Despite my best efforts, I managed to traumatize my child. The reason I can joke about it is that my “child” is 23 years old.
A while back, I was reading a fantastic post by a fellow We Spot blogger about spicing up your relationship. Her list of ideas to bring some of that excitement and spiciness back made for a great read.
One of the ways she listed was sexting. If you haven’t heard the term before, sexting is sending your partner sexy texts, whether written or pictures.
Feeling inclined to be vulnerable and open, I commented on the post that my hubby and I are regular sexters. I strongly believe that sex is an essential part of relationships, and I advocate for removing the negative stigma sex often carries.
Not 5 minutes after making that comment, I got a text from my son. This is how that conversation went:
Embarrassed son: “Well, I never want to go on Facebook again.”
Me, being dense apparently: “Why?”
Him: “Your comment on that post.”
First I panicked. Oh no! How embarrassing. My poor kid, innocently browsing Facebook, thinking everything’s normal, and then BAM! Mom’s talking about sexting.
And then I came back to reality and collected myself. I reminded myself of a couple things:
- First, he’s 23 freaking years old.
- Secondly, he’s got a serious girlfriend himself.
- Third, I’m a grown-ass woman.
- And fourth, sexuality ISN’T a dirty thing.
I texted back, and the conversation went like this:
Me, embracing maturity: “I’m sorry that made you uncomfortable, honey. But I am a woman, not just a mom. I’m a human being, and sex isn’t a dirty thing.”
Him, still disgusted: “I know, mom. It’s just weird to see your MOM talking about that.”
I get it. I really do. He makes a valid point. Putting myself in his shoes, I’m able to completely understand that at 23, the thought of your mom (who was single the whole time you were growing up) having sex is just plain icky.
Afterward, this situation got me thinking though.
As women, we’re more “allowed” to be sexual creatures than we are as moms. It’s as if society believes that once our maternal switch is activated, any sexuality gets put into a box and placed on a shelf.
Meanwhile, women everywhere are shamed for posing nude for magazines or being sex workers or having more than one partner. Although women without children are also shamed, the stance is that women can’t be good mothers if they express any form of sexuality.
Celebrities are the most talked about situations of this shaming. For example, Kim Kardashian posed nude for Paper (a magazine). That photo received an astounding number of comments implying that she should be ashamed of herself for posing like that. Not for the nudity, but because she’s a mother.
On the flip side, when Kanye (her husband) rapped explicitly about he and Kim’s sex life, there was no outcry about the fact that he’s a father and should be ashamed of himself. This double standard is the reason that we, as women and mothers, feel as though our sexuality should be quiet and hidden.
Why is it that as a society, we value and honor men’s expression of sexuality – even after they become fathers – but we condemn women and mothers for that same behavior?
Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m intelligent enough to know that there are lines that you never cross when it comes to your children. There are definitely some things that children shouldn’t be exposed to. My anger lies in the fact that as a society, women are told that once they’re a mother, they’re no longer allowed to be sexual beings.
So, how do we overcome this negative conditioning about our sexuality?
- Be honest with yourself. What are your thoughts about sexuality? Is there a part of you that feels ashamed or dirty regarding sex. Take a deep look at your own mindset. Where did these teachings come from? Who taught you about sex? Find the dark places of your thinking and get comfortable with them.
- Know that there isn’t a handbook. We have our babies, we wait 6 weeks for our bodies to heal, and we go to our postpartum appointments, but nobody ever talks to us about how motherhood might affect our perception and acceptance of sexuality.”We aren’t given a handbook on this. We’re all making it up as we go. Give yourself some grace.
- Don’t forget that you are multi-faceted. You’re many things. You’re mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. However, you’re also a woman and lover. That’s the beauty of being human. We get to be whoever and whatever we want to be. It’s okay to be a mother AND a lover. Despite what some people think (I’m looking at you SCOTUS), we aren’t just vessels for bringing children into the world.
- Explore. What turns you on? Explore with your partner or yourself. Engage all of your senses. Do certain songs seem to get you in the mood? What kinds of touch excite you? What makes your breath quicken and your eyes roll back in your head? Honor yourself. Let yourself experience ALL the different ways you get pleasure.
- Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. You don’t have to agree with society’s views on a woman’s sexuality. You can ignore shaming. Most of these views are antiquated and patriarchal. Conversely, I won’t allow myself to be shamed directly or indirectly because I’m a sexual being. I won’t engage in any shaming that bases itself around any woman’s right to be a sexual goddess!
Owning and celebrating our sexuality is a gift that we can give ourselves.
Express you, girl! Let the world know that you’re a sensuous, erotic, passionate woman and that there’s NO SHAME in that.
“There’s an unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality….you can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”