My grandmother never had an orgasm.
She was beautiful, curvy, intelligent, strong, and quick-witted. She
married twice, and gave birth to six children. SIX. My grandfather was the love of her life and their deep connection radiated throughout our family with an awe-inspiring understanding of unconditional love. She had hard times and many more good times, she spoiled herself with jewels and clothes like any other woman of her kind, and she taught me every single thing I know about cooking and cleaning.
But she never, not once, ever… had an orgasm.
My mother has never found love.
Part of the 60’s love generation, she experimented with sex and drugs
alike. She wore bellbottoms and dropped out of highschool and married her 17 year old hairband mustang-driving parent-disapproving boyfriend. She was a mother before she was 18, and she could run a household before she was of legal age to drink. She suffered abuse and divorce and eventually learned to be a single mom of one, and then fall for comfort in the arms of my father, who eventually gave her the label of single mom of three. She dated throughout my childhood, it seems with more than I can count. I remember overhearing that her nail polish matched the color of her nipples. She wore tight jeans and blow-dried her hair in between making mac’n’cheese and helping us with our homework. She always promised me the way to a man’s heart was only through his
stomach, and that every woman should know how to cook if she wanted to be a kept wife. But years later, she is middle aged, empty-nested, and still giving me tips on how clean my condo could be. No online-dating subscriptions, no retirement plans for two.
As far as I know, my mother has never found love.
So maybe the pressures of these two examples are hiding in the choices I’ve made and my lifestyle? To leave my private honors school education in the Midwest and travel the tropics exploring my sexuality and experiencing all things exotic. To leave the labels and legalities out of my “marriage” for fear of falling apart or feeling trapped. To find empowerment through motherhood not to be selfless but to give to myself first and foremost in order to give more to others.
Maybe it is a false ideal, the perfectly balanced woman with her flawless appearance, clean home, growing career, well-behaved children, family traditions, delicious cooking abilities, circle of close friends, romance from the movies, and amazing satisfied-by-missionary-position sex life… the all-in-one package is what has been drilled into my head since birth. And this ideal is at constant battle in my head with my modern, rebellious, and independent desires.
So is it wrong of me to fantasize about women I have kissed or women I
would like to touch? Is it wrong of me to leave the dishes in the sink for a night to indulge in oral or anal sex with my common-law husband while my out-of-wedlock child sleeps peacefully and before the porn is due back at blockbuster? Do I fall short of the cookie-cutter perfection if I would rather buy myself a pair of heels than a new vacuum? Am I less of a respectable woman if I ignore my mother-in-law’s dinner invite voicemail because I’m too busy playing with my vibrator? Will I be less of a mother if I let my son play with dolls and wear pink if he prefers them over cars and blue, or if I encourage him to love with all of his heart and be blind to labels, gender, and societal expectations?
I’m learning that finding peace lies within redefining balance and
letting go every once in awhile. I am happy with my loving, orgasm-filled, open relationship even if I don’t have a ring on my finger. And I’m learning to be okay with falling short of expectations if I am satisfied in the moment, since that’s really all that matters in the end anyway.