Is marriage making us prude?Monday, May 09, 2011
Families in the Loop
Back in the BM&M era (Before Marriage & Motherhood), I was your typical gal. Not too naughty, not too nice, mostly safe - but I had my share of sexual adventures. And part of the fun, I have to admit, was sharing those stories with my girlfriends afterwards. You think guys have the monopoly on locker room talk? Try a sorority house with 40 residents bonding, late night, over a box of Special K.
I have a secret to share: we ladies loved the details, and we weren't afraid to divulge them. Whether it was for educational, inspirational, or recreational purposes, as young women wading through the often turbulent rivers of our budding sexuality, we were not afraid to bare all.
Let me give an example: Back in my 20's I was enjoying an impromptu cocktail hour with 5-6 girlfriends when, not long after we settled in, the conversation turned toward sex (as in all kinds, not just intercourse). The host, a friend we'll call LR, regaled her guests with a description of a certain technique she had learned that drove her boyfriend wild.
I tried it out, found it to be successful, and shared it with another group of 5-6 girlfriends (if you didn't know, we traveled in packs back then). Those women were thrilled with the results as well, and they emailed their friends about it. The email spread, and let's just say there were a lot of happy guys walking around circa 1996. And a lot of women who were thankful for their gal pals.
Fast forward a few years later, though, and something strange happened. My friends and I fell in love, got married, and started families. And during this period, those raucous laughs, half-whispered tales, and shy but proud disclosures all but disappeared.
At first I understood the hush-hush attitude and even agreed with it. I was now in an intimate life-long relationship with my partner, and we both wanted the details of our private life to stay, well, private.
But looking around these days, I can't help but notice it's now the only topic my friends and I don't discuss. We know the color, density and velocity of our children's vomit, can give a line-by-line recitation of tense conversations with our in-laws, and even share our greatest fears about being swallowed up by marriage and parenthood. But we never talk about sex, one of the most important, vulnerable, passionate (or not), scary, exciting and often confusing components of our relationships. Why?
I find it ironic that the greatest symbol of our sexuality, motherhood, is somehow connected to making us less comfortable talking about or even engaging in sex. Having young kids is an often challenging time, and my guess is that most women are experiencing changes in their bodies, their relationship with their partners and yes, even their sex lives. Wouldn't a lively, sensitive and thoughtful conversation with our friends help us realize we're not alone?
Perhaps there's a new way to talk about sex, a way that protects the privacy of our loved ones but also reminds us that the fun and fearless days BM&M are not entirely over. In fact, they're even better now because motherhood has made us more confident, more daring, and even more excited about our DM&M (During Motherhood & Marriage) sexuality.
My bet is that after a few laughs, blushes and timid confessions, we'd all be a feeling a little bit like our old selves again. And, I suspect, we'd also have a few new techniques to share that would bring the 90's back in a whole new way.
-by Wendy Widom