Or, what not to teach your daughter about sex.
Every Mother’s Day I cringe a bit at the onslaught of predictable, sentimental ‘Ode to My Mom,” even if she is or was as elegant as Grace Kelly, as sassy as Kate Hepburn, as funny as Tina Fey or as self-sacrificing as Mother Theresa.
And I wince even further at the thought of writing a hallmark card tribute to my own dearly departed mom, even if she was as psychic as Sylvia Browne and as frigid as Dr. Laura.
So instead, here are some things my mom taught me—by mistake I assure you—about sex. (Did I mention I’m pretty sure she never had sex with my dad?)
1. Long Distance Sex is Preferred. By this, I mean my mom decided when I was about five, to move her bedroom to the living room. Then she insisted my dad build an addition to the house: Two extra bedrooms, one for me as the oldest daughter and one for him. (I knew she loved him though, because his bedroom was the closest of the two new rooms to hers.) When I first got married, I slept more than one night in the den while my husband snoozed in the bedroom. The long distance just felt so right.
2. Affection (foreplay lead-in) is an Annoying Waste of Time. My dad would come home at the end of a long day of work and try to kiss her on the neck in a nuzzle, or wrap his arms around her. From her ever-busy housewife stance at the kitchen sink, or stove or manning the vacuum cleaner, she’d respond with a cool brush off. Sometimes she just turned away, but other times she replied to his affection with a verbal slap. The first boyfriend that tried to warm me up with affectionate touch, learned pretty quickly I was all about getting to the main event.
3. Oral sex is a fiction. This message was delivered in no uncertain terms. I’d stumbled on to my dad’s, hidden-under-his-bed copy of The Happy Hooker. I was 12. I read the whole thing. Then I went to my mom, book in hand, and asked about cocks and mouths. She looked at me squarely and said, “People don’t really do those sorts of things.” Oh-kay. I was in my twenties when I realized not only do they do it, it’s fun. Pity my highschool boyfriend who never knew that real people do oral things in bed.
4. Flirt with Men Who are Forbidden. Every Christmas my family would have my mom’s sisters, with their husbands and kids over for a big dinner. We had the biggest house, so this made sense. What made little sense is how every Merry Christmas my mom ended up necking with Uncle Joe, her sister’s husband, under the mistletoe. Well, necking might be a stretch. But certainly there was always that kiss. Ironically, my dad never made the mistletoe kiss shortlist.
5. Sexy Body Parts Should be Clothed at All Times. Well, what can I say. She wore a bra to bed, and never once changed her clothes in front of me or my sisters. This despite the fact she had a cute little ass and perky breasts (from what I could tell through her clothes) and a petite body. The first time I fooled around with a boyfriend it was pitch black and I insisted I keep my bra on. For full recovery therapy I spent time at a nudist beach in my twenties. Really.
6. Vacations are for Sex As the years went on, I noticed my mom seemed to sex-it-up with my dad on family vacations. There are countless motels where my sisters and I could hear her giggling in the room or bed next to us—egads, a bed she shared with her husband. There is the time the family spent a month in 1972 on the red shores of Prince Edward Island in a cottage. My parents had the same room and it was not a platonic affair. That same trip my mom taught me it’s never too late to wear a bikini. (She was only 38, but hey, to me she was an old lady getting down with a groovey two-piece). Now, if I go on vacation with my husband and sex does not happen, I feel like I’ve broken a cardinal rule. At the same time, I’m all too willing to postpone sex until we can “get away from it all.”
Now that I have a 14-year-old daughter of my own, I am spending more time considering what lessons she is learning from me, her free-wheeling, seemingly sexually liberated mother—a woman she knows is the founder of a new magazine all about sex. A daughter who has lived through her mother’s post-divorce romp through many different boyfriends and lovers (including women).
If my mom taught me the Nun’s Code of Sexuality, I just might have taught my daughter the Anything Goes version. I expect in 10 years she will be writing a Mother’s Day article making fun of me. I just hope to be here to laugh with her about it.
Happy Sexy Mother’s Day!
(PS: Mom, where ever you are in the great beyond, I do hope you get to share the same after-life bed with your favorite famous dead man, Elvis Presley).