Modern-day Virgin Birth
Why is it that we all have such a hard time with imagining that our parents had a sex life? We can focus on the pastels of our baby blankets, but it is hard to imagine the act that marked our real beginning.
I had a single conversation about sex with my mother in which she never used the word “pleasure” and instead depicted intercourse as an obligation to satisfy my father’s occasional urge. Not exactly a heady endorsement of procreation for a young pre-adolescent girl, but I just assumed that’s the way it was. It was not until quite a few years later that I learned anything to the contrary.
As our children were growing up, we were careful to lock the door when we had sex and there was never an embarrassing moment. We didn’t walk around the house nude. But there was also not a lot of open discussion about sex. There was never a staged time to sit down and read one of those books together. I always had the sense they had the necessary information.
But as our children became adults and I am sure they have discovered sex, I somehow thought things might be different. However, the following discussion with my daughter who is home before moving out west would indicate that I was totally wrong:
R: The guy I’ve been seeing in Boston really likes a clean house.
D: I was like that when Mom first met me.
Me: Yeah, I would go over to his apartment and always find the sheets in the dryer. It was never like we could just hop in bed.
R: ENOUGH! I don’t want to hear about your sex life. It’s off limits. Dad, don’t you agree?
D: I suppose it would be just too much information.
What I want to know is whether this will ever change? Since my mother’s death and since I read many of the letters she had written to my father and to other admirers, I realize there are so many questions that I would have liked to ask her. I even suspect her description of sex to her 10-year-old daughter was deliberately tainted so as not to make it attractive. What a shame that we never had a chance to explore the truth.
So for now at least, sex will definitely be off the table as a discussion topic with my children. Perhaps one day we will sit over coffee and talk about the birds and the bees in a way that is free and open.