Open with one’s Conservative Parents about one’s Sexuality
Dear reader, my intent is that you will, as a result of reading this article:
- React with “oh, wow, I feel like I know a lot more now”
- Feel better about yourself
- Have a nicer life
- Be more empowered to culturally oppose the large amount of negative and flat-out-wrong information on this subject.
* * *
A conversation about my mom’s cellular phone led to a conversation about masturbating; specifically, an article I wrote about the subject, which discussed three different people each masturbating with their cell phones, one of these people being me.
I found much to learn by observing her reactions, but that’s the subject of another article. Today’s article is about the freeing value of openness with one’s parent and the way that I approach it so that it works for me. I hope some of these principles will help you, too.
My mom was raised in the mid-1900s in a German cultural context inside a British Colony. She attended an Afrikaans high school. Those three items in combination already make for a stupefyingly conservative culture, plus her parents raised her by very, very conservative standards. For example, sex outside of marriage was unthinkable at the time.
At the time she went to college, in that country especially, few girls did so, and the few who went simply had the agenda to find an educated husband, to marry and to have children.
Instead, my mom studied to become a dietician, which was an intense four-year degree. She was the only student who passed every course. Her independence and intelligence were also reflected in the contents of the bookshelves in our house when I was a teenager: I read voraciously, including Masters & Johnson, and a great many sexually-themed novels intended for, presumably, adults.
My mom & dad got divorced when I was three or so, and my dad went on to become as much of a hippie as a someone with two engineering degrees could.
Every other weekend, I spent at my dad’s place, where the culture was sexually very open. My dad never made any sexual advances toward me but he respected that I would find my own sexual path. He encouraged me as such, for example, by giving me a present of a large pink vibrator when I was eighteen.
Even ten years prior, the sex-positive culture around him had delighted me; his bedroom had, for example, twelve different sex positions; one for each sign of the Zodiac.
Sometimes, as an eight-year-old, I’d barge into his bedroom first thing on a Sunday morning, eager to enjoy the social company of my dad and his girlfriend. She could make a beauty queen look plain by comparison, plus she was intelligent, gracious, and elegant. She inspired me by example and was also always super-nice to me.
Oftentimes she was topless when I came into the room, and she covered up without any melodrama; they were happy, naturally intensely sexual beings but their sexuality, it was clear, didn’t extend to me.
Playboy magazines were scattered all over the coffee table at my dad’s place, and I worked through them delightedly. I still recall the intense excitement I felt as to learning about the world of adults, and about fun and sexuality. I could hardly wait to grow up and experience all the delights that adult life seemed to promise.
Spending weekends at my free-spirited dad’s place was fun; he was in fact so free-spirited that he paid his half of the child-raising fee rarely and sporadically; my mom’s household was by contrast boring. She took care of things that I, as an ungrateful hellion, didn’t consider important at the time -- things such as feeding me, clothing me, dealing with my health & education and so on.
Every time when I’d do something wild, my mom would look at me with patience born of long-suffering necessity, and say reproachfully: “it’s clear which parent’s DNA is evident here.”
Openness with my Mom
I’m very open with my mom about what I do, in life. My choices are totally different than what she chose for herself, but I’m logical and my decisions are reasonable. It’s important to me to not hide what I do but rather to discuss it openly so that my mom can understand that I approach things logically even if the logic isn’t intuitively obvious to her.
There’s another reason too: my free-spirited values vs. my mom’s conservative values clash in the same way as these two ideologies have clashed over thousands of years. I’ve read enough books on philosophy and was reminded often enough by my first serious girlfriend, that if one has earned the moral high ground then it’s important to protect it, and so I do.
It’d be easy to just not mention to my mom some or other material sexual thing I’ve done, and to have more conversational harmony due to that omission -- but then the next time a similar situation arises, it’d feel even more tempting to keep quiet about that too, and pretty soon there would be a layer-cake of issues she wouldn’t know about, and then bringing one up might reveal them all, and if dealing with one was unpleasant then dealing with half a dozen of them at the same time would be lots more unpleasant yet.
It’s sort of like driving a fast-moving car off the road and into a forest. I’d rather collide with dozens of tiny trees and have each impact be minor, than hot one massive tree and have the impact be severe. To apply the analogy: my mom will never be automatically OK with what I do, and so there is always a conversational battle, but I’d rather fight many small battles than one huge one (and this is from experience; I’ve tried it both ways).
As examples of controversial things, I’ve done sex work of various kinds (being a webcam model, a fetish model, a pro Dominatrix, an escort, a paid writer of sexually themed material, and a brothel whore) and of course I told my mom what I was professionally doing or had recently done. At the beginning of each such conversation she invariably shakes her head but by the end thereof I’ve explained my decisions and actions to where she can see there was a reasonable process of thought behind them, even though that’s not what she would have chosen to do.
As a fundamental premise, it’s also important that I convey to my mom: “I’m not asking for your blessing or your approval. I’m an adult. I already am morally as pure as the driven snow as to my sex life even though it’s wild. But, as a courtesy to you, I’m open to telling you because I value openness and a good dynamic with you.”
Sometimes, I take my mom for drives in the countryside, and we go enjoy the scenery or the sunset, and she becomes quiet and thinks about her own life and her own regrets. She regrets some of the things she did, but more deeply she regrets the fun things she didn’t do. And then, this 5’2” lady looks at me sternly and admonishes me in her German accent: “Live your life, enjoy it, and make the most of it.”
So, thanks to the openness, I can say: “Yes, mom. As you know, I already do,” which is somehow much nicer than “Wow, if you only knew that I already do.”
There’s tremendous intimacy in openness with those we love. If we don’t show who we are, then who is being loved: us, or a false and sanitized version of ourselves?
Often, sexuality is a difficult subject, but as long as you’re doing it consensually, you don’t deserve to cede the moral high ground to anyone else on that subject. You have a right to enjoy, even celebrate, your sexuality.
If those you love don’t like that premise, that’s OK. They don’t have to.
It’s your life, including it’s your sex life. You certainly aren’t obligated to tell anyone about your sexuality, nor do you need anyone’s approval or blessing so as to be morally OK. You already are.
Even so: with all of that in mind, it can be useful to be able to articulate why you live as you do, and it can be very freeing to be able to speak out confidently and proudly about how you choose to live your life, including how you give and get sexual pleasure.
Written By: Tanya Charbury
Tanya is a former model and former sex worker including being a former Dominatrix. She's also a professional writer and speaker on subjects ranging from sexuality to software engineering. She is a transgender girl and has been out as such for more than 5 years. She's a free-market girl, and by implication is adamant that anyone's consensual sexuality, including sex work, does not deserve threats of violence nor actual violence from any individual or group, least of all a government.