Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sex is complicated

The super frank way I handle my sexuality is not appropriate for children.  The way I talk about it.  The way I pursue it.  Not. For. Children.  The way I handle my sexuality makes a fair number of adults extremely uncomfortable.  How do I raise kids who can have a more "normal" view of sexuality?  I don't have a normal view of it.  Growing up it was pretty clear that my options were celibacy (my mom and mostly Aunt Vonnie--it was a running joke that she didn't put out) or being the kind of whore who ruins my life regularly with toxic men (go Denise).

The idea of not knowing what sex is till 10 or so really weirds me out.  I don't know what it will be like to grow up with children who are ignorant so long.  I taught my niece and nephew how to use condoms way before then because it was necessary information in our family.  And no one else would talk about diseases or contraception at all.  I have books on what age appropriate sexuality is, but it's still a weird concept.

You see, because I'm the kind of person who wants to host sex parties.  Let me just take a moment to say that hosting a sex party is very complicated.  There are a few other layers of things going on that make everything way way way more complicated.  Because really what I want to do is have a woo woo sex magic ritual and that's an even more specific kind of event.  That kind of event requires rather a lot of thinking, planning, discussion, etc.  But I have these little kids around.  At this point in time I'm aware that some day soon Shanna is going to turn around and ask me point blank what a sex magic ritual is.  As I sit and think about it right now I think my answer should be, "Sex is something you do once your body is physically mature and you want to.  Magic is a way of thinking about what you want really hard.  And a ritual is where you think really hard about something you want with other people helping you focus more on what you want so that you think about it harder than you can alone."  That's an ok answer, right?  Because I don't believe there is any chance we will just stop talking about it at all.

And holy shit.  How do I feel about my child growing up knowing that her parents are into sex magic rituals?  No, she doesn't have a clue what it is about now.  We aren't graphic in the slightest.  We talk about people and emotions.  We don't talk about sex acts.  Shanna is going to grow up hearing a very odd therapy sort of talk.  I mean, we sit around and talk about the people who are involved in the ritual and what their various potential levels of involvement could be (nothing graphic) and try to get a sense of what to expect.  A lot of what is going on here is that I can't be in control of everything in the world.  But I can be in control of this very small setting on this one day.  I can be in control of who comes.  And that has been a rather fraught process.  I may have lost a friend over it and that makes me sad.  I have had to deal with the overwhelming guilt and shame that I went from in-my-head having a fairly ordinary party to these increasingly complicated layers of intention and want and overlapping needs.

I didn't realize up front that I was doing a sex magic ritual.  It wasn't until I did extensive negotiations with most of the people coming that I realized I was trying to set the stage for that.  I have only done sex magic explicitly with one person.  I think of him as my personal shaman.  Our relationship has gotten very complicated over the more than 10 years he has been in my life.  Some day I should send a thank you message to the woman who connected us.  Ok, done.  I kind of like reflecting when and where I walk away from writing in the blog to do other things.  I don't know if it is ADD or what but I really can't finish something in one go.  I just can't.  I peck at everything.  I don't think it is perfectionism because it's not that I'm trying to be perfect.  I just have to think about the next step before I can have it.

I'm going to be a big judgy bastard.  I think there is a big difference between people who are sex positive and people who actively hunt a lot for new partners.  I know people who hunt.  I don't like how they parent.  There.  I said it.  I like the children of monogamous households.  Which really this is selection bias.  I don't know very many children who have grown up in poly households.  Very very few.  I know a few adults who were children in poly households.  They are neat.  But uhm... I like the children of monogamous parents because I feel more comfortable with the kinds of acting out they do. Which is to say that in the far less than 500 hours I have been around "children of poly households" in aggregate over my entire life I had feelings of discomfort and I blamed them on the kids.

And that is the kind of judgy bastard I am.  Ok, fine I'll deconstruct this again.  Why do I have a problem with poly parents?  Because I think my sexuality is something that should always be on the side of a closed door from my children.  I do not flirt in front of my kids.  I cannot be a sexual person in front of my kids.  I cannot hunt.  I do not want my extra "partners" around my kids because I am uncomfortable having that energy around children.  I have felt really uncomfortable when I am dating someone and they want me to hang out around their children.  In almost every case (with one huge exception and I really respect him) there was more hand holding and hugging and PDA type behavior than I found appropriate.

Where is the line of what is ok to do in front of your kids?  Or even where in my house?  When I am interested in sex I want to have a lot of very heavy groping in my life.  It's awesome and fun.  I am very uncomfortable with the prospect of trying to be secretive about it around my kids.  That's not a good feeling for me.  I have been secretive about my sex life since I was two years old and I shouldn't have had a sex life to be secretive about.

When I am otherwise doing well emotionally I get off on every part of being sneaky about sex.  I fucking love that I am the chick who sneaks off at parties.  And yet that is clearly acting out behavior and there are places I am not welcome because of it.  Awkward.  Shouldn't I have to give up on that kind of acting out now that I have kids?  Large swaths of society thinks I am inappropriate for doing that.  I could even link to a very old blog post with a poll about it.  Fully 1/4 of my friends thinks that is not an ok thing to do.  And these are the people who are open minded enough to be friends with me in the first place.  Let's not ignore that incredibly high bar here.

25% of my friends (who responded to that poll) disapprove of a very consistent part of my behavior.  That's absolutely a high enough percentage to make me go into convulsions of shame.  Because that (to me) means if that was more of a general humanity sort of poll it means more like 80% of people will think I am disgusting.  Cue bad self talk tape I don't want to play today.

Why do I feel I have to be celibate because I am a parent?  Oh let me see.  Maybe because the parts of my sexuality I enjoy the most are the parts that push the boundaries of what society considers acceptable.  Silent quickies on the couch are really shitty.  I'm fucking tired of them.  If that is all my god damn sex life is supposed to have for the rest of my life you can take this job and shove it.  Cue running away and engaging in acting out behavior.

But how did I act out?  I went to an adult only party.  Where people were already naked.  And heavily indicating that they like extra marital sex.  And I went to a former partner (who has loudly stated he is still interested) and I suggested running off because I hardly ever get to be in an environment where there are no children so I never enjoy sex.

I feel like a dirty disgusting whore.  And sometimes that is really hot and sometimes it makes me cry.  I feel so much shame for wanting sex the way I do.  I feel like I am obviously dirty.  I am contaminated.  I must be sick for wanting this the way I do.  And then I won't let anyone touch me in any way because I feel like they will be made dirty by touching someone who wants sex the way I do.

So I kind of want to have a sex magic ritual.  I kind of feel like there might be some worthwhile emotional work to be done in this area.  Kinda.  And on one hand I feel like I should only be saying this to the very short list of people I feel comfortable engaging in this kind of party with.  But on the other hand, continuing to believe that I should be ashamed of talking about this part of my sex life is a lot of the point.  Let me restate: I have already lost a friend over this party.

Why do I feel like I have to be celibate to be a good mother?  Oh man.  Because being queer and kinky and poly means not only that I have sex with my husband (I feel ashamed of almost any touching around my kids so our marital sex is rather limited right now) and I occasionally sneak out in a way that I can completely hide from my kids and keep secret (limited primarily to heteronormative behavior because casual sex with women is way more complicated than I have time for, men can get it up on demand if you select carefully) but I am being flagrant to the world about things that I feel I have to hide.

The closet sucks.  I do talk about being queer, kind of, in front of my kids.  It really doesn't come up.  I have friends who are queer, so obviously my children see examples of it.  But I don't engage in any behavior that would look queer to them.  Kinky is something that I have put on hold 100% until my kids are older and can be left alone longer.  I don't feel ok having that in my house and I get very little time off.  Poly?  Dating feels like the same thing.  I don't want to take that much time away from my family.

It's not that I don't want these things in my life.  But I have massive issues around my kids seeing any of it because I feel ashamed.  It feels like I am supposed to.  When I make the decision to take people off the guest list because they do not feel safe enough to have a sex magic ritual in front of I lose friends.  It really really feels like I should be ashamed of having these things in my life.  If I am doing something at all, ever that some people won't like then I am bad.

Why do I think I have to be celibate to be a mother?  Oh I don't know.  Maybe because I can't be satisfied with the limited shitty sex other people want me to have so it is easier to just shut the whole system off.  And just not be me.


  1. can you describe what a sexually well adjusted teen / young adult might look like, then we can work backwards from there to see how you might accomplish that for your kids?

    (i remember that the first one is a daughter, but i don't recall about the second).

  2. i'm glad you're getting your ritual and it sounds like all the communication around it has been really good. how did it lose you a friend - because you invited someone who wasn't okay with it, or chose not to invite someone who was offended by being left out? either way, doesn't sound like a good friend . . . but i'm still sorry that happened.

  3. Marisa, there is a whole subtext to K's party in which participants will be in an altered mindset. Two people who were invited were not going to be in an altered condition. Participants asked K to assure all attendees would be on the same page, as it were. So K had to univite those two. One of those two is hurt and estranging himself as a result.
    Signed, the other of the two!

  4. Yes, marisa. There's a lot going on. I am not angry with the person who is estranging himself. He's allowed to be upset. It got very complicated. :( I did not realize from the outset that some of the folks coming as guests would have their own limits and I didn't plan for that in advance. It was a big fuck up on my part. :(

  5. A sexually well adjusted teen/adult is one who got to make their own choices in life without being unduly pressured one way or another by one's parents/culture. :P

  6. *chuckle* if that's the definition of well adjusted, my kids win. Even before she met me (which was when she was 10) my eldest one very much knew her own mind.