Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

x-e-s — Dang! I can’t even spell it.


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! Β 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! Β (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!


Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

15 thoughts on “x-e-s — Dang! I can’t even spell it.

  1. LG

    are you shy? chicken?

    the last portion of your piece is superb

    the first portion … I’d edit out completely … silly construct about embarassment – mostly a waste of the reader’s time in getting to your superb stuff

    one thing missing – not from your thinking, I am sure, but from your text

    for me it is, much more than in prior decades when arousal and performance were key drivers of mine – all about intimacy

    if there is a lesson to be learned, and taught – and we ought to teach it in words and by examples from the time our tots are toddlers, is that sex is always an act of intimacy. Whether or not it is healthy, reciprocal and with well chosen partners is another matter, but it is ONLY about intimacy. Sometimes that is intimate companionship, sometimes intimate exercise, sometimes intimate stress release, sometimes intimate counselling, sometimes intimate laughter .. but always intimate – and when it isn’t, that’s the unhealthy kind to avoid repeating too often.

    Oh yes, repeating often … that’s important too.

    Erotic, as Robin Williams says, requires a feather.

    Or, you could just use the whole chicken!




  2. I guess as a woman… I like the first half of your piece today!!! πŸ˜‰ I think Mark needs to see the quote I posted the other day on my fb that says something to the tune of….. Men if you ever wanna know how a woman feels… picture a browser with 2947 tabs open!
    WE have to tell you every part of our story… and though some unique men do GET us and all of those details that we need to share… ALL or at least most women are being entertained by them!!!!
    Louise, of course… I had to go read your daughter’s blog. Soooo funny! Loved it!
    I don’t think you did a bad job with that kid! πŸ˜‰
    I remember my mom told me stuff about periods etc.. maybe too early… but that was because she knew a girl when she was younger who died of Pnemonia running into the lake to wash the blood off of her, not understanding what was happening! (We all have our horror stories… I’ve always wondered if that got built up over the years… I mean seriously? lol…)
    But as for the sex talks… mine consisted of thinking you did it standing up… however she explained it! She told me… “Your HUSBAND (lol… couldn’t be anything but…) loves you very much (Wow, I thought… to do THAT he’d have to!) and plants a seed in you to make a baby.”) So I’m picturing him walking over where you are standing … so by the time I heard you did it laying down… I thought how the heck do you do that? Sooo funny!!
    So I tried to really answer whatever questions my daughter had and be an open door to her… but I am sure she has her funny stories too!


    • YOu had me laughing Di throughout your comment — my experience was so like yours! It is amazing to me that we ever actually had children given where we all thought they came from had nothing to do with a vagina or uterus or any other female organ! πŸ™‚


  3. I like the first part too. And I relate to it. In my age group (60) I think it would have been unusual to get any kind of frank or open conversation out of a parent… Then we hit college just as the sexual revolution took off big time–talk about a bunch of confused women let loose from the cage. I think the way you wrote it conveys very well the progression so many of us have had to go through.
    I read your daughter’s post first — I have to admit I wondered to myself whether, at her age, I’d have dared to write that post if I knew my mother was reading… You took it very well ;>)


    • I’m almost in the same age group Leigh –when I turned 40 a girlfirned gave me a t-shirt that said — I was a foot soldier in the sexual revolution!


      She also said she was glad Aids wasn’t an issue when we were in our 20s. She may not have survived! πŸ™‚

      And thank you re Alexis’ post — I know — she is incredibly brave — and the only way I could respond was to honour her vulnerability, honesty and courage. and seriously…. not much I can do about what I did, or didn’t do back then! πŸ™‚



  4. I love this post Louise – all of it! And I think sex is great too! πŸ˜‰ And that’s all I’m going to say on that!


  5. Interesting to find a topic where our experiences vary so greatly. Sex was always taught as sacred, not secret in my home. Just as you would not take the name of the Lord in vain, or defile a shrine, you would not misuse the sacred gift of sex. It had to be talked about, because there was such a loud message to the contrary being offered almost everywhere else. The opportunity to marry and create a family that could be an eternal unit of love was so firmly fixed in my mind as a little girl, that even when I doubted the rest of my faith, and tried alcohol, metaphysics, and anything else I was drawn to, I NEVER wanted to stray from the decisions I had made about marriage and sex and family when I was a little girl. Now, looking back on my life, I am aware what a blessing this has been to me. I’ve had my own trials — boy have I — but I am so blessed they were not related to this part of my life.


    • Oh Susan — your response is so profound and affirming and encouraging. I love that you had such clear boundaries and sense of your own sexuality and sacredness — thank you so much for sharing. Very powerful!


  6. Well said. My mother’s approach to sex ed was to hand us little booklets. So of course, most was learned from friends. While I do think that there’s perhaps too much sex in movies, tv, etc. these days, I do like the openness about it. The more open to ideas and less uptight, perhaps the less apt to have sexual abuse. Well I’d like to hope so.


    • OH my Lisa — I got one of those booklets too. My sister and I cracked up about them — especially because when she got married my mother said to her — well, I’ve told you everything you need to know. Excuse me? πŸ™‚ and I agree with you re openness — if we don’t have sacred cows, we are less apt to try to defile them… I think. πŸ™‚


  7. I loved it! I really got how uncomfortable it was to finally come to the admission that you like “it”. s-e-x. I was going to be doing a talk at a Goddess conference (cancelled now) titled “Boobs, Bellies and Butts”. It was about self-image vs. body image. I think almost every woman in North America was born to hate their bodies and all it’s functions. Almost every woman I know has or has had issues with their bodies and image. It seems though, as we grow older, we tend to create a more intimate picture of ourselves and become more secure and accepting of ourselves. And our bodies. Naturally that would extend to the bedroom, or anywhere else sex comes up.

    My mother tried to be open about sex. The unfortunate part about teaching me is I am a kinesthetic learner. So that means you have to draw me a picture and then let me experience it for myself. Not going to happen at 9! So my mother almost gave up when she tried to describe sex using a tube of lipstick. She took the lid off and told me that the lid was like the inside of a woman. Then she took the lipstick and exposed the red tip and said the man grows like this, *twists the lip colour out* and then they have sex like this, *puts the two together*. Although, this metaphor was very clever, I asked her what lipstick had to do with sex. I could see she was lost at that point, about what to tell me. She finally got a book from the library and sat with me as her and I read it together. I was fascinated. And she answered my barrage of questions like a trooper!

    Even with all this openess, I was still shy and disliked my body and ended up with an eating disorder. All because of my body and the focus society has around women’s bodies. And sex, although okay, was not what I expected. No bells or whistles. Just okay. I was sadly disappointed. It wasn’t until I got older and made it through my divorce after 26 years of marriage that I finally found out what a g-spot was. And great sex! And fun sex! And all kinds of sex! I could write my own book on it now ! ha ha ha!

    Thank you for sharing, Louise. I would have loved to have heard more about your Mother’s reaction to your question. Your Dad’s was great! This was a fun story.


  8. Ha-ha. I like the fact that your daughter had the same apprehension to talk about it initially as you. I must ask my daughter about this one because as per normal mother – daughter relationships, we do not talk about sex (much).


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