Have I mentioned that I have issues around s-e-x? No? Well, let me tell you, just writing that word here makes me feel uncomfortable — I can’t even use caps. I gotta whisper it — what if my mother hears me?
Now, I had no intention of writing about s-e-x in this space — there are limits to my willingness to be vulnerable you know! But, this morning, I read my daughters post over at Living in Wunder and realized, dang, I think I might have contributed to some of her issues. Time to come clean. If she can do it, so can I!
S-e-x. There. I even gave it a capital S.
And I smile. The fear of speaking/writing of something so taboo in public made my fingers stop typing and my head lift up so I could look out the window and check out the darkened sky. Did anyone (and you know who I mean) hear me? Will a thunderbolt suddenly streak down and cast me asunder?
Dang, Those inhibitions run deep. Their roots buried in decades of conditioning and programming and societal constraints that would have me believe s-e-x is a dirty word.
it’s not you know. Dirty. Or forbidden, or even naughty.
It’s just I’ve been so conditioned to feel awkward about speaking/writing about it in public that I feel naughty doing it. Kinda scared too — if it makes me uncomfortable to do it, it will probably make others uncomfortable too. And I don’t like to stir up sexual anxieties in anyone! If you’re like me you’ve probably got enough of your own without someone else contributing to them.
But…. secrets keep us sick and treating s-e-x as a dirty secret is not healthy. So…. I’m gonna break out of my own taboos and let ‘er rip.
I like x-e-s.
There. I’ve said it. In public. A little awkward and backwards but it’s true. I like it.
And doing it backwards does have a purpose — my other fear is those trolls who scour the internet for words to cling to might be lurking — and I have no desire to find myself the recipient of more spam than I already get! (Do you think spelling it backwards will fool them?)
Dang. The things we do to avoid speaking about the very thing that contributed to the creation of each and everyone of us!
Many years ago, while visiting my brother and his wife just before the birth of my youngest niece, we sat at the dinner table and chatted about the upcoming birth. My parents were living in Europe at the time and had come to be present for the birth of their second grand-daughter and I had flown in from Edmonton where I was living to see them. At one point my sister-in-law talked about whether or not to have her tubes tied after her baby’s birth and said one of the advantages she’d read about was the fact that women actually enjoyed s-e-x more when they didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant.
Now, I don’t know what made me do it (ok, well maybe I do but I wasn’t trying to create a problem. ok. well maybe I was…) anyway, I asked my mother, “Is it true mom? Do you enjoy s-e-x more now that you’ve been through menopause?”
I swear my father cut through his steak and would have sawed through his plate if he didn’t start choking on the piece of steak in his mouth and need to drop his utensils to take a gulp of water.
My mother spluttered and blushed and stuttered, “Louise! Why do you have to be so difficult!”
Seriously. I wasn’t trying to be difficult, but I was on a roll. And I did want to know — at least if only to reassure my sister-in-law that there was truth in what she’d heard. Honest.
And let’s be clear here. My mother, or so I believed, would have given anything to be a saint — and having s-e-x is not on the list of criteria for sainthood. I think she would have had us believe we were all four born of the immaculate conception — or maybe it really was the stork who did it. But asking my mother if she enjoyed s-e-x was like asking the Pope if he’d ever done a Cardinal. You just don’t go there.
But I did.
And I will admit — it wasn’t because I’m fearless. It was because — The Brat in me had come out to play and I really did like making her uncomfortable. I think it was my way of getting back at her. S-e-x was never on the table for discussion. Ever. Good girls kept their legs crossed until they were married and even then, they only ever ‘did it’ for the purpose of procreation.
I thought that with my daughters I’d do it differently. I’ll talk about it, make it a natural part of living and loving and being human. I wanted them to celebrate their femininity, and their sexuality. I didn’t want to load them with shame and guilt. I won’t treat it like a secret that must be kept in the closet. It will not be the elephant in the room.
Alas, for all my efforts at de-mystifying the humanness of sex, the shame, dirt and grime spilled over the generational boundaries and contaminated the sacred ground of their sexuality.
Because in the end, if there is one thing I wanted to teach my daughters it is that, sex isn’t the issue. It’s our human need to de-sanctify the sacredness of our human condition that’s the problem. Sex is an act of creation. Our sexuality is part of being human. Fully. Completely. Magnificently. Fearlessly unbounded by taboos and any other stigma that would have us believe it is wrong, naughty or nice to talk about, explore or even enjoy the very thing that created us, x-e-s.
Okay. I’m done now. Back to regular programming tomorrow!