My mother never talked to me about sex…ever.
I grew up in a home where public displays of affection were violations of etiquette. This aligned with my mother’s erudite upbringing and Victorian repression of sexuality. This also led to my naïve introduction to the world of the sexually active.
When I was 18, my mom died of breast cancer. I dropped out of college two months later, moved back home, met a guy, dated him and got pregnant.
Three months later, thanks to a belief system that rejected abortion as an option and a welcoming chapel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, I became a newlywed. At this time, my social life was limited to co-workers. My friends from high school had gone off to college and my friends from college were 8 hours away.
When my husband expressed interest in having marital relations in a position other than basic missionary style, I didn’t know what to do. I thought that meant he didn’t really love me. (Over 20 years later, I have to look back and laugh at this, but at the time, I was seriously distraught.) You see, I had the distinct impression that the only way sex was loving (as in “making love”) was in the traditional missionary position. Any other position, my instinct told me, wasn’t making love – but something dirty.
It was a huge issue for me at the time, and I needed advice. I turned to a co-worker (several years older than me) who was like a big sister to me. With tears streaming down my face, embarrassed, ashamed but completely desperate for guidance, I told her my dilemma. I imagine had I not been so sincerely burdened by the issue, she would have laughed. But she was gentle, kind and patient with me.
She told me that love making is not just one position but being with your partner in intimate ways that can include that position but many other positions as well. I remember telling her with great conviction that it doesn’t FEEL like making love if you’re not looking at each other. She told me that you don’t have to look at each other to feel the love. She said the love is there no matter what you’re looking at or what position you’re in…that the act of making love is a physical expression of the love you share and that physical expression is not limited to specific positions.
This was mind-boggling to me at the time. I was so convinced that missionary style was the only way to make LOVE that to do anything else felt wrong to me. And yet, this lady I respected, admired and trusted was telling me that wasn’t the case at all! Talk about a paradigm shift!
I’ll never forget that girl. What she told me re-framed my concept of sex and love. I sometimes wonder what my future would have been like had I continued through life without seeking advice from this co-worker. It’s quite possible that without this shift in my thinking I wouldn’t have ended up the mother of 7 children!
The good news is this mother will most definitely be talking to her children about sex.