Bewildering Sensuality: How intimate is the relationship with your child?

You could say I was pretty much on the right track now. In a short time I received a fairly large number of assignments to write (fiction) sexual stories. As I set out to write the last essay, after funerals, friendships, threesomes, auditoriums, cars, the black forest, and bodies of old and young and skinny and fat, I decided to introduce a mother and daughter. Like I said, I was about to go.

The plot was simple: a woman (28), also a single mother of one year, goes away for a long weekend with her baby to a fellow beach house, looks happy, and doubts if she’s fallen in love with a good friend. Hers, but quite content now, alone with her child, during the day they enjoy the pleasant weather, when her child goes to bed the first night, she pleases herself, outside on the cool grass, with a rattle of her child. The next hot summer day, she would masturbate again, this time in the dunes, on their way to the beach, now only her baby was sleeping next to her. The story ends with these two corpses in the rippling sea: the little one clinging tightly to the big one.

The fact that I lay awake at night several times in the months leading up to publication was partly due to the story itself – could these sexual acts be near a child? — but mainly because the story is in a sexual package, Fucking horny, Will appear. In this context, it may appear that the young child is the source of sexual arousal.

Of course, I knew about my character that it wasn’t like that, she’s just a nymphomaniac because most people are a nymphomaniac from time to time, only she’s also a mother in addition to being a human being, but that fairy tale made me wonder many things that needed to be brought up urgently. What is your sexual relationship with your little one like, and how sexual should it be?

skin contact

Life with young children is, in my experience, very intimate. Clinical psychology professor Paul Verhaig says that intimacy doesn’t have to be physical familiarity, it is about really seeing the other and really seeing yourself, but in this context I mean physically intimately, as in sensual; Young children make it easy to enjoy the flesh. Those little prawn fingers that mess with your cheeks, mouth, ears, stomach, and breasts all day long; That little object you carry around for hours, the time it takes to make sure it doesn’t get hurt, to take care of it, to pet it. I have never had as much skin-to-skin contact as I have during this period as the little parent. But of course, this does not mean that the relationship is sexual. That the relationship produces sexual arousal.

This is what parenting has taught me about sexuality: a lot of it is sensuality. Enjoy yourself or someone else’s body. Or maybe I should say: sensuality is a big part of sexuality, but it isn’t. Touching each other’s bodies does not mean you will have sex. or if it had anything to do with it. Of course, it makes sense, you think, do you have to have a child to learn that? On the other hand, how often do people feel obligated or responsible for sexual acts after intimate physical contact? How often do we associate (naked) bodies with sex?

This happens even with children’s bodies. For example, I recently heard a story about a father (Jelly) who didn’t want his child to change. Because she is a girl. Thus, this line of reasoning assumes that the vulva is a sexual thing anyway.

I could laugh and be angry about it, but in that first year I often doubted what the world should see of the physical intimacy between me and my daughter. When she was a few months old, she “looked” with her mouth; All I put my nose, my ears, my cheeks, my fingers. Then there was the phase where she would sometimes put her mouth over my mouth, and her tongue would stick out. Would you allow that in a restaurant? number. People still think so.

What makes it so confusing: An intimate physical life with a baby can keep you physically “busy,” just as a crush or lovemaking can. It produces the same pleasant physical sensations. For example, breastfeeding gave me sexy sensations in my gut, baffling yes, but that doesn’t make the relationship with my child sexual: I don’t pursue sexual acts with her because I was experiencing those physical feelings.

he laughs so hard

In 1978, activist and feminist Audrey Lorde wrote the article Uses of the Erotic: The erotic as power. In it, Lord argued that the erotic is a transformative creative force that humans (particularly women) have been taught to suppress, but which provides immense pleasure and satisfaction; According to Ward, the erotic went beyond sex and had nothing to do with pornography. Eroticism is about feeling, specifically feeling what feels good, and in traditional porn (from 1978) women don’t feel anything. There is sex that is not erotic; Also, eroticism has nothing to do with sex.

Lorde shows how broad the concept of eroticism can be, dancing with others can be sexy too, or laughing so hard: I think it’s mainly about being physically present, feeling a zest for life, sometimes manifested in sex. Yes, but eroticism is a mixture of sensuality, love, concern and care. It’s quite a vague concept in the way Lorde defines it, and perhaps that’s why we hardly know what the word means. Nowadays, when we think of eroticism, we mainly think of the flat meaning of the word: sex movies or romance books that are just about tension or whether a man finally penetrates a woman. With sexual arousal I wouldn’t necessarily think about the relationship with your child. However I might call it that. Isn’t the relationship with your child essentially exciting, in the Lourdes sense?

episode of from where we start, a podcast by psychotherapist Esther Perel where you listen to another person’s relationship therapy. In this particular episode we hear about a couple, two women, who have two young children together; One partner (who works full time) feels rejected because the other partner (who is a stay-at-home mom) never wants to have sex with her again, or at least wants to do something romantic with the two of them. Her explanation is that her skin hunger, her need for intimacy, is already fully satisfied with (physical) contact with her children. This makes sense: love, attention, intimacy, sexuality; Doesn’t it all come from the same jar? A jar that is filled (or consumed) is sufficient at a given moment. Viewed this way, the relationship between you and your child may appear to be sexual; Physical contact gives self-confidence and security, just like a (sexual) partner.

But they’re two different things: There’s a distinct difference between sensuality (with a child, for example) and sexuality, Perel says. According to her, fatherhood does not generate sexual desire—fatherhood is synonymous with giving; Caring for others. Only when you have the time and space for yourself, Beryl says, can you discover and feel your sexual desires.

Of course, we don’t know if the “house mom” from the episode (whose mother, I hear, was also taught to take care of only her children instead of herself) didn’t know the difference before her children’s arrival between sensuality (or eroticism) and sexuality. In any case, the arrival of her two children did not make that clear. Those who never learned to make room for their sexual feelings will not learn that easily with young children, simply because you don’t have space for yourself.

Pillow

from the book 100 answers in sex education (2022) by Belle Barbé also shows that many parents find it confusing what we do that we don’t consider sexual. For the eighth question, ‘How do I deal with touching my child’s genitals? As if that’s a safer, more obvious option) He concludes that he was mainly concerned with what other people might think.

In her book, Barbie encourages parents of young children to normalize sexuality as a whole, from birth (take off the nappy more often, and name the genitals as such, not with a flute or a plum — which later wakes you up with confusion: “Peter, would you like a fiddle cut on your flute for us?”), she also advocates a more conscious sex education, but however sexy the parent-child relationship is, she leaves it up to the parent. You write if you feel like something is not possible (anymore), then don’t do it (anymore).

So how do you know if your relationship with your child is sexual only and not sexual? How do you find those boundaries for yourself and your child?

In an online sex education lecture from Valley Orgasm – a company that sells Taoist (online) self-love courses – I find some kind of answer. They tell how sexuality always plays an important role between you and your child, because as a parent you simply live sexuality. Babies take over your experience of sexuality. If you want your child to become a sexually safe person, you as a parent should be too. According to them, a sexually secure person is one who does not suppress his sexuality, but whose sexuality is not limitless either. If you yourself are sexually insecure, I conclude from this, the relationship with your child will not be sexual (insecure), but sexual.

Is my personality “wrong” or not? Can you what you did? As a creator, I would describe her as a safe sexual person. Therefore, what she did did not make the relationship with her child sexual. But the exact same situation, the exact same actions, can make another person’s relationship with their child sexual.

When I told a friend about this article’s question, she sat eagerly in her chair, leaned over the café table and began whispering a list of Dutch celebrities whose relationships with teenage children she thought were highly sexual. seemed. I thought she was joking. Back home, I looked up the related names anyway, and damn it, she was right: how mother and son looked at each other, how father and daughter took a selfie together; They may also have been romantic sexual partners.

We live in a special time when it comes to sexuality: #MeToo has created a space in society for a (potential) major sexual change. For women first, but actually for every gender. Experience shows that sexual liberation can also lead to infinity, instead of security, as happened, for example, during the sexual revolution of the 60s. Which is why this time she calls for an intensification of the debate: If women, if people, are allowed in their own way, what does this mean, for example, for the care they provide? How do we create safe situations instead of limitless situations?

I wrote a story where I wanted to sexualize parenthood, but I (mostly) used sex to do so. Because the difference wasn’t clear enough for me either. If people are given more space to experience sensuality, eroticism, and sexuality in the future, it is important that we openly discuss the differences between these terms.

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