It would have been nice to be able to discuss sex with my mom. I'd like to have had her thoughts about how to know when it's safe, emotionally; what's fun and what's degrading, and how to know the difference; when to say yes or no; what to do if something goes wrong; how to proceed with my sexual nature in general. I didn't feel close to her when I was younger, though. She didn't try to get to know me much. I remember many times during which she talked nearly the entire time. In those days, she said things like, "Don't shack up," and "She's giving away the milk without him buying the cow." Yuck. I didn't want to feel that way about sex or relationships.
My mom didn't appear to like sex. She seemed to feel a lot of shame about it, a lot of guilt. When I told my dad that I wanted to have sex, he told me to not feel guilt about it. "Animals do it, Meiling. It's natural." From what I remember, he was all, Get out there and have fun. With my parents' extremes as starting fodder, I learned about a lot of boundaries by first crossing them. Whew. It was excruciating, in some cases, to observe my frailties. When I knew people were treating me poorly and I couldn't figure out why I lived how I lived -- wow, that was painful. I didn't want to go to either of my parents at that point, so I found a therapist and she helped me explore my emotions. Now I think about sex, and I'm happy it exists.
There can be a lot of shame around sex, especially after sexual assault. Sometimes victims are made to feel guilty for "bringing it upon themselves" or "asking for it." It's yuck. Then to try and feel intimacy with a loving partner afterward! Such a trial of emotions and time and tenderness. Sex is a lovely creation, and sometimes people go through really bad experiences with it. Sometimes people use the idea of a woman's sexual identity as a means to shame her or make her feel bad. The rapist alluded to my sluttiness on his mom's driveway in front of another woman. (!) This is "slut shaming." Gah, so sexist and painful. Leora Tanenbaum talks about it in her article, "The Truth About Slut-Shaming."
Sex is beautiful, and each of us deserves respectful actions in this area of our lives. If you, like me, experienced sexual impropriety, you might feel a strong tendency toward shame and guilt around human sexual nature. Or perhaps you acted promiscuous, a common psychological response in females who feel distress. I understand how it can feel painful to observe life choices. Seriously, though -- sex is great fun! My encouragement is to practice with safe techniques -- condoms, choosing a partner who cares about you and about whom you care. I'd rather we respect sex as a whole, respect ourselves and our sexual natures even after abuses.
Well hello there.