I’ve been reading Mating In Captivity by Esther Perel. Interesting book for those who nerd out on human sexuality, especially in cross-cultural perspective (she was born and raised in France but practices here in the US) – but that’s another subject. I read this quote from the book the other day: “My Spanish colleague Susanna tells me that, in Madrid, her greatest sexual asset is her beautiful three-year-old son. ‘In New York it’s my accent, my hair, my legs, but definitely not my son.'” In another paragraph she quotes Adam Gopnick from Paris to the Moon. “All American What-to-Expect books begin with the Test, not the Act…. In Paris, pregnancy is something that has happened because of sex, which with help and counsel, can end with your being set free to go have more sex. In New York, pregnancy is a ward in the house of Medicine. In Paris, it is a chapter in a sentimental education, a strange consequence of the pleasures of the body.”
I tend to take such generalizations with a grain of salt (partly because generalizing a whole freakin’ huge city is always leaving out much of the diversity of cultures within), but I have seen those same cultural trends in folks I know. And it’s got me thinking about the parallels between the medicalization and de-sexualization of pregnancy, the desexualization of mothers in general, and our culture’s weirdness and double standards about sex (sexualization everywhere, but sex and sexiness so heavily regulated in so many places). This all felt extra pronounced when hella blogs were reporting on the US Magazine post where Brad Pitt is quoted saying that when he and Angelina want some QT, they tell their kids “Mom and Dad are going off to kiss.” Some of the headline subtitles online about it are all like ‘Cute or awkward?’ and ‘Too much information?’
That’s kind of all I’ve got to say right now. My brain’s a little fried and the school year’s almost over. If you’ve got something to add, please please do! But now that I’ve got the wheels turning (and because I’ve been thinking more and more seriously about becoming a Sexy Mama myself in the next handful of years), I’m gonna have to read Mommy’s Little Girl: Susie Bright on Sex, Motherhood, Porn, & Cherry Pie. Because if anyone’s got smart sex-positive stuff to say about being a mama, it’s Susie Sexpert. Onto the summer reading list (and bumped to the top).
happy almost Friday!
ps Today, I got three separate anonymous questions in three separate classes that all asked the same thing: “What do vaginas taste like?” THREE TIMES. And I’ve never gotten this question before. Just sayin’. I don’t know what it means, but it’s gotta mean something.