When I had sex for the first time, my mother was the second person I told. My sister was the first person and the one who wanted all the gory details. My mother was the second, and the one who stopped me right after, “I did it with John.” She didn’t want to know, she didn’t need to know, and being of the age where I could technically have a daughter of my own, I can now understand that, yeah, she really didn’t need to know. I didn’t tell her to upset her or shock her, but because we had always been so close and I’d shared everything else with her, it just seemed natural. Things always seem more real when I tell my mom about them.
As I got older, I continued to share things about my sex life with my mom, but only to a certain degree. I knew she didn’t want the details the way a friend might, and although I’d probably feel comfortable in sharing them with her, I respected that she wanted to be kept in the dark about some things. I mean, I didn’t want to hear about her and my dad, so an invisible line was drawn in the sand and we both knew where it was and not to cross it.
But it was when I started writing more and more about sex, that the doors to the topic were opened wider and wider. Finally, my mother and I could have an adult dialogue about it and what I learned was that, despite coming up in the second-wave of feminism, my mother's approach to sex and sexuality were archaic. So it was time to set her straight and embrace the conversation on not just an educational level, but in a way that took any shame she felt about about the topic away from the equation, among other things.
Here seven reasons I talk to my mom about sex.
1. Because Sex Is Healthy
Although sex is healthy from a physical aspect, it’s health from a mental and emotional aspect, too. Talking about sex is healthy. Admitting one enjoys sex is healthy. Having questions about sex is healthy. And having an adult conversation with your mom, if you feel comfortable in doing so, is healthy.
2. Because Sex Shouldn’t Be A Taboo Subject
I’m proud to say that my mother has come a very long way in regards to how she views sex. Coming from a strict Catholic upbringing, a world in which she legitimately believed that masturbation was something only boys did because that's what she was taught, my mother has evolved and it’s a very important evolution. While sex is something that is done behind closed doors, unless you’re an exhibitionist of course, it’s not a topic that has to be kept behind closed doors.
3. Because Every Woman Deserves To Know How Her Body Works
Both my parents read my work fairly regularly. Although they can tell from headlines which ones they’d like to avoid, my mother stumbled upon a piece I wrote about the clitoris… and her mind was blown. When she called me to tell me that she had read the piece and found it not just informative but truly fascinating, I realized this was a woman who had zero understanding of how her body worked. Her basic facts about the clitoris alone, when I pushed her a wee bit to talk about it, made me realize that my mother’s life was missing a very important component: Understanding of how her body works. Needless to say, we cleared up quite a few things that day.
4. Because Shame And Sex Should Never Be In The Same Sentence
I effing love sex! There is nothing shameful about sex! We are born into this world as sexual beings from the very get-go. Studies have found that children masturbate as young as four, because they discover their genitals and realize that in touching them, it feels good, so they continue to do so. There’s nothing shameful or wrong about that. And in knowing that my mother was taught, thanks to her Catholicism, that sex and masturbation were shameful acts, I couldn’t stand there and let her believe that. I actually gave her a vibrator to help ease her mind… although it’s still sitting in a drawer in her office. Maybe she’ll give it a try 2020.
5. Because It’s Feminist As AF
My sister and I were raised in a very liberal household. Our parents instilled in us the importance of equality, especially in regards to gender. We were taught that we were just as capable as any man, if not more so, and that the only thing that could ever hold us back in life would be our own lack of an ambition or drive.
But while we were immersed in a liberal and feminist upbringing, where things fell short was when it came to sex, something I know is due to my mother’s religion. Since my mother was kind enough to teach my sister and I how to be strong, independent women, I’m returning the favor but teaching her that, “Yes, Mom, it’s totally cool that you acknowledge your sexuality. In fact, it would be really sad, if you didn’t."
6. Because Sharing Is Caring
While the majority of my learning about what I enjoy in bed has come from experimenting and exploring with partners, sometimes it comes in the form of tips from my friends, too. A friend will give me a tip about a position she tried, a toy she gave a whirl, or some porn that really turned her on and I’ve gone and checked it out myself.
I’m not saying that my mother and I share sex tips, per se, but what I am saying is that in having an adult conversation about sex, you’re sharing things that can be beneficial to one’s own sex life, and everyone deserves a healthy, awesome sex life ― even your parents, as much as it might seem difficult for you to fathom.
7. Because My Mother Is Human
My mom isn’t just a mother, a grandmother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a lover of animals, a woman who hates cilantro, or someone who can watch An Affair to Remember 100 times on repeat, but a human being. She’s sexual, has sexual impulses, and it would be unfair of me to ignore that fact. It would be denying a part of her identity as a member of the human race, and I believe she and every woman deserves more than that.
I realize that talking about sex with one’s parent isn’t easy for everyone, so I won’t dare to suggest you call your mom tonight to talk about blow jobs, but I do think we have to acknowledge that our parents are sexual people and not cringe at the idea of them being as such. When we do, we’re feeding into the notion that sex is bad or shameful. Let’s try not to do that. We’ve come this far; let’s keep heading in the right direction.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy(7)