Just in writing about possibly writing about sex yesterday I got some very fine comments. Some people are completely comfortable with the idea of a discussion about sex. Some are most definitely not. So if the subject offends or disturbs or triggers or upsets you, just skip this one. I'm not going to speak of it graphically but I am acknowledging that people have it.
Sex is the verboten topic, isn't it? And yet- a huge percentage of us do have sex or have had sex at some points in our lives. I mean- how many humans are on earth? All but a very few of those people are here because their parents had sex. This is one of the most obvious facts one could imagine. And yet- is there anything more icky than the idea of our parents having sex? Why IS this? And is it just our culture? I do not know. I'd like to think that the people in at least some cultures embrace the idea that their parents enjoyed each other in the most intimate and loving way possible. I'd also like to think that sex for most people is indeed intimate and loving but I was disabused of that notion a very long time ago.
And in a way, it's ridiculous to think one can discuss sex in any depth at all in a forum like this. One may as well try to cover the entire topic of food and eating in a blog post. There are as many different cuisines and dietary practices and foods and attitudes about food and appetites and eating as there are people, I would imagine. We are born hungry and a baby being put to her mother's breasts is a universal practice. There we are at once nurtured and comforted. It is impossible to separate the pleasure of eating from the need to eat.
And so it is with sex. It is an incredibly complex and emotional topic encompassing cultural beliefs and practices, religion, the patriarchy, who raised us, what specific preferences we are born with, and on and on and on.
These days, sex as a topic is not as tiptoed around as it once was. Maybe. I mean, you can listen to podcasts that describe sexual activity in the most graphic ways possible while other podcasts are hosted by sex therapists who bravely do their best to try and educate people on sex and sexuality so that they may more fully embrace the intimacy and pleasure that can be found in it. On the other hand- what's going on in homes? Do parents feel more open about discussing sex with their children than they used to? I hope so. When I was growing up, it was absolutely NEVER DISCUSSED AND BY THE WAY, IT NEVER HAPPENED, EITHER! Well, of course that last part wasn't true. But perhaps if my mother, at least, had been a little more open about sex, her husband would not have been quite as able to abuse me. At least maybe I would have been able to tell her what was going on. As it was, I had no real idea of what was happening and yet, I knew it was wrong but was absolutely terrified to even acknowledge any of it to myself, much less my mother. I never told a soul until I grew up.
I doubt that I was very good at talking to my kids about it either. It's not always easy. I remember that two of my daughters' Girl Scout leaders asked me to come and talk to the troop about menstruation because I was a nurse, which I did, with the help of some books that I found, and that went so well that I was asked back to talk about sex in the gentlest and most appropriate way possible. And I did that, too, also with the help of some books for girls that age. Thank goodness for those books! They helped me to find the right words, the right way, to discuss the topics.
But all of that is so important! Children need to know about that part of their bodies and emotions as much as they need to know about nutrition and exercise and drugs. (And that's another topic.) Things need to be explained plainly, openly, and in a completely non-judgmental way. It is so important. There's a reason that "the talk" is often referred to as "the facts of life." They truly are.
Okay. So all of that is one thing. Here's another- hardly anyone discusses sex in older age. In fact, that's a topic that a whole lot of people would just like to completely ignore. Hell, when I was a young woman, the idea that I'd still want to have sex in my fifties and (gulp!) sixties was unimaginable!
Because I was sexually abused, sex has always been a very tricky and dicey thing for me. And this is something I could write a thousand pages about.
I won't though. Not right now, anyway.
But one of the best things about being my age and in a loving marriage, is that sex is something I am finally coming to terms with, at least when it comes to trust. Which for a woman, especially, I think, is so very important. And I have found a freedom in lovemaking that I'm not sure I ever felt before. Not like gettin' freaky freedom. That ship may have sailed without me ever truly getting onboard. But an acceptance of myself freedom. The emotional and physical intimacy that is part of sex can become even more important, I think, as we age. There is a pure beauty to the closeness, the acknowledgement of our long years of love and loving. And of course, there are still the good hormones that flood us. The ones that make us (allow us?) to see our beloveds as just that- beloved. Truly.
And having said all of this, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am, once again, to still have this sort of love in my life.
And I have a lot more thoughts but if you have any you'd like to share, please know that I would love to hear them. And if I have offended anyone, well, I don't know what to say. Tell me why!
By the way, I went to the Wacissa today to meet up with Jessie and Vergil and the boys and Vergil's papa and his delightful wife today. Another sort of joy. It was beautiful.
And we did see a big ol' alligator. Which sadly, is not in this photo.