Beijing.

Risk is only risk, if unmeasured. Bet only what you can afford to lose. Whether his own money, property, or hers, this is but a tease, a sport for fools, a game for cowards. The Russians got it right with the act of bravado that bears their name. Revolver or not, parachute or not, defying all caution, all risk; the leap that defies its landing. I gamble only with my life.

These men and women invited me with extreme caution to their cramped little homes. We shared simple meals, we continued to talk, and then, because my time was my own, and I had no other place to be but where I found myself to be, they surrendered to their loneliness, and gave themselves to me. In every case, they, both men and women, first delicately exploring my willingness to soothe the hurt of their solitude.

It has often been the case that I have been either an angel or a curse. To those to whom I am summoned whose need is for human succour, I am angel. To those who are guilty of cruelty against humanity, other animal, plant, or property, I am a curse. In China, injured, hurting, I have most been called to the former vocation.

The women, of course, were more daring than the men. They reached for kisses, often with eyes closed, hoping for the response for which they wished. With ready willingness, I did not disappoint them. As when a woman requests a dance, presenting her hand, I led on with passion, without constraint, in the western way, to be sure, orally, first, though cunnilingus, nipple stimulation, kissing, licking, nibbling, tonguing, followed by full vaginal insertion, ’til both of us found satisfaction. It was not about me. It was never about me, but about the women who sought confirmation of their womanhood, assurance of their humanity, the salve of semen to soothe their deepest inner hurt. Only following these acts of mercy and of passion was any shyness betrayed. With the women, I never stayed the night. Having seen again the light, promising a future not merely ever future, they could retreat once more into darkness.

None of these women were young. Most of them were older than I was. Though their obvious desperation would have certainly prevailed anyway, I assured them that I would not impregnate them, that I had taken care of birth control myself (A vasectomy, on an untruth regarding my age, when I was seventeen, reversed in France when I was forty-three). Whether or not they fully comprehended, we carried on as if entranced. After quite amply preparing them orally, often to orgasm, penetration was urgent for them. For additional lubricant, whatever cooking oil available, or even the fat of meat, was used. So long neglected, and of an age beyond youth, however aroused they became, they did not get wet. The lubricant comforted them in that they could have the honey without the sting. Though oral reciprocation was never offered, I would have refused it. In love, all love, I am the servant.

Relationships with the men began the same, with their stories, their confessions of loneliness. Many men guard within them a dormant or latent homosexuality. Many more are curious. Only the bravest appear as they are, and are as they appear. With most of the men I encountered in these circumstances far away from their homes, it was always I who initiated the submission to desire. To comfort them, I sat very close to them, certainly closer than might be considered normal. When most vulnerable, in tears or nearly so, as they described specifically the details of their isolation, looking straight into their eyes, I would begin to fondle their penises through their trousers. The cure for anything is salt water – blood, sweat, tears, semen, or the sea. They were shocked, if course, but never defiantly so. I offered to console them. I offered myself, to be the women they so missed. Not once was I refused.

Taking full command, I unfastened their belts, unbuttoned or unzipped their pants, and reached inside to hold their long denied organs of sex. I gently urged them to lie down, pulled down their trousers, went to my knees, and sucked them ‘til they were hard, or ’til even in semi-flaccidity, they drained their testicles into my mouth. It was often challenging. It had been too long. This was only the prelude, I told them, I wanted them to fuck me. Even the thought brought many to orgasm promptly into my mouth. I always swallowed, and then I continued. To further encourage them, rendering myself as vulnerable as they, I removed all of my clothes. I was fit. I was younger than many of them. I had long hair. My skin was white and feminine. Most importantly, I was no novice at homosexual love. My body bore witness to a lifetime of such activity.

The men, behaviourally, at least, were straight. I was the first man for them. They did not want to kiss or to hold one another. Again, as with the women, though never once was an offer made to return any oral favour, I would have refused had such offer been made. Seemingly descended from heaven, I had come to grant their sexual release, to validate again their manhood, perhaps to fulfil a long held curiosity, or to substantiate a secret knowledge of their own.

I was persevering. The men, unlike the women, took full advantage of my offerings. Those who ejaculated in my mouth, with my continued oral ministrations, most often accepted my pleas for intercourse. Though I did not require it, given my long history of submitting to men, to put their minds as ease, I used available lubricants on them. Unlike the women, the men felt more at ease allowing me to spend the night, during which I was usually able to ensure three of four ejaculations; departing in the mornings with big smiles, at least in eyes, for givers and recipient.

I have been explicit here. I am a compassionate and tolerant human being. I give always as much as I am able rather than as little as I might. Sexual fulfilment is a natural animal need. I have never declined either woman or man in this regard, nor, perceiving a want, a desire, or a need in another, woman or man, have I failed to come to her or to his aid. There is no shame in any manifestation of love.

My relationship with China, as one might now begin to ascertain, still in countless stories yet untold, is deep, rich, real. I gave all of myself to all I was given to feel and to know while there. Love that profound will never be forgotten, will never die.