My mother and I are slowly growing more comfortable when it comes to discussing sex and sex-related issues. When she found out I had a vibrator her only comment was “You know, those can be a girl’s best friend”. She seems to be coming to terms with the fact that I, her only child, am a sexual being just as I am equally learning to acknowledge the same about her.
I am a single father of an eighteen-year-old daughter … or was. She graduated and moved on to the Navy. She has always seemed somewhat immature in the ways of the world, although later I came to understand that it was not immaturity that I saw but a silent maturity, not brash and sixteen talking 25.
So, my friend Chandra posted a video of a really cool wedding, where the wedding party danced up the aisle – clearly planned and choreographed. It was awesome. The kids loved it, and Alyssa said she wanted her wedding to be just like that. The wedding video showed a man and a woman getting married, so I was surprised when the video immediately inspired this conversation:
I first considered the implications of polyamory when I was in my teens. An eight-year-old girl I was baby-sitting mentioned her boyfriend, Johnny. The previous week, her boyfriend was named Kevin so I asked what happened to him. “Oh, he’s still my boyfriend,” she responded. “Johnny is just my SPARE boyfriend, you know, in case I decide to stop liking Kevin, or he moves away!” It occurred to me then, that loving more than one person had always seemed possible to me, even normal.
I grew up in a reasonably liberal Orthodox Christian home, and I am Orthodox to this day. I don’t know if it has to do with my parents’ conservatism, or with their feelings concerning my choices and my right to choices, or even if they simply decided that because we were getting sex ed in school, it was unneeded at home, but somehow, they made the decision to refrain from having The Talk with me. To this day, I am profoundly grateful for that choice, as odd as it sounds – I don’t think I could face having that particular chat with my shy, quiet mother, or worse still, my traditional Greek dad. The thought is painful to contemplate! But I still had access to complete, accurate information (we had sex ed in school in grades five, seven, and nine, and I read most of the books in the public library on the subject).
When we were kids, our parents used medical terminology about our bodies. I don’t remember whether it was always that way: I remember when I was very young, about four, watching a TV programme with nobody else around and then proudly bursting into the room declaring that I had learned the “proper” names for genitalia. Whether that memory reflects reality or not, I don’t know.