The line between sexual and hypersexual is so elusive sometimes. I find that checking in with my own reactions can be uncomfortable and difficult, but can sometimes yield a kind of beneficial calming side effect.
I wish I could say they weren't. I wish I could say Mom was wrong. But, well, I follow the script.
Personally, I think saying "Mom was wrong" everyday is a good idea. Sex and sexuality pervade our lives and our culture. But for me, drawing a connecting line between the culture and our mother's behavior is the same as closing the door of shame and turning the key in the lock. Mom was wrong. Yes, before she was wrong with me, she was wrong in how she interpreted the cultural messages.
Another perspective on female sexuality has been provided by the family I am struggling to raise. In the past two years I have been separated from the mother of my children. However, we do a lot of parenting together. One night, not long after we separated, I was over at her new house helping put the kids to bed. As they were settling down, there was a moment where it seemed to be my turn to leave. My ex encouraged me to stay in a back-handed way. The funniest thing was the look on my 2 year-old daughter's face. It was this knowing look of, "Mommy has some 'interest' in you". It was unmistakably sexual, even at her age. Later I mentioned to my ex that there still seemed to be something between us and she held my arm for a moment and said "Yes, I feel it too". (We are still separated).
Raising my kids reminds me of how important the small incidences of arousal are. Parents can have some effect on a child's patterns of arousal. Being aware of this can help a child handle their feelings and impulses. Being oblivious to it can open the door to misguiding them. As I confront myself in a daily battle of staying grounded, it reminds me of how easily I was misled. The child in me is as fresh, innocent and aware as my son or daughter. It seems to me that parenting is all about staying in tune with this so that a child's wisdom grows and the wrong kind of shame doesn't make them emotionally distorted.
What I also learned from this experience was how sexuality is not something that is thrown at us in the wrong way, as much as it is something that is easily thrown out of balance. Inside of me the whole sexual kingdom remains a mess of fear and mistaken impulses. I often feel like the wiring is just not completely right. What I have come to realize is that I have been messed with for so long that I have little experience with staying in a window of tolerance for being sexually aroused.
They talk about how women need time, attention, etc, to become aroused, but men can get excited with visual stimulus.
Women are part of the sexual fabric. They can make mistakes because of their arousal states. When no one corrects them, these mistakes can be destructive. Having survived and confronted a form of chronic female sexual abuse, I no longer consider it true that women get aroused differently from men. It no longer is part of how I understand gender. Maybe this is due to some kind of vigilance. Maybe I will go back to being "normal". But whatever happens, I will never forget that my mother made mistakes up until two years ago, when I finally put together enough courage and clear information to put a stop to it. The lifetime of arousal still lingers, and now provides clues to feelings I never dealt with.
For instance, in public I can get hyper aroused pretty easily, but these days I try to give myself even more slack. This allows me to check in with everything that has come to light. Although I squirm going through uncomfortable feelings, when I do so in a quiet way and remember to breathe, I calm down a bit.
Thanks for giving me an opportunity to say why I think Mom was wrong. It is not said quite enough. And understandably, when it is spoken we have to have some good reasons why....