When Justin was planning to propose to me, he and my mom were working together to get the perfect ring and set everything up. A few days before Justin popped the question, I confided in my mom that I thought that weekend would be the weekend. She already knew that it was indeed the proposal weekend, but didn’t want me to know it so confidently. In an effort to make me a little more unsure and therefore surprised, my mom started telling me not to get my hopes up. I shrugged it off and said, “Yeah okay,” and continued knowing I was going to come home with a ring on my finger. I knew Justin well enough that I could almost smell it on him that he had a diamond for me. Nevertheless, my mother was relentless with telling me to not get my hopes up. It got to be so much that I eventually began to wonder if this weekend was actually happening or not, despite my certainty of it. She made it more of a mission to tell me at least three or four times a day that he probably wasn’t going to propose that weekend. But hearing it over and over again really wavered my confidence. Of course, that weekend he did propose, but my mom just tried way too hard to help me be surprised.
When I was growing up, she did the same thing with sex.
I think her thought process was, Since her Daddy is gone now because of the divorce, she’ll look for a male love to fill the void and I don’t want her to get pregnant. That’s exactly what happened, and I wasn’t smart about it because I wasn’t taught to be. I was drilled with it a lot more than Luke was because, as we all know, boys can’t get pregnant.
I’ve mentioned this briefly before, but Luke (my twin brother) and I were brought up in a very Christian home. Every Sunday morning was spent getting ready for church and Sunday school. Bows that matched my many dresses were snapped on top of curly hair and Luke’s little three-piece suits were assembled in preparation for worship. We were taught all your basic Christian values, like the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, and all the others. We were taught that being gay went against God (although this teaching was mostly by my father, my mother was an advocate), and that sex before marriage was one of the worst sins you could commit.
What eventually bothered me as I got older wasn’t the fact that I was taught to not like sex. I realized that my parents spent so much time telling me that sex was bad, that I was never taught sex was good. The idea of having sex once you were married was never taught to me until I was too old for it to be engrained. I imagine that like most parents, my parents didn’t want me to end up being a teenage mother or dropping out of school or some other outcome of getting knocked up. I also imagine that if that had ended up happening to me, my mother (since my parents have been divorced for better than one-fourth of my life) wouldn’t have been particularly happy, but she would have been helpful. My mother isn’t nearly as judgmental as my father is.
When I was 19, I had a pregnancy scare. The test even came back positive. (It turned out to just be a skipped period. I never was pregnant and never had a baby…obviously) I freaked out and very shamefully told my mom. She immediately went into judgment mode, but tried to cover it up by asking questions of what to do next. I was hysterical. I hadn’t intended this. That evil sex had been the cause of this! Well, I’ll be damned if I ever do that again!
So now, not only was I brought up to believe sex was bad, I had been given “proof.” My parents thought that drilling the sex-is-bad myth into my head would turn me into a nun, but all it did was make me curious. Why is it bad? What does it feel like? Why does everyone else get to do it but me? These were just a few questions that frequently ran through my head. Eventually, this curiosity met up with raging hormones, and by the time I got to my senior year of high school, I couldn’t hold out anymore.
You know what else I was never told about? Protection! So Justin and I didn’t use any. My parents were so sure that sex was the farthest thing from Luke’s and my mind, that the thought of having to use protection just sickened them. We would both be married by the time we had sex, and because we were married, we would obviously want children right away. It’s absolutely absurd to look back and realize all this now. The lack of communication about protection, coupled with my burning curiosity, led to that pregnancy scare up there. The idea of sex wasn’t marketed in my house as the most natural thing in the world, but rather the one thing in the world you don’t want to mess with until you’re married. As a result, we never even had “the talk.” It just wasn’t talked about unless we were being told not to do it.
All of this is to say, now that I am married, sex is a tender subject. Even though I am grown now, and I know that sex is not only okay, but a wonderful thing, the engrained notion of sex being bad just won’t leave me. I was watching The View two days ago. Up until this week, for whatever reason, I had never been interested in the show. Back when the show first aired, all four women would talk at the same time and I couldn’t hear anyone. I really viewed it like this parody from Family Guy:
But on Wednesday, they had this segment about a reality show called L.A. Shrinks. The clip they showed was about a woman with my same problem. She had been taught from an early age that sex was a bad thing and now it was crippling her relationship.
I don’t know how that episode ended or what the shrink told her, but I would like to know. I wish I had help with this. I don’t have anyone to turn to really discuss this. None of my friends seem to have this issue, and I’m sure as hell not talking to my parents about it. I would like to seek psychiatric help. I don’t know if my insurance covers it. I just want a resolution. I want to be able to give my husband a physical show of my love for him.
When Justin and I have kids, we are going to teach them to be smart, not celibate. There is such a thing as condoms and pills that you can use to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and we plan on encouraging our kids to use them. I don’t want them to just give themselves up to everyone, but when/if they do decide to sleep with someone, I just want them to be smart about it. That’s a whole hell of a lot better than what my parents taught me.